Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Opening Day Success

Wow, the time seems like it is in hypermode these days.  Besides being behind with almost everything, deer hunting was upon us last weekend, November 6 and 7th.  As everything lately, it seems as though last year was just yesterday.   Once again I had the pleasure of hunting with the same group as in the last 6 years.  Hunting my remembered friend Rich Allen's land, it was Jack, Brett and Trenton, Kevin and Austin, Eugene, and our host Ken.  Arriving Friday, it was exactly as predicted, WET!!!  Receiving record rainfall in September and 3 - 5 inches 2 weeks ago, the lakes, creeks, rivers, and swamps were filled to the brim.  I hunt the back part of Rich's land and the real only way to get back there is trudging through the swamp.  In year's past Jack and I would take our ATV's and crawl through the peat and alders.  The problem this year is the fear of getting stuck, as well, we are not as adventurous as we once were.  This means donning on the hip waders and making your way through the tangle of clumps, brush, and holes that challenge the boot height.   Arriving on Friday the first order of business was to check out how bad it really was and make a decision if we would even expend the energy.  Walking back to the stand, it was about as I expected.  I had left half of my stand in the woods last year, meaning to come and get it once the swamp had frozen.  Great idea but like a lot of great ideas, sometimes you just don't get to them.  There it was, just were I had left it a year ago!  Luckily I had removed the pads and armrests as the 25 foot nylon ropes attached to the stand were missing all but about 6 inches.  I guess the mice must have found it great bedding material.  Faded but functional, I decided to endure the walk and hunt in the tree I have gotten to know over the years.  My ladder stand is nice but a pain to set up, even with 2 guys.  With the ropes gone, Jack and I used our collective heads and got it in position.  Standing almost 18 feet high, it's a balancing act to put that top strap around the tree to secure.   I had brought the straps but had grabbed the wrong ones, dang it.  It's too high up to take any chances so I headed back to my truck to retrieve the right ones.  That second trip out there had me thinking if the right decision had been made!   Everything set, we headed back to Rich's for my famous marinated steaks.  This has always been a tradition we started and it may well be the last time we will do this at Rich's as Mary has the place for sale.

With Daylight Savings Time still in effect for Saturday morning, I took my time wading to my stand.  Wearing hip boots, I have to carry my warm boots in a plastic bag stuff my bibs, gloves, a change of socks, and extra pair of pants in case I trip on the way out, as well as a book, a MRE (thanks Tony), hand warmers, knife, camera, and water into a backpack.  It took about 20 minutes to walk 1/4 mile, I got to dry ground, changed, and climbed the stand.   In the stand for about 45 minutes something caught my eye, a nice spike buck was walking right in front of me.  I am not on trophy ground and was looking to refill the freezer with some fresh venison, down he went on the first shot!  I guess the trouble I had sighting in my new scope was all forgotten.  Of course now the work begins!  Not wanting to drag the deer out through the swamp, I waited till sunset when Brett volunteered to come by and help.  Although it wasn't the worst thing I had done, it took all we had to pull that deer through the swamp.  Luckily I have a medium size plastic sled that makes it much easier.  The top picture is my little spike buck, small but nice and tender!  As stated, this is probably our last year hunting Rich's forcing Jack and I to check out a couple of areas for next year to see if any hunters were around.  Skipping the morning hunt, we discovered a couple of nice spots where it appeared as though no one was hunting the area.  Deciding to see how the other guys were doing, we headed back to Rich's to discover Brett had a small doe down.  A number of us were available to help him so I dragged the sled back out and we pulled her through the swamp.  Here is Trenton, Brett's son posed with the deer.  Neither were trophy's but satisfying never the less. 

A couple of parting shots.  One of the things you commonly see in the rural areas of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and I am sure many states as well, all the road signs seem to have at least one bullet hole in it!  From shotguns to rifles to pistols bullets holes, one thing's for sure, there is no closed season on signs.  Here is a good example of this as we stopped to check it out.   I guess I remember participating in that sport 40 year ago as well.  I am writing this at 38,000 feet over Nevada.  Flying to San Jose, California for a Medical Trade Show the plane has WiFi on board.  $12.95 for the flight, about 3 hours worth, is pretty reasonable.  I can check my e-mails, finish a much past due post, and generally keep myself entertained.  Amazing world we live in today.  My stand is still in the woods, waiting for the freeze and hopefully I get this done soon.  The loss of 35 pounds really made a difference this year.  Carrying around that big bag of potatoes inside my body really dragged me down and I felt great all season.  I am sure at last years weight, I probably would have not gotten this deer.  This is sort of a transition time of year, hopefully ice fishing is not to far away.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

85,160 deer were registered after the first weekend. Me? I killed a couple of redtails and went to the Vikings game....

AK Keith