The Deer Hunting Countdown


You can feel the excitement in the air, anticipation so thick it sticks to your clothes. November 15th is our target, but we've been ready for weeks, some of us for months. The entire year has been spent plotting and planning. Rye in the back field, an abundant apple crop (some for the family, but most for the deer), shelled corn, and sugar beets the size of my head. When I go into Stonely, every other truck has a trailer attached and its brimming with sugar beets.


Sugar beets aren't like the beets you buy in the store. They are grown commercially around the world and used for vodka, rum, as fodder, and are being tested as an alternate fuel source. But in the Michigan Upper Peninsula, we use sugar beets to bait deer.


Some of you might look on us with disdain. How can we shoot those beautiful animals? I'm with you on that one as long as you have given up meat and turned vegetarian. If you're headed to the grocery store for hamburger or pork chops, you can't judge us. Yoopers live in remote areas with few jobs and we count on a freezer full of wild game to make it through the year.


And the hunting season is a special event for other reasons, drawing everyone together for the hunter's dinner and to Herb's bar to tell stories that don't have a hint of truth to them.


One scary note - Walter forgot his rifle was loaded and stuck a cleaning rod down the barrel. When it discharged, the cleaning rod (and ammo) blew his chest of drawers to smithereens. Everyone is fine, though.



Gertie

8 comments:

Bill B said...

So, Gertie, really, is there ANYTHING better than fall in the UP? I just got out of the woods, and can't get rid of this dopey grin. I'm just here soakin' it in for a week ...

Deb Baker said...

Nothing beats it. But watch for arrows and stray bullets.


Gertie

Bill B said...

Thank you, I'll lay low during gun season. You never know what you'll find ... a few summers ago I was runnning with our rat terrier in the same patch of woods (a couple hundred yards from our house, inside city limits of Mqt). As we rounded a bend in the path, there stood a yearling moose, almost close enough to touch. Toby (dog) stopped and opened his mouth, but wasn't able to bark. His eyes were even bigger than ususal, and he slowly backed up and got behind my legs, never taking his eyes off the moose! I feel so safe when Toby is with me :-)

Scrappy Kay said...

Bill, maybe Toby is a very smart dog to keep quiet. I've heard a moose will charge if it gets upset. True?

Gertie, please tell Walter to be more careful!

Bill B said...

Yes, Gertie, I'm with S.K., please tell Walter to be more careful! Kay, I'm not a wildlife biologist (mooseologist?), but anecdotal evidence tells me the answer is "probably"! This particular yearling stayed a few weeks and would occasionally seem to randomly charge in one direction or another, although I could never see if something startled her. Toby never wanted to get very close, he would just whine in an uncharacteristially soft voice for us to "please LEAVE!"

Anonymous said...

I raced sled dogs for years and heard from the Alaska mushers that they always carried weapons on the trails because there had been moose attacks on the dogs. They are beautiful but dangerous animals.

Gertie

Deb Baker said...

Oops that one should have been from Deb. Gertie can't stay on a sled to save herself!

Bill B said...

Nice try, Gertie.

Good save, former-musher-Deb!