We are 8 days away from the end of the Michigan deer season. Where the heck did it go? We worked hard all spring and summer only for the fall to go flying by. If you have been following my blog the past month, you have read about my stories and encounters. I have had a great fall and really couldn’t be happier. I have had many encounters with decent 2.5-year-old bucks and a 3.5 year old. However, the rut is now over and I have been looking for does to put meat in the freezer.
This weather has made December hunting extremely rough. I have felt like I have been hunting in October. Two weeks ago, I hunted our cottage for 4 days and never seen a deer. I was sweating most of the time just getting to the stand. I did however do some more scouting for the next year.
In late November my parents won 2 days of permission to hunt 160 acres from an auction. I have a really hard time going somewhere to hunt where I have not scouted hard. Its especially hard during December after the land has been hunted all season. I ended up doing some scouting on google map and picked some funnels and possibly bedding areas out. Then I quickly went for a scouting trip on the 16th. Nothing really looked great but I had to give it ago. Luckily for me, I had access to all their stands. There just so happened to be 3 stands where I wanted to hunt.
On Friday December 18th, we had the first crappy cold front come through. This front brought snow, wind and of coarse, freezing cold weather. I ended up going for the morning hunt which was a mistake. I sat in a stand over looking a cattail marsh with two ponds to the north. This was a test of mind versus body. I was freezing cold the whole day. The hand warmers I had must have been from last year and gave little to no heat. As of 2 PM I still had not seen a deer. I really thought about moving stands in the middle of the day but ended up staying. At sunset the snow started coming down hard. Around the prime time between dark and light something caught the corner of my eye at around 40 yards. I couldn’t believe; it was a deer. The deer walked into the scope and I pulled the trigger. The gun went off but the deer didn’t flinch and kept walking. Somehow I missed? I quickly reloaded as quietly as I could. I couldn’t believe I was going to get another opportunity at this deer after all the movement and noise. I put the scope on the deer and had a quartering away shot. I pulled the trigger and heard a pop. I couldn’t believe it! I quickly switched out primers. I put the scope on the deer again and shot. This time the gun went off and the deer took off. I was confident with the shot.
After 20 minutes of waiting I went to look for blood. The snow was really coming down. I quickly found where it was running which lead to some drops of blood and eventually major blood lost and white deer insides missing. I was sure he was going to be dead near by. After 150 yards of blood I started to think about backing out. I then came up on a hill and ended up coming across a deer looking right at me with its green glowing eyes.
With several years of tracking my gut told me to back out of there and come back later. The weather had stopped for the night so blood lost would be a minimum. Cars were moving slow and some were in the ditch. I was thinking about coming back a few hours later but the roads were the worse I had ever seen. I decided to wait till the morning.
After our coffee on Saturday morning, my dad and I headed back out there.
We went right to where I last seen the deer. It was gone but I had major blood lost. However, we couldn’t find which way the deer went. We started to walk down trails and eventually the river. Then we found some more random blood. The deer had started walking back towards where I had shot it. We had drops of blood which were becoming hard to find. My dad started searching 10 yards off the river while I walked the river edge. Eventually I walked right up on the deer.
It was a major relief after loosing blood several times. To my disappointment it ended up being a shedded out buck. I was happy to put more meat in the freezer though.
After my dad and I dragged the deer back to the truck I took off for the afternoon hunt. I ended up picking out a spot with lots of acorns next to a swamp and tons of cattails. My wind was going into the acorns far away from the bedding areas. It was another super cold day with no snow but very windy. It felt like a quick hunt and the sun started to fade.
With the thought of shooting another deer slowly fading as the sun hit the horizon I heard some crunching. After being tricked all year by squirrels I just quickly glanced over my shoulder. I couldn’t believe it when I seen a buck. I quickly but quietly got ready. I put the gun between the tree and the buck walked into my scope. I had a perfect broad-side shot. I pulled the trigger and the gun went pop with absolutely no recoil. The deer bounded off with his tail up with no sign of a hit. Yup, my muzzle loader screwed up again. To say I was mad was an understatement. I couldn’t believe that this was the first time I ever had a decent buck with a gun during December muzzle loading season and my gun screwed up. I really don’t understand why this keeps happening because I am doing everything possible to make sure it fires all the time. That is a whole different rant for another day though.
Minus the gun issues, I had one of the best seasons of my life. My patients to wait and sit in my number one stands really paid off this year. I also only hunted cold fronts to make for the best sits possible during the month of November. I may have not shot a big buck but all those things above really helped my sits turn into quality opportunities. I really wanted to throw in the towel after last weeks sits of no deer. My persistence kept me going and helped me put meat in the freezer which is so important to me and my family. After it looking like this would be the first year in eight year of not shooting a deer, it finally all came together and the freezer is full of meat. I also had one of the best weeks of my deer hunting life. I still have one more sit on that property but I hope to go out in the worse possible weather to try and make it happen. We will wait to see if that happens with this crazy December weather. I can’t thank God enough for helping me make it all happen. This season really tested me with many highs and lows. That is why I do it though! It will go down as one I will not forget anytime soon. I really look forward to the future and plan on putting a lot of attention towards hunting public land next fall.
Good Luck to anyone who still has a tag left. Hopefully it all comes together for you. Remember to spend your holidays with your family and friends. Even though deer hunting is our passion, our family and friends should be number one this time of the year.
I will try to write another blog this week but it may not happen with the holidays. I will defiantly have one ready for the following Monday. Merry Christmas everyone!
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