Megís Second Deer Hunt (2004)

 

 

This is the ongoing saga of Meg going deer hunting.This has been more than two years in the making.She went deer hunting for the first time last year.Megís first deer hunt was documented on the web at http://mmoeller.home.comcast.net/MegDeerHunt.htm.She took three shots last year and shot high every time.She was lucky enough to be invited back again this year.This time we got to apply the lessons learned from the 2003 hunt and try to improve.Unfortunately her hunting companion, Nick Won was not available this year.GM moved his family to China and he was at a Shaolin Temple learning Kung-Fu while Meg was deer hunting.

 

I was hoping to borrow a bow for Meg to use.We determined that the bow Nick used last year was too heavy for Meg to use this year.Jimmy found a suitable bow at a garage sale.It was a Browning Micro-Midas.It is a compound bow that adjusts from 30 to 45 pounds draw weight and could be adjusted to Megís draw length.We took the bow with arrow rest to MJC Archery and got it retrofitted to Meg.We also added a site, release, arm guard and new arrows to the mix.The next step was to adjust the site and tune the bow to Meg.

 

We spent a good deal of time at the Detroit Archers getting the kinks worked out of the bow and getting Meg comfortable shooting it.The members at the club were very helpful tuning the bow to Meg.There were several 3-D shoots to practice on.There was a Thursday night 20 target 3-D league that Meg and I shot when it wasnít raining.It rained a lot on Thursday this year.

 

Meg in Tree Stand Practicing

 

We missed the Labor Day 3-D shoot because we had to go to Iowa to visit my parents.But the next weekend was the broadhead shoot.There are paper targets that we shot broadheads through.Apparently arrows with broadheads travel differently that field pointed arrows.So we shot a 30 target broadhead course as a tune up.

 

Broadhead Practice Shoot

 

In the middle of September a group of Dutch archers came to visit the Detroit Archers.A picnic, 3-D and broadhead shoot were arranged for them.It seems that they are not allowed to possess broadhead arrows in the Netherlands as they constitute a lethal weapon.So we had fun shooting with the Dutch archers for an afternoon.

 

Meg Shooting

 

Dutch Archers Visit

 

We got an early start on the Friday night before the junior deer season opened.Meg doesnít have an eighth period class and this year she doesnít have a fall sport.In fact Meg applied for a waiver to get gym credit for archery and deer hunting.So this trip counted for a gym credit in High School.A doe spooked from a cornfield and jumped in front of us as we drove into the camp site.We took this as a good omen as we almost collected a deer with the car as we were arriving for deer hunting.

 

The very first thing we did after we arrived was apply the final tuning to Megís bow.Meg was still pulling just over thirty pounds on her bow.Ideally she should be pulling 35 and preferably 40 pounds.Last year, Nick shot a deer and only wounded her.With the poundage Meg was pulling, the concern was she would not kill the deer she shot.One difference this year was that she was fourteen and could hunt with either a rifle or a bow.We discussed the issue and decided that she would hunt the first day with a bow and the second day with a gun.Last year she practiced with a 223 rifle and this was the gun she would hunt with this year.The result of her bow tuning is shown below.Tuned and ready.

 

Bow Tuning

 

Last year Meg got a cold the week after she hunted.This year she got a cold the week before hunting.We took a full bottle of Robitussin and antihistamines to control her coughing and sniffling.I had hoped she would be over the cold before she got into the tree stand and hunted.Unfortunately this was not to be.Saturday morning Meg and Jimmy got up early and headed out to hunt.They were out for four hours and Jimmy said he could see a couple of deer out beyond 80 yards but they could hear Meg sniffle and never wandered into bow range.I am not sure that Meg even saw these early morning deer.But there was not a lot of activity.

 

We worked around the cabin Saturday afternoon.I was tapped to take Meg on the Saturday evening hunt.So we headed back to Megís tree stand and got situated for the evening.The weather was warm and there was a very full moon.The moon was bright enough to cast a full shadow in the middle of the night.Here is the trail to Megís hunting site.It is on a deer trail just west of the cabin.There was an odd tree on the way where two trees had been knocked together and then grafted themselves together.So I took a picture of this oddity for your enjoyment.

 

Trail to Tree Stand

 

Odd Grafted Tree

 

This is the tree stand set up for Meg.It was a 17 foot ladder stand that had an extra four feet added to it at the base.Megís seat is at the top of the ladder.Hidden right next to it is the adult seat.Meg is not allowed to hunt alone.Last year we had two separate tree stands.This year it was a single tree stand with two seats.

