Category Archives: Hunting

It’s December 1 and Firearm Season has ended

Yesterday was the last day of the regular firearm season. I did not make it out the last couple days, was caught up in other things. So, didn’t get to use my boomstick this year.

I got a doe with the crossbow in early October, so my season wasn’t unsuccessful. I spent the rest of October and November trying to get a buck, but no luck.

There’s still another month for deer hunting. I can hunt with the crossbow all through December. If I had a muzzleloader, I could use that for, I think, the first ten days of December. But I haven’t gotten a muzzleloader yet.

A Big Deer

I woke up at 5:20 this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I couldn’t stop thinking about the deer I saw yesterday. At 5:45, I was still awake and since my alarm would be going off in fifteen minutes, I decided to get my ass out of bed and blog this thing.

Yesterday, I made it over to mom and dad’s house earlier than usual. This gave me four and a half hours in The Bat Shack. It was a gray day, with rain here and there. The rain was mostly light, but for about thirty minutes, it rained pretty hard.

While the hard rain was coming down, I was thinking about some article I read a year or two ago. The article said something about how a good time to hunt is after a hard rain, because the deer will come out when it stops. I don’t know how true that is. I’ve seen so many theories over the years and I no longer know what’s true and what’s not.

When the rain finally stopped, a deer walked into my view.

This deer was massive. Last year, the trail cam picked up a six-point buck that looked well-built. But the deer I saw yesterday made that six-point buck look puny. The deer from yesterday was built like a bull.

I think it was a buck, but I’m not positive. My poor eyesight combined with the immediate background made it hard to tell if those were antlers on its head or tree branches behind it. I needed the deer to go farther into the clearing, and then I would’ve been able to see if it had a rack or not.

But it didn’t go all the way in. From the moment the deer walked into my view, it was alert. If I still had an antlerless tag and could have shot it if it wasn’t a buck, I doubt I would’ve gotten it. This deer wasn’t letting its guard down.

The deer walked about halfway to the corn and stopped, its head up and face turned to me.

I didn’t move and I didn’t make a sound. My heart wasn’t racing, my breathing wasn’t raspy. I’ve gotten used to seeing deer while hunting and I no longer get so damn excited when they show up.

The deer stood there for a couple minutes, and then suddenly turned around and bolted away. Its tail was up, showing a large white flag that signaled DANGER!

I don’t know what spooked it. Maybe it saw me, though I always thought the shadows in my shack would conceal me. Or maybe it picked up my scent. even though I used unscented soap and shampoo.

I sat for another hour, but no more deer wandered into my clearing.

Well, it’s Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I’m going to mom and dad’s soon, so I can hunt before the Lions start at 12:30

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone.

No Bats in the Shack

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Made it out today. Yesterday it was pretty warm outside, but today it was freezing. It even snowed a little. I know enough about bats to know they don’t mess around when it’s cold. They huddle together for warmth and stay that way until temperatures rise again. Any bat not in the huddle is either dead or dying.

So, I wasn’t too worried about being in the shack today. I admit that I was a little jumpy, but not terribly. Got in a few hours of hunting, but didn’t see any deer. Pretty much just read. Been getting in a lot of reading while sitting in the shack this year.

I packed it up when it was getting dark and made it back to the house in time to catch the last quarter of the Michigan-Indiana game. That was a hell of a snowstorm you guys in Ann Arbor had. People were making snow angels on the field. At times the snow was falling so hard, we could barely see the game.

Michigan won. The final score was 20-10.

A Bat In My Shack

Today was a very nice day. I wished I could’ve gotten over to my mom and dad’s earlier, because I would’ve spent hours sitting in the shack, reading and waiting for deer. But, as it happens, I didn’t get over there until after 4  There wasn’t much time left to hunt, but I went out anyway, just to see what happens.

A little after 5, I was reading Chapter 23 of Joe Hill’s Horns and I became aware of something crawling up my leg. I lifted my leg to see what it was, glimpsed a brownish mass on my ankle… just before it took flight.

“Fucking SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!””

If there were deer approaching my bait, they bolted when I yelled. Probably every hunter for a couple square miles wants to kick my ass right about now.

I sat there for several minutes muttering “holy shit” over and over again. I couldn’t see the bat, but it flew toward the door. For all I knew, it was waiting in the shadows by the hook I needed to lift to open the door.

Eventually I worked up the nerve to reach over, smack the hook up and shove the door wide open. I took my time climbing out, but I kept an eye on where I put my hands until I was on the ground.

Have I mentioned that I’m terrified of bats? I can deal with mice and rats. But bats, uh uh..

Some hunters have names for their hunting shacks and now I know what to name mine. From this day on, my hunting shack shall be called The Bat Shack.

I need to get Batman’s logo, to display on one of the walls. Though, at the moment, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get into my shack again.

Firearm Season is Here

Firearm season started yesterday, but I didn’t make it out yesterday. I did today, though.

