Category Archives: Hunting

Deer 3

I was excited when October rolled up this year. There is deer hunting in September, but I’m not sure if just anyone anywhere can participate. I’m still confused about some of the regulations, like the late firearm season, which runs from December 18 to January 1. I don’t know if it’d be okay to take my shotgun out for the late firearm season, so I just use the bow all through December. And because I don’t know if I’d be allowed to hunt during the early antlerless season, I don’t hunt in September.

I know for a fact that I’m allowed to hunt from October 1 to January 1. So, when Archery Season starts October 1, I’m in. I don’t remember exactly when I started developing a passion for hunting. Was it 2009 or 2010? I was inspired by some of my cousins to take it up, and also the fact that I had this nice pump shotgun since I was 21 and never used it.

My first few seasons were unsuccessful, but I developed a degree of patience and a higher tolerance for cold weather. Also, I came to really love being out there. There’s something comforting about sitting there for hours, listening to wild animals, the wind and nature. Often when it’s time to pack it up and call it a day, I don’t want to go in. I want to stay out there all night and be ready when the sun comes up in the morning. But, I don’t think you can do that. Regulations.

I shot my first deer in November 2015. Since then I’ve been a one-deer-a-year guy. I might have taken more if I’d gotten another doe tag after using the first one, but I’d ride out the rest of the season on the buck tag and I didn’t see any buck.

Earlier this year, I made plans to take any fair-sized doe I saw and do my own butchering. If I could do my own butchering instead of paying a butcher, I might be able to take enough deer to feed me for a year and save a lot of money. But, I never got the stuff I needed. So, I decided instead that I would hold on to my doe tag and try to get a buck first.

That was a stupid idea and I’m never doing it again. I didn’t make it out very much in October and early November. but I saw deer every time I did. I kept passing them up because I wanted something with a rack.

At one point, I think I had a buck in front of me. It looked like it had two antlers that were about four inches long, which would have made it a two-point buck. I have bad eyes, so I’m not positive. I was going to look at it through my crossbow’s scope. When I picked up the bow, I bumped it into something and spooked the deer.

And then firearm season started. I made it out almost every day, but I wasn’t seeing anything. There were no doe or buck. The trail camera kept getting pictures of deer, but they weren’t out there when I was. I regretted passing up all the doe in October and early November.

The trail camera is getting a lot of pictures of bucks this year. There are two-point, four-point, six-point and eight-point bucks. All of them in front of my shack. If I could drive, I would be out there every morning before sunrise and maybe I’d see some buck. I can’t drive, so someone has to give me a ride and that’s usually in the afternoon.

Here’s a couple of the best pictures.

The eight-point and the six-point had a fight.

This year, during the firearm season, my dad let me borrow a rifle scope he has. The scope is meant for rifles, but it fits on my shotgun.

The view from my shack used to be limited. I could see no farther than the brush that was across the clearing from the shack.

For a couple years now, I’ve wanted to clear up that brush, so I would be able to see all the way to the hill. And this year, because I had this power scope on my gun, I could take longer shots. My dad took the tractor and brush hog out and cleared up the brush.

This is the new view from my shack.I figure, the deer are less likely to detect me if I’m farther away from them. Plus, I really like the new view.

After my dad cleared up the brush, the trail camera was getting more pictures of deer than before. It was also getting pictures of turkey. I don’t think the trail camera ever caught turkey before. I wonder if it’s legal to hunt turkey and deer at the same time. Have one gun loaded with turkey rounds and another loaded with deer rounds. I’ll have to look into that.

The trail camera was getting pictures of deer, but I wasn’t seeing any. During firearm season, there’s a lot more people hunting and there’s a lot of shooting. The deer are spooked and being extra careful. I was afraid I wouldn’t get one before the season ended.

On November 29, I was in my shack typing notes on my cellphone for a project I’m working on. I looked up and saw a deer. It was a doe, but bigger than the one I shot last year. This was my chance to see how well I can do with the scope and increased distance. I picked up my shotgun, got my crosshairs on the deer and fired. The round was a hollow-point .12 gauge slug and it knocked the deer down.

