Saturday, November 14, 2009

The 2009 Hunt

Sorry guys! I did it to you again! I keep letting the posts trail off after awhile. I promise I will endeavor to do better in the future.

Anyway, on to the hunt. November came in quite beautifully, if a bit chilly. We had, sometime in the months previous, picked up a Zodi Camp Shower unit, so we felt we were pretty much better prepared for a week-long stay in the cabin, so long as we had a way to keep ourselves clean. Opening day looked full of promise. We -- Dad (Harve, Sr), John, Tom and I -- had spent the previous night settling into the cabin, having had a great meal and told many bad jokes and old stories and generally preparing, with great anticipation for the upcoming day.

Morning came far too early, but we were up and into all business mode as we donned our gear, packed our lunch cans, loaded our guns and capped off our hats with trail lights. Tom and Dad had the furthest to walk, so they left fist, followed closely by John, who decided to hunt neighbor Jeff Jarosz' place, as he had given us permission to do the night before. He and his wife were dealing with some health issues that, as he explained, would prevent his coming up for the hunt this year. I followed last making sure to turn down the lights and creep very quietly and very carefully to my perch. Given all of the gear with which we were encumbered, I think we did a pretty good job of settling in without really making much noise.

Quietly and patiently we sat, calmly waiting for the break of dawn. We could here the early morning critters awakening. We even saw shapes moving about, but it was just too dark to make out anything. Suddenly, just as the sun is getting ready to pop up over the eastern horizon, to light the sky, down the lane come a crashing, squeaking, rumbling noise of a big 4x4 as our western neighbors came bumbling in to their property. Then, of course they whack-crashed through the brush and bramble as they left their truck, having made sure to very loudly slam its doors, to stumble out to the stands, which they made certain to rattle quite a bit before climbing into them!

Not a very auspicious start to the hunt! Any way, later on that afternoon, we got a visit from a couple of very cute DNR officials (hey ladies!) who were checking on a flyover report that said we were baiting. We showed them that we had recently been clear-cut and what looked like corn from the air was really sawdust shavings from the lumberjack's blades. That was our Saturday, pretty much in a nutshell.

Sunday, however told a different tale. Again we crept quietly out to our respective perches. Again we suffered the noisy intrusion of our lower neighbors' entrance into the area. but an hour or so after full light John spots a beautiful 3/5 spike and shoots it as it is running away from him and drops it on the first shot! His first deer, a buck and running away! A guy couldn't ask for much better. So I got down out of my stand and helped him haul it back to camp. By then Dad had come in so the three of us, dressed it out and hung it.

Later on that afternoon, I was sitting in my perch when I heard a crashing coming from the north part of the property, right along the line. At first, I couldn't see anything. Just then, a tree seemed to move. Then I saw that it was a deer walking cautiously up the border. His nose was in the air and he was being extremely careful about each step. Practically, in slow-motion, I raised my rifle and peered through the scope. I laid the cross-hairs right on his left-front shoulder, took a slow, steady breath and squeezed the trigger. I had heard many stories about the first deer. Buck fever. Nervous reloading. Freezing up and watching it walk right on by. But I experienced none of that. Rather, I felt calm and focused on the task at hand. And that little button buck dropped like a stone, dead in its tracks. My very first deer. At 49. I was elated. Oh, and he tasted good, too!

Tom would go on to close out the week collecting 2 more, one right on top of the other within a 1 minute period of time. So with a harvest of four, 1 doe, 2 buttons and a spike, we had a great hunt for 2009.