Friday, November 14, 2008

2008 Firearms Deer Season Chronicles

DAY ONE, Saturday, November 15

The 2008 Missouri Firearms Deer Season is finally here. I got off work at midnight only to go home and finish packing the SUV. I got about two hours sleep before leaving the house enroute to my "deer hunt'n stand".

I arrived at 0500 and parked in my usual spot. I sat for a little while in total darkness trying to give my eyesight time to adjust. I just changed XM channels on the satellite radio from "Willy's Place" to "Old Time Radio Classics". As my luck would have it, the program airing was like "Inner Sanctum" or a similar program. I didn't stay on the channel long enough to find out the name of the program and here's why.

At first, the story was interesting. In the background, was the sound of blowing wind, kind of like the blowing wind where I was. Factor in the wind gusts rocking my SUV with leaves falling and weeds brushing the sides of the vehicle, it added a bit of realism to the story. Along with the howling wind there was thunder in the background. The narrator, in a monotone voice, was carefully setting up the story. He paused, with a long silence, as the wind continued to blow and the sound of a squeeking door nearby. I thought to myself, "Oh man, this is gonna to be good". THEN I HEAR a slow but gruffy demonic whisper give the order, "Get out... GET OUUUUT!".

YIKES! The hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Chills went down my spine! OH MAN, HECK NO, NOT NOW! I AIN'T GET'N OUT!

I quickly turned the radio off. I wasn't about to leave the safety of my vehicle especially with it so stinking dark outside. I could visualize an erie looking creature peering over the hood of my rig! Last thing I wanted to happen was some tree limb, stick or object accidently hit the back of my leg while quietly sneaking to my stand. Had that happened, I would've screamed like a little girl. That was a radio program I should never have tried to listen to. I'm really not afraid of the dark, not like I was as a kid. A chilling story like that brought back a few interesting memories of late night trips to the outhouse armed with only a weak flashlight or candle. I don't know of any person who has never checked for what was hiding in that deep dark hole before parking it, if you know wut I mean. It's a miracle I didn't hang myself on momma's clothesline while "flat footin' it" back to the house. I was one happy camper when we modernized our facilities at home.

The temperature was 36 degrees. It was very windy. The windchill had to have been about 25 or so. The cloud cover was so heavy, the moon light couldn't penetrate the clouds. It was about as dark, as dark can get. The SUV was comfortable and I sort of dreaded getting out into the cold air. I left the safety of my vehicle and quietly walked to my stand and set up all my gear. The wind was blowing pretty hard in all directions. Thankfully there was no thunder or creepy voices but only those in my head trying to convince myself that all was fine and I was in the woods safe and all ALONE...without a flashlight.

I heard a few vehicles going up and down the road before daylight. Didn't hear the first gunshot until about 0700. Most of those were off in the distance. Two does came into my view about 150 yards away at 0746. I placed the crosshairs on them and released the safety of my Remington 30.06 rifle. I could see both deer were interested in what was behind them. Well, I was too, so I put the safety back on and waited...and waited...and waited. The big boy didn't come out.

About 0930, I finally froze out and made my way back up the steep hill to the SUV to warm up. I drove to Greenfield and met my dad and brother for lunch at the Backwoods Restaurant. They had a dry run as well. After lunch, I returned home for an hour nap and now, I'm back at the office covering for an employee on funeral leave. At midnight, I'll go home for a three hour nap then start the day all over again.

DAY TWO, Sunday, November 16

It was 26 degrees this morning when I left the house. No wind and the sky was clear. The moon was straight above and very bright. Again, I tuned in to XM radio's "Old Time Radio Classics". It was an entertaining Jack Benny comedy instead of a spooky program like yesterday.

I got to my stand at 0515 and quickly settled in. The stars were bright. It was actually a very tranquil setting, a perfect morning to hunt. The trees cast their distinct shadows on the ground and I was quietly sitting in their shade from the bright moonlight. I could easily see the next hillside. There were two other hunters nearby. The area could use more hunters to get the deer moving but I actually prefer less hunters. Having less hunters doesn't interfer with the deer patterns as much. There weren't as many vehicles running up and down the road either.

I saw one doe around 0900. She was about 150 yards away. The shot would not have been a good clean one as she was standing in tall weeds. All I could see was her head and neck and very little of the top half of her body with an ocassional flicker of her tail. She moved out of sight. I stayed on stand until about 0945 then decided to head to the SUV to warm up. I heard several gunshots to the west in the distance. Nothing really close to me.

My Dad and brother had a dry run too. At least, I was seeing deer. Not as many as I would like but just enough to keep me encouraged.

After lunch at the Backwoods Restaurant in Greenfield, I returned home for an hour nap before going to the office. I've had about 8 hours of sleep over the last three and a half days.

One note of interest, today marks my 30th anniversary at MSU. It's a milestone I thought I would never see. WHEW! I'm eligible to retire now, but I'm holding out for my maximum backdrop in about 4 more years. It will be a LONG 4 years.

DAY THREE, Monday, November 17

I normally don't miss hunting on the third day of a deer hunt. I've taken several deer on a Monday after opening weekend. But this time, due to lack of sufficent sleep, I decided to sit this one out. Got up around 0840 feeling rested and made a little road trip to Aurora to take care of an errand. Made it back to Springfield just in time for a training session on campus.

The day concluded with supper at the Golden Corral and a little more rest before going to the office at midnight again. My office has been understaffed since June and working some of all three shifts has been pretty hard on me. The hiring process on campus is extremely slow and with a lot of hoops to jump through. It'll be nice to get back to normal. Hmmm...what is normal? I'm so far behind.

