The last two weeks of deer hunting, which ended on Saturday, is limited to muzzleloaders. Bob Humphrey, on December 1 in the Sunday Telegram, offered a lot of interesting information and advice to muzzleloaders.
But one thing in Bob’s column surprised me. Bob wrote, “While I appreciate it, I’ve never been a big fan of muzzleloader season, mostly because my participation means I was unable to fill my tag during the regular firearms season.” He did add, “It’s also different, but I appreciate at least having the opportunity.”
My friend, Ed Pineau, and I loved the muzzleloading season. We would pass up deer during the regular season so we could take one while muzzleloading. And we had a lot of good luck while muzzleloading.
There’s a lot to like about the muzzleloading season. There are a lot fewer hunters, so we would have our favorite places all to ourselves. That made it easier to focus on a big buck and I got some nice bucks during that season. We often had tracking snow, which made finding deer easier.
I have written my favorite muzzleloading story before, but I’ll share it with you again here.
I always liked hunting in the snow, because you could easily track deer. One day when I was supposed to hunt in Wayne with my friend Ed Pineau, we were experiencing a blizzard, so Ed was not able to drive out and join me.
Despite the blizzard I really wanted to hunt so I slowly made my way to Wayne and parked alongside the road. This was a place that Ed had introduced me to earlier in the season and there were a lot of deer there.
The first deer I ever saw there was a buck chasing a doe across a bog. It was quite a long distance away but I took a shot at the buck anyways, without luck. When Ed heard me shoot he came over and I pointed across the bog where the buck was running. Ed was astonished because it was about 300 yards away!
The day of the blizzard I hiked into the woodlot and sat on a stonewall, and about 20 minutes later eight deer walked by me. I never really had a chance to shoot one, but they were headed into the backyard of a house that was up behind me, so I turned around on the stone wall and hoped they would come back my way.
About 20 minutes later I saw a doe doing just that and when it got to about 30 yards away I shot it. Snow was coming down hard, so I hiked out to my vehicle to leave my gun before I walked back and hauled out the deer.
When I got to the highway a state trooper was there. He thought someone had broken down. But when I told him I had just shot a deer, he actually offered to hike back with me and help me drag the deer out.
I thanked him and assured him that the deer wasn’t that big and I could haul it out myself. Which I did, and then drove a half-mile to the Wayne store to register it. They were pretty surprised that anyone was out hunting in that blizzard.