Monday, November 16, 2009

Never Ever Ever Never Break a Tradition

The holiday has come. Participation and celebration continues but the main event is over. Think of it as the final festival parade only it is held before not at the end. Or the main fight of a boxing card being held before the smaller no name fights. I know it seems odd but I wouldn't want it any other way.

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.

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