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Opening day deer season memories.


My first deer season opening day memory was waking up all excited like it was Christmas morning. The wait before we could go to the woods was horrible as there were cows to milk and other farm chores. I can still smell the wood smoke from moms cook stove and the old pot belly that kept the house warm. The gun I was given to deer hunt with was an old Ivers Johnson single shot 410 / 44 lug in one stamped on the single shot barrel along with 2 ½ inch shells, I was given 5 slugs for it.  I remember breakfast was sausage patties most likely made from pigs we buchetered earlier that fall and fried eggs. The woods was a mile roughly down the road so dad drove the Ford station wagon we had at the time rather than the farm truck. Not being born to a hunting family I was not well versed in just how to hunt the deer only from old magazines and books did I have a clue. It was cold also and since the law said you had to wear red at the time I had a red hooded sweat shirt in Luo of a coat. I walked a lot doing what I thought was still hunting, none of the rags I had read said that still hunting was moving something like a mile a day instead of the 4 miles an hour I was covering. I was working my way up to the car to go home for lunch when a doe ran across the logging road I was on, following her was a buck with a nice rack about as nice as I have ever seen. I pull that old 410 up and fire at the buck which stopped I’m sure it was a total miss Break the gun and stuff a second slug in an fire again a miss again. My heart is racing hands shaking something awful I load in third shell fire and saw the head jerk and a blood spot appear in the neck as the buck charged off. Quickly load in number four and fire then number five and fire. All were misses I think and I am out of shells.  I shaking badly half run half walk to the car and wait for dad. He arrives and I tell him about the buck, he gives me that adult your fibbing look and says we should get home for lunch. After lunch and a quick drive to buy more slugs for me we are back in the woods. I go back to where that buck was and find some blood and start to trail it. Wasn’t much blood but did track it to the beaver pond and never found a drop after that.
That was my first year memory.
Many years after were similar even after I got a city job as I hunted dads woods.
After I bought the UP deer camp property things changed up. Normally would start the day before season very early in the morning anywhere from 3:00PM to 5:00PM depending how long I had to work the morning of the 14th. I would drive to Ricks house where we would load his gear up He would drive so I could sleep. Ya right I hadn’t seen him in a year so we talked about the past year and our past hunting trips.
Once at the property it was usually day lite after the 6 ½ hour drive. We would start with one of us getting a fire going in our wood furnace while the other started unloading gear. One the gear was unloaded and fire going for heat it was time to install the pump on the well and pump water to make coffee in the big 30 cup urn. By that time it was close to lunch so one of us would fix some thing or we made sandwiches. After lunch we would go check out the blinds and open the windows on the closed up ones to air out the musty smell. Once that was done we would walk to different area we might or might not hunt while we were there, depended on sign. In the evening we would usually drive to Gladstone, Escanaba go to a restaurant to have supper then to a grocery store to stock up on things we didn’t bring like catsup, mustard, coffee, butter, dry beans and burger to make chili with and fill the 5o gallon barrel with fuel for the generator.  Once that was finished we would head back to the camp lay out our clothing for the morning make up the coffee urn to make coffee in the morning then we would go to bed. Needless to say after being awake for more than 24 hours I slept very well. In the morning I would get up go full the generator with fuel and start it, Then I would go in the shed to light the heater in there so it would be toasty warm when we were getting dressed to go out. Meanwhile Rick had gotten up and put fire wood in the furnace and opened it up a bit to warm the cabin as well as reheat the coffee left from the night before. I would then set down at the table to cut up a loaf of homemade bread we had brought that Ricks wife had made. Rick would be at the range with his griddle frying eggs & bacon or sausage and sometimes ham. Once I got the bread sliced I would fill the thermoses with coffee and pour us some fresh stuff. We made sandwiched to carry afield with us for lunch or if we came back to the cabin it was get a bowl of bean soup off the wood burner or chili we had made the night before. It was my job to make supper, much was as easy as thawing the stuff made and home and froze in baggies and warm it, Latter I had gotten a bigger generator so we had a micro wave for me to do that. Since Rick passed away I stay home to hunt. I wake up in the morning opening day and make my breakfast, coffee no longer done as I how drink tea so make it sort of like coffee in a percolator. I fill a thermos with it and lace it heavy with honey. Then it is out the back door to one of the four blinds I built on my place and am in the process of doing a fifth one now.

 :)  Al

We always laid out of school on opening day. Corned beef and mustard sandwiches for lunch. It was often smashed by lunch time from being carried in the game pouch in the back of our old canvas coats.

My dad wasnt much of a hunter.. when hunting with dad, we drove around until we saw something, and jumped out to shoot it....   So my first solo hunt, I was twelve. I got dads winchester pump shotgun.. 12 Ga. and a box of slugs... and lugged that beast out to a spot I had found with lots of dear tracks....   I sat there all day. I remember thinking I was an idiot for sitting out in the cold for so long....  My toes and fingers were numb.. I was thinking very seriously about giving it up...  It was about an hour before sunset... and a I saw movement....   five does....    And shortly after a forky came following them...  My heart was beating so hard I didn't understand why they couldnt hear it...  I raised the gu SO SLOWLY terrified they would see me move...   My arms were ACHING by the time I pulled the trigger...   I had no idea if I hit the deer or not, the 12 ga blew me off the log I was sitting on and it felt like it broke my shoulder.... I laid there for a few minutes trying to get my breath back, and finally sat up....  to see that forky laying where he had fallen...
   Oh... crap.... now what?
   I knew how to gut him, so i did that with my trusty pocket knife. I tied my rope to his antlers....
   It was DARK, three hours later, i had managed to drag him about five hundred yards toward the gravel road...  when my dad came walking out with his flashlight....
   "Holy $h&% you got one?"
   I was SO beat... seeing him at that moment made him my hero all over again....  He made dragging it out seem so easy....    From that day on....  I have greatly enjoyed hunting...  But now I have enclosed stands I go sit in to be out of the wind....   Your story brought back ALL of those memories....


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