Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Poker then Saturday hunts

Welcome back for the final installment of the Nimrods go to the UP for Thanksgiving and deer hunting adventures. Not sure why ya came back... but since your here I will fill ya in on how our trip ended.

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

Monkeys first UP deer hunt.

Hmmm...where did I leave off? I think Yoop and Logger had been out on a Thanksgiving morning hunt and passed up the chance at a nice fat gobbler that was just out of season. Thanksgiving day was what they usually are. Turkey, family, taters, veggies and deer hunting.

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.