On the way to the shack, I rounded the hill and a deer ran across my path. It disappeared into the woods. A moment later two more deer went by. Guess I spooked them. They were probably lying around in the field when I came stomping along the path.

I never mastered the silent walk, but I should try to be a little more quiet next time.

I made it to the shack, put some apples on the ground and got settled in. I was reading Joe Hill’s Horns on my phone when I heard a crunching sound. I looked and saw this little deer eating the apples. By the time I got my phone’s camera ready, it was walking away.  That was the only deer that showed up at the shack today.

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Deer #2

I did it again. After several unsuccessful years, I shot my first deer last year. At around 6:30 PM on Saturday, I shot my second deer. A doe. It was not a huge doe, but I guess it was a reasonable size. I like that I got it only eight days into the season. I had seen four other deer before the doe I shot came along. In the past years, I didn’t see anything until mid-November. I think I’m getting better at hunting.

On October 8, I saw two deer before 6:00 PM, but I passed on them because they were too young. At around 6:30 PM, I looked up from the Kindle book I’m reading, which is Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box. There it was, a deer that was bigger than the ones I’d seen previously. I put down my phone and picked up my crossbow.

This was the first time I had the opportunity to shoot a deer with my crossbow. Because the crossbow is bigger and wider than the shotgun, it’s a challenge aiming it through the window. If I had bumped the crossbow into the wood, I probably would’ve scared the deer off.

I managed to not bump into the wood, but I did have a lot of trouble finding the deer on the scope. I had to keep shifting myself in my chair and raising myself higher, but finally I got the crosshairs on the deer and pulled the trigger.

There was that thud that crossbows make when shot. The deer made no sound as it ran west. I climbed out of my shack and attempted to find a blood trail. But with my poor eyesight, I doubt I’ll ever be able to track down a deer by myself.

I sent my dad a text and while I waited for him, I found the arrow sticking out of the ground. I thought that meant I missed the deer. But when my dad got there, he saw from ten feet away what I couldn’t see from a foot away. As I bent down to pull the arrow out of the ground, my dad said, “Robert, that arrow has blood on it.”

Oh, neat. I didn’t miss. The arrow went right through it. Crossbows are powerful. My dad found blood every few feet. It didn’t take us long to find the deer. The deer was lying in weeds about fifty yards from where it was shot, and it was already dead.

We didn’t set up the trail camera this year, so I don’t have a picture of the deer before I shot it like I did last year. And like last year, I didn’t take a picture of the deer after I shot it. But it was a doe, so it’s not like it had an impressive rack or anything.

I still have a buck tag, so I’m going to try getting a buck. I might get another antlerless tag at some point, but not right now.

Just got the meat from Deer #2 yesterday.

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My First Deer

Image1Well, this entry is a week late. During firearm season, I tend to fall behind on chores, writing projects, blogging and reading. But here’s the gist. On November 24, seven days ago, I went from being a hunter who never harvested anything to a hunter who harvested one deer.

Let’s see…. When I was younger, I hunted irregularly. I was thirteen the first time I hunted. My dad, brother Fred and I went Up North with our cousins Greg, Paul and Dean to hunt on Greg’s property deep in the woods. We camped for about a week and hunted turkey. No one saw any turkey, but that hunt is still one of my best memories.

After that, I’d hunt on the property I grew up on maybe once every few years. But I wasn’t really into it. I didn’t really apply myself. I’d go out only once or twice a season and sit for maybe an hour, get bored, pack it up and come in. Oh, and of course, I didn’t see any deer.

About five or six years ago, I started hunting for real. I’d go out to hunt as often as I could and sit for hours. The first couple years, I didn’t see anything. Nothing at all. But the last few years I’d see one or two deer per season. But they were always doe and I didn’t have an antlerless license.

Well, this year was different. Maybe it had something to with me deciding to replace the metal  folding chair that had always been in my shack with a plastic patio chair. The metal chair would often squeak when I shifted my weight. The plastic chair is silent no matter how I move.

I started seeing deer only a few days  after I switched to the plastic chair. The first deer I saw this year was a doe. Since I got an antlerless license this year, I was going to shoot it, figuring it was the only deer I would see this year. But I so stupidly had my gun leaning against the wall instead of my leg where I usually have it leaning. When I picked the gun up, the barrel scraped on the wall.

At the sound of the gun scraping on the wall, the deer lifted her head and stared up at my shack. I froze and prayed she would go back to eating the corn on the ground. She didn’t. She turned away and walked toward the trees. But then she turned around and started back to the corn.

That was when I pointed my gun at her. But before I was comfortable with my aim, she started running.

I was pretty disappointed. I finally saw a deer and I spooked it. I didn’t think I’d see anymore deer this year, but two days later there were two deer in front of me. Both were doe. This time I had my gun resting on my leg instead of leaning against the wall. I watched the two deer for about ten minutes. I waited until one of them turned so that its side was facing me.

I silently picked up my gun, aimed at the spot above the deer’s front leg and fired. I guess I missed because both deer ran off and I couldn’t find a blood trail. There was snow on the ground, so finding blood should have been easy. I must’ve jerked the gun upward a little as I pulled the trigger and missed the deer by a few inches.