I pumped the shotgun to chamber the spare round and took aim. If the deer managed to get back up, I would have to shoot it again, otherwise it might run off. As I was looking through the scope, dark blobs fell across my vision. I looked down and saw blood in my lap.

Yeah, I knew that could happen. That’s the reason I made it a point not to wear my glasses while hunting with the shotgun this year. The ordeal would have been a lot less pleasant if shards of glass were smashed into my eye. I did have the gun’s butt tucked tightly against my shoulder, but I guess as I was adjusting my head so I would have a clearer view through the scope, I’d moved my shoulder back a little from the gun.

See, when I fired that first shot, the recoil drove the scope into my head. But I didn’t realize I was hit until I saw the blood.

I picked up my phone and typed a text to my dad. “I got one. Need he)p. I’m ble3ding.” It was a short message, but it took me a couple minutes to type it because I kept hitting the wrong keys and had to make corrections. While I was doing this, gobs of blood were landing on my phone.

I sent the message, but I didn’t know if it would get through. I don’t get a good signal out there.

I remembered the bandanna in my pocket. I got that out and held it against my head for a minute. I picked up my phone again and typed another message, explaining that the scope hit me in the head. But the second message definitely wasn’t going through.

I didn’t know how bad the wound was. I could’ve put my phone in selfie mode and looked at it, but that didn’t occur to me at the time. After holding the bandanna to my head, the bleeding seemed to have slowed. So, I figured it wasn’t so bad.

My deer was lying where it fell, not moving. I climbed out of my shack and went to look at it. The deer was dead..

My mom and sister pulled up in the truck. My first message made it through to my dad and he figured out what had happened..

I had a little argument with my mom and sister. They insisted I needed stitches. They wanted to take me to the hospital immediately. By my standards, I wasn’t dying and I didn’t want to leave my deer there. I still needed to tag it and cut out its guts. My dad was under the weather and it wasn’t in his best interest to come out and take care of the deer for me.

My mom told me that Scott, the guy who hunts on the other side of the hill, was there and maybe he could get my deer for me. Okay, that was good enough. I got in the truck and we drove to the house.

My dad confirmed that I needed stitches, and he decided he would take care of the deer for me. My mom took me to the hospital. It was a long wait. I watched the Piston game to pass the time.

When the doctor came in, he asked what happened. I told him, “I shot a deer and the scope hit me in the head.” The doctor asked, “Did you get the deer?” I replied, “Yeah, I got the deer.”

I got seven stitches above my right eye. But, it’s nothing.

Here’s the meat Deer 3 yielded.

Okay

I haven’t been active on my website, Facebook or JAD in the last couple months. For reasons l will not disclose, I felt a need to step away from everything. But, I’m starting to get word about things that are happening and I need to get back in touch with people.

I have been getting a lot of work done.  Currently, I’m juggling three different projects and making progress. Also, a few days ago, I shot my third deer. Another doe. I’ll probably tell the story about that after I get the meat from the butcher. I promise, it’s different from the last two successful hunting stories I shared.

Back from the Hardware Store

Up until recently, the hardware store was owned by Dave, my firearms dealer. I had gotten to know Dave and I was familiar with his staff. When I’d go in to buy my hunting license, it was a quick, easy process. They knew what they were doing and they knew what I was asking for.

But Dave recently sold the store. The store is still in business, but it’s a different owner and a different staff. Today was my first time back in there since Dave moved out.

It was a very awkward and slow process. But finally they got the right hunting license printed up. I hope so, anyway.

Then, when I was paying, it took the guy a long time to work out everything on the register before he could slide my card through.

Well, I’ll be forgiving. I don’t know how long it has been since the new owner and staff took  over. Maybe they’re still getting the feel for things. I might be the first person who came in to buy hunting license since they took over. Maybe next time it’ll be easier going.

 

New Boots

My old boots were broken, so I ordered new boots. They’re Herman Survivors. I don’t know anything about the brand, but I tried them on and they’re comfortable.

