Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The next day Yoop and the kids went to Mother in Law's house for the afternoon. Logger and I hung out. We did a few things here and there. Went for a ride. Stopped at the knife store and got the ole knife sharpened. Cruised over to the deer camp of a couple of Loggers co-workers. No one was there but we met one half of Abbott and Costello on the way out. Arrangements were made for an evening poker game.
We fiddled around for the midday and left for the shootin shack. It was arranged for Logger to sit near the south end of the property while I sat in the shootin shack. Since not many deer had been seen we hoped to cover twice the area. When we reached the pipeline to go to the shack, 4 deer jumped up and ran off the pipeline. They appeared to be bedded down about 70 yards from the shack in some long grass. I jumped in the shack certain they would be back soon. I was wrong. Logger didn't see anything either.
We got back to Loggers place and Yoop and the kiddos hung out there while we got ready for an intense night of poker. We stopped at the gas station on the way and loaded up on pop and jerky and set off for the camp. A few minutes later we were there.
I must say if you have never been to a UP deer camp you are missing out. Some are extravagant. Some are not. Some make you feel like home. Some make you wonder what anyone would leave home to live in it such a place. One thing is for sure mansion or tar paper shack deer camp is the only place to be in the second half of November. This camp was middle ground. Decent fifth wheel camper place in a sweet spot off a two track that is off another two track. Power via batteries and a propane generator.
From what I gathered, Abbot and Costello are best of friends who fight like cats and dogs. I guess its a tough love kinda thing. Maybe its just their manly way of showing affection for each other with out coming across feminine. What ever it is it would have been enough entertainment for the night. Oh but wait there was some poker to be played.
I started the night slow. Real slow. I lost nearly all my money in the first hour and a half. It was then I began to feel a familiar feeling. One I had not felt since we had arrived in southern Canada. I just couldn't pin point what it was but it was familiar.
After a while we took a break to water the pines near camp. It was then I noticed there were five sets of foot prints going out the door. Only four of us were playing so I knew something was up. I checked around and found Murph hiding behind the propane generator. Not sure when he got up here but there he was. I now knew what the familiar feeling was.
I was not sure how to distract him. I thought real quick and came up short. No ideas on how to get him away so I could make my money back. Then I remember he really likes the northern lights. I told him to walk about 1 mile north along the two track to a ridge. I told him its one of the best viewing spots in the area. I failed to mention a few things. I have no idea if there is a ridge north along the two track, the sky was cloudy on this night and there are a lot of coyotes in the area. Will he notice? I don't think so.
The games started back up and I was rolling. I made back all my lost money and then some. I ended up positive on the night and was happier than a clam. Logger and I got ready for the ride home. I checked all around the truck and Murph was no where to be found. I told Logger I was ready and we made it back before midnight.
Next morning Yoop and Logger went out again. They again saw no deer. Midday was a little of this that and the other. That night Logger and Mary Stuart were going to stay home with Monkey and Munda. Yoop and I were heading out on our own... literally.
Yoop made the trek to the shack while I suited up Kabekona and tried my hand at some longbow deer hunting during rifle season. Doesn't everyone dream of the chance to take the longbow out during rifle season? Its OK to be jealous of me. I am one lucky nimrod.
This was the final night of our 2009 Thanksgiving UP Deer hunt. The eleventh hour. The last stand.. well you get the idea. Time was short and the deer weren't cooperating. Yoop left early hoping to catch the bedding deer on the pipeline again. I suggested to her that she should not drive the truck to the shack, but park and quietly walk in. She was looking down when I said it, the slowly looked up and gave me the eye. The eye only a married woman or a mother can give. I guess she wasn't in the mood for guidance from Nimrod. I thought she was always open to my ideas.
A short while later, I packed up my stuff and walked across the road, through the woods and found Loggers treestand. It was right where he had left it. I glanced at the trail camera and saw no new pictures had been taken. I shimmied up the tree and settled in for the nights activities.
I always like to share my knowledge with others. Hoping others learn from my mistakes and give me feedback in return. This evening sit brought forward something very important. Something I have learned time and time again but always forget once the time to go hunting arrives. If you are planning on sitting on a metal seat for a few hours and the weather is on the cool side... bring something to protect the buns. They won't be in the oven.
Well after sitting in the tree for a few minutes, the buns froze to the seat. Not surprising but one of these decades I will remember something to insulate them from the cold metal. Besides certain parts being numb it was a beautiful northern Michigan evening. Cool with clear skies. I sat waiting patiently. A tree rat gave me entertainment for most the night. Back and forth. Working his little buns off getting the last few nuts stashed before winter arrived. At one point I was so enthralled with watching the worker bee that I let the arrow slip off Kabekona right down and stick into the ground under the ladder. Its OK, I had two others razor sharp and rearin' to go.
Just before dark I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. I figured it was Murph, but then realized he must still be lost from the night before. This movement was attached to three does... each slowly working my way.
I went from jovial to serious in the time it took me to hit the bottom limb of Kabekona against the treestand. Fortunately these does appeared to have lost a good part of their hearing and never changed direction. Time was closing quickly on my first Thanksgiving UP Deer longbow hunt and these deer did not seem to care.
The does finally reached the area in front of the stand, in fact one was nice enough to pose for a picture on the camera. About 30 seconds after the camera flashed she even posed broadside for me.
It was perfect. Well nearly perfect. Two of the does were with in shooting distance of Kabekona and I. Not even 4 feet apart in fact.
This may seem perfect, but four eyes to deal with is worse than two eyes. The more is not the merrier when it comes to dealing with the keen eyes of deer. Then again, no eyes isn't very good either.
So I am standing up, on the platform about 15 feet in the air. My string hand is tight on Kabekona and I am just waiting for the right moment. Watching the target deer, which will be the one standing broadside teasing me to shoot. While also watching the second deer to ensure she won't bust me on the draw.
Target deer puts her head down behind a tree. Second deer has her head turned the other way. Its go time. I start the draw. My finger reaches the corner of my mouth.
One of the key things to shooting a bow instinctively is that you pick a spot, concentrate on a spot and never take your attention away from the spot. The spot can be the center of the target, a hair on the side of the deer. Something you can pick out and concentrate on without waiver.
As I reached full draw and my finger found the corner of my mouth, I was burning a hole in the side of the target with my eyes, only glancing away to make sure the second was still not busting me. The planets align perfectly and I release the shot.
At this point I am all excited about the whole situation. Not only was I able to get out on a bow hunt during the rifle season, I get my first deer with in range with Kabekona in hand and, on top it all off, I loosed an arrow at a deer.
As the arrow arched away from me, the calmness I had went out the window. I went from being calm as a flower on a mild summer day to looking like the last leaf left on the tree in a blizzard. My knees have never shaken so bad. I am surprised I didn't fall out of the stand. The arrow continued on its path. Arching beautifully through the evening air. Neither deer spooked. Target stayed still and the arrow continued its perfect arch, right over her back.
I went from elation to just step or two below elation. A wee but miffed I had missed I had two things going for me. First and foremost it was a clean miss. Second was I able to get out on a bow hunt during the rifle season, I get my first deer with in range with Kabekona in hand and, on top it all off, I loosed an arrow at a deer. I should not have missed, it was a chip shot I can make every time, well obviously not every time. Nonetheless it is what is. I had a ear to ear smile on my face, even while I was shaking like crazy.
Turns out at about the same time I was watching my arrow arch over the back of Target,; Yoop shot a nice doe from the shack. Due to operational errors she was not able to find her until the next morning. Fortunately no predators got to her before my predator wife did.
So we ended our 2009 Thanksgiving UP Deer hunt on an up note. Yoop made the comment she is glad I was the one who missed, cause if she had missed and Kabekona and I had connected she would never have heard the end of it. But she was wrong.. she would hear the end of it, once I fell asleep... the end for at least a few hours...
What? Huh? Oh your wondering what happened to Murph? Well turns out he was able to find his way back to Loggers from the deep woods. I don't think he was very happy though. He stayed quiet until about half way through the 400+ mile drive home. Then he decided it would be funny to cause the Yoopmoblie to spew a bunch of coolant at one of our rest stops. Not sure how he did it, but it was enough to cause me a panic headache the last 200 miles, even though it didn't do it again.
Is there anyone who is willing to take him? Like Monkey always asks... pretty please... with a cherry on top and a peach on top of the cherry!!!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
After we grubbed the sisters three went into the living room with the kids. The sisters three are an interesting group. There is Yoop, her twin sister Clone and their older sister Hippie. They don't see each other all that often and when they do... they tend to spin a few yarns. Don't try to interrupt them either, it won't work. Even is the house is on fire just evacuate. The sisters three will take all the oxygen out of the room they are in by just talking and giggling.
I briefly discussed the meaning of life with Logger. He then went to watch de Lions loose to da Packers. Not me. I had an itch to scratch. We have been coming to Thanksgiving at Loggers for the better part of our marriage. I had always wanted to bow hunt in the UP but end up always getting caught short of time and hunting spots that are more conducive to rifles than bows.. Ya know how it goes... when in Rome...
