The way my work schedule's laid out, I more or less have a "heaven" week and then a "hell" week. I'll work five 12-hour shifts in seven days, then only work one 12-hour shift durin' the followin' seven day stretch. There's a smatterin' of milkin' shifts and bar shifts thrown into both of those scenarios which also make life interestin'. Regardless, I run myself into the ground with work for a week, then run myself into the ground chasin' adventures the next week. Hence, the reason you don't see nearly as much from me here as you used to. It was a helluva lot easier to keep this blog up when I made my livin' in front of a computer....
Anyway, November is purty much one of the best huntin' months of the entire year. The whitetail deer rut usually peaks in the first week, durin' the tail of our archery season. Then it's on to Bear Camp, our annual Thanksgivin' mornin' waterfowl hunt, then Deer Camp. Sprinkle in a mix of pheasants, rabbits, ducks and geese into the mix, and you got one helluva busy huntin' month. Work is merely a nuisance that keeps me outta the woods a few days a week.
Now that everyone's stopped readin', I'll get to the good stuff.
I had to work the Tuesday after Bowhunter's Weekend, and then I had two more days off before my "hell" week began. Since it was the final week of archery season, I planned to spend both days in a familiar stand at the farm.
Wednesday yielded plenty of deer, but no legal buck. I got to enjoy yet another beautiful sunrise, so not all was lost.
Thursday mornin' was about the same, although I had a very close encounter with a beautiful pair of red foxes that were eye-level with me at less than five yards. I did manage to unstring an arrow at one at about 20 yards, but wasn't able to anchor it. While I was down retrievin' that arrow, I decided to move my stand about 60 yards, which turned out to be a good plan.
On a side note, I was sittin' there for damn near three hours before I discovered my little brother's bow hook, forgotten in a tree less than five yards in front of my face. Seems Joe and I both thought this to be a purty good spot.
The rest of the mornin' passed uneventfully before a hellish sleet storm moved in. After sittin' through that for over an hour, the deer started to move. Before long, a nice buck ran a doe right under me, and I finally managed to get him stopped. He took the 100-grain muzzy right through the boiler room at 40 yards... it was a better shot than either of us deserved.
Between the cold and the adrenaline, I was shakin' uncontrollably, so I got myself outta the tree before I fell out. I found my arrow, and a short 60-yard track led me to a piled-up buck. With 90 minutes left in my archery season, I'd been blessed with a little bit of luck.
He's a young deer, but my best archery buck. He'll make for a very nice euro mount. I may even get froggy and try the power-washer method, as recommended by CenTexTim.
And, of course, the best part of gettin' a fat ol' deer is the obligitory tenderloin feast a few days later. Some folks are weird and put 'em in the freezer, but not me. Those delectable little morsels are usually enjoyed within 72 hours of the harvest. A little Old Bay seasonin', some pepper out of the grinder, and fried in butter beside some sauteed mushrooms and onions.... some damn good eatin' right there. Enjoy with a rum and coke for better appeal.
Durin' the gaps of the followin' hell week, I was able to get the buck cut up and in the freezer, so when I finally came up for air, it was time to go huntin' again.
Bear Camp, ready to do some chasin' with the gang. I damn near stepped on one durin' our first chase, but the mountain laurel was so doggone thick that I never was able to see the bear. I'd guess he was within seven yards when he busted out, so the ol' ticker was definitely tickin' for a few seconds. We had four good chases that day, but that was our only action. Those boys are a helluva lotta fun to hunt with, and although I only made it up for one day, I had a great time.
So, tomorrow mornin' will find the Ol' Man and us kids in a duck blind somewhere, as we do every Thanksgivin' mornin'. Then, Dad and Joe will be off to Deer Camp, with Jesse and I followin' the next weekend when doe season opens.
It sure is a busy time of year, but it's damn near the best time of year.