Me? I was shivering. I should have been warm but I wasn't and I place some of the blame on having lost 20-25 pounds after the knee surgery. No personal insulation.
Before I left the Aerie I noticed that the bear had been back and knocked down on of the bird feeders I had carelessly left on the deck. Paw prints were all over the fresh dusting of snow and the metal hook upon which the feeder hangs was laying on the deck. (I would find out later that the feeder was intact and that the bear had chosen the lawn instead of the woods as its bathroom--again.)The knowledge that the sow and her cubs might not have denned up yet would have my head on a swivel whenever there was a louder than usual noise form snow falling from the pines and hemlocks.
Going up and down the hill on layers of ice, snow atop shale was no more difficult than it was before I had my knees replaced. Might have been easier, in fact. The loss of weight and the physical therapy may have made the climb less stressful.
I didn't get my buck, either. Though I did see four deer between 12:10 and 12:20. Two went up the hill on the other side of the powerline right of way and, though I could see through my rifle scope that neither had horns, I had no shot through the web of beech brush on each side of the cut. Just as they went out of sight to my right, there was a stomp to my left and I turned to see two more antlerless deer standing 10 and 25 yards away. The closer animal was stomping it's forehooves and sniffing the air over an unfamiliar smell (me) but had no idea I was standing so close as there was a 12 inch diameter tree between us.The more distant critter was looking right at me and, after a brief staring contest, I must have blinked. It decided it was better to be THERE than HERE and bounded off down the hill and across the cove. The puzzled nearer animal followed its pal.
The days shooting commenced a bit before the legal hour when someone fired at 6:45 AM other shots soon followed from a variety of directions. As most were single shots, I assume people were getting their deer. (Old Indian saying: "One shot, deer. Two shots, maybe deer. Three shots, no deer." There were a couple cases of "three shots" today but not many in those opening minutes.) Things got really quiet after 9 AM and there weren't any shots at all from 1 PM through 3:30 PM when twilight began to seep up from the deeper coves and valleys. I returned to the Aerie with the same number of shells as I had when I left. Hey! Ammunition is expensive!
All I saw, besides the four deer, were three grey squirrels, lots of birds and one hunter coming down the wood road on the other side of the cove. He came down around 9:30 AM and turned toward the homes to the northwest of us. For most of the day I had this song by Paul Anka running through my head.