Saturday, November 08, 2008

Ain't it grand?

Well, I made it.

Saved up my vacation for three glorious weeks in November to deer hunt my buttocks off.

It wasn't easy, and I am for sure in need of time off, especially after the Nov. 4 presidential election where the wrong guy got in for outdoor and shooting enthusiasts alike.

Briefly, I will be on a hunting itinerary of modest proportions by most standards: Week 1 -- Shiawassee State Game area, near Saginaw, I drew a tag for Nov. 9-14; Week 2 -- I'm still working on this one after getting bounced from the Sanilac County spot but I potentially could travel to the Upper Peninsula and sit there for the rifle opener; Week 3, lastly and probably the most glam of the three, I will be rifle hunting in north-central West "By God" Virginia for the week of Thanksgiving.

Despite some of my earlier bow struggles, I have since popped a medium-sized doe (on state land in St. Clair County on Nov. 2) and just barely shot under a decent 6-pointer (Nov. 5) across the street from my St. Clair County house.

I've swayed back and forth on how I feel about the miss.

Not really what I was looking for size-wise but then I remembered how the motto for this season changed to "capitalizing on opportunities" since I no longer have a prime spot to myself.

He was trotting right in the main shooting lane above the tree where I was sitting and it was just too good to be true. But he saw me reach back to grab the bow, which got him really spooky. We played a game of give and take move-wise and then finally I was able to draw and shoot. I overcompensated for the shooting angle and the arrow zipped under his belly. Plus, he was moving as I launched the shot. Dang it, hold still, would ya?

Last night, I spied him with the high-beams in the dark (or I think it was him) in a nearby grassy lot courting three does and he was better than I thought.

Oh well, I have plenty of time now for redemption.

(Look for a new posting of "Youth & You" at

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Feelin' like a slob

I can't believe how things have gone for me bow hunting so far this season.

Made a bad shot on a doe Oct. 28 -- this time with the compound -- and lost it.

Second one. I'm disgusted.

Wrote one of my hunting pals and was going to use that for the blog entry tonight but can't find it, so I'm stuck re-telling some of what I wrote to him here.

But that's OK, I need to unload the garbage.

Even did so at Tai Kwon Do today, which seems to have a decent hunting contingent within its ranks. Had the black belts giving me advice.

Felt like a beginner, but I earned that. (As if I've never shot a deer with a bow ... OK, OK, Mac, humility.)

Looking back to the last successful archery hunts in 2006 -- went empty-handed last year ... archery-wise that is -- even those were not good hits. However, I had more tracking room at the Sanilac County, Michigan, spot where I USED to hunt until I got bumped from the premises this year.

When I'm behind my house in St. Clair County, it's a different story unless the wounded deer go where they're supposed to go. You laugh but the nearby thicket was where they always went before this year, which made for an easy recovery despite a bad shot.

This year there has to be a bedding site inside the posted neighbor's boundaries, because that's where they head every time, which restricts my search on the 10- to 20-acre area.

The deer would never make it there had I made the preferred double-lunger shot.

Really, could just be a combination of bad luck and just making a lousy shot.

I heard the black belt's advice -- do some laps around the yard then shoot when practicing on targets -- solid words but I think it's a matter of gaining composure and either stopping the deer with a call or waiting until the deer presents a standing-still shot.

And that's why I heard dunk! instead of crack! Yep. The dreaded gut shot.

In spite of these two wayward bow outings (see the previous blog entry "Lost 'em both") I still believe there's a big buck that's going to fall to one of my zooming carbon arrows within these last two weeks of Michigan's early archery season that ends Nov. 14.

Believe it or not, I've never had success in the final week before the gun season opener.

But until this year, I had never shot a fall turkey. And it came off of the same bum luck I've had this season only this time I was searching for a downed goose -- which is another story within itself but I've had enough self-inflicted bashing for one night.

Now on the turkey, that was how everything worked out right. It happens. I was figuring what the success rate was per times out whether it be for upland bird or deer. Came to a rough estimate it might be in the numbers of 1 out of every 20 times out I get everything to fall into place.

Sounds almost like a work-related type of figurin'. Now who wants that?

Enough said.

(For photos and to read about Mac's first fall turkey, watch for the article at