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in memoriam
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My first deer season opening day memory was waking up all excited like it was Christmas morning. The wait before we could go to the woods was horrible as there were cows to milk and other farm chores. I can still smell the wood smoke from moms cook stove and the old pot belly that kept the house warm. The gun I was given to deer hunt with was an old Ivers Johnson single shot 410 / 44 lug in one stamped on the single shot barrel along with 2 ½ inch shells, I was given 5 slugs for it. I remember breakfast was sausage patties most likely made from pigs we buchetered earlier that fall and fried eggs. The woods was a mile roughly down the road so dad drove the Ford station wagon we had at the time rather than the farm truck. Not being born to a hunting family I was not well versed in just how to hunt the deer only from old magazines and books did I have a clue. It was cold also and since the law said you had to wear red at the time I had a red hooded sweat shirt in Luo of a coat. I walked a lot doing what I thought was still hunting, none of the rags I had read said that still hunting was moving something like a mile a day instead of the 4 miles an hour I was covering. I was working my way up to the car to go home for dinner when a doe ran across the logging road I was on, following her was a buck with a nice rack about as nice as I have ever seen. I pull that old 410 up and fire at the buck which stopped I’m sure it was a total miss Break the gun and stuff a second slug in an fire again a miss again. My heart is racing hands shaking something awful I load in third shell fire and saw the head jerk and a blood spot appear in the neck as the buck charged off. Quickly load in number four and fire then number five and fire. All were misses I think and I am out of shells. I shaking badly half run half walk to the car and wait for dad. He arrives and I tell him about the buck, he gives me that adult your fibbing look and says we should get home for dinner. After dinner and a quick drive to buy more slugs for me we are back in the woods. I go back to where that buck was and find some blood and start to trail it. Wasn’t much blood but did track it to the beaver pond and never found a drop after that.
That was my first year memory.

Many years after were similar even after I got a city job as I hunted dads woods.
After I bought the UP deer camp property things changed up. Normally would start the day before season very early in the morning anywhere from 3:00PM to 5:00PM depending how long I had to work the morning of the 14th. I would drive to Ricks house where we would load his gear up He would drive so I could sleep. Ya right I hadn’t seen him in a year so we talked about the past year and our past hunting trips.
Once at the property it was usually day lite after the 6 ½ hour drive. We would start with one of us getting a fire going in our wood furnace while the other started unloading gear. Once the gear was unloaded and fire going for heat it was time to install the pump on the well and pump water to make coffee in the big 30 cup urn. By that time it was close to lunch so one of us would fix some thing or we made sandwiches. After lunch we would go check out the blinds and open the windows on the closed up ones to air out the musty smell. Once that was done we would walk to different area we might or might not hunt while we were there, depended on sign. In the evening we would usually drive to Gladstone, Escanaba go to a restaurant to have supper then to a grocery store to stock up on things we didn’t bring like catsup, mustard, coffee, butter, dry beans and burger to make chili with and fill the 50 gallon barrel with fuel for the generator. Once that was finished we would head back to the camp lay out our clothing for the morning make up the coffee urn to make coffee in the morning then we would go to bed. Needless to say after being awake for more than 24 hours I slept very well. In the morning I would get up go full the generator with fuel and start it, Then I would go in the shed to light the heater in there so it would be toasty warm when we were getting dressed to go out. Mean while Rick had gotten up and put fire wood in the furnace and opened it up a bit to warm the cabin as well as reheat the coffee left from the night before. I would then set down at the table to cut up a loaf of homemade bread we had brought that Ricks wife had made. Rick would be at the range with his griddle frying eggs & bacon or sausage and sometimes ham. Once I got the bread sliced I would fill the thermoses with coffee and pour us some fresh stuff. We made sandwiched to carry afield with us for lunch or if we came back to the cabin it was get a bowl of bean soup off the wood burner or chili we had made the night before. It was my job to make supper, much was as easy as thawing the stuff made at home and froze in baggies and warm it, Latter I had gotten a bigger generator so we had a micro wave for me to do that. Since Rick passed away I stay home to hunt. I tried it for 3 days with 3 slugs from the sportsman club I belonged to. I got tired of them dong noting unless asked or told to. I called my wife and told her to call me home on a emergency. Tried it one year all alone. was OK but not the same with out Rick.

