I spent a week in the bush hunting deer. My son and I and four friends. Our friends have a trailer while my and son and I sleep in my old work van which I transformed into a camper. Nothing fancy, just the bare essentials to make it comfortable. We have a propane heater to keep us warm and to keep the water from freezing. We sleep in sleeping bags. We grill our meat on a barbeque outside, fry eggs and sausages on a cooker inside. It is almost like home. Almost. I have to admit, sometimes it feels a bit cramped, but we are not there to be pampered. We are hunting.
We left Winnipeg at 9:15 am. The highway was good. No snow on the road and we made good time. We arrived at our campsite Thursday, November 10 in the afternoon, at around 3 pm. We’ve been going there for 25 years now. The same place, the same spot. It is in the bush. Nothing but snow-covered grass and trees. And, hopefully, deer.
By 3:30 we sat already in our deer stand for the evening hunt. We had until Sunday evening to shoot a deer with a muzzleloader.
I had a couple of so-so chances but missed. I don’t have a scope on my muzzleloader, which will be remedied next year. A scope is essential.
My son had more success. He bagged a huge buck with a great rack at 180 yards with his muzzleloader. That is quite impressive.
The general deer season started Monday, November 14. I sat in my deer stand at 7:20 am and shot my buck at 7:25 am. It was still a bit dark, but with a scope no problem. I waited until 7:50 to gut the deer. It was not a big buck, but it had antlers and I was happy. It’s been four years now since I shot my last buck. Larger than this one. Every deer hunter wants to shoot a big buck, of course, but the best meat is on smaller animals. Last year I was not successful, but two years ago I shot a nice doe.
After I shot my buck I was elated and sad at the same time. Elated at my success but sad because my hunting season was over. I stayed in my stand until noon, watching over my buck, because of the coyotes. The woods are filled with them and they will devour a downed animal in a short time. And there are also plenty of hungry crows and magpies, and the odd eagle, all eagerly waiting for something to eat. They will clean up the guts within hours, which is a good thing. In nature nothing ever gets wasted.
I went back to our camp at noon and my son drove with the quad to pick up the deer and transport it to our camp. The coyotes and birds will not come to the camp.
Years ago we used to have to drag the deer back to camp, which was a grueling task, especially if there was no snow. A large buck gave you a good workout. There were years when we shot four deer (it was legal), and dragging four large animals was exhausting. But like anything we enjoy doing, there is always a tradeoff. Nothing ever comes easy. If you want something you have to work at it. It comes with the territory.
We love venison. We skin and cut up our deer when we get home, take out the bones and package the meat. De-boning is important, because bones make the meat taste gamey. After it has been packaged it goes into the freezer, to be enjoyed with a glass of red wine in the coming year.
The last couple of days the weather turned cold and nasty. Even though I had bagged my deer, I still sat in my stand during the day, just to enjoy the outdoors and observe the wildlife, and to find out how much traffic my stand gets. A few years back I shot my two deer in the morning of the first day. I spent the rest of the week sitting in my stand and I saw the biggest bucks coming into my clearing. It was exciting but also frustrating, because my bag limit was filled…with a doe and a small buck. But that is part of the hunt. The big bucks always seem to get away…or almost always.
This time I saw only one buck on the last day. There was not much traffic in my clearing, possibly because of the weather. It was so cold the water bottle I carried in my backpack froze solid in two hours. Even my feet began to tingle a bit inside my boots. I did have toe warmers, but they were not enough.
We left our camp Thursday, November 17 at 3:15 pm. It began to snow and we drove home most of the way on a treacherous highway. We arrived home at around 7:30 pm.
Here is a picture of the buck I shot.
Welcome to my blog
Hello visitors. On my blog I'm talking about my books, but also about what I'm currently working on and, maybe, some other stuff. Browse through my posts and don't forget to check out my older posts in the archives. If you are interested in my books, please, visit my website Fictitious Tales for more information and a few excerpts. You'll find more excerpts in my old website Herbert's World. Also, take a look at my second blog Herbert Grosshans, where I talk about fun-stuff and things that concern me.