Not this year. I told myself that me and Kabekona (my longbow for those who ain't really following) were going to get at least one hunt in. So after turkey and a session solving the worlds problems, I went outside for a little arrow flinging. It was a nice cool day, lots of sunlight. Not an ordinary November day in the north. It was a mere 9 long years ago when Yoop and I came up to get hitched. Our anniversary was just the weekend before and Logger didn't have any snow. Contrast to 9 years prior when Yoop and I, and Mud, Book, Knitter, and Gray Beard drove through a winter blizzard to get there. We hit about 5 inches of fresh snow on the mighty Mac Bridge when we crossed and it was closed a short time later.
Anywho I went outside and strung up Kabekona and dug out my practice arrows. On the exterior I was displaying confidence that this would be the year I get the chance to hunt with my bow. Inside I was doubtful it was going to happen. All the stars had to align just perfectly and a group of two to three people had to work together for it to happen. Anyone who has worked with others know that in a group there is only one person you can trust. But you have to be careful what secrets you tell yourself or that person might squeal. While I hoped it would happen I wasn't expecting it to... again.
Fidge came out and was shooting the breeze with me. I offered him the rare chance to shoot Kabekona but he passed. His loss! I found a leaf on the ground about 12 yards out. It gave me a dirty look and I gave it an extra hole for its efforts. Bingo! About leaf at about 15 yards met the same fate. I was happy especially considering I was shooting into a 15 MPH head wind.
That night Clone, Logger and Mary Stuart watched Munda for us and Monkey got to go for his first UP deer hunt. We packed up for the evening hunt. Nothing out of the ordinary. I always bring crayons and coloring books when I hunt alone. So it just seemed right to pack them along with the bag of lolly pops and jelly beans.
We got to the shootin shack and unpacked. Once everything was ready for the nights hunt, we settled in and waited for what we had coming. Monkey passed the slow time coloring and sucking down a lolly pop. After a short while Monkey asked why Logger didn't have a TV in the blind. I tried to explain it away but then I realized I don't really know why he doesn't have a TV in the shootin shack. My only guess is it located to far from the power line and a generator would make too much noise and scare off the deer. But truthfully I don't know why he doesn't have TV in there... does seem like a logical next step.
After coloring for a bit, Monkey decided he wanted to sit on Yoops lap for a better view of the open pipeline. I've said it before but that Monkey is a smart one. If I only knew I just had to say I wanted a better view of the pipeline in order to get to sit on her lap... well anyway I would have done so a long time ago. Monkey gets his wits from ole Nimrod for sure.
Next thing we knew Monkey was sleeping on Yoops lap. It was too cute. She held him for about an hour and as the sun started to set, a deer came out on her side. We tried quietly to awake sleeping beauty but he would have none of it. Yoop got flustered about what she was going to do and I told her to put him on the floor. She looked at me with the Yooper eye and I replied that as long as he isn't on the heater he would be fine.
Yoop always says its normal to sleep in the deer blind. Me on the other hand has never fallen asleep while deer hunting. Except a time or twelve when I needed to check for holes in the eye lids or thought some snoring would attract deer in. But each time was very calculated and with a purpose. Hunting in the past with Logger and Yoop I think Monkey was just showing the yooper hunting blood that runs in his veins. Lucky boy!
Well Yoop dumped him on the carpet and I made sure he didn't catch on fire. Yoop readied but decided not to shoot the small deer at the bait. The sunset, Monkey rose from the dead and we made our way back to the truck. No deer and no one caught on fire. Not a bad day deer hunting the north woods of Michigan.
Time is winding down on our UP Thanksgiving deer hunt this year. Getting down to the wire. Only a few hunts left in our trip. Check back soon for the final entry on the Nimrod Family Thanksgiving Deer Hunting trip to the UP.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Ahhhhh.... Nimrod is in the great north country recharging the batteries... and its working! Thanksgiving normally, quite often brings us to Loggers house in Michigans glorious Upper Peninsula. What is the Upper Peninsula you ask? Hahaha I know better... but if you don't... well you are missing out on probably the best Michigan has to offer. Get off yer beehin and drive north... keep going. Cross at the straits. Pay to enter Gods country and go anywhere but south.
Yoop, Monkey, Munda and I made the journey up here the day before Thanksgiving. We made good time and over all had a good trip. We had rushed out of the house right after I came home from work. Not to get a jump start on the 420 mile drive. So Murph would not notice we were leaving and hopefully stay home. Since the trip up went out a hitch, I think our plan worked.
I had discussed with Yoop my thoughts about bringing Murph and ditching him with Logger. She said it wouldn't be fair for Logger. My argument that he has had 40+ years of hunting without Murph around fell on deaf ears. I still think it would have been great to drop him off in the middle of the bear woods. How awesome that would be! But she who is in charge said no.
A little family history lesson for you. Pay attention there is a test at the end. My father in law, Logger was a lumberjack for many years. His jobs have taken him all over the UP and he knows most of the back woods very well. Yoop was born and raised in the UP. She comes from a long family line of Yoopers. So she knows this awesome country very well.
Logger has secured solo access to about 80 acres of beautiful woods. He has a luxurious blind, by nimrod standards, set up on a pipeline running through the property. My blinds generally consist of some trees that provide decent cover and my three leg stool. Rain, sun, clouds or snow. I almost always sit on my stool. Unless Murph hides it on me, which he always does. So when I get the chance to hunt this style, I tend not to know what to do with myself.
Loggers blind is not just a place to sit and hunt for deer. No sir-ee. It is a full-fledged hunting shack that would make any Yooper proud. Between the 12 windows that open for shooting, the full carpet, the very comfy swivel chairs and the 144 square foot interior with 8 foot ceiling you would think you are in heaven... and prolly not that far from it! The elements are kept out while you are comfy and quiet while waiting for the deer to show. Most would be happy with that. I know I would. Not logger.
To his credit during a UP rifle hunt the weather has the potential to get kinda cool. Really cool. Ya know the mornings when you wake up and its 10 degrees or cooler outside. Some winters even the evening hunts are not above freezing. Not being one who kicks a gift horse in the butt, I would still be happy in the blind. But not Logger. Nope, why settle for second best when you can have the best. Logger has a small propane heater in the blind. The heater is small, about eight inches square. But let me tell you that thing can warm up every 144 square feet of the blind to where you would be down to your under roos if you don't keep 'er on low. So you have nearly all the luxuries of home minus electricity and TV. But its hunting who really wants that junk? Logger and Yoop have taken numerous deer from the blind and its predecessor, so who am I to argue with something that works?
We reached Loggers house mid afternoon. Made the obligated hellos and hugs then Yoop and logger set off for an evening hunt. I stuck around the house with Monkey and Munda. Long trip and they needed some play time. I again noticed that Murph was not to be found. I hate to talk like I miss him because I don't. When he is around I can be ready for something he does... if I get to relaxed he could take me by surprise.
Logger and Yoop came home without seeing a single deer that night. They went out again the next morning, Thanksgiving morning and only saw a brave turkey, a bald eagle and some song birds. Yoop asked what kind of turkey comes out on Thanksgiving morning... I told her a yooper turkey. Then ducked and still got hit.
I am gonna go for now. I will continue with our UP Thanksgiving hunting adventures next time. Say ya to da UP eh?
Monday, November 16, 2009
To the business at hand. You know I wouldn't miss the opener so of course I went out. May not have been for as long as I wanted, but nonetheless I was there. The morning started early. Well I guess the night never ended. I was at work until 5am. I drove home, jamming to some Fred Bear turned up way too loud. Weather was warm with a decent breeze. Right out of the south. Didn't see any deer mailboxes on the way home, I think Murph tipped them all off that the great holiday was upon us.
I made it home, completely bright eyed and bushy tailed unlike the bow opener. The days surrounding this one let made it easier to be awake. I woke Yoop up and asked her what time she wanted me to wake her up. She said in about 20 minutes. I quietly gathered my gear. Doing my best to let Murph sleep in, all day if possible.
20 minutes later I woke Yoop up again. Munda woke up all smiles. Monkey crawled out of bed, grumpy and disheveled. Guess which one takes after ole Nimrod? We packed up the Yoopmoblie and headed to base ops. Normally I would take the Rusty Chevrolet on my adventures but she is currently DOA. Something went in the transmission. Still in the progress of diagnosing it but can say for certain... something is wrong with the transmission. No doubt Murph is the culprit but I have to know whats wrong to determine how or why he did it.
Back on the road we cruised thru the drive thru and got everyone some home cooked fast food. I tell ya... I think the girl thought I was cute or something. She made sure our order was perfect. She must have cause we waited at the pickup window for about 5 minutes. So she was either noticing how suave ole Nimrod is or was laughing at how goofy I look. I did a quick check in the rear view and know it wasn't the later. After a long anxious wait we were grubbing and back on our way to baseops.
