I don't know why I was questioning this strategy. It has netted a handful of deer since I moved to the St. Clair County, Michigan, homestead in 1999.
Nothing gigantic, mind you, but meat just the same. Small bucks and yearling does are often the take.
What can I say? I played it safe. With the pile of snow from New Year's Eve's dumping of a foot or more, I didn't feel like taking on the clogged roadways en route to my original destination of Lapeer County.
So I ate a couple tags, but who doesn't?
I did have a moderately successful season by taking a fat doe and the best buck of my career, an 8-point with a spread of 18 inches. (For pictures of this brute, log on to www.macshuntingmag.com).
He was taken during the muzzleloader season in December. Nothing much to him body-wise. He was wore out from an old bullet wound to his belly and the rut, I imagine. He was eating and drinking, as his innards told the story. Hard to say whether he would have made it through the winter.
Most observers were saying not.
I know he sure held tight to the bramble he was using as cover to bed in at one of the thicker stands on the Ingham County farm we hunt.
Walt, who was the driver for this operation (which gratefully made me triggerman), nearly stepped on him. And for once, I did the right thing by holding to my gun station. Oh, I should include that I made the shot as well.
I will admit I was a mere seconds away from moving forward, which would have bungled the whole show. Mr. Buck wouldn't have exposed his broadside to me; rather he would have bolted for the back door, for sure, which would have denied us both to an open shot.
That's the lesson for this year, or at least one of them: stay put until the drive is done.
So here it is Jan. 4, three days since the season ended. I'm taking nourishment and sleeping well again with no plans to brave the cold for much of anything.
I hunted my tail off for the two deer that were bagged -- three if you include the giant doe my friend John nailed with a perfect boiler room muzzleloader shot during another drive we made in December at the farm mentioned previously.
Even the doe that crumpled conveniently 100 yards straight away from the ladder stand at the Sanilac County farm on opening day of shotgun Nov. 15, was loaded on the back of the quad (thankfully I had it this time) in a midday driving rain.
Nothing came easy.
Well, here's to savoring the take and relishing there are only 122 days until spring gobbler kicks off in May. Even less time if I hunt the West Virginia opener, which begins in April.
(Look for Mac's Top 5 Hunts of 2007 coming in mid-January on to www.macshuntingmag.com)