Ahhhhh… the true beginning of fall… the Michigan Bow opener. Time to get back in the woods chasing the wonderfully elusive whitetail deer. When bow season ends on January 1st the only day that can bring relief to me is October 1st the bow opener. Just something about bow season that makes me happy. Even Yoop notices a difference in my attitude during the season. Life is good.
I know up to now the Diaries have mainly covered fishing. Well cause it has been summer. Not much to hunt around there during the summer. While fishing is cool and all… in a cheap beer is fine if its all ya have to drink kinda way its just not hunting. It beats sitting around all summer inside or at the mall for sure. There is just something about being in the woods with a bow or gun in hand. Like the great Fred Bear said “It’ll cleanse your soul.”
Well today was the day. The one great day of the fall… not the only one but still the day. I worked part of the night and made it home before sun up. A short time later I was getting my stuff ready and heard the Mud Machine chugging down the road. I finished what I was doing and still heard the Mud Machine coming. Mud had a new muffle put on it after the big fiasco of pawning off Murphy, but I think he got screwed by the shop.
As you know Mud is a morning person. One of those who gets up early and likes it. Personally I think those kind of people display another level of senility but hey what ever cranks your tractor. I expected Mud to be bright eyed, bushy tailed rip-roaring ready to go. He wasn’t.
I was working on about 20 hours awake, more than ready for bed. Mud said he could go back to sleep to. I quickly offered him the couch and to pay off Yoop to not tell anyone we didn’t go out. He chuckled. I am not sure if he realized I was serious.
We bundled up for the morning sit and set off. This morning brought the first frost of the fall for us. A nice frosty fall morning is just what the doctor ordered. The full moon in the clear sky was something a fool ordered. We walked down the road about 100 feet, turned left into the woods. I pointed Mud into the direction for him to sit and I set off for a tree west of him. As I sneaked through the woods I realized I had not seen Murph this morning. Actually I was thinking what fool would want a full moon on the opening weekend of bow season and his name came up but either way I was hoping he hadn’t gotten up early to beat us to the woods.
I located my little hole under the tree and sat up shop. I put on the string suit and waited for the glorious morning the lord would give us. We were out early. About 30 or 40 minutes before sun up. I sat quietly enjoying the crisp cold air. I checked the time and it was not yet legal hunting time so I relaxed and tried to see if any of the brown ones were around me. Not an easy task when you can barely see.
I was confident none were within about 5 feet in front of me but other than that I am not certain. As the sun rose in the horizon the day began. Just before legal shooting time I noticed the tell tale brown of a brown one about 40 yards in front of me. I concentrated on it and found it to really be one of the brown ones. Amazing an opening morning and I was in the brown ones before legal time. It was then I knew Murph must have slept in. Turns out not writing the bow opener on calendar worked. He forgot!
Anyway I have been fighting a chest cold and can barely go 5 minutes without hacking up a lung. I held out admirably well. But after about a hour of the cold air, I thought I was going to die holding in anymore. I slowly got up, packed up and made my way quietly to the house. I hoped Mud was seeing some brown ones and didn’t want to interfere with his hunt. I entered the clearing to the road, glanced to my right and saw Mud sitting about 80 yards away. I waved and left. I got back and told Yoop to get me up if Mud calls about shooting a deer and crashed into a sleepy bliss. I later found out Mud had followed me in and ate half the chili Yoop had made us, then left for base ops.
Midday consisted of sleep and doing normal things. After we picked up Monkey from school we packed up and went to base ops. Mud and I took the Mud Machine to the family land for an evening hunt. The corn had been picked since the previous hunt, all but two thin strips anyway. There were a bunch of tracks going where I had see the brown ones cross before and I suggested Mud go in there find a nice sit and wait.
I went further west and sat in the hardwood clearing. There are hickory, beech and oak trees all of which drop their tasty tree nuts for the deer. I have never seen the deer eat them though. I sneaked in and found a great spot that offered me hardly any shooting lanes. I chose it because the hickory tree was dropped a bunch of nuts. Almost seemed like there was a monkey in the tree throwing them down.
I quietly sat on my knees since Murph had hidden my seat from me before we left for base ops. I didn’t have time to look for it. No biggie. I am young and spry. Kneeling for a few hours is nothing. After a little while, I heard what sounded like a cougar climbing out of the hickory. I slowly grabbed my bow and waited to face the ultimate predator in North America. Then the tree rat revealed himself with a smile on his face. I think Murph had put him up to it before season. He sat about 5 feet away staring at me, laughing his little behind off. A short time later he wakled off still laughing.
Then some turkeys came by. There were five of them, at least. At only 20 yards they may have well been a mile away. The thick undergrowth hid them, offering only passing glimpses. But no sightings of the brown ones.
The warm evening air was easier on my lungs. I still had to squeak out a cough a few times, but it was not near as bad as the morning. A few minutes after an awesomely loud cough, I decided to give my old knees a break and stand up for awhile. I crawled out of the small area and stood near the hickory. I scanned the area and noticed a brown one. I looked again and it really was a brown one!
I put the binoculars to my eyes and looked again for the brown one. Couldn’t see it. I took them down and could see it. I then adjusted the focus of the binos and found the brown one. Feeding on the dropped nuts it was working away from me. I worked to reposition my legs to check the area for more brown ones and broke a twig under my foot.
I have been hunting and studied brown ones for nearly 20 years. Since I was knee high to a blade of grass. Yet one key thing had escaped me all those years, until now. If I only knew brown ones were draw to the sound of a breaking branch, I bet my kills would number into the hundreds. I am pretty mad right now at all those people who have told me to not step on sticks when hunting brown ones.
Anyway, at the sound of the twig breaking, the brown one turned, snorted and stomped. Then started feeding toward me. Awesome. Problem solved. Thinking back I bet all those who lied to be about stepping on sticks were doing so because they wanted the brown ones to themselves.
Something else I did not know is that the acorns taste better from trees to the west. Must be cause the brown one feed for about 20 yards toward me and then turned around and feed back. She didn’t think the ones to the east tasted as good. Who knew?
Well after the brown one fed out of sight no others were seen. All in all it was a great night. I saw a bunch of brown ones and had a great time. This was one of the best bow openers I have had! Still wondering how I went all day with out alerting Murph it was the opener. Then again I better shut up before he figures it out and comes with me tomorrow.
Until next time. Nimrod wishes you well. Shoot straight!