This is my third column of deer hunting stories posted each Friday. 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.
One year we had a lot of snow the night before, but I was still able to drive down my neighbor’s woods road to where I had my canoe stashed along Hopkins Stream. I canoed a ways downstream and landed on the other side to hike to a knoll I liked to sit on and where I had shot a deer a couple years before.
I had a good view to my right and in front of me but to the left there was a thicket of small pines and spruce trees, about 8 feet tall. I sat there about a half hour when I heard a deer walking my way from the stream. Unfortunately, the deer walked right by me but I could not see it, even though I could hear it walking along in the woods.
Well, I thought, my only chance will be if it turns and walks by on the other side of the pine and spruce trees. There was one spot where, after I moved about 6 feet, I had a slight opening all the way through the trees to the other side.
So I stood up, leaned my rifle against a tree, and focused on that slight opening. And about 5 minutes later that buck walked right into that opening and I shot at it. When I looked up the buck had disappeared and I didn’t know if it was down or I had missed.
It did not take me long to race over to that opening and there was a buck, dead on the ground. And it was a big one. I think it weighed about 190 if I remember right.
Dad had arrived and parked next to my vehicle. He heard me shoot so he walked towards me on the other side of the stream and when I walked back to the canoe I saw Dad standing over there so I canoed over and transported him to my side of the stream.
As I told him about my big buck, he said I could have shot it sitting in my vehicle. He saw the deer’s tracks which came down off the hill and went right by my vehicle. The buck then walked up long the stream and swam across right near my canoe, and walked over to where I was sitting.
Dad and I hiked back to the buck and hauled him a short distance to a nice spot where we could sit and enjoy coffee and some wonderful blueberry muffins that my wife Linda had made for us.
Dad leaned his rifle up against a tree about 10 feet away while he enjoyed his coffee and muffins. We heard a snap behind us and turned around to see a doe walking our way and only about 20 yards away. Dad jumped up and grabbed his rifle but by the time he did that the doe was long gone.
It took us a while to drag that big buck all the way to the stream and load it into the canoe to take it back to my vehicle and to the country store to register and weigh it.
This happened on Thanksgiving, and we got back to my house in plenty of time to enjoy the Thanksgiving feast. And boy, Dad and I had plenty to be thankful for, including my Thanksgiving buck.
Next Friday, I will tell you about the buck that died in the middle of a pond and how I tried to swim out to get it.