I dumped Yoop and the fawns off at baseops. Performed a quick change into the last hunting fashions and pointed the Yoopmobile toward the family land and cranked Fred Bear back up way too loud. I cruised to the family land and parked in the corn field. I gathered what gear I didn't already have on me and set off toward the woodlot. The whole ride, singing the words to Fred Bear, I had another thought on my mind. Where is Murph on this fine day.
Its not that I want him around. Its not that I even like him. Its just I like to know where my enemies are so I can prepare a proper defense or offense depending on the scenario. Like grandma always said, keep your friends close and your handgun closer.
As I sneaked through the darkness I still was deciding where I should make the morning sit. Every year I have been in Michigan for the gun opener, I have sat in the same area. Whats that word? Oh yea tradition. Traditions are wonderful. I love traditions. No one ever wants to break traditions. I decided to step out of the norm and break tradition. Its fun being a rebel. Throwing people for loops. Zigging instead of zagging. Whats the worst that could happen by breaking tradition? Just maybe Murph will be waiting in the normal spot and leave me alone.
I choose to break tradition. I know, I know. Never, ever, ever, never break tradition.
Why? Rules are meant to be broken. Why not traditions. Whats the worst thing that could happen by breaking tradition?
I found a nice spot in between the tradition chair and where I thought I should be. I settled in, loaded up the smokepole. I put the powder pellets down the barrel, start the sabot round and rammed them both home. Wearing gloves I put the primer cap in the breech. I felt the primer seat correctly into the breech plug, and checked it again with my fingers to ensure it was seated properly. I cocked the hammer and was ready to rock and roll. I still had not seen Murph. Maybe, just maybe he had stayed home. One can hope.
Many people prophesize about sunrises while hunting or being outdoors. They speak of the beauty of the sun rising, the colors, how the woods come alive with daylight, song birds chirping, blah, blah, blah. This wasn't one of those days. The daylight slowly took over, and a few birds fluttered around. No outstanding color. No chirping. Nothing to paint a picture of. Daylight just was there. Slowly.
As this daylight took over for the darkness I scanned the area. I had one good shooting lane. It was the creek that ran north in front of me. There are several spots the deer cross within shooting range. I was hoping to catch one as it crossed, giving me enough time to get a good shot. Simple plan. Too bad I have yet to find an ambassador to the cerivd's. One who can pass the game plan on to them so we are all on the same page.
A little while later, after a short check to make sure my eyelids didn't have holes in them, I saw some movement at the very far end of the creek. It was a deer. Not only was it a deer it was a buck. Ya may remember I have been hunting the family land for a few years. Just how many is a secret I keep so people don't realize how old ole Nimrod is. I want people to think I am as young as I look.
In all my years hunting the family land I have seen a lot of bucks. This one is on the of finest of the three I have seen. He had antlers about 6 or 8 inches tall, adorned with 2 points on each side... a thing of beauty. A Michigan monster. I instantly put the game face on. I watched the buck walk about 5 feet down the creek, they move west. The trees were too thick for a shot. In an instant I couldn't see him anymore.
Oh well. It happens to everyone occasionally. I tried to ignore the fact it happens to me all the time. What's worse is the buck moved in a line directly west. Toward the thick bedding area at the west end of the family land. Well that's not the bad thing. The bad thing is he would have had to walk with in 30 yards of the traditions chair. Remember the one I had decided not to sit in? Ya know … whats the worst that could happen by breaking tradition? Well I found out. A chance at one of the biggest bucks I have seen on the family land. Were the tradition fairies showing me the error of my ways? Did I somehow spook the animal? I may never know.
During the rest of my sit I heard leave rustling all over. To my right, to my left, everywhere in between. I again put the game face on. Waiting for the ensuing deer blitz coming my way. I waited. Waited some more. After 15 minutes I realized it wasn't a deer herd. It was Murph up to his old tricks again. He had hired an entire brigade of squirrels to come toward me at the same time. Jumping from tree to tree, using battery powered fans to move the leaves around.
That got me to thinking maybe it wasn't the traditions fairies who made the deer veer to the west. Maybe Murph was behind it. Not like he wouldn't go out of his way to screw up my hunt. I raised my binoculars and checked the creek. Sure enough I saw the problem. Someone, who shall not remain nameless- Murph, had placed a clear snow style fence across the ditch. I could barely make it out but sure as a buck pees on his legs during the rut it was there. Right across the creek where any deer who may be traveling down the creek would be forced to veer off out of sight for a shot.
Not exactly happy I was determined to wait any deer out and prove to Murph he doesn't own me. I know the family land better than anyone. This fool will not make me give up. About 5 minutes later I decided to call it quits for the day. I still had to get some beauty sleep before returning to work for another 12 hours.
As I returned to the Yoopmobile I pondered the morning. Over all it was a great hunt. Not only did was I able to participate in another Michigan firearm deer season opener. I also enjoyed a miserably warm that turned to rather cool morning, and a brisk wind that wouldn't stay out of one direction. I had my hunt once again interrupted by Murph who thought his antics were completely hilarious. I did see a buck though. Not just a buck... on the biggest bucks of the three I have ever seen there. All in all it was a good morning.
I sleepily started putting my things in the Yoopmobile. I opened the breech of the smokepole and went to remove the primer and noticed it wasn't there. I blinked a few times thinking my tired eyes were playing tricks on me. I checked again and it was still not there. Y'all know me. I check, recheck and check again everything I do. I was stymied that the primer was not in the breech like it was when I readied the smokepole. To tired to think, I put away my things and pointed the Yoopmobile toward baseops.
Looking back at the primer predicament I can only think of two things that could have happened. One, which I know couldn't have happened, is that when I seated it into the breech plug I dropped it on the ground and due to the gloves on my hands I didn't actually feel the primer like I know I did. Like I said there is no way that happened.
Second is that Murph had something to do with it. By now you know he is sneaky and quick. I know I never sat the smokepole down or had it out of my hands. So I had to figure out how it would be able to manipulate the smokepole while I held onto it in wait of my prey. I can only postulate he played his trick during that brief moment when I was checking my eyelids my holes. It was only a few seconds but like I said he is sneaky and quick. Of course the course of fate may be best left alone. Cause if Murph had not diverted the monster buck away from me and I had dropped the hammer on an empty breech plug it would have turned into a very very very ugly morning in the woods. The joyousness of Michigan's Firearm deer opener would have turned into a lonely trip to the emergency room for Murph to have a smokepole removed from a place a smokepole should not be.
After I woke from the days much needed beauty sleep, Yoop told me she had the opening day hunting report from her dad, Logger. Logger and Fidge sat most the day in Loggers heated yooper style shooting shack, only seeing one deer. A big'um according to Logger. But I learned long ago yooper hunting stories are like fish stories they get bigger every time the story is told.
Nimrod and family had an opening day of Michigan's Firearm deer season. Won't say it was good. Won't say it was bad. But one thing for certain is it was. Hope everyone else had an opener as well.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
For those who don't know November 15th is the opening day of Michigan's firearm deer season. One of the greatest of holidays.
Y'all know I am a diehard bow hunter. I live, breath and ooze bowhunting. The bow opener is a great time to be a hunter. From tradition alone it pales in comparison to the firearms opener. Maybe it is gun season last about 2 weeks... bow season lasts for about 12 (including 2 for gun season). Maybe it is just not anchored in as much lore. No matter the reason the Michigan Firearm deer opener is a quite likely the best time to be a Michigan deer hunter.
Hunters around the state travel all kind of distances to get to deer camp. Whether it is a tent in your yard or a cabin deep in the north woods. Deer camp is the place to be come November 15th and the preceding days. It is a time when boys become men and men act like boys. Camp is a place where amenities like running water are not near as important as running beer taps or poker games. A place where pranks run rampant and friendships are kindled.
This year I am running deer camp out of my house. With my Yoop, Monkey and Munda! I guess Murph will be there too since no one took me up on my offer for him. I have hunted the same chair, the belonged to my grandpa. Looking at the weather and deer sign I would believe that it would not be the best for the circumstances. Will I break tradition? Will I follow the norm? What would grandpa do? Check back soon for the next entry into my diaries.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
What a crazy world we live in. October was rather cool and very wet... So far in November its been rather warm and dry. Funny how stuff works sometimes. There were a few times in October I under dressed while out hunting and froze my tail feathers off... November... I have been sweating them off. Since the last entry, Murph hasn't really been around. Not sure where he went but I hope he goes often.
I have enjoy several hunts without his antics interrupting me. I even had a nice lil buck nearly with in shooting range. Looking back I did miss him, just a little. Kind of like how you miss a tooth ache once the tooth doctor yanks out the bad tooth. You just get used to something being a certain way and no one likes change.
I called around and never figured out where he was. All I know is he is back. My luck he went to Cancun and thinks I sent him there. Seems like he would know I would never send him there by himself... I would need to ensure he is safe in the land of Pina Coladas and bikinis. Just to make sure he doesn't go blind, by himself, looking at the scantly clad women folk.
