Saturday, November 11, 2006

My 2006 Firearms Deer Season Chronicles


DAY ONE
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 11

Well, the first day of the 2006 Missouri Firearms Deer Season has begun. I missed a good buck around 7:35 a.m. He was larger than most deer I've taken the last few years. I couldn't see his rack too well, but the right side was tall and the left side much shorter.

At first, I thought it was broken off. The angle and lighting made it difficult to see. Most deer I see are 3 second deer and I usually need 4 or 5 seconds, if you know what I mean. The longer he stood there, the more nervous I got. He was about 125 yards away. He started running TOWARD me and my heart just went crazy and out of control. I couldn't breathe! I PICKED A BAD TIME TO GET BUCK FEVER! He came to within 75 yards and turned sideways to me.

I had my Remington 30.06 rifle resting on my shooting stick, that I cut from a sapling a few years ago. The verticle rest was excellent. But my horizontal hold was out of kelter. I couldn't hold it steady. Just as I fired the shot, I jerked and missed. You'd thought this was my first deer hunt the way my heart was pounding. It was hard to breathe. I'm surprised that old dude didn't fall over laughing at me.

I'll remedy my shooting stick problem this evening by converting it to a bi-pod. That should fix my horizontal hold.

Now I should locate an AED and a brown paper bag to control the hyperventalization. Oxygen might help too. Somewhere out in the woods, I'm sure he's told all his buddies of the spectacle he witnessed this morning. He does that again tomorrow, the dude is mine.

DAY TWO
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12

I must've gotten closer to that buck yesterday than I thought. Neither he nor his buddies were anywhere to be seen today. I think they packed their bags and got out of Dodge.

Today was a turkey day. I saw turkeys six different times by noon. I'm sure some were the same but they all didn't come from the same direction.

I arrived to my deer stand well before daylight. I never dreamed there would be a welcoming committee in my midst as I prepared to settle in. I set up my camo hunting chair and my warm Lava Buns heated seat pad. MY BRAND NEW homemade modified shooting sticks cradled in front of me with my rifle resting on them. My hand warmers were doing their job. It was very dark but the horizon was beginning to lighten. It was very quiet and peaceful. A gentle wind could be heard. Off in the distance I could hear a train making its way through the lonely countryside many miles away. AHHH, this IS the life.

I'm now settled in and contemplating my game plan when SUDDENLY, it started hailing Butterball TURKEYS! FLOP, FLOP, SWOOSH, THUD, CRASH, FLOP, FLOP! My ground blind was under attack UNDER their ROOST! The wind off a turkeys wing as it flies to the ground is very frightening in the dark. Sounds like a 747 coming in! I could feel the wind from their wings. I'm taking shelter by covering up my head with my arms. My hunting cap wasn't enough protection. I couldn't get out of my folding chair! As Murphy's Law has it, I have a fist full of turkey tags with me, wrong weapon, wrong season.

Luckily the birds didn't leave any souvenirs on me during their awkward noisy crash landing. Tranquility finally returned as the turkeys went their own way. The sun is about to rise. My heart is calm again, I'm relaxed and I'm enjoying the sunrise over my right shoulder when a twig with a cluster of dried leaves lands on my left shoulder. I almost screamed like a little girl! Going to the deer stand in the dark will never be the same now. NEVER GO INTO THE WOODS WITHOUT A FLASHLIGHT. I don't care how close it is to daylight.

My little brother, Brad, tags a small buck late in the day.

DAY THREE
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 13

This morning, I had a tough time climbing out of a nice warm bed. But I forced myself to get ready for the drive out to the woods. I was somewhat reluctant to leave the SUV in the dark but I knew I had to go. I very carefully checked the tree tops as I slowly made my way to my ground blind. GREAT, NO WELCOMING COMMITTEE!

This morning, I didn't see anything but a few squirrels off in the distance running from tree to tree. I heard my feathered friends nearby but this time, I left them alone. There were at least three very active gobblers calling.

I had some business to attend to at the office so around noon, I made my way to Springfield for about an hour to get a couple of reports ready. Afterward, I took a little drive out to Little Sac Woods, northeast of Willard. Looks like a really good place to hunt. Very deery looking. I walked down a trail and sat for a little while before returning home for the day. Will give it another try again tomorrow.

