A deerless but satisfying deer season
Though there are still some days left to hunt deer with muzzleloader or bow, my season is effectively over and I’m waiting for ice thick enough to hold my fishing shack. As it is with most years, I was only able to hunt the first few days, but I was still happy to get out and spend time with my dad and brother.
I’ve written before that we hunt Dad’s small plot of former farm land in the Thumb. It offers a little bit of everything for wildlife, from agricultural fields being overtaken by underbrush to mature forest. Deer, rabbits, turkeys and squirrels thrive there.
In the weeks before the opener, Dad said he’d been seeing some deer out the back window, including a couple of bucks. Friends who had been bowhunting in October and early November confirmed the reports, making me all the more excited for the firearms opener.
On opening day, I saw a few deer in the morning but wasn’t able to get a shot at any of them. I saw a coyote, too, something I’d heard howling but hadn’t seen in the flesh here.
During the afternoon of opening day, a wet snow was falling, so I moved and took shelter under a pine tree to stay dry. No deer showed up. Meanwhile, my brother, hunting on his property nearby, had 11 deer feeding around his blind.
On the second day, in spite of being out from daylight ‘til dark again, the only deer I saw was a button buck that I spooked while doing a little mid-afternoon scouting. And after seeing so many deer on the opener, my brother saw nothing on the second day, even though he sat all day, too.
I saw that same button buck on the third day, along with what I am assuming was the same coyote that I saw two days earlier, and a couple other deer, including one that caused me to flick off the safety when I thought I saw small antlers on its head. I couldn’t confirm the horns, so I held off. My brother didn’t hold off on the 6-pointer that showed up at his place.
Dad didn’t see anything the first few days, but he saw some deer later, including a nice 8-point that didn’t offer him a shot.
As I was packing up to go home, I found myself wanting to stay longer, as usual. After a few days on the stand, I always feel as if I’m closing in on venison, and that if I could just sit one more day, I’d be able to connect. That hope will have to hold me until next year.