Hunting: Now With More Tornado Warnings!

We made it back from La Crosse on Saturday afternoon just in time to not see a damn thing. This weekend was a rainy mess. It wasn’t especially chilly until Sunday evening. Saturday we both got soaked through and neither of us saw anything. In spite of the rain, there were two other cars in the parking area.

Sunday, the temperature dropped about 20 degrees over the afternoon. My hunting gear also didn’t dry overnight, so heading out late Sunday morning to hunt the gap between storms, I had a head start on my soaking. We waited out a particularly bad downpour in the truck, and then headed out. I called it for myself around 3pm in some rain, and ended up waiting in the truck for Matt until around 5. I headed back up the road to meet him at our usual spot, and saw just one deer, well past shooting light, heading up the field towards him. He never saw it though, and we made it back to the truck in 30mph wind gusts.

We had some tornado warnings up here in Wisconsin, however the storms hit worst down in Illinois. Some funnel clouds were sighted near home, but they missed my town (this time- three years ago they were hit very badly). Washington and the Pekin area, 60 miles to the southwest, were hit. A friend of mine from home found a piece of a Washington municipal sign in his back yard. Washington, apparently, was flattened. The storms also crossed over into Indiana. Hopefully those places can recover quickly.

Rifle season for us starts Saturday. There’s no hunting at all the day before (Friday). I’m hoping to make it out maybe Wednesday or Thursday night for one last bit of bowhunting until after gun and muzzleloader.  Saturday and Sunday will be the days to really get deer. After that, pretty much everything lays low until the season ends. We’re heading up north for Thanksgiving and the last weekend of rifle season. If there’s a lot of Matt’s cousins and family hunting at the cabin, we plan to hunt his grandfather’s back pasture. Gun season is the time we really count on to bring home deer. Hopefully we get some.

 

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First Snow and We Catch A Break with Trail Cams

This post is way late, as I had a burst of motivation this morning to get some stuff done, and one does not squander that kind of motivation. Especially when it occurs early on a morning that’s about 18 degrees Fahrenheit. Granted, part of it was seeing ice on the inside of our old windows, and the resulting imperative to get the shrink plastic up on them, stat. But then three loads of laundry and three sinkfuls of dishes just kind of happened on their own. My motivation around the house almost always overflows.

Anyhow. Monday was Veteran’s Day. Matt had a 76 this weekend (3-day weekend). So we made it out to hunt again last night. I was looking forward to it- the temperature had dipped the night before, and most of the morning, it had been snowing. Granted, it turned out to be just a dusting, but the low over night was forecast to be in the teens (it was) and Tuesday’s high only in the 30s (it will be). We hoped like nothing else that the deer would be moving.

So, I took Matt’s climbing stand back to that watering hole I mentioned. Never again. First off, I saw one guy dawdling his way up the road. I think he was trying to move quietly and not spook the deer, but at 2 in the afternoon, he would have been better off moving more quickly and trying to keep the noise down than dragging out his noise-making. There’s leaves all over, and if they aren’t dry, they’re frozen. Crunchy either way. Second off- I didn’t have a great grasp on how to use a climber. Getting it around the tree was difficult and noisy. Then, I nearly fell to severe injury not once, but three times. It just sort of slid a few inches each time, sending a jolt of adrenaline through my entire body and giving me a tiny heart attack each time. At least I was only about 8 feet off the ground.

Snowy woods and the watering hole

Snowy woods and the watering hole

I clunked around and made so much noise that I doubt I’d have seen anything anyway. To top it off, that particular stand doesn’t bolt together or anything to pack it out- I didn’t tie up the straps or something, and it slid apart. And smacked against the backs of my legs so much that I had to hunch forward and take baby steps out of the dark woods. Adding insult to injury was the guy walking out, while it was still light, smoking a cigarette.

Winter definitely peeked in on us a month early.

Winter definitely peeked in on us a month early.

Anyhow. I finally got the stupid tree stand out of the woods and to the truck. I’m never using it or any climber again. I’ll keep hunting on the ground, even. By the time I reached the truck, I was ready to cheerfully set it on fire and melt it into slag. So, I stuck it in the truck, and trudged back up the path to meet Matt. He’d not seen anything, but he had swapped out the SD card in a trail camera. When we got home, we checked it. And finally- a deer showed up.

Random deer butt one night

Random deer butt one night

And a little button buck at a different time.

And a little button buck at a different time. Edited to add that if you look at the right side of this picture, there’s another deer. I’d be willing to bet my favorite socks it’s a doe.

Not helpful that they’re near his stand location at dark. But with the height of the rut coming, maybe he’ll finally get lucky. Plus, once gun season starts, all the deer will be running around in a panic, so one might happen by his stand then, too. As for me, once we get back from the Ball this weekend, Matt promised to get me a set like his so I can sit in a tree, too. And I’ll hunt a south-facing hillside towards the back of the property. Maybe I’ll get lucky, too.

