Megís Third Deer Hunt

 

I havenít blogged in a long time.The less I blog, the more difficult it becomes.Itís not like there isnít a lot to say.There have been a lot of significant changes in our lives.Tonight I have a story to tell.Maybe Iíll catch up with the backlog later but donít hold your breath.

 

Andrew and Meg were home for a short while this summer.

 

In a nutshell, every morning I wake up and I am still in Kansas.I am like Dorothy waiting for the tornado to change my fortune.Andrew was searching for ĎI hate Kansasí websites and came across ĎFSMí or Pastafanarianism.Rod was gracious enough to share that with me as well.They believe in a stripper factory and beer volcano in heaven, so what could be wrong with that.FSM is short for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism.It was proposed as an alternative to ĎIntelligent Design.íAndrew and Rod couldnít both be wrong, so I converted.

 

Back to the main story line.For the past two years, Meg has hunted with the help of the Detroit Archers.The first year she had several shots at deer, but didnít get one.The second year, she saw two deer and shot one, a doe.Meg was concerned that if we moved to Kansas, she wouldnít be able to deer hunt.I told her I would try to set up a hunt in Kansas for her.

 

So that my friends is the start of a long story.Wink and I agreed that if I could find a reasonably priced acreage, I could purchase some hunting land.To that purpose, Meg, Wink and I went on two expeditions to look at recreational land.In Kansas, it sells for anywhere from $800 to $2000 per acre depending on itís agribusiness potential.If you could farm it or graze it, it costs more.We actually went to visit two forty acre lots.One said it had a pond, but all it was a watershed.The other had a pond and claimed to be half wooded, but only abutted woods.The later also was infested with ticks.Meg, Frodo and I came back with more than 15 ticks apiece.

 

We finally abandoned the idea of buying land and investigated the possibility of leasing farmland for hunting.This came down to a matter of who you knew.We were most fortunate to know someone who knew a farmer that was willing to lease some land to us.In fact we formed a Friday ĎDeer Hunting Executive Committeeí luncheon group.The DHEC jointly leased the 200 acre plot of land for a year.It is ideal hunting land.I will put up a satellite image for your perusal at some later date.

 

When Wink took Meg back to school, the DHEC purchased three deer stands and set them up on the perimeter of the hunting lease.Unfortunately there was a lot of poison ivy in the area.Also because Meg had to be accompanied, we got two person deer stands.We significantly misunderestimated how difficult it would be to put up the deer stands.We had to use rope to help hoist the stands.The rope tended to touch the poison ivy and Mark touched the rope.This made it impossible for Mark to shave and so now he has a beard.

 

Kansas like Michigan has a youth hunt on the last weekend in September.So we got Meg plane tickets to Wichita for the youth hunt.Meg didnít get enough practice with her compound bow.She was not pulling enough poundage to have a high probability of a kill with a deer.So we opted to hunt with a rifle.Kansas has a minimum caliber required for big game.Last year Meg used a 223 and liked it.It is too small to be legal in Kansas.†† So we had to buy her a new rifle.We got her a 243, the minimum caliber allowed for Kansas big game.We went to the home of one of the DHEC members to sight the rifle in.Meg took four shots and was able to hit a four inch target at one hundred yards every time.I tried to talk her into another round of rifle practice, but she assured me she could hit a deer without any problem.

 

So the youth season in Kansas finally arrived.Meg caught her flight to Kansas without incident.Frodo was very happy to see her.I am not sure who was happier, Meg or the dog.She got in fairly late and we had an early start on Saturday.Like the past two years, Meg arrived with a cold.It seems that the end of September is about the perfect incubation time.The kids all get together right after Labor Day, share germs and they are well distributed by the end of September.Go figure.So Meg had the sniffles for deer season the third year in a row.

 

It was difficult to get Meg up at 5:00 AM Saturday morning.We departed Wichita and headed to the farm in Leon at about 5:25 AM Saturday.We got to the land about 6:20 AM and drove to the South end of the land.Then we had a quarter of a mile walk to get to Deer Stand number 2.We got situated in the stand and settled down to wait.It didnít take long before the mosquitoes found us.I didnít want to use any repellent with DEET because I was concerned the deer would smell it and stay away.The mosquitoes really found us.It was thoroughly unpleasant.We could hear the turkeys around us.But we never saw one.All we saw all morning was one small opossum and a squirrel.We wrapped it up and headed home about 9:30 AM.

 

Meg had an unknown secondary agenda when she came home.One minor thing is that she had not done any laundry since school started.She managed to bring a lionís share of her laundry home for her mother to do.She also wanted to go shopping to get a Homecoming Dress.The LAX goalie, Deer hunter wanted to get a homecoming dress, shoes and some makeup and earrings.Her mother was more than happy to oblige her Saturday afternoon.They went to the mall and were gone until it was time to hunt again.