Anywho I found out that he was back from his vacation, likely all rested up in time for the firearm deer opener. It happened when Grey Beard called me asking for help turning a few deer into family sized portions. A friend, Tardy, was bringing over the deer for ole Beard to process. We beat Grey Beard to baseops and settled in for a night of carving some flesh.
Tardy brought the deer over on time for once. Since I have been back in Michigan I think this is the first time he has been on time. He has some pretty lil deer in the trailer. Nearly identical to the one I had seen while Murph was away. First I thought Tardy was poaching my deer but then realized I hunt public land and at least a hundred miles away from where Tardy had killed the deer. Them experts say bucks will travel long distances to find receptive women during the rut... I think just maybe my lil friend went on a walkabout.
Anyway, we hung the first one up and got to business. I was jamming to the radio skinning him out and I heard Murph coming in the door. He seemed to be leaving me alone which as certainly fine with me. I had the beast just about naked and reached for Grey Beards sawzall. He found out long ago, it is much lazier to use the sawzall in place of a bone saw for bone cutting. Works real well. One thing you can count on ole Grey Beard for is to find a lazy way to solve problems that really don't exist.
As I picked up the saw, Murph slid out the door going to get some pop I assumed. I put the saw to the bone and pulled the trigger. I have been following Grey Beards lead and using the power saw for a few years, it works real well. Compared to getting the arm workout of an old style bone saw it is always like a hot knife through Jello. Well almost always.
The saw blade was reciprocating like a dream. Working like a mad man to finish the race in time to make it to the bar for happy hour. Back and forth. Forth and back. After about 30 seconds I realized the blade wasn't really cutting. It was acting like a neutered dog on a female in heat. All work for no pleasure.
I checked the blade and found a fine tooth blade in the saw. I scoured the skinning shack for a normal coarse wood blade to no avail. Murph had struck again. I take back everything I said about missing him. I didn't. Really I didn't miss him one single bit.
Not to be one to be out done, I continued to use the power saw for the bone cutting duties. It took a little bit longer. Well, ok, a lot longer but at least I knew I didn't let Murph have the final laugh. At the end of the night my forearms were burning more than they ever had using the hand saw. That power saw gets a wee bit heavy in the hand when your holding it for several minutes. Holding it and working the trigger with one hand. Holding the item your cutting in the other. But Murph didn't win this time.
Maybe Murph did win again. But I'll be damned if I am going to tell him that. Gun season starts in 4 days. I am still trying to figure out where I am going to hide him for the opener. Anyone interested in a visitor who is good for nothing but trouble?
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tonight I am sitting here typing, accompanied by a nice cold Leinie Creamy dark with a mind full of adventures. I had six out of seven days off this past week. You know I was going to be hitting the deer woods for most of it. At weeks end I made 3 trips into the woods, including one with Monkey. Murph is still around. He is like a bad cold. One that doesn't go away, just lets you feel better for a few days then smacks ya again.
Monkey had been bugging me for a few days about going hunting. Of course being in cahoots with Murph, he doesn't make it easy. He has overheard Yoop and I talking about the fall yard bird season. I thought it started on the 14th, she thought it started on the 15th. So I was waiting to buy my license since I had a few days and already drew the tag. But he only wanted to go with me if I had a yard bird tag.
One night I got on the DNR website to check to see if Yoop or I were right. I couldn't believe my eyes. The fall yard bird season started on the 5th. Four days after bow season started. I did some checking and found that Murph had changed the dates in my hunting guide so I would not get out in after any yard birds early. Not to mention when I went to get my yard bird tag, Murph put me in for the wrong area. I had been all excited about being drawn for a public land tag for the area around the house, I never noticed I actually drew for public lands in several counties away. Some I have never stepped foot in let alone hunted in. Since Monkey had his heart set on yard bird hunting with ole Nimrod I bought the tag I could.
We had to make the journey over to the family land in order to go yard bird hunting. I had been planning this trip for weeks. I had nothing together and none of my turkey calls ready. I threw some hunting stuff together, grabbed Muds pop up blind. We made it to base ops, Monkey and I visited for a brief minute and then changed into our hunting gear. We borrowed Grey Beards green machine, since Yoop would be mad if we got the Yoopmobile that muddy.
I tossed bag after seat after bow after arrows after pop up blind after camera after tripod after after after.. you get the idea. I carried ten times more gear to the woods than I would normally carry. Like I have said before Nimrod ain't no mathemagcian but ten times the gear for 1 extra guy doesn't quite add up. Oh well, I had locked Murph up in the dog cage before we left so I knew the evening wouldn't be too bad.
Monkey and I found a clear spot in the hardwood clearing. I tossed up the blind and realized I had forgotten out seats. No sweat Monkey has the patience of a mosquito and our knees could take the beating. We put up the one leg yard bird decoy up then settled into the pop blind. I reached into my fanner pack and grabbed my yard bird calls. Well I grabbed a grunt tube and realized Murph must have taken the yard bird calls out of the pack before I put him in the doggy slammer.
Monkey and I got there way before dusk. The evening was wonderful even though the only yard bird we saw was the one leg bird we put out on arrival. The deer stood us up too. Not surprising though. While we are two handsome devils, we sounded like a herd of buffalo in a small camo tent...
The best part of the evening was that Murph left us alone. I think he got well acquainted with my beagle, Mommas. She is usually happy to see us when we get home. Yet that night she gave us the cold shoulder all night. I think Murph worked his magic or her too. Fool doesn't know when to quit.
After a few minutes Monkey found gold. Actually pink and silver foil. He reached into his old winter jacket that had been in the closet and found some Easter chocolate from last winter. The look on his face was priceless. Like he had just found the holy grail of holy grails. Since Murph had also taken all the snacks I had sneaked into my fanner pack for Monkey and I he was able to devour the ancient treasures.
3/4's of one hour after we arrived Monkey and I packed up base camp. While I was repacking bag after bag after bag Monkey was wander around collecting leaves. Big leaves, little leaves. Green leaves, yellow leaves, brown leaves. He looked like a worker bee spitting up honey into the honeycomb. I finally asked what he was doing and he said that he had forgot his teacher wanted them to collect leaves for class. He collected half the forest floor and stuffed them into my fanner pack. Not sure how long they lasted in the pack. If I was a wagering man I wouldn't wager very far.
We made it back to Grey Beards green machine and cruised back to base ops. Monkey turned down some venison soup for some frozen formed pieces of chicken. He's my boy... just not sure where he got his taste buds.
Friday, October 2, 2009
I know up to now the Diaries have mainly covered fishing. Well cause it has been summer. Not much to hunt around there during the summer. While fishing is cool and all... in a cheap beer is fine if its all ya have to drink kinda way its just not hunting. It beats sitting around all summer inside or at the mall for sure. There is just something about being in the woods with a bow or gun in hand. Like the great Fred Bear said “It'll cleanse your soul.”
Well today was the day. The one great day of the fall... not the only one but still the day. I worked part of the night and made it home before sun up. A short time later I was getting my stuff ready and heard the Mud Machine chugging down the road. I finished what I was doing and still heard the Mud Machine coming. Mud had a new muffle put on it after the big fiasco of pawning off Murphy, but I think he got screwed by the shop.
As you know Mud is a morning person. One of those who gets up early and likes it. Personally I think those kind of people display another level of senility but hey what ever cranks your tractor. I expected Mud to be bright eyed, bushy tailed rip-roaring ready to go. He wasn't.
I was working on about 20 hours awake, more than ready for bed. Mud said he could go back to sleep to. I quickly offered him the couch and to pay off Yoop to not tell anyone we didn't go out. He chuckled. I am not sure if he realized I was serious.
We bundled up for the morning sit and set off. This morning brought the first frost of the fall for us. A nice frosty fall morning is just what the doctor ordered. The full moon in the clear sky was something a fool ordered. We walked down the road about 100 feet, turned left into the woods. I pointed Mud into the direction for him to sit and I set off for a tree west of him. As I sneaked through the woods I realized I had not seen Murph this morning. Actually I was thinking what fool would want a full moon on the opening weekend of bow season and his name came up but either way I was hoping he hadn't gotten up early to beat us to the woods.
I located my little hole under the tree and sat up shop. I put on the string suit and waited for the glorious morning the lord would give us. We were out early. About 30 or 40 minutes before sun up. I sat quietly enjoying the crisp cold air. I checked the time and it was not yet legal hunting time so I relaxed and tried to see if any of the brown ones were around me. Not an easy task when you can barely see.
I was confident none were within about 5 feet in front of me but other than that I am not certain. As the sun rose in the horizon the day began. Just before legal shooting time I noticed the tell tale brown of a brown one about 40 yards in front of me. I concentrated on it and found it to really be one of the brown ones. Amazing an opening morning and I was in the brown ones before legal time. It was then I knew Murph must have slept in. Turns out not writing the bow opener on calendar worked. He forgot!