DAY FOUR
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14

Ooops! I forgot to set the alarm for this morning! Honest...it wasn't intentional. Oh well, being that it's 8:30 a.m. I think I'll go have my hair trimmed. It's getting a bit shaggy. It's supposed to storm later today and maybe snow tomorrow. Better get my personal running taken care of quickly as this may be my last good chance before having to go back to work on Thursday.

Made it out to my hunting grounds at noon. I saw only one Bluejay. No squirrels, ducks, geese, turkeys were seen or heard from this afternoon. My guess is the front moving in that is supposed to bring some heavy rain, possible thunderstorms and snow later on tomorrow. Only sound was the wind in the trees. It was an eerie type of afternoon. The woods seemed empty. I never heard one gun shot all afternoon until 3:54 p.m. My Remington broke the silence as a nice 8 point buck stepped out into my shooting lane. He never knew what hit him. Thanks to my new fangled homeade shooting sticks to steady my shot. Buck fever was not a factor this time.

When I fired the fatal shot, the rifle scope hit my eye glasses, saving me from receiving a half moon brand from the scope between my eyes. It hurt none the less. I got hold of Dad and he enlisted the help of my nephew, Brandon to help drag this dude up the steep hill. I don't know why but all my deer are always at the bottom of a steep hill and the car is usually parked at the top. Somehow I need to reverse the situation but unfortunately that's how Sand Mountain is made up.

Dragging deer up hill after heart surgery still sucks, even seven years and two days later. I'm doing well but I need to come up with a better plan like building a new fangled motorized cart to haul my gear in and out of the woods, even my deer.

DAY FIVE
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15

Me thinks, me broke the bridge of my nose when the rifle scope hit my glasses. It's really sore this morning and slightly bruised and swollen. At least my eyes aren't black...yet. I'm thankful my glasses caught the brunt of the impact of the scope.

Took my deer over to the processor in Walnut Grove this morning. I must say the weather today really stinks. It's been raining all night and very windy out. Very miserable to be out on the deer stand. I drove out to Sand Mountain and watched a field for a little while. Dad was soaked after being on his stand this morning. Even my cousin Rich stayed home today. It was basically an ugly day to be out and about.

I returned to Willard about noon and enjoyed a brisket salad at the Downtown Barbeque. Spent the rest of the afternoon updating some computer files for www.findagrave.com, BTR score sheets, and the family tree which by the way has 5240 names listed.

DAY SIX
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 16

My nose is still sore but looks better today than yesterday. Very sensitive to the touch.

I was susposed to return to work this morning but instead, will go in this evening to cover for one of my dispatchers that was needing the night off to recover from working a 16 hour shift a night or two ago. It wouldn't suprise me he is hunting today and sleeping in his deer stand at the same time.

I should go out but I have a few things around the house to tend to. Besides, its very cold outside this morning.

Turns out my dispatcher decided to work this evening after all. Thanks Josh T. He just saved me from pulling a double shift tonight. Oh well, I get to enjoy an unexpected extra vacation day today.

Lunch at Downtown Bar-B-Que again today. MMmmm good.

It's been a busy day at home. I don't know how many calls I've answered about BTR scoring questions to taxidermy services. This is about normal for the calls to start coming in like this. The next two weeks should be really busy dealing with regular and prospective customers.

Dad tagged a buck late in the day. Too bad he, Brad and I didn't do this all on the first day of season.


DAY SEVEN
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 17

No news to report for this day. I worked the midnight shift this morning and you guessed it...I slept the whole day. I have to go back in at 8 p.m. tonight and work a 12 hour shift. Can't say for sure if I will feel up to hunting in the morning but perhaps the afternoon. We'll see how that goes.

DAY EIGHT
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 18

I'm just about to complete a 12 hour shift. In 40 minutes, I'll drive out to Bass Pro...if I'm awake and check out their "game carts". If they're what I think they are, I'll bring one home and get it ready for my hunt tomorrow morning. I'd love to field test it with a big old deer tomorrow at the bottom of my ol' steep hill.

I'm screening all calls today as I plan to get some serious sleeping done.

