The Diehards

Some guys are fortunate. Their favorite hunting grounds are full of deer and filling their buck tags is just a matter of time. Doe tags? Well, antlerless deer are rarely given a thought and filling a freezer with venison is fairly simple. Then there are "The Diehards." Taking a deer--any deer--is hard work. And in seasons like this one, in which favorite food sources such as apples go untouched, the work becomes even more difficult. Add in bone-chilling temperatures, few deer sightings and a calendar that keeps ticking off the waning days of the season, and deer hunting will just wear you out.
Ask any deer hunter whether they'd like to hunt this place and the answer is likely to be a resounding: "HECK YEAH." However, during the course of the past two weeks, not a single whitetail has bothered to check out these apples--even at night.
Late-season hunts for many New England hunters are comprised of deer drives that are sometimes complex, military-like maneuvers. When temperatures fall below 10 degrees, however, the goal is to keep drives short so that both drivers and standers are able to withstand the conditions.
The group decides to drive a stretch of timber that had thus far gone untouched, but is historically known to draw whitetails during seasons of abundant mast.
Charlie, who has hunted these woods his entire life, rehydrates before leading the next drive.
The next generation of hunters are a vital part of the group's camaraderie--not to mention a big help when it comes to dragging out deer.
Finally success! After 12 days of hunting and dozens of drives!
Two adult does are loaded into the pickup for the ride back to camp.
Marty is all smiles after rousting a group of 6 deer and managing to put his tag on one.
Although there's not much chance of spoilage in the sub-freezing temperatures, the morning's harvest is prepped for the meat pole in order to cool properly.
Hocks are cut to accommodate the rope.
The group effort continues through the hanging, butchering and meat distribution process.
Up they go.
It's tough to wipe the smile from Marty's face.
Happy Hunters who turned the last day of an extraordinarily tough deer season into a lasting memory. They're as thrilled with these two does as anyone would be with the trophy buck of a lifetime.

An ordinary group of guys take on an extraordinary task--tag a deer during one of the worst seasons in memory.