by Ashley Flynn
In the back corner of a bean field, camouflaged behind sticks and leaves, we sat in a ground blind anxiously waiting for a deer to tempt its fate.
My Uncle Tim Yohe had been out earlier in the week to set up the ground blind. He placed it approximately 50 feet from some deer scrapes – a place where a buck routinely marks in the mud with a hoof and pees to let other deer know he’s around.
“It takes some time for deer to get used to ground blinds,” Uncle Tim explained to me. He usually hunts from a deer stand up in a tree, but since I would be tagging along, he decided a ground blind would be safest.
We arrived at the location, a private property field near Salamonie Reservoir, around 4:30 p.m., and approximately 30 minutes later, the first deer appeared. A doe and her fawn stepped out into the recently harvested bean field to eat, and we just watched.
It was the closest I’d been to a deer, and the first time I’d heard them make noise, which was a low grunting.
Uncle Tim did not get his bow ready to shoot. We both just watched as they jumped around, and then they were starring right at us. I wasn’t sure if I should move or if the deer could see me starring back through the small window.
The doe and fawn went back to eating, and then looked back at us in the ground blind. They starred a few moments before taking off into the woods.
“I won’t shoot a doe when they have a fawn with them,” Uncle Tim told me.
I didn’t complain. Although I had come to hunt, I wasn’t sure how I would feel if we actually killed a deer.
Those were the only deer we saw that evening. We waited another hour until just after six. By that time, the temperature had dropped enough to make my toes go a little numb.
We hopped back into Uncle Tim’s truck and drove around Salamonie, spotting quite a few deer out in the fields and stopping to admire some bucks.
Although we didn’t have much luck bow hunting, Uncle Tim was just glad we got to see some deer. We didn’t have much daylight, which is why he usually goes in the mornings, but for my sake, we went in the evening.
Uncle Tim has been hunting for 38 years, and bow hunting is his favorite.
“It’s so up close and personal with a bow,” Uncle Tim said.
He’s been hunting in that specific field for about 35 years, and shot over a dozen from just one tree stand.
“I prefer them to be 30 yards and in with a bow, but it can be done in 40-50 yards if you’re confident about it. Most of mine have been under 10 yards,” Uncle Tim said.
Sometimes he spends a whole day out hunting. He packs drinks and sandwiches and enjoys the serenity of nature.
“It’s a good way to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. It makes you unwind and slow down,” he said.
Many hunters bring books on their trips, but Uncle Tim just likes to watch and listen. He takes deer calls and antlers with him to lure deer in.
“It breaks the monotony. Sometimes you can make it happen with the calls.”
Uncle Tim has been hunting since he was a teenager.
His older brother, the late David Yohe, hunted, and so did many of his friends.
“I just caught on. I started hunting squirrel and rabbit and now it’s mostly deer and turkey. I read magazines and books, and it was a lot of trial and error,” he said.
Although he’s killed mostly deer with his bow, he has also shot a black bear up in Canada, which was made into a rug, and a few wild boars.
In recent years, Uncle Tim has had to cut back on hunting. He had surgery in 2008 and another in 2010, which has taken a toll on his physical health. He still hunts about 1-2 deer a year, and enjoys eating it prepared in basically the same way you cook beef, such as steaks on the grill and in a pot roast.
Uncle Tim also hunts with guns. He’s killed over 60 deer throughout the years and keeps a diary filled with pictures and notes of his hunts. He still has rack of every deer he’s ever harvested.