So, shit, I had two chances to harvest a deer and I blew it both times. I thought I definitely wouldn’t be seeing anymore deer after that.

But the very next day, I’d been in my shack for less than an hour when a doe came down the path toward me. The doe was skinny, so I decided not to shoot and let her eat all she wanted.

She ate for about ten minutes, and then peacefully walked off like there was nothing to worry about. About ten minutes later two more deer walked to the corn. And then there was a third deer, and then a forth. They were all eating right there in front of me. Whenever one deer finished eating and walked away, another deer would come out of the trees and take its place.

I watched them. Some of them were bigger than others. I wanted to take a big one, but there were some factors that prevented me from having a clean shot. They would not turn their sides to me, or there was a smaller deer in front of them that I didn’t want to accidentally shoot, or they just wouldn’t stand still.

I think it was fifteen to twenty different deer that rotated in and out of the woods. I had up to six of them in front of me at one time. Finally they all finished eating and walked off. I was disappointed that I didn’t get a shot at any of them.

About twenty minutes later two more deer came out of the trees and approached the corn. That’s the two deer in the picture above, which the trail camera took. I wanted the deer on the right because it looked a little fatter, but the deer on the left kicked it away from the food and I didn’t have a clean shot. So, as soon as the deer on the left turned its side toward me, I picked up my gun, aimed and fired.

The deer on the right ran off, but the deer on the left was frozen in place. It stood still for a few seconds, and then its back legs collapsed. It held itself up on its front legs a few more seconds, and then fell on its side.

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t miss. It was a direct hit.

I climbed out of the shack and carefully approached the deer. It rolled around for a while, but soon it was dead.

I thought it was a doe, but as my dad and I were field dressing it, we found out that it was a button buck. I felt bad about that. Although it’s legal to take button bucks, it’s something you don’t want to do. Because everyone wants to let the bucks get big and grow antlers.

I felt like I did something wrong and I was afraid I would get a lot of criticism over it. But after talking to some very experienced hunters I know, I found out that, although they try not to, sometimes they take button bucks themselves. Sometimes it’s just hard to tell a button buck from a doe. If you get a button buck, it’s all good.

So, I felt better about it. Getting my first deer is a big thing to me. It was something I’d been trying to do for a long time and finally I’ve done it. It wasn’t a very big deer, but it did yield me quite a bit of meat, which I just got from the butcher today.

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Cold Day in the Shack

Nope. About a four and a half hours in the shack and no deer. I got the card out of the trail cam when I was done hunting and checked the pictures out on my dad’s computer. There were a bunch of deer at my shack about a half hour before I got there. One picture shows six or seven of them together. So, I just missed them.

It was snowing the whole time and a bit cold too.

I took this first picture at 12:45 PM. I took the second picture at 5:00 PM. Notice the snow buildup on the window.

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According to the trail camera…

Image1Every other day, my dad goes out and gets the card from the trail camera he has strapped to a tree in front of my hunting shack. For those not in the know, a trail camera is a camera that you leave at your hunting spot. It has a motion detector and takes pictures of animals that cross its view. So, my dad gets the pictures off the card and either emails them to me or I look at them when I’m at his house.

There has been a lot of deer activity around my shack. Some of the pictures show up to five deer in a single shot. A six-point buck keeps returning. I think it’s the same buck, anyway. The other night he made himself at home, laid down on the ground and posed for the camera.

I want that buck, but I’d happy with any mature-aged deer. It’s really the meat I want, but I won’t complain if I get a trophy.

There has also been several pictures of four-point bucks and good-sized does.

Though there has been much deer activity around my shack, the times they show up are not very favorable. They’re most active around the shack between 8 PM and 11 AM, with a couple having shown up at around 3 PM.

Because I can’t drive, I can’t always get over to my mom and dad’s house before 3 PM, and it’s especially rare that I get over there early in the morning.  So my hunting times are usually between 3 PM and 7 PM when it gets dark, or now that we’ve set the clocks back an hour, I’ll be coming in at around 6 PM.

And the deer don’t seem to show up between 3 PM and 7 PM, whether I’m out there or not. I will probably spend a night at my mom and dad’s house once in a while, as I’ve done every year during hunting season, so I can get out to my shack before sunrise.

But, according to the trail camera, it seems like no matter what time I head out in the morning, I’m just going to scare the deer away as I enter my hunting area and they probably won’t come back until night. That’s what it seems like, anyway. I hope I’m wrong and that I can get in position before the deer show up.

If there wasn’t a law against it, I’d probably spend the whole night in the shack so I’d already be there when the morning deer come. But you can’t do that.

Turkey!

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So, at my mom and dad’s house today, I walked around to the backyard and saw this. I got excited, dug my cellphone from my pocket as quickly as I could, before they noticed me and took off. I took the picture, went back inside to tell my dad, and he tells me they are the turkey decoys he bought.

Sheesh.