I don’t know if it’s a right of fall in any other state, but Michigan gets crazy with hunting fever in the days leading up to November 15. I remember being sick to my stomach in anticipation of skipping school. I mean anticipation of going deer hunting.
I have so many great memories of walking through the woods, or sitting on a stump, wiggling toes frozen solid while my boots were the only thing keeping them from falling off. Freezing is just part of the fun. If you’re not in danger of frostbite, you’re not really hunting. Polar pain is part of it.
The silence in the woods is deafening. It’s amazing how much a mouse moving through dried leaves sounds like an elephant stampede.
It was incredible how long I could go without breathing. Fifteen, maybe twenty minutes, when I could see a deer carefully creeping away from me, I didn’t take a breath.
I went hunting with a couple of guys way up north to a little town called Vanderbilt, Michigan. They had a trailer out in the middle of nowhere and were sure I could bag a big buck. I sat motionless on a log, holding my breath, when I heard a huge splash. I turned, expecting to see my huge rack of antlers approaching, only to discover a beaver had discovered my hiding place and slapped his tail on the water to warn his beaver buddies.
That was a fun trip. The food they had in the camper was the best part. I never saw a deer. I did, however, have an intestinal attack in the woods. There was no waiting, so I peeled down seven layers of pants, backed up against a tree, and did my best not to unload in my drawers. I was lucky enough to find a small wad of toilet paper stuffed deep in a pocket. I almost couldn’t reach around the pile of pants.
I was excited to take my three boys hunting when the were old enough. On their first couple trips to the woods they carried BB guns, just like I did. When they were old enough to actually carry a firearm, two had 410s, one had a 20 gauge.
Two of the boys were a little less serious about actually hunting and more into fun. I put them in a blind together and took their brother with me to another spot. They started a fire in a coffee can, filling the blind with smoke. Unfortunately, none of the boys ever had a real chance to get a deer.
Around our little town, I see pictures of huge bucks kids have taken. I never saw a rack in the woods like the ones I see in photos.
Good luck, and safe hunting, to everyone hitting the woods today!