Thursday, November 27, 2008

Out to da blind

Out to da blind,
Out to da blind.
Six O'Clock in the mornin',
Its real hard to find.
-Conga Se Menne

With apologies to Derrick, this tune by the famous Finnish reggae group from Marquette, MI perfectly describes the trip out to the deer stand in the dark. On Saturday morning it was 7F (-14C) and things were very crisp when I climbed up in my tree and strapped myself in. By 8am the very same doe featured in an earlier post showed up with an amorous 8 pt buck and within a few minutes I was pulling my knife out of its sheath and he was field dressed and on his way to the buck pole. Venison in the freezer once again this year.

I'm posting remotely from the Thanksgiving feast, featuring 18 diners, in Mora, MN. Early tomorrow its back to camp and back up into the blind, attempting to fill that remaining doe tag. The focus is not all deer up there however; there is plenty of other woodland drama to keep a person occupied. One thing I always do is to construct a chickadee feeder from a PET water bottle. I hang it in the stand to both distract the deer from my movement and also to just watch the Black-capped chickadees load up for winter. I really enjoy their company and admire their perseverance for hanging around all winter. After we butcher our deer, we leave the carcass hanging on the buck pole and by mid winter the chickadees have picked it almost clean of fat, keeping their metabolism cranked during the often brutal winter conditions. Other deer stand excitement was heard and not seen. I heard ravens on the gut pile, located 170 yards away and shortly afterwards an immature bald eagle banked over my head and descended toward the feast. The co-mingled raven and eagle screaming made me wish I was over there spectating and painted a vivid picture, in my mind, of what was taking place. By far the most dramatic thing I ever witnessed on the deer stand however, was the demise of a loud mouthed red squirrel. I saw a pure white ermine grab one of his relatives a dozen years ago but this event had a far better story line. The squirrel was grabbing corn and taking it back to his den. Whenever he left the area, two blue jays would swoop down to dine and then fly up in a tree when he came racing back, screaming (or laughing) at him. He would chatter back and then the scene would repeat itself. It soon became apparent I was not the only one witnessing this scenario. All of a sudden the woods exploded and a red tailed hawk was climbing away from the corn with poor Mr Squirrel in his talons. He flew right by me up in my tree and I never thought to grab the camera hanging from my belt; I was simply too stunned and just watched him gain altitude as he passed within 10 feet of me.

Whether another deer makes it way to my freezer or not is uncertain. What is certain however, is that I'll enjoy every minute of my three remaining days of solitude, 15' up in a spruce tree with my chickadee buddies and whoever else decides to put in an appearance. And that is what deer hunting is all about.


gurneygranny said...

I'd like to note, for the record, that Olson never made it 'out to da blind' in da dark.

DaveO said...

I did arrive before the official 'shooting time' one morning however. And you can't argue with results. Those poor deer need their rest too.