Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The wrong way and the right way

Here is the buck I took the right way Oct. 16.

Photo by Erin Arnold

By Mac Arnold
MAHFS Editor

In an amazing turn of events over the weekend of Oct. 16, I was able to pack the freezer with two bucks.

One was taken the wrong way, and one was taken the right way.

The wrong way being by the left front fender of my Jeep.

It happened as I was driving home from work early Friday morning down Interstate 94. There I was minding my own business and out of the mist appeared this giant whitetail. All I saw was rack.

The collision was unavoidable. I've often wondered why people blast into the darn things as I've always been able to see them in time. Now I know why.

After I discovered everything was somewhat OK once I rolled to stop along the shoulder, I knew I wanted that deer.

My first impression was that he was a brute 8-point. The reality was he was a mere 3-point but with a giant body. His rack on the right side was impressive in height, but the left was a 3-inch nub.

However, he was hefty. They grow 'em big around these parts that's for sure.

Kudos to the Michigan state trooper who went above and beyond to help me find the deer. He said he was also a hunter and seemed to understand my desire to track down the rogue deer that did in my Jeep.

Unfortunately, I forgot the incident report at the time of this writing otherwise I would be more specific than praising an unidentified trooper.

By the time Sunday rolled around, I had processed the deer and was mulling an evening hunt on public land somewhere in my St. Clair County neighborhood.

It was dependent on whether I would be required to make the orchard run with the family, which I thought was scheduled for the afternoon. But there was no sign of anyone after I got up and the wheels were in motion for a bow gig.

Right after the Lions' game, which ended pathetically I might add.

Anyway, this plot of land I hit is somewhat off the beaten path even though it's right around the corner from my house. I decided to go there after both parking lots at the other spots I drove to were packed with trucks and vans.

So I said what the heck? Might as well try this one again. I sought redemption here anyway because on the evening of the bow opener I got lost trying to find the truck in the dark. Mainly because I thought the GPS wasn't working right when in reality I had clicked off the compass.

With the wind kicking up from the southwest and the south, I was able to walk in undetected.

After finding a decent-sized maple with some leafy cover around it, I took the Summit climber treestand to the customary 22 feet and waited for prime time.

And just when I started thinking, there aren't any deer around here, two came shuffling through the crunchy leaves out in front of me.

Light was falling fast.

Originally, the plan was to hold out for something pretty nice since I was wary of cutting up another deer.

That plan was scuttled when a fairly large-bodied doe walked into one of the shooting lanes. It was a longer shot than I usually take but I felt confident.


Apparently I hit a tree limb since the two deer pranced away without showing any signs of ill effect.

So I sat back down and was content to let the darkness envelope the woods around me. Then a deer was headed directly under the stand. I saw four points on one side.

I didn't even have an arrow nocked. After what seemed like a minute of hit and miss in trying to get the arrow on the string, I stood up and in the same motion drew, picked out a spot on the vitals and released the Beman ICS Hunter to its mark.

This time there was no doubt I connected.

After a follow-up to confirm I indeed hit him, which I did when I found blood near where I shot him and later the arrow half covered in blood 25 yards from the stand, I tracked him to one place on a piny ridge where the trail ended.

It seemed like a good time to stop.

The next morning after taking the kids to school, I was back at it again.

After two hours, I decided there wasn't any other place he could have gone except straight ahead. So I munched on an apple, waltzed about 30 yards from that last blood reference point on the piny ridge and stumbled right into him.

A decent 7-point. Boy was I elated.

So now I'm up to my gills in venison and done cutting up deer for awhile.

Time to bird hunt. They take five minutes to clean.


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