Last fall, I joined my dad and brother on their yearly hunting trip. To say I was excited is an understatement! In the months leading up to November, my dreams were filled with different hunting scenarios. My brother drew a late season buck tag, which meant our trip would be in November instead of October’s general season. While my brother hunted deer, my dad and I were going to hunt upland birds. I was hoping to get at least a pheasant.
We left on a Friday and halfway into the drive I realized that I had forgotten my hunting boots. I had carefully placed them next to my door to be sure I wouldn’t forget them. Whoops! I only had the Nikes on my feet and knew those weren’t going to work being mostly mesh. When we got to town to buy food for the weekend, I ran (yes, literally ran) to the closest retail store as my dad and brother shopped for food. I bought the cheapest pair of boots and by some miracle, I didn’t get one blister the entire weekend. My feet hurt, that’s for sure, but no blisters.
We decided that if you have to buy a pair of boots to wear immediately, buy the cheap ones because there isn’t nice, stiff leather to break in. It’s possible that’s completely wrong, but I don’t know how else I didn’t get a single blister walking the entire weekend in a brand new pair of boots. After my forgotten boots fiasco was fixed, we headed to camp with a food stocked RV. The sun was setting when we arrived so unfortunately there was no time for scouting after we set up. We went to bed early to be ready for the long day ahead.
My alarm went off at 5am on Saturday. Instead of hitting snooze like I normally do, I was wide awake and full of excitement for the day. After eating a quick breakfast, we grabbed our gear and headed out for the day. My dad and brother have hunted this land for decades but last year it went through some changes. My brother went to the main part of the hill to start deer hunting. My dad wanted to show me the land as we started bird hunting. We took off for a patch of brush on a hill in the distance. Walking on tilled dirt definitely isn’t my favorite, it’s harder than it looks! After twenty minutes of walking, we arrived at the brush and tried flushing birds out. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a buck out in the field that took off over a ridge.
A little while later, we saw three deer come over the ridge and go down into an area with a small stream running through it. My dad decided we should walk to that area and see if the deer had bedded down near the stream. If we found them, they might run up the hill toward my brother. I don’t even know how to describe the excitement I had seeing those deer. All I knew is that I couldn’t wait for next year when I was able to go for my own deer. Keeping the wind in our faces, we made the long trek to the back of the ridge. As we rounded the corner, we found the stream and it was no longer surrounded by vegetation. There were no deer in sight. We headed up toward the main hill to see if my brother had any success. We logged about 10 miles walking that day all over the land.
One patch of brush was over half a mile long, my dad walked the top and I walked the base. After a few minutes of walking, one doe sprang from the brush and took off. A little further down, my dad was looking off in the distance when an animal got up and darted past him. I couldn’t quite tell what it was because it happened so quick, but then three big, dark bodies stood up with their backs turned to me. When their ears perked up, I realized they were coyotes and they all took off running within feet from my dad. He only saw two run by and was a bit surprised to say the least! Toward the end of the brush, another doe jumped out and took off in the same direction the others had. I thought it was so interesting to see what all was hiding in the brush mere yards from each other.
By the end of the day we jumped two sets of birds. Unfortunately, we weren’t really trying to flush them out when it happened so we weren’t set up for a good shot either time. I learned the importance of always being ready. My brother saw a four point buck but didn’t have a good shot at him. As the sun was setting, we called it a day.
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