I wake up in the morning opening day and make my breakfast, coffee no longer done as I how drink tea so make it sort of like coffee in a percolator. I fill a thermos with it and lace it heavy with honey. Then it is out the back door to one of the four blinds I built on my place and am in the process of doing a fifth one now.


:D Al
 

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Lovin' the Country Life
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507 Posts
My most memorable opening day was my first ever. As a 47 year old woman, I had already told my sons (18 & 15 at the time) that I was going to be a fair weather hunter. No cold mornings, no rain….you get the picture. The house that morning was full of 4 teenage boys, my DH, myself and DH’s friend. Stars were out, still as we walked to our stands, but rain was coming in that morning.

We all got to our stands and about the time the sun rose over the horizon, the rain started. Not a light sprinkle, but an all out deluge. For the next 3 hours I sat in the rain (about an inch worth) keeping company with a small doe, bedded down, just behind me to at least hold my interest. Each of three boys got a buck that morning. Everyone got soaked wherever they had gear that wasn’t waterproof.

We came in for breakfast/lunch and the rain eventually quit. Dried out and several of us went back out for the evening hunt. Since I was new, I got the ground blind in “the honey hole”. Sat there scanning and scanning and just as it was almost too late to see, a deer appeared at the fence line and jumped over. Lost it in the scrub on our side of the fence, but as it appeared on the other side of the scrub in the grass I saw it was a buck. Just barely, but legal. Using my Dad’s .243 he had given me when I started hunting the year before, I shot and prayed I had hit him. He ran off and I sat and waited like my sons had said to do. 15 minutes later, it was pretty dark and I walked to the path I had seen the deer run up. There he lay on the ground. Not a pretty deer, with one antler broken totally off and the other broken off about 4” from the skull, but my first buck ever and my first opening day.

We never did get a picture of the deer, it was so NOT a first buck to picture, but I did have fun telling everyone I shot a 10 pointer that had all the antlers broken off, since no one could dispute how many points it really had. Finally got a buck worth taking a picture with a few years after that.

The boys now are away from home and my DH and I hunt together. It’s a great family tradition that I’m glad to be able to be a part of.
 

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My first buck , well actually first deer also , my dad hadn't been able to get off work friday to drive up so we drove up in the dark Saturday morning left about 2 am but didn't get in the woods till nearly 8 , it was fairly warm weather about 40 and in a rush to get in the woods I just grabbed my orange coat , gun and shells , still wearing t shirt and jeans actually kind of my school cloths and not hunting or work cloths but the weather was decent , not much of the family made it that year it was my aunt uncle my dad and I well we were driving an aread just the 4 of us , and my aunt was driving to me , it was dry and warm in the sun leaves making a terrific noise and I hear something coming in the leaves , then I see it a doe being chased by a buck running right at me by the time I raise my gun they have closed the 30-40 yards from where I could fist see them to 10-15 just as they saw me and turned I fired and the buck was down right there
I was 16 , for my birthday and Christmas the next year dad had that buck mounted , and he is looking right at you when you walk in the front door of my house

I have shot more since none quite as big but several very close
 

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If I need a Shelter
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First time I went Firearms Season was with my Former Father in Law. We went to a Shack in middle of no where, Guy was living with a Black woman, this was the first Black I had ever seen. She was cooking up some Deer meat from a Deer they had caught in a Snare the night before.

He told us how to get to one area, thing is we was in a Car no way in there. We decided to do a Drive. I had an old 303 British. They had me one of the drivers, well the whole bunch took off left me I got lost, came to a Cabin where my Brother in Laws found me. Went to another area, was setting there, here comes a kid riding a Dirt Bike through the brush, no Shoes, he was looking for some Hogs that got out. We went by his House which was a Tar Paper Shack.

This was back in early '70's.

big rockpile
 

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The first time I went deer hunting was with my uncle Bob and his friends. I was 16 and got lost, but had a great time. For several decades I continued to have a great time and mostly get lost. I've been lost in the mountains and I've been lost in the swamps. Got lost in some woods I know like the back of my hand, (it was snowing that hard). I've shot a few deer while being lost and developed incredible survival skills. I now teach hunter training and always tell the class that if you are out in the woods and find me, you're screwed.
 
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