 

The Dress

 

WOW

 

The Shoes (high heels)

 

One other thing they found was a sportsmanís DEET.It was nominally scentless.I didnít think it was, but I used it anyway.So after a late afternoon sub sandwich from Subways, we were off to the farm.This time we inhabited Deer Stand number 1.The mosquitoes werenít as bad as the morning and we saw even less than we did in the morning.We stayed in the stand until past legal shooting time.I think the thing that frustrated me was we could hear an occasional sound that sounded like gun shots to me.They were pretty far away but I could imagine other hunters being more successful than we were.

 

I am not sure what the problem was.There was a lot more deer sign around Stand 2 than Stand 1.Deer had been pawing the acorns around 2 and there was only limited sign around 1.You must take what I have to say with a grain of salt as I am no expert.If I can read the sign, they must be there in large numbers.

 

It was a good thing we didnít voice our discouragement to each other.By the end of Saturday, it looked like this hunt was a bust.If we had talked about it, we probably would have agreed to sleep in on Sunday.Instead we each kept our misgivings to ourselves and headed to the farm Sunday morning.

 

It was a beautiful morning.There was a layer of mist that partially obscured the road on the drive to the farm.There was almost no wind.We parked by the road and hiked into Stand 3.As we headed into the stand, there was just a fringe of light peaking over the horizon.The sky was clear but the mist was hanging low to the ground.It was a beautiful morning.

 

Just to keep us on our toes, we walked right up to a skunk in the middle of the path.It hissed and raised itís tail.We backed off and let it go.It was gracious enough not to spray us.At that point Meg turned on her flashlight to warn any animals of our approach.We climbed into the tree stand and cinched up our safety harnesses.We then promptly dropped the equipment bag from the top of the fifteen foot deer stand.It had rope, gutting gear and the camera in the bag.We decided to leave it on the ground and eased into a contemplative silence.What else could possibly go wrong.

 

The deer stand was on the Southwest corner of the plot we had been hunting.Because of the hurricane, there was an East wind all day Saturday.In my opinion, that was the worst direction for Stands 1 and 2.But there was very little wind on Sunday.In fact the foliage and fog predominantly obscured our view.Meg alerted me to a set of deer legs that only she could see.They were wandering toward the deer stand we sat it.I finally saw them too.Meg shouldered the rifle and a deer emerged from the mist.At first we both thought it was a doe but then we saw the antlers.We were so excited we forgot to take the gun off safety.Meg tried to shoot it that way twice.The buck was broadside to us in fairly clear view.We got the safety off and it felt like it took Meg a month to pull the trigger.The rifle sounded.The buck shuddered, staggered and fell over right in front of us.He never managed to take a step.So here is the buck Meg named Bambi.

 

Megís first Buck

 

 

Meg related to us later that she was so happy she cried after shooting the buck.I had to admit that I was fairly dumbfounded, arguably in a state of shock.She said we were both shaking during and after the shot.I am willing to concede that that is an accurate assessment of my state of being.The deer didnít look that big until we got down to it.

 

I could not believe how heavy that deer was.I could barely drag it.Meg had to help me move it to the path where we were going to field dress is it.I am afraid to admit I had only seen one other deer field dressed and it was Megís doe.It was done by a pro from Detroit archers and he made it seem really easy.What a mistaken preconception.

 

I could go into gory detail how I managed to botch the field dressing of the deer. But genteel readers, I will leave it for you to coax the story from Meg.We got it as dressed as we could and decided it was time to give up and move the deer to the processor, which we had not identified to that point.Here is the sad part of the story.Between Meg and myself, we were not strong enough to lift the deer.The plan was to tie the deer to the top of the car and transport it like the doe.We couldnít lift it.It was a conundrum.We tried to call Wink but could not call from the field because there was no reception.

 

So we left the deer and drove to the nearest farmhouse.The dog greeted us but no one was home.The phone did work from their yard and so we enlisted Winkís help.We called another member of the DHEC and he agreed to come help us move the deer.He came and we got the deer loaded into Winkís van.In the meantime, Wink had arranged for us to take the deer to a taxidermist that also did the processing.We stopped at a gas station and packed the deer with ice and headed out.

 

When we arrived at the taxidermist, we said we had a deer we wanted processed and mounted.He was fairly noncommittal until he saw Megís deer.I would guess the next thing he said was that was the largest deer he had seen this year and they usually donít get specimen like that until later in the year.The deer was certainly as nice as most of the mounts he was showing in his office.

 

I think I am still in shock.From going to despair and almost getting sprayed by a skunk to shooting a beautiful buck is quite a swing in emotion.

 

We have a busy fall with two weddings in October.Maybe I will venture back into the blog-o-sphere.

 

If I donít, it wonít be because there arenít stories to tell.

 

I have also decided that maybe deer hunting alone is perhaps not a great idea.

 

Many thanks.First to the DHEC for their help in making this hunt possible.Then to Wink for her manning of the home front.Also to Meg for being a trooper and not voicing her misgivings.

 

Good night all.

 

Luv,

mark