Anyway I have been fighting a chest cold and can barely go 5 minutes without hacking up a lung. I held out admirably well. But after about a hour of the cold air, I thought I was going to die holding in anymore. I slowly got up, packed up and made my way quietly to the house. I hoped Mud was seeing some brown ones and didn't want to interfere with his hunt. I entered the clearing to the road, glanced to my right and saw Mud sitting about 80 yards away. I waved and left. I got back and told Yoop to get me up if Mud calls about shooting a deer and crashed into a sleepy bliss. I later found out Mud had followed me in and ate half the chili Yoop had made us, then left for base ops.
Midday consisted of sleep and doing normal things. After we picked up Monkey from school we packed up and went to base ops. Mud and I took the Mud Machine to the family land for an evening hunt. The corn had been picked since the previous hunt, all but two thin strips anyway. There were a bunch of tracks going where I had see the brown ones cross before and I suggested Mud go in there find a nice sit and wait.
I went further west and sat in the hardwood clearing. There are hickory, beech and oak trees all of which drop their tasty tree nuts for the deer. I have never seen the deer eat them though. I sneaked in and found a great spot that offered me hardly any shooting lanes. I chose it because the hickory tree was dropped a bunch of nuts. Almost seemed like there was a monkey in the tree throwing them down.
I quietly sat on my knees since Murph had hidden my seat from me before we left for base ops. I didn't have time to look for it. No biggie. I am young and spry. Kneeling for a few hours is nothing. After a little while, I heard what sounded like a cougar climbing out of the hickory. I slowly grabbed my bow and waited to face the ultimate predator in North America. Then the tree rat revealed himself with a smile on his face. I think Murph had put him up to it before season. He sat about 5 feet away staring at me, laughing his little behind off. A short time later he wakled off still laughing.
Then some turkeys came by. There were five of them, at least. At only 20 yards they may have well been a mile away. The thick undergrowth hid them, offering only passing glimpses. But no sightings of the brown ones.
The warm evening air was easier on my lungs. I still had to squeak out a cough a few times, but it was not near as bad as the morning. A few minutes after an awesomely loud cough, I decided to give my old knees a break and stand up for awhile. I crawled out of the small area and stood near the hickory. I scanned the area and noticed a brown one. I looked again and it really was a brown one!
I put the binoculars to my eyes and looked again for the brown one. Couldn't see it. I took them down and could see it. I then adjusted the focus of the binos and found the brown one. Feeding on the dropped nuts it was working away from me. I worked to reposition my legs to check the area for more brown ones and broke a twig under my foot.
I have been hunting and studied brown ones for nearly 20 years. Since I was knee high to a blade of grass. Yet one key thing had escaped me all those years, until now. If I only knew brown ones were draw to the sound of a breaking branch, I bet my kills would number into the hundreds. I am pretty mad right now at all those people who have told me to not step on sticks when hunting brown ones.
Anyway, at the sound of the twig breaking, the brown one turned, snorted and stomped. Then started feeding toward me. Awesome. Problem solved. Thinking back I bet all those who lied to be about stepping on sticks were doing so because they wanted the brown ones to themselves.
Something else I did not know is that the acorns taste better from trees to the west. Must be cause the brown one feed for about 20 yards toward me and then turned around and feed back. She didn't think the ones to the east tasted as good. Who knew?
Well after the brown one fed out of sight no others were seen. All in all it was a great night. I saw a bunch of brown ones and had a great time. This was one of the best bow openers I have had! Still wondering how I went all day with out alerting Murph it was the opener. Then again I better shut up before he figures it out and comes with me tomorrow.
Until next time. Nimrod wishes you well. Shoot straight!
Friday, September 18, 2009
I reached the hunting area and survey the land. Nothing has changed, not really anyway, since I started hunting here about 20 years ago. That's good, change is bad. Would likely mean the land was sold and I couldn't hunt there anymore. The front field is still standing corn.
I have always thought it would be cool to hunt standing corn, stalking on the deer that live in it while it stands. The corn appeared tall enough. It was still nice and green so it would not sound like walking on crisp tater chips. So it was on. Name of the game was Cornfield Stalking for Deer.
I took about three slow, cautious steps into the corn. Each step got louder and louder. I slowed down but it still sounded like I was rubbing a tater chip bag against my body. Turns out the lower half of every stalk was dried out already. Game over. Deer 1, Nimrod 0.
I slowly worked my way back to the wood line. Not sure why I was going slow. The noise was the same whether or not I took my time. I might as well had been singing a tune at the top of my lungs. I finally made it to the wood line after the noisy walk and busting countless spider webs with my face.
Since I have been hunting and roaming this small wood lot since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I have no idea how the deer act on it. They seem to wander around aimlessly, sometimes coming in front of my while I am hunting. During this time of year I do know that they use the lot to go between the cornfields. And I know there is a creek they must cross to get to one of the fields. I found no less than four nice paths they have been using to cross.
While deciding which trail the deer wouldn't take tonight, I somehow flushed a turkey from a nearby thicket. I guess he thought I was figuring out a way to make him dinner. To bad I didn't see him and the season open isn't open yet. I choose a trail that I could sit on and watch most of the other crossings, giving me a chance to learn for next time, unless I forget before next time.
Not an hour after I sat down, a doe deer crossed the trail the furthest from me. I had chosen right. Then a little bit later a tree rat started playing around, jumping from tree to tree. Might have been more than one, but the understory I was under was too thick to get a good look. Still wonder how an animal that size can sound like an elephant knocking trees over.
I was taking in the nice cool, beautiful evening when I caught some motion out of the corner of the eye. It was close and was moving. I slowly glanced over to see a black critter crawling on the other bank of the creek. I was about ten feet from the beast and boy was it mean looking. Stood about 4 inches at the shoulder, about 20 inches long, jet black body and a brown tail. First I thought it was a black tree rat, but then realized I was dealing with an elusive beast. I watched and my mink friend hung out for a lil bit and then left off on a hunt of his own. I wished him luck, knowing I had pizza waiting for me at home, and he would go hungry if he failed on his hunt.
The night moved on and the tree rats, song birds and crows kept the wood from being quiet. Actually the darn things were so loud I couldn't hear if a deer had walked up behind me making moose antlers with its hooves.
I tried ever trick I could think of. I stood up to stretch, leaving my bow, I took drinks of pop, I sat is positions I could not have shot my bow from. Everything short of eating a candy bar to get the deer to come out. They had worked in the past, but nothing worked tonight. I am really starting to doubt that you can lure deer in like some claim. But like most things, nothing works all the time.
Slowly the darkness took over and I got up to leave. I slowly worked out to the field line, thinking maybe a deer would be doing the same toward me. Turns out there was a deer nearby doing the same as me. We meet up and the darn thing turned and ran like I had bad breath. I stood still for a few seconds, and it sounded like she had decided I wasn't as bad ans she first thought so she would come back out. After a few seconds I realized I was hearing the noise of her walking further away, not coming back to me. Figures. Like women, deer make a split second decision based on the smell of someone and never come back.
No worries. It was the first hunt of many for the 2009 season and I had seen more deer than most of last season combined! I think ole Nimrod just may be getting the hang of deer hunting.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
My response was sure, a nice day on the lake would be relaxing. We were pressed for time as I had gotten off from work early that morning and we had to be at a family fish fry by 1pm. No sweat, the lake was close to base ops and it was not big. A sure thing that was certain to have us on the good side of Yoop and Book.
We drove the ole Rusty Chevrolet to base ops, loaded up the boat, our rods/tackle, the troller motor and the battery. A quick good by to the youngin's and off we went. We had to take the Rusty Chevrolet today cause Grumpy lake doesn't have much for a launch, and the Mud machine didn't stand a chance to make it to the lake. No sweat I have a small tank for a reason, goes places a big tank can't!
On the way to the lake, Mud and I caught up on old times. It had been about two weeks since we had seen each other. Its amazing what can change in two weeks. Arriving at the lake, we shoehorned the Rusty Chevrolet down the launch and put the boat in the lake. While I parked the Rusty Chevrolet, Mud did what it is he does while I park the Rusty Chevrolet... best left for him to know and the rest of the world not to know.
We positioned the boat in the water, had Mud hopped in and I pushed off to the lake. I looked at Mud, thinking he was going to row us thru the shore weeds. He looked at me like why are you not rowing out past these weeds so we can put the troller motor in the water and do some fishin'.
All the while Murph was in the middle of the boat with a grin ear to ear. At about the same time Mud and I realized what had happened. Murph must have tossed the oars out of the boat going down the road. Cause I would never, never, ever would forget the oars. And since I taught Mud nothing he knows about fishing I know he wouldn't forget them either.
I dropped the troller motor into the water and hooked up the battery. I checked the cables again and noticed the wires were hooked up backwards, again. That Murph is a sneaky one. Quick too. I turned on the motor and the boat started going no where. Ok it didn't start not going no where, it stayed going no where.
Without saying anything, Mud and I looked around looking for something that would get us past the weeds and into some fishable water. Then Mud had the second most brilliant idea ever. The idea of the decade. Only falling short of the all time ideas like gunpowder, internal combustion engines and kegerators (just to name very few). He grabbed Gray Beards old fish net and began to use it as an oar. BRILLIANT!!!!
