As the first hints of dawn crept into the eastern sky, I could visualize the deer, which had been feeding in the fields and oaks all night, being pushed by a small army of hunters moving in from the roads. As the light grew, an occasional flurry of distant shots echoing among the ridges confirmed it. Bucks that were trying lateral or flanking maneuvers around the first hunters encountered were bumping into other hunters. The survivors would turn my way. A half-hour after shooting light, right on schedule, that first trickle of bucks reached the saddle and my season ended--one buck too soon, as it turned out.