First Time for Everything

November 25th 2018, it was the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Seems like it would be tough to top last week but I am gonna try.  My youngest son and I are perched up in a tall maple.  He is below me in a safe and secure single ladder stand, facing a green turnip field and I am above him facing the woods.  My oldest is across the street in his usual spot. The special thing about this hunt is that this is our first time all hunting together.  I hope and pray that it is the first of many.

So, what was so great about last week? Well for starters my sister had her long awaited baby on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  A beautiful baby girl they named Nora Renee. I am so happy for her and her husband.  I am so happy to have another niece.  Wendy and Bill are a cool couple.  They really love each other and do everything together.  While they were away at the hospital they asked us to watch their daughter Natalie who turned 2 over the summer.  What a joy.  This kid is great.  It was so nice to play with her and cuddle her.  Having a toddler in the house again was just heavenly.  Rebecca would have been a great big sis.

OK, this is a hunting journal, back to it.  So last week was our annual hunt trip with the guys.  At least 16 annual by my count, maybe more.  I have been everywhere with these guys.  Well first hunt of day one, Tom arrows his biggest buck to date.  A big old 10 point.  Wow, what a way to start the week.  The next morning he ended his season on yet another dandy buck.  A fine looking 9 pointer.  Tagged out just like that, a few days before firearm season.

We continued to hunt for several days awaiting the arrival of our other partner, delayed by some back pain.  Despite the perfect weather deer sightings were way down.

Next stop was my lease farm in Calhoun county.  Hunted hard with my buddy Bruce the last 2 days of archery and the first 2 days of gun.  No shots.  Finally decided to shift gears and pick up my son.  We headed right back out the same day.  We hunted together Saturday morning and had a great close encounter with large group of doe.  Andrew did almost everything right but couldn’t quite get a shot.  That evening we split up in a cut bean field.  After passing on some smaller, Andrew make a perfect shot on his first buck, and watched it fall from the stand.  Woo hoo!!!! Nice size 3 pointer I had some history with.  After revoveryvand some field dressing we celebrated at Chillis.

 

Fast forward to Sunday morning.  Day nine of hunting for me.  Several inches of fresh snow and still coming in heavy.  We decided to sit together in a double ladder across the road.  Just after first light I had the cross hairs on a big 3 1/2 year old 8 pt.  What a hunt.  What a weekend.  Filling the freezer and making memories in this great state of Michigan

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A Morning in the Woods

October 21.  It was the first really cold hunt of the season.  What a beautiful morning.  A crisp 29 degrees with a light NW wind. Heavy winds and soaking  thunderstorms put a damper on the hunting Saturday evening.  But the deer were sure moving today.

 

I came out to the Converse farm last night after my son’s football game. What a game!  His team got to play for the division championship at Ford Field.  After a perfect 8 and 0 season the boys were finally delivered their first loss.  They went down swinging though.  It was a great defensive game that was ultimately decided in overtime.  Nathan made some amazing tackles and recovered a fumble.  I really appreciated all the friends and family that came out to support him.  After the game a big group of us went to Lafayette Coney Island downtown.

So back to the hunting.  I couldn’t sleep, (as usual).  So I got up early, brewed some coffee and took my time getting ready.  Despite my slow pace I still wound up heading to the stand over an hour before dawn.  On the way in I saw 5 or 6 deer cruising along the lane where a few of our campers are parked.  I stopped and waited for them to move along.  They were headed across the road from where I planned to hunt so I just let them be.  My curiosity was killing me but it was far too dark to see antlers.

After the familiar 200 yard walk I paused by the creek as we often do.  The creek is part of a drainage that I suspect is man made.  It bisects 4 large crop fields.  Two are soy beans and the other turnips and rape.  Each time I hit this creek, I stop, I close my eyes, bow my head and listen.  The sound of flowing water is so peaceful.  I thank God for the time in the field and the opportunity to pursue this passion.  I pray for safety and success, and anything else that is on my mind and heart.

I dressed lightly for the long walk, and carried my outerwear.  When I reached the double ladder I was relieved to have made it without breaking a sweat and without alerting any deer.  I quickly finished dressing and ascended into my dark perch.  I closed my eyes and breathed deeply., enjoying the smell of someone’s wood burning fireplace down the road.

As black of night faded and light began creeping in I made out some movement from across the field.  The sounds of the night faded, and were soon replaced by chirping birds and rustling sqirrels.  The sun seemed slow to rise, but once it did it brought with it a beautiful site.  The tops of the trees were lit up across the field.  Red, yellow and orange leaves radiating their brilliance.

I spotted a doe, with her fawn eating acorns across the field to my left.  I watched them for a while until I caught some much closer movement to my right.  The small field to my right is filled with tall grass.  In it, I spotted antlers.  Through my binoculars I watched the tall rack 6pt slip quietly out of site.  He would be followed by 2 more smaller bucks over the next few minutes.

As it approached the noon hour I cpuld no longer ignore my stomach.  The apple I had eaten earlier was long gone.  The morning ended without a shot, as it often does.  But I would still call it a success.  Alone with my thoughts for a few hours, amongst God’s creation.  Beautiful weather and a couple of deer sightings.  What more could a hunter ask for?