After about 30 minutes of rowing with an aluminum hoop surrounded by nylon mesh with rather large holes we were out of the lily pads and reeds and into the water. It worked well, especially once the net was filled with all the loose weeds floating on the surface. I did what I could to help Mud. I crawled on top of Murph in the center of the boat, and grabbed reeds just below the water and pulled us along. Not sure I really helped, but it sure seemed to be helping, at least to me.
Mud had never been to Grumpy Lake. Its kind of an odd lake, very clear with a quite a few weeds. It holds a variety of fish. We began working the shoreline, and the break. I landed a few decent sized blue gills. Nice ones that were big enough to be used as bait if needed. Mud fished his can off but didn't land much of anything. As we rounded the far side of the lake, I worked to reposition the boat to make the most of the wind that was blowing. I finally gave up resorting to a mix of drifting and then using the motor to move the boat where I wanted it to be.
The battery Gray Beard has for the troller motor is one out of an ole Rusty Chevrolet. The energy cell is about six years old. It is not a deep cycle marine battery. Its just a normal car battery converted for use as a troller motor battery. The tip of this diary entry is how to convert a normal car battery into a marine battery. Please pay close attention, if you miss a step it will not work. First remove the battery from the car. Then put the car battery into a plastic marine box (or what ever you store our current marine battery in.) Viola! You have converted a car battery to a marine battery. Depending on whose car you take the battery out of you may need to practice ahead of time. It may seem simple but running from someone while carrying your soon to be marine battery is not as easy as it sounds.
Where was I? Oh yea, Mud and I had just began to work the east side of Grumpy Lake. Again working the shore weeds and the break. The bite got better, but we still weren't catching anything. After working the east side for about ten feet I noticed the troller wasn't as loud as it had been a few minutes earlier. Then I realized were we not moving at the same rate we had before. I checked the connections to the battery and found them to be secure. I checked the prop for weeds and it was not clogged.
I then realized that the the battery was about dead. Nothing to sweat about. I will just row ... ummm wait a second. Murph tossed the oars out on the way to the lake.. We had a pretty stiff head wind we had to fight also. I acted quickly to minimize our drag in the water. I pulled the fish basket out of the water. Now that I had that done, I started to contemplate what I may need to do to ensure Mud and I make it to the family fish fry on time. I checked the time and we had 30 minutes to get off the lake,b ack to base ops, drop the fishin' suff and get to the family fish fry which is about 15 minutes from base ops.
Ole Nimrod is no matheigician. But I knew we had lots of time going about ½ mile per hour on the lake. I just hoped the battery would hold out and we gained enough momentum to glide past the shore weeds. I was givin' her all we got and once we got to the shore weed edge, I pulled up the motor and we slid into the weeds. Muds end of the boat made it to the weeds. Yet the rest of the boat was still in the lake. Mud picked up the fish net and got to rowing again. Worked better off the bat this time... all the weeds were still in the net.
After some more work the boat was in the Rusty Chevrolet, and Mud and I were on the way back to base ops. It was now about 1:30. T plus 30 minutes. We got to base ops, dropped the fishing stuff, put the fish in some fresh water and headed out to the family fish fry. My Rusty Chevrolet doesn't move quick. Well it prolly could, but it sucks gas like a skeeter sucking blood as it is. I don't think it would be entertaining to watch the gas gauge move any faster than it does now, at least if your the one filling the tank.
We made it to the family fish fry about 2pm. T plus 60 minutes. Not bad considering the predicament Murph put us in with the oar ordeal. We got there before anyone had gone for seconds so really we were there from the beginning. Most the family got a kick out of the story but no one was willing to take Murph. If your wondering I left Murph at the launch at Grumpy Lake. I told him we would be back for him, but may be in a different car. My hopes are he will find his way home with someone else. Small game season starts today and a variety of deer season open real soon. I sure as biscuits don't need Murph around for another hunting season.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Today I am gonna talk about a hunt and a good friend from the Army and I took several years back. The hunt is an archery hunt for feral hogs on public land. I don't recall the name of the place, but I do recall the lovely warmth of the Texas summer.
Dudeman and I became quick friends while being assigned to the same unit. Both loved to hunt, especially bow hunt. We put this little hunt together on the fly. Split the gas, I packed in lunch and we were ready.
Dudeman drove, and on arrival, we found a parking area near a some really hot locations. At least the folks Dudeman had spoken to said they were hot. This intel came from a guy who on his first ever bow hunt, parked, walked a few hundred yards and shot a pig. Going off this we just knew this pig hunting thing would be a cake walk.
Dudeman and I walked around the immediate area. We then walked further, and further, and further. Darn near around the entire hunting area. Nary a sight, sound or impression pigs lived in the area were found. Never discouraged, we sat down briefly for some water and lunch.
Nothing is better on a super hot Texas summer day than some warm bologna sandwiches, and stale chips. Man they missed the spot in our stomachs. After consuming our body weight in water, we started to grab our gear for the second half of the day. I was checking out an area across the lake for any pig sign, when I noticed Dudeman dancing around. Knowing him, and knowing Tequila was not consumed during our break, I instantly became concerned.
He danced, screamed and yelled like a white man on hot coals, dancing to the latest hip hop song. I listened closely but did not hear any music from anywhere. Then he threw off his back pack, dropped his bow and jumped into the lake. Holding back a gut busting laugh, I politely asked him if he was OK. He quickly told me, in very short terms, he had sat his pack on a fire ant hill while we ate. I questioned the intelligence of doing so, and Dudeman quickly questioned if I like my face the way it was.
Once the humor, or pain (depending on your viewpoint), of the situation was over. I helped Dudeman get the little critters of hell off his gear. Our adventure led us back to the parking area. Since we had not seen anything stalking together, we decided it would be best to try and split up and make our way to the truck.
I worked and area along the lake shore, that was a thick mess of tangled heaven. As I approached the base of a point that jutted out into the lake, I heard the tell tale sound of a pig rooting at the other end of the point. I knew what a rooting pig sounded like because, who doesn't know what a rooting pig sounds like?
It was game on. I pulled on the game face and began a slow meticulous approach to the last 75 yards. About a minute later, I was with in 20 yards of the rooting pig noise. The ground cover in between us was so thick, I still could not see the beast. Not wanting to leave Dudeman at the truck too long, I decided to make a final approach with the wind at my back. As I crept around the last bush between me and the beast, I came to full draw. I move slowly around the bush... then came face to face with the beast of beasts.
Growing up in Michigan, I am accustom to certain things in the woods. Squirrels, rabbits, an occasional grouse taking flight under your foot. But none of that prepared me for what I was facing at about 8 yards, at full draw, in the unbearable Texas sun.
There are times in life where you have to make split second decisions. Decisions that can be life or death, or embarrassment or heroism. This was one of them. Facing the beast at spitting distance created a few set of problems I needed to solve and right now. First and foremost was whether I should wet my pants or hold it in. Then I had to decide if what I was looking at was legal game for me to take with the licenses I had in my pocket.
In hindsight, I think I made good decisions in the spur of the moment. I did not wet myself, so the ride home in Dudemans truck was not at all a problem. And I decided the beast was not legal game for me to take. So I thanked God for letting me experience such a close encounter with one of the Texas road bumps, aka armadillo. I am just glad the beast didn't decide to run me over like a tank.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Mud got a 4 day weekend from work and he and the fam came out for the weekend. They spent Friday at the Zoo with Red and Tough Enough. Then they spent Saturday morning at the local car museum for their anniversary. Not sure how he swung that one, but I have to give him a thumbs up for one of the coolest ways to spend your anniversary!
Friday night, Mud and I snuck in a fishing trip to the same lake we spent 4th of July on with Fidge. The weather was perfect, if you were a duck or inside. It was raining and raining. A check of the RADAR showed it was going to be raining most the night. But we don't get out that often, and the sunny days certainly weren't proving very successful so why not go out in the rain and play ducks?
On the way to the lake, Mud was complaining about how I sent Murph home with him after their last visit. I thought it was a wonderful idea to pack him in the Mud Machine when no one was looking. I had a great week with out him around. Sounds like he behaved himself most the week. Fool gave himself away though, when Mud was packing up the fishing stuff for the weekend, Murph hid a few things from Mud. But Mud, being the ever vigilant man he is, did a second check of the fishing gear and noticed the missing items.
We got to the lake, launched with no problems, motor started with no problems. There were a couple redneck yachts racing around the lake, but they mostly stayed away from us. It was fun watching them trying to pull a redneck on a tube, and barely moving them. But we had bigger fish to fry... err rather catch.
It rained steady for the first hour or so. Between the redneck water sports and a rather good crappie bite, we barely noticed. We were pulling up halfway decent crappie every few minutes. I should say Mud was pulling up decent crappie every few minutes. I was getting skunked pretty bad. Then I had the hit of all hits. A monster. The gargantuan beast took my green/yellow grub on a 1/16th ounce jig like a semi hitting a deer in its headlights. My super stiff ultra light rod bent in half and the fight was on!
