I first took Hunter Safety Training in 1994. I was fifteen then. My uncle purchased me a single-shot 20ga. shotgun by New England Firearms. A decent gun for a first timer. He took me hunting once. I took myself hunting once. That was that. Fast forward to 2012. As our family gets more into fresh food, knowing the farms from where the food comes, and attempting to be more reliant upon ourselves for our sustenance, I decided I would try to deer hunt.
So far, I had one unfortunate woodpecker (that just happened to get in the way of my shot line) and one squirrel under my belt. I never learned to hunt from anyone. I especially remember being envious of classmates who had fathers that took them out into the woods and would come to school and share jerky with everyone. Now, I could captain my own ship. Although I feel I learned a great deal my first go around I came up empty handed. Two missed shots and a handful of deer tags later – I had to work extra hard at convincing my wife that deer hunting still had its advantages for our family – and our freezer.
Spring came and I still had a bit of a hunting hangover, but the Wild Turkey season was fast approaching. Thankfully, an old school teacher has a Wild Turkey problem on her property and was more than willing to permit me to hunt her land – 10 minutes from my home. That was a blessing in and of itself. The next best thing was actually getting one. Its amazing what you can learn from library books. Everything I learned played out and landed me a bird on my first Wild Turkey Hunt. I will have to say that turkey was some of the best I have ever eaten. I will be back in the Spring.
This year, it became more of the same. I was spending time in the woods, but coming home with no deer. In most cases it would have been worth the trouble if I had at least seen a single deer. This year I started as early as October 1st. As the season inched on toward the firearm opener I had sat in the woods fifteen times, missed two deer, and only seen a handful of deer. Alas, I was ready to give up and sell everything and admit to my bride that I am a hopeless addict. Even though I can be counted on to give 150% to anything I set my mind to, I usually neglect everything else in the interim (including this blog)! I would say that sounds about right for most men I know?
Thankfully an opportunity arose for me to hunt a friends property during the firearm opening weekend. If you know anything about Michigan Deer Hunting you know that the firearm opener is very popular and there are lots of people in the woods at that time of year. I was able to access a farm with at last 130 acres all to myself. The only catch was I could only shoot a buck. The trade off was fair and I jumped at the chance.
I camped at a truck stop the night before, got into the woods early, sat on the stand, and waited patiently for that unfortunate deer to cross the path of my shotgun. Time slipped by and the only sightings of wildlife I encountered were a few squirrels. One of them were the size of a cat, missing a tail, and looked as though he were a bouncer for some rodent night club in the area. I texted my wife and began complaining about no deer sightings when suddenly something zipped by behind me. I cannot confirm what it was but at least it was big game. Shortly thereafter a doe group of three trotted through at a casual pace. Things were at least picking up a little.
Another hour passed by and I was getting disheartened again. I was starting to shiver after seven hours on stand, a runny nose, and cold toes. I had eaten all my snacks and was getting hungry. I was beginning to decide that I probably would not be very successful at providing game for meat if all the cards were down and we were depending on it. I was done. As I started to text my wife to tell her I was going to wrap it up something crossed the corner of my eye.
I looked up and there he was. A smallish buck with a few points and he was just casually nosing around the area within twenty yards of my stand. I set my sights on him, fired, and waited. He trotted out back in front of me from a different angle, still about twenty yards away and presented a broadside shot. I thought I may have hit him but was not sure and fired again. This time I was certain I hit him. He trotted off again like nothing had happened. With my history of missing deer I thought it was just more of the same. Now this buck had gone about seventy-five yards and was quartering away from me. He was looking back in my direction as I racked another shot into the gun and prepared to fire again. He still seemed like he was not hit and a fired two more shots. This time he ran off and out of sight.
Bummer. I missed this deer five times. That is it. I quit! I sat there for twenty minutes thinking that this is absurd that I cannot hit a deer that close to me with five chances at doing it. I decided a would climb down and at least check for blood, just in case I really did hit him. A short trek revealed a blood trail that I followed through the woods. Getting bigger and more apparent I was able to see that this was going to have a good result. Finally I happened upon this deer’s final resting place. I did not miss but maybe once. This deer had four shots in him for sure. At least two of them would have been kill shots. My first deer was a buck. Thanks to a good friend who I just recently met, I was able to keep the deer hunting desire alive, put some meet in the freezer, and add hopefully appease the wife with some delicious grilled venison.
So, if you’ve wondered about the blog silence (which happens frequently around here), now you know. I have been busy hunting. As the deer season comes to a close at the end of the year, I hope to resume my blogging addiction (mainly reading them) and get back to cranking out a post here and there. Remember, you really can do anything if you try.
Genesis 27:2-4 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.”