November 15th is a big day for Michigan deer hunters. It’s the opening day for the firearms deer hunting season. It’s also the day that guys can get together and do guy stuff. (Like drink beer… play poker…cook.. and eat.) I never shot a deer, but one time I did beat 4 queens with a straight flush.
Actually, none of us ever shot a deer. I did shoot a chicken once. Well, technically I didn’t shoot it. I bought it from a farmer in the 211 bar who shot it for me. He shot it right between the eyes. It was a great shot. I’m not sure, but we may have had the only buck pole in Michigan with a chicken hanging from it.
When we first started deer hunting we stayed in a cabin, set our alarms for early in the morning and then drove out to our hunting area in the cold dark. Not only didn’t we see any deer, but this was a painful way to start out the day. Obviously, it would be better to just live in the woods. Get up in the morning, grab your gun and walk out the door. Perfect! So, we bought an Army surplus mess tent.
The next year we moved into the woods. We set up the tent, acquired an old Amish wood cook stove, a pot belly wood burner and built some bunk beds. Jack built kitchen cabinets and a table. John found an electrician that knew how to drop a line down from the power cables to the tent. I organized a crew to build an outhouse.
This was deer hunting at its best!
Well, almost. I had one concern.
“It’s totally dark out here in the woods at night. How are we going to find the tent when we come home from the bar?”
Jack twisted the cap off of a bottle of Jim Beam, took a sip, tossed the cap into the camp fire and smiled. He walked over to his truck and returned with about 10,000 Christmas tree lights. A few minutes later and our tent could be seen for miles. (I later learned that pilots used us as a landmark to find the airport.) I think we finally had this deer hunting thing under control.
I still can’t figure out why we never saw any deer. I suppose it could have been from the gun shots though.
I was out scouting one day when I found an old deer carcass. The head was all bleached bones and antlers with a few pieces of fur stuck to it. It looked like something from out of science fiction movie. I brought it back and nailed it to the tree next to the outhouse.
Late that night when we were playing poker, Marty felt nature call. He grabbed a flashlight, a roll of toilet paper, and his pistol and headed for the outhouse. Two minutes later we heard five loud shots from his 357 Magnum. A minute after that he ran back into the tent, looking like he’d seen a ghost.
I looked up from my poker hand and said, “I only heard 5 shots?”
“I was saving the last one for myself. There is something unnatural out there.”
Jack slices off a chunk of salami and stabs his knife back into the table, “Are we playing poker or what?”
We didn’t get a deer that year. We brought home some good memories though. All in all, it was a good deer camp.