DAY NINE
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 19

It was very chilly morning. It was a nice drive out to the country with all the frost on the ground. It was like snow in several places. Only gunshots heard were way off in the distance. Even then, they were very few shots. No turkeys to play with this morning. No deer either.

Today was our Thanksgiving Day at mom and dad's. It was a great lunch and everyone in our immediate family were present and enjoy the get together. Mom did it up right. The food was great with all the trimmings. After a great meal like that, there was no way I could go back out into the woods. I was stuffed and I could feel the aftermeal fatigue sneaking up on me.

I decided to head home for the day and get some rest. I got to bed about 4 p.m. and woke up at 6 p.m. thinking it was 6 a.m.! OH MY GOSH! I'M LATE! I thought. When I realized I had 10 more hours of sleep ahead of me before the alarm would sound...it felt SO GOOD!

DAY TEN
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20

I was up at 4 a.m. Didn't get in a big hurry this morning. Sort of tinkered around on the computer a little then I headed back out to Dad's. Again, the morning drive was very nice. The frost was like snow in the fields. It was a bone chilling 17 degrees.

It was so cold, I saw the neighbors dog stuck to a fire hydrant.

It was so cold, my thermometer was shivering.

It was so cold, I thought about just sitting in the SUV instead of going to the deer stand. We'll I braved the cold and stayed put until about 9:30 a.m. I had to come back to the SUV to warm up. My gut was growling too, I stayed put until about 11 then met Dad at Backwoods Restaurant in Greenfield for lunch.

Afterward, I made a stop at the Greenfield and Hays Cemeteries to document and photograph a few gravesites for www.findagrave.com.

Got back to the woods about 2 p.m. It wasn't so cold now. I had to take my coat off for awhile. About 2 hours later, my cell phone began ringing from the office. OH NO! What now? My phone wouldn't let me dial out nor would it let me answer calls due to the no service area I was in. But it SURE let me know I had calls.

Twilight is the magic hour and is an excellent time to be hunting. These are the best shooting hours. When it was too dark to hunt, I hiked back to the SUV and found that I was needed at the office. I worked until midnight. I'll have to cut my hunt short tomorrow and cover the evening shift again. No deer today. Doesn't appear I'll get to try out my new fangled game cart.


DAY ELEVEN
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21

Today is the last day of the regular firearms deer season in Missouri. It's been a long hunt but fun none the less. Dad and my brother Brad had seen several deer but not I. I saw only three the entire season not counting those harvested by others.

Usually I see a dozen deer or so before tagging out. I had my opportunity the first morning and blew it. I took a nice 8 pointer on the fourth day of season. The other deer I saw while driving home. It was a doe and someone must've spooked her as she came flying across a field and along side the road next to my SUV at highway speeds, she jumped back into a small patch of brush and disappeared, all in a flash.

Overall, I saw lots of wildlife especially the turkeys. Had it been hard times, my family wouldn't have gone hungry. We are blessed with abundant wildlife in our part of the country.

As mentioned in the previous day's blog, I was called in to the office. I didn't get home until about 2 this morning. I could've gone back out to hunt this morning but my vacation/hunt was called short on staff shortages. Yes, I have to go back this afternoon. Then back at 8 tomorrow morning. Rest is short.

My regular 2006 Missouri Firearms Season is now officially over...but stay tuned for PART 2 coming in December! YES! There is a second firearms season! No matter what happens from now on, the hunt continues throughout the year with camera, research, scouting, or maybe a quick weekend archery hunt.

Thanks to all that have taken time to read this journal. Hope you found it entertaining and informative. Thanks to Mom and Dad. I love you both.


JMc.
Whitetail Trophies of Missouri

2 Comments:

Blogger JB said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Sunday, November 12, 2006 3:17:00 PM  
Blogger JB said...

Jack, Sorry you missed your buck. He sounded like a good one. Gary got one Saturday AM about 10 and it was a buck. He said it had 4 points but some were broken off. If they hadn't been, it probably would have been a 6 point easy. Hope you have better luck today. And when getting ready to fire.....don't forget to BREATHE..BREATHE..BREATHE.....Don'twant you to pass out up there in that tree. You might break a limb or two coming down. Here's hoping for better hunting. JB

Sunday, November 12, 2006 3:19:00 PM  

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