 

21 Foot Tree Stand

 

Meg and Adultís Seats in Tree Stand

 

Below is the view from the tree stand.So Meg and I spent four hours Saturday Evening watching the sunset from a tree stand.We watched the birds around us.Eventually two sets of raccoons passed by.But we saw no sign of deer.The weather was unusually warm for the end of September.The adult seat has a tree leaning into it and it is uncomfortable to be sitting still there for hours on end.

 

Tree Stand View

 

So Jimmy took Meg hunting Sunday morning with the same result.No sign of deer moving about at sunrise or sunset.We had some corn on the cob that had worms Saturday night.So we tossed it out to the edge of the swamp and left it for the critters.About 4 AM, I stepped out to take a leak just before moon fall and I heard a deer grunt and stamp itís hooves.We speculated that the combination of unusually warm weather and a bright full moon was allowing the deer to eat all night and bed down before day break.So after twelve hours of hunting, Meg still had not seen a deer. This was a very different outcome that the previous year.

 

We talked it over and decided that the deer were not going to use the trail that Meg was originally situated at.Meg didnít have school on Monday because it was Yom Kippur and so she could hunt one last time in the Youth hunt 2004.They moved Meg to a different deer trail.We had used the whole bottle of Robitussin by this time.

 

Then we continued the chores around the cabin.One chore was to collect firewood to heat the cabin during the winter.Here we are splitting and stacking wood.Meg got a chance to drive the four wheeler.She even did a wheelie with the vehicle. (on accident around a corner she didnít see until it was too late)Jimmy said it was quite a ride.

 

Splitting Firewood

 

Tired Meg (who didnít want to be in a picture with vegetables) with Dinner Vegetables

 

So Meg went on the evening hunt with Jimmy.I went to Megís tree stand and took the camera to get some pictures.It was a warm evening, but not too warm.I wasnít too bothered when I was in the tree stand with Meg, but it was a different story when I was up there alone.Unfortunately, I have a healthy respect for heights.I could feel the sweat on my palms.I wonder if the animals can smell fear, as I didnít see any animals Sunday evening.Not even the raccoons wandered by.It was a very quiet evening.

 

Meg had a different story that evening.They saw a Tom and two female turkeys about a hundred yards out.Then just before sunset a button buck came by.Meg was not fast enough to get the sights on him and he got away for next year.After the button buck came a medium sized doe.Meg lined her up in the 223ís sites and pulled the trigger, BANG!!!!!!!!Meg shot the doe.The doe didnít go very far before she dropped dead. (shot through the lungs and heart) (yay!)

 

Meg wanted to help gut the deer, so Jimmy showed her how and she helped a little bit. So here is Jimmy teaching Meg how to gut a deer.After gutting the deer, we hung her outside overnight.It was close to freezing that night so we were able to hang her doe.

 

Gutting the Deer

 

Megís Deer

 

The next step was to get the deer to Detroit and have her butchered.This was a bigger undertaking than I imagined.We strapped the doe to the top of the car and headed down I-75 toward Detroit.I would guess that we were a rolling circus.Everyone who passed us stared at us.Some knew about the youth season and gave Meg a thumbs up.All in all, it was an entertaining drive.

 

It was a warm day, heading toward 75 to 80 degrees outside.It was important to leave early Monday morning so that the meat wouldnít spoil.We called Megís mom and she put us in touch with a meat shop that specialized in big game.He said we should bring the deer directly there to avoid spoilage.So that is what we did.We dropped the deer off and had lunch while he skinned her.Meg wanted to have her first deer mounted, so we dropped the cape off at a taxidermist on the way home.She should have a mount by Christmas.We also had what was left of the hide tanned.

 

Deer Transport

 

Happy Host

 

Again as last year we have many people to thank for making this hunting experience happen.We want to thank the people at Detroit Archers for helping Meg tune the bow and provide a year round opportunity to practice.We would like to thank Jimmy for being the guide again this year and Jim Green for providing access to the hunting camp.Thank you one and all.

 

Meg is already planning next year.She still wants to shoot a buck.She also said she wanted to go coon hunting this fall.Weíll have to see about that.There are coons in the backyard I would like to see shot.

 

Thatís all folks,

Mark

 

Ps Ė Now we have a freezer full of venison.We elected to have steaks, one roast and the rest ground venison.When you add up all the costs, new bow, arrows, site, release, mount, butchering, camp costs, travel, hunting licenses etc., I think the venison costs about $50/pound.I know I am going to enjoy it.

 

Mjm

(and meg) ^_^