The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chess Game


Probably the greatest benefits that I have from writing the posts for my blog is that I can exercise my memory and remember some occasions that were really special.
In the seasons of 2003 and 2004 I hunted deer (or was taught how to hunt deer) with my friend Bob Scott at his place in D Avenue, between Kalamazoo and Gobbles. I told the story about the 2003 hunt in my book “A Wild Beast at Heart”, in the chapter “Opening Day”.
I just can’t remember where I hunted in 2005, but that is probably when Bob took me bow hunting a couple times. I was immature enough to blow a chance at a nice eight pointer that Bob shot later on the same day, and also moved to hastily and spoke several does at dusk on another day when I was on a tree stand for the first time.
Soon after that Bob and Pam sold their “D Avenue” home and acreage and moved into town, and suddenly we no longer had access to a property were to hunt.
During the summer of 2006 my son Daniel and his friend Ryan discovered the “secret pond”, which is formed by the Whisky Run creek, and could be reached by foot from our subdivision. As I knew that it was located in private property, I escorted the boys to the home of the owner and told them to ask permission to visit the no so secret pond.
When deer season was around the corner, I went back to the same farmer and asked if I could have permission to hunt his property, or even if I could lease the hunting rights for a portion of it. After much talking he gave permission to hunt the Northwest corner of his property that comprises a corn field by the road, small woods and a swamp.
I took opening day, a Wednesday, off work, and by o’ dark thirty I left home for the three minutes drive to my new hunting grounds. I set a camping chair by a fence among bushes and started long wait for first light.
In the morning there were song birds of all types, but no deer, and at around 11:30 AM I went back home for lunch with my wife. Just as I got on the road I doe crossed it. After lunch I watched “La Dolce Vita”, the fantastic 1960 Federico Fellini movie staring Marcello Mastroianni and the gorgeous Anita Ekberg. After the rather sad ending, I returned to my hunting post.
After a lot more bird watching, when dusk came and I was getting ready to leave, I saw a beautiful eight or maybe ten point buck and had a terrible case of buck fever. The problem is that besides all my trembling, that buck was looking straight at me from seventy or eighty yards away.
I took a hasty shot; the buck jumped the fence and disappeared in the swamp never to be seen by me again. I looked a lot for blood, but the shot was a clear miss.
On Saturday I went back to the same spot, and continue to watch birds. This time a group of does came from behind me by mid morning. The wind was on my face and they soon scented me and got hell out of Dodge.
On Sunday I relocated my chair to try to spot the does before they could scent me, but they came by a different path, and although I could see them coming I never had a shot before they spooked.
This was becoming an intriguing game of wits.
During the week I had to work, and on Thanksgiving Day we went to Holland, Michigan, to visit with our friends Clóvis and Sandra. As we were leaving the sky was clear and stars were everywhere, I the air carried a cool bite. I sensed a frost for the next morning, and confidently told our friends that I would shoot a deer the next morning.
As the family left for “Black Friday” I left for my usual sitting place and found that the corn had been picked. I relocated my chair to have a better view of the swamp and the “doe highway”, and started the wait. This time the group of does came at the outer edge of the swamp, and when they were about thirty yards from me, there was a loud snort and took of running. Immediately I left my chair and found cover behind some bushes.
They went up a slope and most of them disappeared behind it, but the largest doe turned back and started stumping its front paws while trying to locate me. There was just enough ground behind her, to make an uphill shot safe, so I placed the crosshairs of my scope at her chest and let go a Lightfield slug.
It was like hitting a toy with a sledge hammer. The doe flipped backwards, and disappeared in the corn stubbles. I quickly came looking for her and found a very large and fat doe, very dead on the spot she was hit.
I paced the distance back to the bush that I hid behind and counted about ninety yards. No bad for an off-hand shot.
After field dressing the doe I took her home and waited for my family to come home. The only pictures that I have are completed out of focus, courtesy of the bad mood that my teenager daughter was in.
While butchering the doe I found the lead slug resting against the hip bones.
After eating all the venison, the only trophies that I have from this hunt are two out of focus photos and the memories of the great chess game those does and I played. This again proves that antlers or horns are not required to make a hunt successful.

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