Bow season starts tomorrow. I probably won’t be out everyday, but I’ll be out as often as I can. Still need to clean up the shack a bit. I want to get rid of the green lumps on the ceiling that I hope are not in fact wasp nests. The balls of hair on the floor, I think that might be a mouse nest. In any case, it’ll be thrown out.

Going to the hardware store today to get my license and kill tags. I’m going to get a buck tag and a doe tag.

The Bat Shack Still Stands

The Bat Shack is still standing. At the end of every deer hunting season, I close my shack and I don’t return to it until shortly before the next season starts. Every year I half expect it to be folded in on itself. The posts and the deck that the shack is on are in good shape and I expect them to last a long time. But the shack, the walls and roof, I keep thinking that’s going to collapse.

The roof is okay, but the walls have been breaking here and there. But they’re still holding up.

If you missed it, here’s why I call my hunting shack The Bat Shack.

I don’t know what those greenish lumps on the ceiling are. Could they wasp nests? Nor do I know what those freaking fuzzy ball things under the chair are. There’s always something creepy in there. Although I closed all the windows last year, something managed to get one of them open. Probably a raccoon or some other monster that I don’t care to meet.

I did watch the Lions today. It was the most heart breaking loss. With just a few seconds left on the clock, they finally got the ball into the end zone and won. But then the refs reviewed the play and decided, no, that wasn’t a touch down. The clock ran out and the game was over.

The Lions are now 2-1.

I didn’t make it out to The Bat Shack, but….

Yesterday I talked about my plans for today, but they didn’t go through. I raked and bagged some leaves. It was so damn hot. My face was a sweat faucet. So, I didn’t finish.

The apples that fell off the neighbors’ tree and landed in my backyard looked fresh a few days ago. But I guess this heat wave was too much for them. Now they look like the rotten hearts of zombies. I don’t want to feed those to deer. Maybe there will be some fresh ones next week.

I made it over to Mom and Dad’s, but I didn’t want to walk out to the shack in this heat. Instead we watched the Michigan-Purdue game. Purdue was tough, but they couldn’t stop Michigan.

Michigan 28 – Purdue 10.

A Hot Night

It’s pretty hot tonight. I’m sweating, drinking cold lemonade, listening to Nirvana and Sia and working on a short story. This short story will be the last for a while. I’m going to focus on the next novel when I’m done with the short story. That’ll be 25 short stories on the market. I’ll keep moving these stories down the market list until they sell.

Deer season starts in a week. I haven’t purchased the license and kill tags yet, but I’ll be getting them soon. I’m plan to get over to Mom and Dad’s tomorrow and take a look at The Bat Shack. I hope the shack is still holding up. I never got around to rebuilding it. If it’s too damaged, I might find a different spot to hunt this year.

The Lions are 2-0.
The Wolverines are 3-0.

Anyone notice how many Mom & Pop stores in the area are suddenly going out of business. It’s freaking sad. I have a feeling that the buildings these stores were in are going to sit abandoned for years and years. I’m hoping someone turns one these buildings into a butcher shop or meat market. It’d be nice to have such a place closer to where I live.

I got yard work to do tomorrow. Have to rake and bag leaves. and maybe mow the lawn. My next door neighbors have a very healthy apple tree in their backyard, right next to the fence. A lot of the apples land in my yard. I’m going to bag them up and use them for bait.

I’m tempted to tell the neighbors that if they don’t want the apples on their side of the fence, I’ll take them. But I’m shy. The apples have a strong scent that I’m sure will attract deer.

The Last of the Venison

Just ate the last of the deer I shot in October. Steak. It was good. Hope I get more meat this coming fall.

Not sure if I’m done for the day, but I might be. In my earlier post, I told you I was using the stopwatch on my phone to time how long it takes me to get each page down and that I was trying to beat the previous times. In that post I told you that the latest time was 00:19:30:02 and that was for one whole page. Since then I got down three more pages. Here’s the times.

