View from one of the many tree stands
Last weekend I met my friend and business associate Kevin McKervey who had invited me for a weekend of bow hunting for whitetail deer in his "up north" property just south of Cadillac, Michigan.
I arrived at his "cabin" around 3:00 PM on Friday and Kevin introduced me to his lovely wife Patty and friend Mark (the second Mark would only arrive on Saturday), and after a great venison roast he took me on an ATV ride to reconnoiter the 37 acres and eight food plots, and multiple ground blinds and tree stands.
It is amazing how much can be learned by a simple ride, a bit of observation and a lot of conversation. I had never attentively hunted before a property intensively managed for deer, and i can only say that it requires a labor of love for the whitetail and the sport from Kevin and Patty.
After a three hour drive (each way), they spend almost every single weekend of summer and early fall spraying weeds, tilling, disking, planting and fertilizing food plots, cutting down trees and trimming branches to open shooting lanes, and they share the potential fruits of their labor, money and time with good friends.
We hunted Friday afternoon and while seating on my stand I observed squirrels, rabbits, blue jays, robins and chickadees galore. Just before dusk the distant honking of Canada geese provided the music to put the sun to sleep. With darkness came a beautiful half moon and Kevin calling me to help to track a doe he shot about an hour ago.
Arriving at his stand I met Brenda, a neighbor and friend that was also helping tracking the doe and who first spotted the blood trail. After half an hour or so we (or Brenda) located the doe, and Patty came with the tractor to haul the animal back to Kevin's barn where he has a fantastic butchering set-up. Dinner was pizza and libations.
Next morning we were back at the same stands, I heard the flight of Canadas going the opposite way from last night, but none of us saw any deer. Kevin cooked breakfast with eggs, potatoes and absolutely great venison brats. During afternoon we watched another Spartan's victory at the Big 10 college football and the weather starting to change with a constant wind from southwest.
By 4:30 PM we were out to our respective stands or blinds, and due to the wind everything was very, very quiet. Towards dusk the wind die out a bit and squirrels moved to their nests, rabbits came to graze at the food plot, birds flew around, but the geese did not bring their music to welcome the gathering storm.
The coming rain synchronized our return to the "cabin" (really, not a cabin at all, but a very comfortable home), and very soon I had hot cools in the grill and where fresh deer liver and venison back straps were grilled and enjoyed with healthy salads and good almost fresh french bread.
At the end of a typical hunting season Kevin, Patty and friends may on average harvest four to six deers, but their hard work creates not only a fantastic amusement park, but health habitat that is a piece of paradise for multiple species of the great northern woods of Michigan.