2nd Deer Hunt

My brother in law called a week ago last Tuesday and said the bucks were rutting.  I would have left on Wednesday but I was needed at work on Friday as everyone else would be gone.  Good thing I stayed, too, as a teacher needed a last minute permit for her class.   I headed down on Saturday.  When I got to town, I got my gun, tightened all the scope mounting bolts, and went to the range.  The gun had been off when we left a week earlier, and although I’d sighted it in then, I thought I’d better check the mount fasteners for tightness.  I do alot of falling, stumbling and climbing and tough on my guns.  Sure enough, many of the fasteners were somewhat loose.  When I sighted in, the first few shots were well off – likely from the fastener tightening, I figured.  After 3 or 4 shots, I dialed the gun into the bullseye.   We headed out hunting on Sunday.  We saw a buck, a doe and what looked like a yearling right away on the beach.  They let me off the boat on a point about 100 yards from the deer.  The doe and yearling approached each other, and both reared up on their hind legs and tried to hoof each other with their front legs.  I was in the woods watching the action, waiting for a chance to move closer.  Then the doe headed into the woods and the buck was quickly following.  I found the nearest tree for a rest, got the buck in the cross hairs, and fired.  He took a few steps towards the  woods then turned towards the beach and went down right next to the water. We weren’t going to starve for deer this winter. And good thing I’d sighted in the day before. I dressed the deer on the beach and loaded it in the boat. Brian asked my sister in law and I if we wanted to hunt in the woods or from the boat.  We both thought boat hunting looked pretty good so we stayed on board.  As the tide worked through high tide, we saw no deer and the wind was howling and the rain pouring down.  We were having second thoughts mid-day on not going into the woods as we were cold and trying to keep our extremeties warm on the boat in the cold and wet.   We finally started seeing deer as the tide receded.  The weather broke, too. We saw a lone deer in the far corner of a little beach.  We could not tell it was a buck until we were right up to it, and it walked into the woods.  We got off and tried to call it back but no luck.  We saw another deer a short while later.  I was looking through the binoculars at the doe I thought they’d seen when they said “it’s a buck”.  I said “that deer?  looks like a doe to me”.  Then I pulled my eyes away from the binocs to see a nice buck coming out on the beach near the doe.  We got that deer, and as it was a rocky beach, they left me off with a little boat to dress the deer and then bring it back out in the punt.  As I dressed the deer, they continued to work the bay for more deer.   On the other side of the bay, I heard the boat stop.  Then a short while later, here comes the boat back to me.  A few seconds later, I hear a shot.  I didn’t put it altogether until I realized Brian had left his wife off, and she found the deer in the woods they’d seen on the beach and shot as Brian was coming over to get me.  He thought she’d missed getting them on the beach so was glad to hear I’d heard a shot when he got to me as he had not heard it with the loud 2 stroke engine running the boat.  I rowed out to him with the deer, then we went where his wife was on the beach with her deer.  She’d missed a bigger deer on the beach, but got this one in the woods when she called the doe back.  She said there was a second buck in there, too, but she couldn’t get a shot at it.  So, we got four beach bucks that afternoon.  And two of the three we didn’t get looked to be bigger than the four we got, but they always do.  We now had plenty of for our freezer and for Paul.   We got home near dark, got the deer hung, and the hides off.  The next day, Ellen had to work.   Brian had taken some moose they’d got earlier in the fall out of the freezer to grind for burger.  He also had a deer already hanging in the shop.  So he and I went to work and butchered all 5 deer on Monday.  When Ellen got home, she started in on grinding burger from moose and deer.  I was happily satisfied to vacuum pack the last of the deer, label it, and get it into the freezer. On Wednesday, Brian wanted to take his four wheeler down to his trapping location to be ready for opening day on Dec 1.  He called his brother and another friend, who wanted to get dropped off on the way down to deer hunt, and we’d picked them up later in the day, as it was a couple hour boat run to his trapping spot.  Of course Brian and I beach hunted on the way down after dropping off the other two.  It was high tide – and a high high tide at that, and we didn’t see any deer on the way down.  We droppped the four wheeler off, talked to the watchman tending a dormant floating logging camp, and then headed back. The tide was beginning to fall.  We sighted some deer.  A doe and a yearling.  As we drifted to the beach, both of them turned their backs to us, seemingly oblivious to our presence.  Sometimes I think the deer just don’t sense that danger can come from the water when they are on the beach.  