He’s even planning not to drink very much this Friday. Which, for anyone familiar with how USMC balls generally go, should be astounding. Last year, I had to push him down to the lobby on the luggage cart the next morning. He played a punching bag machine so hard he punched off his medals and bent the stack. The year before that, he crashed a random wedding at our hotel, and nearly ruined his dress blues with pizza. I had to tell him about all three the day after. So, he’ll be relatively coherent the next day just so we can hunt the peak rut. He’s that serious about it.

Home made wine and duck decoys.

I have off Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Given how much I’ve been working this summer, I planned to get a ton of things done during this downtime. Duck season starts Saturday, and deer is ongoing. If I don’t do it now, it will never get done.

So. I spent my Wednesday chipping away at my (still growing) to-do list. I picked up around the back yard- dog poo, lawn furniture, sticks, dog toys, dying flowers, the works. I mowed, front and back. I treated the lawn for bugs and fleas, bathed the dogs, scrubbed the bath tub and bathroom. Plus, doing laundry, washing dishes, and making a short run to the grocery store. I have more to get done Thursday (organizing the hunting room, cleaning under the bed, going through my closet/dresser, running to Goodwill, cleaning Matt’s truck). By the time I was hungry, it was about 6pm. I was going to make myself a nice dinner, and enjoy a glass of wine.

SAMSUNG

Yeah, that’s my homebrew. It’s good. This particular bottle didn’t really carbonate. There’s the tiniest suggestion of fizz to it, which isn’t all that bad, really. It reminds me of a nice pinot noir. I’m no sommelier, though, to be going on about tannins and floral notes, though. So, I made a pretty tame dinner of acorn squash and chicken, and had a very healthily poured glass of wine.

Matt came home in the middle of it, and decided to start getting his decoys set up for the duck opener. So, my livingroom, my nice clean livingroom (albeit in need of a few passes of the vacuum), is populated with a flock of artificial waterfowl.

SAMSUNG SAMSUNG SAMSUNG

At least they’re all nicely rigged now, and won’t tangle horribly like last year. I have to work Saturday and Sunday morning, but Matt’s plan is to take a couple of the other recruiters with him, to get out in the field for a day, shooting. They do spend entirely too much time cooped up in the office.

Oh Good, Our Plans Got Bulldozed.

Yep- found out last night that Matt’s training course is definitely happening in the time we intended to be an outdoorsy trip to Texas. His plane ticket is already purchased. He’ll be gone for two weeks. In that time I’ll probably work as much as I can, and maybe try to bank fish somewhere or something. I’m also trying to free up part of the Fourth of July weekend- somehow my boss scheduled me for the entire thing.

Expect the Unexpected, Then Hurry Up and Wait.

Over the last few days, I’ve been contacting guide services down around Houston and Galveston, and corresponding with Andy over at Tremendous Whatnot about things to do in Texas. We’d crunched the numbers on gas (yikes the Durango sucks it down even when not towing a 47 year old camper), lodging between campgrounds and a hotel here or there, outlined what to do about both food to eat and how to get meat back north unspoiled, and planned on getting the Durango checked out for cross-country travel. We were going to use a camping trip over the weekend of the 4th as a scale test run on gas mileage, etc. I even had my boss front-load the month of July for my work hours, and I was planning on picking up a bunch of extra shifts to get a bit more cash.

Yesterday, it was pretty slow at work, and I was letting Matt know I was about to pick up a double to pitch in for trip money. He texted me “I think I just got fucjed” (that was really the typo in his text). I called him and was able to talk just long enough to find out that, somehow, someone at Command had messed up. His leave had been approved a week or two ago.The training course he has to take was scheduled for August, and had been solidified for at least two months, if not longer. However, he got the news yesterday that a screw up had been made; his leave had been cancelled, and the training course had been moved up to mid-July, partially covering the time his leave would have been in effect. He was furious.

He’ll find out today whether this is something that can get reversed without screwing him over for leave, or if someone else’s f-up means we can’t take this much-needed vacation- something neither of us has had in more than three years. If it ends up that we can’t, Matt still has to use his leave by October or lose it, but we’ll at least have a chance to save up a bit more for the trip. We’ll know for sure later today, and I’ll have to contact the guide services to get them to stop calling me. At least I hadn’t put down any deposits. I would like to say that after nearly three years of this particular assignment, nothing could faze me anymore- and not much does- but as soon as I say that with any conviction, they’ll find new and innovative ways.

As a good friend of mine, and fellow Marine Significant Other (she’s a wife, I’m not) says: Semper Gumby.