I'll hit the woods tomorrow after work and plan to hunt till dark if necessary. As for my luck lately, it will be necessary. :)

DAY FOUR, Tuesday, November 18

Well, today was a non-eventful day to say the least. What shall I say? It was a long night at the office. Fought sleep very hard but managed to survive. Once I left at 0800, I made a second road trip to Aurora to finish some personal business.

While enroute to my hunting area, I stopped at the Backwoods Restaurant in Greenfield for a bite to eat. I enjoyed their chicken basket meal with fries and cole slaw. It's funny, but every time I order that meal, it comes on a plate. I've yet to see the basket. Pretty good stuff even though it was fried. It hit the spot.

I arrived at my deer stand about 1115 and stayed until it was too dark to shoot. I remain deerless. I sort of accidently fell asleep for a couple of hours or so. I wonder how many bucks I grunted up with my snoring? I have yet to confess that I snore but will admit that I do "purr" on occasion. I'm not really convinced that I snore but my ex would argue that point to her death. I'm sure a few of my Buckmasters Colleagues would agree with her as well. We sometimes share rooms while working outdoor shows and scoring events together. Anyway, it was cold today but the warm sun on my back made it too irresistible not to take advantage of nap time.

I saw one deer cross the road while driving home. She was doing the "boot scoot'n boogie" as she went from one side of the highway to the other. She cleared the ditch and fence as if they weren't there.

DAY FIVE, Wednesday, November 19

It may be another long night at the office. Nothing going on campus as I write this segment. No activity in buildings or parking lots on the surveillance cameras. I probably won't be able to hunt any today because once I leave at 0800, I have a training session to attend until noon or so. I might be able to get a couple hours of hunting in but I'll know more at noon today.

I attended the morning training session as planned but I had to stop by the office to help with a couple of small projects. Had lunch at Mexican Villa then returned home but too late to make the drive to my deer stand.

DAY SIX, Thursday, November 20

Well, I had an ALL DAY training session for Communications Training Officers (CTO) today. I obviously didn't get to hunt again. It was a good session. I won a nice wooden ink pen yesterday and a nice metal drinking mug today, both for being in this industry longer than anyone that attended the classes. I wonder what I'll win tomorrow?

DAY SEVEN, Friday, November 21

In training again today. I'll go to work at midnight tonight then hunt Saturday, Sunday and Monday...maybe. This is one of those days it was best to stay home and not be out in the weather. It was a teeth chatter'n 16 degrees! Windchill around zero!

I completed my Public Safety Group CTO Training and passed with flying colors! I walked away with some really great ideas to implement in our communications training program for RCO applicants.

DAY EIGHT, Saturday, November 22

It was 26 degrees when I left work at 0800. Went home for a couple hours of sleep before going out to the woods. At 1400, when I woke up (hello two hours), I drove out to my stand and stayed until dark. No deer sightings. I stopped by my folks before heading home and had supper with them. Enjoyed a great fish dinner with potatoes.

DAY NINE, Sunday, November 23

I slightly overslept this morning. I saw a huge doe standing along side the road this morning. I turned around to see her again but she was gone. I was on stand by 0600 and it was just getting light enough to see to shoot almost. The temperature was 23 degrees. No wind which was really nice. I settled in and was comfortable until about 0930. By the time I came back to the SUV, I was shivering to the bone. I started the vehicle and warmed right up.

I drove to Greenfield at 1100 and enjoyed the Sunday buffet at the Backwoods Restaurant. I love their fried chicken. Its always crispy and as good as good can be. This time, they also had BBQ chicken wings! Mmmmmm. I left a happy camper.

I returned to my deer stand after a brief nap at Dad's. He was napping too. I usually see a bald eagle or two when I'm hunting here. This year, I haven't seen them. In fact, I've not seen any turkeys. Our last ice storm may have thinned our flocks considerably. One hunter in our area said he saw 10 birds a couple days ago.

I finished my hunt about 1500. I needed to go home and dress the 2nd degree burns on my left wrist again. It's about an inch wide from my watch toward the base of the thumb about 4 inches then a very narrow strip along the thumb to the tip. The blisters finally burst and the exposed skin underneath was screaming with pain. How did this happen? A couple days ago, I was cooking and somehow I branded my stupid self with a hot skillet. It didn't take me long to figure out "sump'n was wong". I immediately run cold water over the burn area.

DAY TEN, Monday, November 24

This was the last day of the regular firearms deer season. It was a little more active than the previous nine days. I not only heard hundreds of geese flying overhead, but I saw a coyote and a furry medium sized bobcat. Also, around 0730, I was closely watching my crossing very intently. The sun and clouds were trading off and on as well, when suddenly a doe seemed to magically appear in the scenery. I never saw it walk out into the open. I actually didn't see it until it raised its head from the ground. The moment took me by surprise. As quickly as she appeared, she suddenly diappeared. A second doe but smaller came on across and it too vanished into the woods.

I drove to town for lunch and finally observed a bald eagle on the ground at the edge of small pond. It caught something and was covering it with its massive wings. After lunch at the Backwoods again, I returned to the stand only to close the season without filling my two deer tags.

My next chance will be in the muzzleloader season which begins the day after Thanksgiving. I'll get to hunt that weekend and I'll be back on the same spot. Of course, I'll keep everyone updated and hopefully I'll have more photos to publish. So stay tuned!

A Letter To My Bank

Dear Sirs,

In view of what seems to be happening internationally
with banks at the moment, I was wondering if you could
advise me. If one of my checks is returned marked
"insufficient funds", how do I know whether that refers to
me or to you?

Concerned Customer