Well, it is that time of year (already!) — deer hunting season in Minnesota. It is certainly one of my favorite times of the year. I’m a sucker for just about any deer hunting story – and every year there are many interesting ones, including this one. The season opened Saturday, November 3rd and will go through November 11th. Last year I purchased a regular firearms license. My plan was to get a deer and then purchase a second permit depending on the amount of activity in my hunting area. Well whatta you know but two deer come out. I shoot one and the other one sort of hangs around. As excited as I was about getting the one I was stressing about not shooting the second one. So this year I planned accordingly. I purchased a regular firearms license AND an additional anterless permit. Yes indeed – the second one would not get away this year.
So I go out on the opener and nothing – just alot of sitting. Saw only the good ol’ whitetail flag, which every hunter has seen about three billion more times than he wishes. I think it was a buck because I was doing some rattling and calling, but it will remain one of those unsolved mysteries right up there with the grassy knoll. Anyhow, what was even more frustrating was, as I sat out on the deer stand on Saturday afternoon, I heard a “boom” from the neighbor’s side of things, heard a tractor start up, and there goes a deer hanging off the loader being hauled off into their barn. As if that was not difficult enough to endure, about thirty minutes later – same exact thing! Not fun . . . So after attending church on Sunday and lunch, I headed out to my deer stand (about 12:30pm) to sit for a couple of hours. As I walked out I was thinking “why in the world am I going out in the afternoon? You know as well as I do [I have robust conversations with myself sometimes] that deer don’t move in the afternoon.” But I was there to get a deer, so out I went. I get settled in, put a round in the chamber, and the scanned the landscape for any activity (including squirrels which usually annoy me) – nothing. So I did what any other deer hunter would do . . . I pulled out a book and started reading it. At about page 11 (note I stopped watching the clock) the woods erupt with noise from the west. I turn around and what do I see but two deer running my way! I quickly put my book down and reach for my good ol’ H.S. True Talker to see if I can stop him with a grunt, otherwise I would likely not see him again. But before I grabbed it he stopped! I have no idea why, but he stopped to look at something. I remember seeing a nice, rut-swollen neck. Of course, he gave me a terrible angle for shooting – but as all hunters know, you get what you get when you’re out there and that’s why you shoot off a few rounds prior to hunting season. Anyway, I grabbed my Remington 870 12 gauge, line up the sights, and fired off a round. He kicked his back legs out which usually means a lung hit. He ran about 15-20 yards, stopped, started swaying, and it was lights out! I turned to see what the doe was doing because remember, I had purchased an additional anterlesless tag which I really wanted to fill. Well, she decided to go back the way she came – off she trotted. No filling the additional anterless tag this year. BUT not too far from my stand lay my buck – a nice-bodied, five pointer (don’t expect a B&C measurement though). What a great feeling. Of course, we snapped a few pictures to preserve this memorable day.
You know, I can’t help but to thank the Lord for the opportunity to harvest this deer. Just as he guided the whale to swallow Jonah (Jonah 1:17), He caused Balaam’s donkey to speak (Numbers 22:28), and commanded the she-bears to come out of the wilderness to rend Elijah’s mockers (2 Kings 2:24), I’m confident the Lord provided this deer. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).