Both deer were standing with their backs with us looking into the woods with us not 20 yards off shore.  I saw some movement behind the yearling in the woods.  And here comes Mr. Buck.  As he took chase to the doe, we thought he’d follow her back into the woods before we could get out and get a shot.  Brian whistled a few times and the buck finally stopped and looked back.  Brian dropped him neatly with a neck shot.  Since it was cool outside and getting dark, we loaded the deer whole in the boat to dress later and continued hunting.  The next deer we saw was a doe.  And there was Mr. Buck between a couple logs, tending her.  I slung my rifle over my shoulder and as I climbed around to get onto the bow to get off, I banged my muzzle into the aluminum  roof overhang of the wheelhouse.  The deer did not like that, and went into the woods and did not come back.  Again, this buck looked bigger than the one on the boat, but they always do.  We worked along the beaches again, and saw one more pair of deer.  This buck I got.  These deer seemed to be very large bodied for the size of their racks and Brian said the island on which we’d harvested them were larger than the islands further north.  We loaded this deer whole, too, as sunlight was really failing now. We picked up Brian’s brother, who’d run into a canyon and had to do lots of back tracking and not much hunting.  Plus we were late and he was cold and about ready to start a fire.  We’d got my deer just before coming around a point to get him and he had not heard my shot.  Funny how sound can travel like that. We still had a good run to pick up the other hunter.  When we got to him, he did not have a deer but had a story to tell.  He said he’d heard at least 4 wolves howling not far from the landing where we were picking him up on his four wheeler.  He said if it got dark and we didn’t come he was going to point his fourwheeler with his back to the water and shoot any pairs of eyes in his headlights if the wolves came down for him.  We loaded him and his fourwheeler onto the boat and headed home.  We dressed the two deer on the way home and tossed the entrails over the side.   The guy on the four wheeler had not got any deer in yet for the season and the season was getting late.  We gave him both the deer and boy howdy was he happy to get them.  He, too, now knew he and his wife would have meat in the freezer this fall and you could see his contentment. Sara came in on Wednesday evening, and she helped here sister butcher some deer back bones, ribs and a neck.  On Thursday, Ellen and I went to a spot she wanted to try from the road.  We hunted the morning along a river flat that abutted a big hill.  They’d seen deer there a few weeks earlier, but now it had a layer of crunchy snow and it was cold that morning.  We hiked around for a few hours without calling in any deer.  We were both cold and it just didn’t look like any deer were around so we headed home.   Brian and I  started work on our lot down the road from their house when I got back.  We bought a container home from Wisconsin, and so needed to level a spot on our lot for it to go.  I told Sara where I thought it should go, and she agreed.  Brian had suggestions for considering other places on the 2 adjoining lots we owned, but in the end, we put it where I thought would work best.  Brian is a master constructor.  With all the necessary tools, including an excavator and dump truck.  We got started by excavating for a couple hours and piling up dirt until dark, then had a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner with the two we’d hunted with on Tue and their families, plus many others.  On Friday, we worked all day, with Brian running the excavator, filling the dump truck, and me dumping the loads to fill another spot on our lot.  Brian had to give me lots and lots of instruction.  First, on how to run the truck, and then on where and how to dump it.  He was very patient with me.  On Friday night, it started to rain.  And blow.  We returned to the site and Brian said it was a no go as if he tried to work it now it would turn to muck.  The forecast was for rain for at least a week.  Sara was leaving later in the day.  As trapping season opened on December 1, I decided to leave with her so Brian could get ready for trapping and we likely wouldn’t be able to do much for awhile until the site drained out and firmed up.  I hustled up to lube and put away my gun and clothes at their house, and pack up my tools and get them in the box and into the truck.  I drilled a couple holes in the truck bed so it would not continue to collect water.  By 130 I was about ready and we left at 2 for the airport.  I’ll head down again after trapping is over to get the lot the rest of the way ready.  Hopefully, I can help Brian skin marten then, too. I also found a .243 Savage youth rifle on sale at Dicks Sporting Goods so called the store in my brother’s town in Virginia to see if they had any left.  They did!  But only for 3 more minutes when the sale ended at 2 pm their time.  The clerk said they could honor the sale as I called before it ended and my brother picked it up a few hours later.  It should be a good gun for my nephew John and any other of them that want to come up to deer hunt. 

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