A few seconds later we landed the whale and got it safely into the boat. I was exhausted by the long fight, but knew I had to make sure it was a legal fish. I brought out the ole De-Liar scale/tape combo. Man if that thing could talk. Countless stories of all the big ole fish ole Nimrod has measured with it. I bet it could have its own BLOG diary. I stretched it out to the legal 14 inches and compared it to the whale in my hand. I took a double, then a triple take. I looked at Mud and then back at the fish.
She was just a hair shy of 14 inches, I mean like 13 inches and about 99/100ths. Just a hair short of being legal. I about cried. I then recalled some of the Yooper tricks Yoop talked of from her youth. I tried but nothing gave that fish the extra oopmh it needed to be legal. With tears welling up in my eyes, I put the fish back in the water. Maybe they weren't tears, it was raining ya know, nonetheless I was not happy to put back the Goliath.
We fished on. Mud continued his assault on my manhood, amassing about 6 fish in the basket before I had my first keeper. However, I did get the biggest, and the smallest fish of the day.
We received a call from Book who asked if it was raining. Dumbfounded Mud said yes and ended the call. A few minutes later it was Grey Beard calling. Again asking if it was raining. Grey Beard confirmed the RADAR indicated it was going to be raining for a while. News flashes even when we're on the water! But not five minutes after Mud disconnected with Grey Beard, the rain stopped and did not start again.
By time we pulled anchor and went toward the boat launch, I had started a comeback on the creel. Since numbers really don't matter, I won't bore you with those details. Lets just say Mud and I had out best day of the season. Not saying much, but at least we are moving forward not backward.
Looking back I realized we somehow had left Murph at baseops when we left. I am certainly not complaining but Mud and I each found out later Murph was not happy with us. On their return trip, Mud and family experienced an odd situation with the Mud Machine. They were cruising down the road when they heard what they first thought was a backfire. Turns out Murph had rigged the Mud Machine so a large amount of gas vapors got trapped in the muffler and at a set point ignited. Making a pretty spectacular boom. Blowing the Mud Machines muffler to pieces. Wish I could have been there, it sounds like it was a blast!
A few days later, I was putting new brakes on the Yoop machine. Got the corner in the air, tire off. I got up to go get some stands and tools, I walked about five feet and Murph jumped out of the bush, gave the Yoop machine a big ole push right off the jack onto the ground. I stood dumbfounded at first. I couldn't believe my eyes. When all was said and done, and simple 45 minute job turned into a 2 hour ordeal. I'll be damned if I am gonna let Murph keep me down.
Back to the drawing board. I thought I had pawned Murph off on Mud. I expected Mud to pawn him off somewhere far far away from me. But NOOOOO... he brings him back to my house. I had it all planned out and then the joke is on me. I will get rid of him one day, soon I hope there are only 48 days left until bow season, and I really don't want Murph as a hunting partner again this year.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
As usual Murphy was right by my side from the get go. We visited for a while and decided we should get the trees done so we could get on with the rest of the day. We step outside and it is a nice soaking rain. Not pouring, but the kind of rain you love for a garden, just not to work outside in. Mud and I dropped the trees to the ground, surprisingly causing no damage to anything but the trees. Murph must have been on a toilet break or something.
The 3 of us took a short break to fill up the saws and dry off a little. I grabbed the bottle of bar oil, and put the last few drops in the saw. I looked at Mud and laughed. Stuck my head in the door and told Yoop and Book we would be back in a few, had to run to the hardware store for some bar oil. I think Murph put it in the engine of the old Chevy, but I don't have proof.
A minor set back in my world and we were back in business. I had left Murph at the hardware store, hoping he would go home with someone else. We scooted back, minus one, and in a short time we had the trees cut into family sized portions. No problems at all.
Mud and Red stacked it all nice and neat while I cut it into proper portions. Then they both help drag the brush out back for rabbit and bird piles. Again no problems at all. I was now praying Murph would not find his way back. There was a nice old couple there he was talking with I think they took him home feeling sorry for him.
The next few hours went well. Cooked up the wieners and brats, warmed up some baked beans, and opened the bags of tater chips. Dinner fit for a king. We ate them down, and sat around talking about whether or not the clearing of the rain would hold up long enough to get some fishing in. Since we were already soaked from the tree cutting, we decided to give it a whorl.
Packed everything up in Muds beast and set off for a little lake down the road. I had taken Monkey to this lake for some shore fishing earlier in the year. It is off a campground and only a few miles from the house. We got there, located the launch amongst all the twists and turns of the campground. As we pulled up, I noticed the sign, in big BOLD letters... “No motors allowed. Gas or Electric.” Strike one.
After about 30 minutes we found our way out of the labyrinth of the campground back out to the road. Another few miles down the road were two other lakes, nearly twins that are supposed to hold decent fish. The map of the area showed they had public launch sites also. I navigated Mud to the first, drove down the road a few times, right were the map should the public launch but I'll be damned if it hadn't disappeared. Right off the face of the earth. Strike two.
We slid down the road to the twin lake, and found the launch... I think the township should invest in some signs to mark them though. As we approached I studied the old, worn out sign. Only thing I could make out was the lake name. Nothing prominent stating other restrictions. As we got closer I noticed the next issue.
Turns out the people Murph went home with lived on Lake twin #2. He beat us to the launch and turned the launch area into a muddy, soupy mess. Being Mud's truck is a big ole heavy 2 wheel drive Goliath. I quickly pointed the launch out to Mud. I said well I guess we can fish for a little bit from shore. Strike 3???
He stated “We can just carry the boat to the water.”
My first thought was “ummm... no.” But then I figured why not. What could really go wrong with carrying the boat from the trailer, through a few feet of muck into the water. I have done worse things for less money. Ball 1.
Mud backed the trailer up to the edge of the mud. We unstrapped everything, organized it a little and started rolling it off the trailer. So far so good. She was a tad heavy, not real cooperative, but we were getting the job done.
Just as the stern was in water, not mud, we started to get into it nearly knee deep. It wasn't mud, but nice thick, sticky, stinky, sucky, squishy muck. The kind that critters you don't want on your skin live in. But we were almost there. We could see the nice soft, sand just a few feet away.
We got ready for one last push out of the muck, when my sandal got sucked in and came off my foot. Not being one to see the obvious signs that come from basic things, I dug out the sandal and put it back on my foot. We readied for the push again and once our momentum was moving toward the lake, Murph jumped out from behind a bush, forced my foot to the bottom of the muck and pushed me by the shoulders into the muck. He could have waited until I was in the clean water, but nope. He felt the need to make sure I was covered in the nice stinky muck from my ankle to my elbow.
We were in a little Podunk town, but I don't think Yoop would have liked me seeing if the local female population at the bar liked the smell of fresh lake muck. I bet they would have been all over me though. Anywho, after a long little laugh we got the boat in the water, I cleaned up a little in the lake and off we went.
It was a windy day and the fish seemed to be holed up waiting for the Pocono race to come on the next day. Mud and I found a few small pan fish at the windward side of the lake. We were really into them.. Instead of catching a limit of nice fish it turned into a contest of who could catch the smallest fish. I was a tight race, but I think Mud won. The clouds started to roll back in and we made the trek across the lake back to the launch.
As you can imagine, getting the boat back on the trailer was not easiest thing in the world. Not nearly as hard as putting it in, but it certainly not the funniest thing. Mud has Red at the hand crank of the mini winch. Mud and I each took a side and we slid her up through the muck, onto the trailer.
Things to remember if you are on a fishing adventure with me and we face something out of the norm. Get back in the truck and drive home. Don't come up with a plan to overcome anything. Just cut your loss and head home to some cold beer and hot dogs.
Oh and by the time we got back to the house, it was raining to hard for the campfire for the kids.
Friday, July 31, 2009
A few seasons back, I was hunting the family land. I was having a great season, saw no deer but that's not what is all about. I decided to take to the air and lugged my climbing tree stand to the woods. I was in a hurry since I had left late. Dusk was running the final stretch. Murphy really wanted to come with me that night, but I told him no, because I did not have anytime for his antics. After a short debate, he came along anyway.
Ever notice how anywhere there is great deer sign there are no trees to climb. The ones that are there are either too far or are too skinny. As we all know deer are smart critters. I am getting close to uncovering proof that deer hold conferences and have advanced tracking of hunters, and a very sophisticated means of relaying the information to other deer. Including, proof that deer put GPS tracking chips into hunters while they are napping in the woods. Call me crazy but there is no other way they can avoid such a savvy hunter like me, without advanced technology. The report will be coming soon and you will be the first to hear.
Anywho... back to the adventure. I had checked the area before and found a tree that was actually climbable and with in bow range of where I wanted the deer to be. I hooked everything up and scooted to shooting height. There was a cold front coming in, time for the deer to be moving. Wind was picking up in front of the pressure system and made for a rather noisy day in the woods.