1st page – 00:19:30.02
2nd page – 00:17:01.76
3rd page – 00:16:20.42
4th page – 00:13:37.41

I successfully beat the previous time every time. Each of these were full pages. I would say the writing quality is fair, but probably will be cutting out a bit when I go over the finished rough draft and there are many typos. But the story is getting down and that’s the important thing at this point.

I would like to get it down to ten minutes per page, so I’m still striving for more speed. But that 13 minutes and 37 seconds time is a new record for me.

Also, I need to take shorter breaks after completing a page.

In any case, today’s work was fun. Think I’ll be doing it like this for a while. It’s real sporty.

Tigers at 10.

How Are My Resolutions Holding Up?

On December 31, New Year’s Eve, I blogged about five resolutions that would go into effect January 1, 2017. It’s February 17, 2017 now. Let’s see how my resolutions are holding up.

RESOLUTION #1: I will stick with my current work plan. My daily checklist may not undergo even the slightest adjustment after today. It will stay the same all through 2017.

HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Miserably. I practically broke the damn thing off. As with all the adjustments I’d made ever since I’ve been using a daily checklist, it works great for a while and then it becomes difficult to complete all the tasks. Eventually things aren’t getting done. My workload and chores start piling up and I start feeling overwhelmed and depressed.

So, I decided to make adjustments as I need to and forget about sticking to one plan through the entire year.

RESOLUTION #2: Beer and pizza are now rewards for finishing novels. Therefore, I may not purchase beer or pizza until a draft is finished. I will, however, accept beer and pizza if you’re buying.

HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Solid. I have not purchased a single beer or pizza since the new year began. Never mind that I’m very thirsty and my pizza craving grows stronger every day. Beer and pizza will be awesome rewards when I get this novel wrapped up. I’m already fantasizing about it.

When I finish this novel, I’m going to buy five different six packs, each one a different beer. One six pack will be Corona, another will be one of Samuel Adam’s blends, and probably one will be Budweiser (just because.). I don’t yet know what the other two will be.

Also, when the novel is finished, I’m going to order the biggest pizza I can get from Elba Corners, along with breadsticks and whatever else goes well with Pizza. When the pizza and beer is all gone, I’ll begin the next novel.

Although I have not bought beer or pizza myself, there were a couple times when I was at my mom and dad’s house and they wanted to get pizza. And once when my brother was over here, he wanted to get beer and pizza. So, I have had some beer and pizza since the new year started, but that falls under “I will, however, accept beer and pizza if you’re buying.”

RESOLUTION #3: I will not buy anymore guns until I get my credit card paid off. I will have my credit card paid off before the end of 2017.

HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Feebly. I haven’t bought any guns, but there are times when I feel like I’m going to cave, contact my FFL dealer and have him order one for me. I’ve been eyeing a Mossberg pump shotgun that has a 20-inch barrel and an 8-round tube, a Smith & Wesson AR-15 carbine, a Ruger 1911, a Savage Arms bolt -action .308, an SCCY and a number of black powder pistols that are copies of those that were used in the Civil War. Lord, help me.

It’s still possible to have my credit card paid off before the end of the year, as long as I refrain from buying guns.

RESOLUTION #4: I will continue on as a non-smoker. I’ve been clean since June 3, 2016. Go me.

HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Still going strong. Haven’t had a cigarette since I quit in June.

RESOLUTION #5: I will get a buck during the 2017 deer hunting season, either with a gun or a bow. I’ve already picked out places on my walls where I want to hang racks.

HOW IS IT HOLDING UP?: Deer hunting season is still eight months away, but yes, I’m going to get a buck this year. I know exactly where I’m going to hang my first rack. It’ll go in the living room, above the arched threshold that you walk through to get to the kitchen.

My Minute Bio

The magazine I just submitted to required a publication-ready bio be included in the submission, so I threw this together. Hope it does the trick.

BIO:
Rob Darnell lives in a nice neighborhood. His office window looks out on a lake. He has a cat named Buddy and a dog named Luci. He loves the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, Pistons and the Michigan Wolverines. An avid deer hunter, he spends time in a tiny shack from the beginning of October until the end of December. His website is robdarnell.com.