Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A First Time for Everything

Something that the northern guys like to do is go hunting. The males in my family are no exception. Give them something to hunt and they will do it. This morning they spent the morning much like many early mornings by heading out to their blinds at 5am to hunt deer. The plan was for them to bow hunt in the am and then for them to come home in time for a late breakfast and then we would spend the afternoon together.

On the assumption that events would go as planned I woke up at 9am, spent the morning working out (jogged 4 miles on the treadmill then did some sit-ups and push-ups) before taking my shower. At about 11am I got a call from my Dad that he had shot a buck around 8am, however it didn't drop right away, so they had spent the next few hours watching the buck walk around their respective hunting areas. Once the deer was far enough away for them to leave they did so in hopes that the deer would find a spot to lay down and that they would find the deer there later.

Then they asked me... "Would you like to come track the deer with us?"

This was something new to me. In the 20-odd years that I have lived in Michigan I haven't gone hunting or tracked a deer. I defiantly don't have the patience to sit in a blind at un-godly hours in the morning and wait for an animal to possibly walk by, I do have the patience to walk thru the woods. So, in the spirit of trying something new, I agreed to join them.

The woods that my dad and Dan hunt is up by my grandparents house in Sebewaing so they picked me up and we first stopped at Sport-ez in Sebewaing for a Roastie. If you are ever in Sebewaing you should stop by... the Roasties are very good!

SIDE NOTE: if you are completely against hunting (or a really good story) stop reading now.

After lunch we headed out to the woods. The woods were beautiful and it was an amazing walk. The last time I chose to take a walk thru the woods without Dad or Dan I was with my cousin Marie and we got so lost that I am scared to go in the woods by myself. My dad showed me where his shanny was and where he had shot the deer and then we followed the deers trail thru the woods which is where my Dad and brother thought our adventure would end. However, since this was my first 'track' that was only the beginning.

The trail took us thru all the woods, over a road, into another woods. There were a few times that we lost the trail but my dad and Dan are experts at this so they always found blood. Then the deer went into a field and we (and I say 'we' very loosely as I was along for the journey) lost the trail. I stood at the last spot that they know the deer was and each guy followed a different trail of hooves. When Dan's trail ended he pulled out his binoculars and looked around. He saw a buck a couple fields over that they thought may have been my Dad's deer however when he turned to tell Dad the deer went away. So, my Dad went to the edge of the field we were on and tried to find a new trail, but there were none.

With no trail to go on, we went to a line of pine trees and the guys looked at the edge of the field, where there is snow, and miraculously found the trail. We followed that to the next field and were half way thru another field when we heard two dogs barking off in the distance. We all looked up and saw them chasing... a deer.

Dan looked thru the binoculars again and found it was a buck and it was running with a hobble. It took a few minutes to monitor him to verify but it was my Dad's buck. We all watched the deer for a while however the deer kept moving and we had to be able to keep up with it. The decision was made that Dad and I would go back to the vehicle and Dan would keep monitor of the progress of the deer.

Of course I was lost, no clue where we were, but we walked along the road and quickly I found that we had made a pretty good circle and ended some what close to car. We drove back and picked up my brother and then drove as close as we could to the deer. New plans now have to be made. This is bow hunting and apparently you need to be pretty close to get a good shot with a bow. A lot closer than we will probably be able to get. Also, the deer is now in field and the guys want permission to shoot in the field. The next step was to call Neil or Tom (relatives on my Mom's side). Neil didn't answer however Tom was close as he was checking out the bay to see how the ice fishing was so he came to help. He verified with the field owner that we could go onto his field. We were right by a ditch and there was another coming from the adjacent field. They needed to hide as much as possible to get as close as the could to the deer. Dan went into the ditch by where we were parked while Tom and Dad drove to the next ditch. I watched from my Dad's vehicle. I saw my Dad get out and start walking, which caused the deer to run, but not in the direction that they were hoping (which would have been back to Dan).

While they were working on this I realized I needed to go to the bathroom but I had no where to go. I looked around and the only way to get any privacy would be to go into the ditch. I devised a little plan of my own but it was adverted when I started walking to the ditch and on one step the snow broke and I went thigh high into the snow. I turned around and tried to go back but all the snow started breaking. I crawled my way back up and as I was doing that Dad and Tom were coming back in Tom's truck. Then I was glad I didn't make it into the ditch. They would have come back just in time to catch me with my pants around my ankles. Would have been quite embarrassing!

Dad and Tom had devised a new plan. Tom would drop off my Dad at the other end of the ditch that Dan was in while Tom and I would watch the deer from the truck. We watched the deer thru the binoculars Tom had brought and we saw the deer head towards a line of pine trees that lined Steve Gremel house. Tom and I then drove over to Steve's house to see who was home, we found out there were quite a few people there -- and a couple of dogs. I quickly realized these were the same dogs that had chased the deers only about an hour earlier. And, I could see why the deer ran... they were scary dogs. However, this second time that the deer was bad the dogs were completely oblivious and there were not two but three dogs.

Tom talked to the people who where there and then instructed me to get take his truck to get my Dad. I asked if he was sure he wanted me driving his vehicle but he was.

I was so nervous!! I am not the best driver, I hate driving big vehicles, and I had to turn around the truck in front of everyone. I managed to get the truck turned around and was driving out the very long drive way when another truck pulled in... it was my Dad with another guy. I turned back around and headed back into commotion.

The found the deer behind a barn and watched it walk INTO a pig barn. By the time I had pulled up Dan already had drawn his bow back and was pointed directly into the barn. My dad and another guy was on the opposite side of the barn and was looking in thru one of the side windows. My dad asked permission to shoot into the barn however the guy wasn't the owner of the barn so he didn't shoot in. They told me later that the deer was hopping over the stalls of the pig barn while they were watching. Then I see the deer jump out of a window on the side I was on! It then ran back into the field!! It was crazy! One of the ladies who was there was having a ton of fun... she said this is the most excitement ever on their property!

We all stood around and chatted for a moment. I found out that the dog that came up with Dan had found him in the ditch. Apparently Dan was getting pretty close to the deer, almost within shooting range, and he heard a noise behind him. When he turned to look he saw the dog... and the dog just wanted to play. He shoo'ed the dog over to the deer but the dog wouldn't give up. That's when the deer headed to the pine trees along the house.

After we left the house we drove back around to where I had needed to use the restroom... which is right where the deer was standing. Dad and Dan were in the bed of Tom's truck, each holding their bows hoping for one last shot before the sun went down. My dad did take one shot but it was more of a hail-mary and missed the deer. My dad went out into the woods to get his arrow and scared the deer back into the woods that my dad had shot the deer to begin with. Talk about a full circle!! But, my dad was happy. Since it was now 5pm the sun was going down and tracking had to be done for the day. With the deer going into the woods there was a good chance that it would lay down to sleep so Dad and Dan will go back out tomorrow morning and see if they can start over.

In the end my Mom was upset... I spent a day in the woods with my family tracking a deer but not a picture was taken. No one will ever believe me.

No comments: