Thursday, December 01, 2005

One more deer

Ah, my dusty, forgotten blog.

Thou art neglected.

Actually, I've been on a glorious two-week, deer hunting sabbatical. Wish I could write how I stacked up the fury giant rats like cordwood, but sadly, no, that's not how it was.

Two does were the tally for my Michigan firearms deer season. And after talking with other fellow hunters around the area, I should be grateful for what I did gun down.

Both kills were neck shots: the first one split the deer's spinal cord via a Hornady SST slug sent by airmail from 150 yards away; the second downed deer was put into animal orbit after its artery was ripped by a .30-06 round from my M-1. A very fun hunt indeed.

I pretty much lucked into the first doe. Seemed to break the ice for the season. Up to that point, the second day of the shotgun season, Nov. 16, knocking down a deer was becoming a unsurmountable feat.

Day started with a howling wind. I was almost not even going to bother except my climber was still out on the edge of the Ingham County field I've been blessed to hunt this year. This turbine blast from the east came on the heels of one of my most miserable days in the field. A cold rain greeted us midday on the opener, Nov. 15, and continued until darkness, but without me.

One of the rival hunters that prowls the same property as Walt and I, actually saved us from ourselves. At around 3 p.m., he drove right out in the middle of the soaked field to recover his nice 7-pointer. That was the clincher for us, we looked at each other through the sheets of rain and said, "We are so outta here." And up to that point, we had said we would tough it out. Walt and I had somewhat differing opinions on our take of the weather situation that day, and he has promised to enter it as a guest commentary on this blog at a later date. We look forward to the challenge.

For those wondering on what my take was, I'm unabashed in saying it was NOT a good day.

Anyway, back to the successful hunt. After getting out to the field, I started thinking the wind might just be a friend rather than a foe in jumping a buck. I took a perch in one of the fixed stands bordering the main cut cornfield we hunt. Half an hour later, here come four deer in marching order. Pretty much out in the hinterland but I thought I would launch one out there anyway. BOOM! And strangely enough, the formation turned and ran right toward me. I picked off the biggest of the bunch at 163 steps, which comes to 154 yards by my yardage guess-timator.

The M-1 hunt was in Saginaw County on my friend Art's property. There I set up a fixed Loc-on to an ancient scrub Oak at the crossing of a woods and an open field. We emplaced a simple CVC corn feeder within bow range. After hearing from Art and Jen how the deer weren't hitting it, I was impressed while walking in when I saw a white flag bounding away near the feeder. I figured it was just a matter of time until the deer would begin filtering out from the woods on a line to the easy meal. I really couldn't see the aperture at the moment of truth, so I went the Kentucky, er, West Virginia -- since I actually lived there -- windage route. BOOM! But instead of a dropped deer, away it walked. I was a tad baffled but the deer continued to mill about. So, when armed with a semi-automatic, there's only way to go, and that's with more rounds downrange except that the blasted ex-military relic jammed on me. After years of having the same type of thing happen on the weapons range with a M-16, imagine that? the M-1 jams.

I took the necessary corrective action and finally managed to get another round into the chamber, all the while without falling out of the stand. But the little critters decided something was up and stopped posing for me broadside. Damn! Freakin' piece of military $%%!!!!@@@*** ...

About 10 minutes later, Walt and Art came over for the report but all I could say was I didn't think I made a hit. Neither did Walt, but that didn't stop Art from going back and getting his truck and devoted nose soldier, Ursula.

"I don't know why he's getting happy with the truck and all," I mentioned to Walt while walking back to get our flashlights, "think the thing woulda dropped right there with it being a .06 round."

Probably wasn't five minutes after we got back at the site, when Walt said, "I've got blood." And boy did he. Away went the four-legged canine on the trail with us tagging behind.

Seemed like we hiked miles in the dark but really was about 50 yards, and there she was on the edge of hill going back into the swamp.

Man, it's nice when a plan comes together.


I was also vigilant in my watch behind the house in St. Clair County. Taking the crow's nest in the pine tree I dub "Old Mother Tree" in the "Cathedral" of pines going back to the ravine that overlooks the Pine River, I made a rare miss the Friday evening of Nov. 25.

My kill percentage around the house is fairly high. By using the "one shot, one kill" phrase attached to being a TOW gunner when I was in the infantry back in the early '80s, it keeps snoopy neighbors from getting up ... in arms. Heh, heh.

The snow was on and at 5:30 p.m. with dusk silencing the day, a formation of three deer went under the "Old Mother," and I prepared for a shot. Unfortunately, I did not have as good a shot as I did two years ago, when I had a clear opening on the 5-point I slammmed in the liver with a Breinke slug from my smoothbore Mossberg 835. This time I was forced to use West Virginia windage through one of the old mother's prickly arms, and I still don't know whether I shot under, over or behind the deer. My thinking was low and behind since that's where it hit my plastic bucket target at the backyard range the next day.

And what a perfect opportunity to sight-in it was that Saturday since I was relegated to child-watching duty. Especially after seeing a neighbor heading back to my stomping grounds about an hour before.

Why a little lead might have gotten the little darlings moving for him ... yeah, right out of Dodge. Here I feed the things year-round and now Mr. Neighbor comes after laying out carrots and apples on a one-time basis. Nope. My deer. Go away!

I've since put in my second day of work after frolicking in the deer woods and will slowly build up motivation for the upcoming two-week muzzleloader season. I logged two more hunts in the old mother after the miss and two days across the street in the overhunted state land before my return. The whole time thinking: I've got one more deer in me.

Yes, I do think so. Give me some more time, and with the whole month of December still ahead, I have plenty.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home