November 15th

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Joined: 06/03/2010

November 15th
This story is an account of a day in my life many years ago.

         I woke very early and dressed quietly
so as not to wake the whole house. My cocker spaniel Jiggs was expecting to go
hunting when he saw me take the Springfiield “06” off the rack and head for the
kitchen and the back door so I got the saddest look from him when I told him
“Not today boy!” and shut the door behind me. It was November 15th
and the first day of deer season in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

         I walked steadily through the dark the
two miles from my house until I reached the trail leading into a stand of
hardwoods that I had scouted during bird season. I found the stump I wanted to
sit on, which was nothing short of amazing since I could hardly see anything in
a moonless night without a flashlight, however I pretty much knew the way from
having spent so much time checking it out over many anxious weeks waiting for
this very morning.

         As the night released its hold and dawn
took over I waited patiently for my eyes to adjust to the new day and my ears
to tune in on the day sounds coming to life. I had no idea if I would see
anything or not but that was part of the excitement of the season! I shivered a
bit, it was a strangely mild November, and tried my best to quit squirming as I
waited and waited and dreamed of a huge buck charging out to meet my bullet. I
was never the patient sort but I always stayed put on my post for at least
several hours in the morning to give myself a chance.

         A soft noise first, then a rustling of frost-dried
leaves and there he was, a proud fork buck sniffing the trail and almost
prancing in front of me. It wasn’t the huge deer of my dreams but I raised the
old Springfield and put the cross hair of the old Weaver 4 power on his chest
just behind his front leg as I tried to squeeze the trigger ever so slowly even
though I was shaking noticeably. I don’t remember the sound of the shot as I trembled
for a few seconds as he ran off and I wasn’t sure if it had been a good shot or
if he was lost to me. I forced myself to wait for a good bit before trying to
find my deer even though I wanted to jump up and run after him but I needn’t
have worried, my shot had been true and he was piled up only a few yards from
where we had met each other that morning.

         I looked out the window of the North
Central Airline DC-9 that afternoon on my way to boot camp and reminisced about
my morning hunt. I had the memory of that morning to hold me for the next four
years. Only in God’s Country could a guy be hunting deer in the morning and
flying off to new adventures in the afternoon.