Friday, October 07, 2005

Folly hunts

Laughter, please.

Lately my hunts, whether it be for bear or woodcock, have been those of humor rather than skill or luck.

Over the weekend of Oct. 2, I went bowhunting for deer in Ingham County at my friend Walt's hot spot. Entirely too hot. Muggy. Seemed like the temperature would never cool, even as the sun dropped below the horizon.

Let me set the scene: Primetime, boys and girls. When the light seems to be squeezed out of the dark. There's an eerie silence. The birds have stopped chirping.

Suddenly ... a whizzing sound ... Craaaaaaaaaaaack!!!! And a dry brushing noise. I jump up in my treestand, thinking hoo-boy! the deer are approaching. I grab for my bow on the hook. Then silence again. My phone vibrates in my pocket.

"I shot a doe," Walt whispers with nervous anticipation.

"Stay cool," I answer back. "We'll get down at dark."

Until then, I'm hoping I can score, so we can get a double. A few minutes later, I see a deer spook out of the corn. Way too far for a shot with little light left. I surrender to good sense. We decide we better get down and get on with the tracking.

Later, we tracked what I would call a more than an accommodating deer. She went straight down a single row in the corn. Usually, they scatter every which way making it tough to stay on the blood trail.

This deer obviously was hit good. The arrow was covered in deep, red blood from tip to end. Walt made a good shot and his recently purchased Montec broadheads did their job.

One odd thing to report: The doe on further inspection had a fresh hole through the base of her skull at the ear. The only thing we could figure was she turned her head just as Walt shot. Impressive results for the Montec. The arrow went through that hole, the shoulder and out the other side.

We then took in the benefit of having my Suzuki 400 quad by loading the doe up and driving around the corn field, something that would have taken hours by foot. This enabled us to get back at a somewhat decent hour and begin cutting her up. The fresh backstrap burrito made the wait worth it.

Over the next two days, Monday, Oct. 3, and Tuesday, Oct. 4 -- my birthday -- I won't say what one, I went on an uneventful evening bowhunt on state land near my house in St. Clair County and then much of the same on a late afternoon to evening woodcock hunt, again on state land in St. Clair County.

The heat again made both hunts more work than fun. And when it gets like that, why bother? For some reason I can't stay away. I guess the dog needed his work to be ready for the pheasant opener Oct. 20. My shirt was soaked like a car wash rag. The one flush I did get with Henry -- my ace springer spaniel bird dogger -- we had to work our balls off for, that's for sure. And, of course, Mr. Grouse went out the back door of the thornapple-brier scrub woods. We did a couple of loops, but he flew on to safer roosting.

But what typifies how the season is going, is the hunting of the past two days.

Wednesday, while sitting within the comfort of my own property confines, I had 11 turkeys -- all hens -- walk under my stand. Armed with a bow, I imagined how I would get a shot if it was indeed turkey season. I was confident the season came in Oct. 8 or 9 here in Michigan. And today was only the 6th.

At least one turk had her eye on me at every moment. Woulda been tough to get up from a sitting position, let alone grab my bow and draw -- excuses? Maybe ...

I get down and check the tag ... WHAT??? Season opens Oct. 3? Get out! Doh.

I recover and for Thursday's (Oct. 6) hunt, I set out with a shotgun instead of a bow. Anyway, as you can probably guess, I jumped three deer going out to my setup. And the turkeys never did show.

Will the folly continue? Tune in next time as I will stick with my bow for tomorrow's hunt on my property, as well as another weekend trip to the U.P. for a last chance at a bruin.


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