Heights and I don't get along. Its not really the height that gets to me, but the chance of falling and then the sudden stop at the end. Hunting out of a tree stand is not my favorite way to hunt. Not cause it is unfair or unsporting, its just the thought of suddenly stopping at the ground if I should fall. That night was the worst time to be in a tree. Strong winds had me waving back and forth in the stand like a flag on the ocean.
After about an hour or so, I relaxed my bear hug on the tree enough to breath again. This seemed to help my ears work better cause it was then I heard the eerie creaking of the tree. It was not a normal sound of a tree creaking in the wind. First I wasn't sure what it was but I was certain it was not good. I glanced up the tree and noticed all the leaves were gone. Looking around no other trees were found missing their leaves. Glancing up the tree again, I realized the bark was also falling off the tree. I knocked on the tree with my release and heard the tell tale sound of a rotten tree.
Being a Michigan man, I am not scared of many things. I quickly made my climb down the tree, knees knocking the whole way, hoping my weight didn't off set the rotten old tree enough to send it crashing to the ground. Dusk was nearly on me, but my never say die attitude kicked in and I quickly climbed a tree I had spent many days in before. It was out of range of any deer trail, didn't provide much cover and was down wind of where the deer should have come from.
Once back in the air, I quickly readied everything and settled back in. I put the bow in the holder, put my release back on my wrist and reached for an arrow out of the quiver. Since my quiver was still on the ground I was not able to reach the arrow from 15 feet above. I said a few cuss words and saw Ole Murph run away toward the truck. I climbed back down the solid tree, and sat the last few rays of daylight out at the base of the tree. Nothing came by.
I later determined the reason I had seen nothing that night had nothing to do with the amount of noise and cussing I made. It was a result of the weather. The wind had been so strong, the deer stayed inside their house, waiting it out. Everyone knows deer don't come out to play or eat when it is windy, or when they may get rained on. If you didn't know that, stay tuned to the Diaries for my report on how deer track hunters and other useless information you probably all ready know.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Toward the end of last deer season, the weather was cold and we had a lot of snow. This is Michigan and all but we had A LOT of snow, even for around here. It had a nice little 2 inch ice covering over all of it. Most spots anyhow, I could take about 3 steps before breaking through and being thigh deep in the glorious white stuff. If you have never been out in snow like this, check it out. Makes great exercise as long as you don't mind spooking every deer for a few miles out of the area.
I was wandering around the land across the street, it is most open in the dead of winter, except for all the scrub oak bushes everywhere. As I crunched along, I remember why it is not good to drink a lot of pop before you go out hunting. I held off the calling as long as I could and decided to write my name in the snow.
This hunt I had my Fred Bear Archery Grizzly recurve with me, and had my side quiver slung across the back. Once I found a good spot to water the dead grass under all the snow, I shouldered the bow and did what I needed to do. A few seconds later I heard a loud tang. The bow jumped off my shoulder and I jumped messing up the “m” in Nimrod.
I looked behind me thinking someone had pulled some sort or prank, you know the old candid camera/rigging up the recurve bow to bounce off the shoulder trick. Its a classic but not so funny when it happens to you.
Giving up on the writing lesson for the day, I walked over to the bow. The thing jumped and had to have sprung some mini wings and rocket boosters. It went from my shoulder to nice place under a tall Pine tree 30 feet away. I picked it up, checked her over but found no evidence of the wings or boosters. My old friend Murphy mustta played the trick on me. He is a quick one that ole Murph.
Inspecting the situation further, the bow string had a nice straight cut across it. First thing I believed was Murph had snuck Yoops scissors from the house, but then I remembered I keep them all dry and squeaky. Never know when Yoop might come after the winter hunting beard. I start it in Spring and keep it around all year. Never know when a good huntin' beard will come in handy.
Anywho, back to dissecting Murphy's trick. . . I then realized that the only other sharp thing near the bow string was on of my super duper, razor like, so sharp the deer just give up at the site of them broadheads. Not being a nimrod Nimrod, I noticed one of the heads was sticking out just ever so slightly from the quiver. It had to have been ole Murph damn it. There is no way I would have left that arrow sticking out. Absolutely not. Each and everytime I go out hunting, or fishing, or anything, I check, re check and then check again to ensure everything is covered. Only once ever other adventure do I not perform the check, re check and check again. Well I do it once or twice a season.
But it doesn't matter. Murph caused me to end my hunt early. It went from a nice, noisy, crunchy mid winter stalk to a noisy crunchy, mid winter walk in the woods. If I can come across a deer that was deaf, blind and sleeping, I just may have gotten a shot. But noooooo, Murph has to play his dumb little trick and I am left walking thru the woods like some tree hugger. I really need to find a new friend.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In the last adventure, I mentioned the previous fishing trip where I was at the stern and referenced engine issues. Not one to leave people hanging, I felt I should get the story out there. Not to mention I don't want a rift between Mud and I, especially since he has that sweet new to him vessel.
The previous few days, Yoop's nephew from the UP was down visiting. His name is Fidge. Great kid, loves the outdoors and anything to do with it. And boy can he spin a tale. I think he comes on it naturally. He will make a great fisherman, just on his story telling alone. During his stay, we had gone shore fishing a few times, got a couple bites, skeeter bites that is. He was looking forward to a trip out onto the water, instead of from the sidelines.
The day was July 4th. I worked a 12 hour shift ending at 5am, went home and was meet at the door by Fidge. Its been a few years, well a a lot of years since I was a young teen, but since when do they get up at 4 in the morning, without a lot of poking, prodding and being tossed out of bed? Anyway he meet me at the door stating he could not sleep. I put away my work things and we loaded up the fishing gear and set off on our way.
I am not a morning person, never have been, likely never will be. I hear sun rises are spectacular but so is my nice comfy bed. I think that is why god created sunsets, for normal people to enjoy his wonderful work. Moving on, we stopped at a local fishing spot, referred to as the wishing well. The sunrise was pretty nice, but again no where near as nice as my bed would have been at this point. I snapped this shot:
After we put out some careless fools fire from the previous night, we continued on to baseops to meet Mud. Unlike me, Mud is a morning person. One of those that make the average normal person sick. He gets up at about 3am every work day to head off to work. I supposed if I had to get up I would, but thank god I don't. Mud was waiting for us boat and trailer loaded up behind the Mud Machine. Quick over view showed we needed some more gas mix for the boat motor. Unfortunately, 6am is not the time I do my best math, and the only mix we had was for a two gallon can... not the one gallon the boat has. So, I deferred to Mud and turns out he ain't so great at math that early in the morning either.
We got 'er done, hit the gas pump on the way and made it to the lake. A short line to launch went quick and in no time we were on the water. Back to the old electric pushing us out to lake, and the outboard not starting. I pulled the motor's cord a few times and then the cord locked up. Remember me not being a morning person? I am also not that great of a wrench turner. So we are floating on the lake, with a Nimrod trying to figure out why a motor, that he doesn't really know how it works, its not working. A few minutes later I put us back at the launch, and jumped in the water so Mud could take a gander.
For some reason, a round plastic piece that spins as another round piece turns with the pull cord, wasn't turning. Hence the cord wouldn't come out. Mud played with it for a few and it all started spinning again and she fired up. Sorry to get all technical with the descriptions of the pieces, but its the only way I knew how to describe it. I should note, unlike Muds failure to open the gas line, my problem was of no known cause by me. At least that is the story I am sticking to.
Back in service, we started back to the place I caught several fish, many years ago. The outboard was running good but I think our oil mix was a wee bit off for the gas, as it gave us a nice bug clearing smoke, but at least it had enough oil, and not too little.
We spent the next eight or so hours fishing and fishing and fishing. I was having a decent day, catching some nice Crappie, sunfish, and gills on a small jog and grub. All the while, Mud and Fidge were using the old stand by hook, worm and bobber. They were catching fish, and a lot of them. I would guess they caught around 100 sunfish and gills. Biggest being about 6 inches, smallest well smallest was about the size of the leaf worms they were using, 2-3 inches. The rest were in between those sizes
Overall the weather was great. While I would have rather been sleeping, it wasn't that bad. Spent time with some nice dudes on a nice day catching some nice fish, enjoying the nice holiday. It was nice. Only issue happened about mid day. We were fishing a point, in a rather wide channel, when two old coots can putsing up. Instead of utilizing the 150 to 200 feet of open water BEHIND us, they felt it proper to cut IN FRONT of us. Going no less than three feet from Mud and Fidge's bobber's they went in the 30 feet of water between us and shore. Later at the launch we noticed some red,white and blue PBR cans in their hands, but I don't think the beer had anything to do with it. I think they were just naturally the way there are.
Oh and Fidge acting like an elephant in the bow of the boat. I thought for sure his goal was to put us in the lake. But he did not and all was good.
After the day, we returned to baseops, and I promptly fell asleep. It was a nice marathon 30 hour day, but if I was gonna make it home after the fireworks, I had to get some precious shut eye. Fidge had a good time, as far as I could tell Mud enjoyed himself. It was nice.