I recall sitting at the kitchen table many years back. Grandpa would tell us stories about his deer hunting days. "20 below zero" he would say, "and winds from the north blowing 30 miles per hour." I thought to myself, could this story really be true? "oh yeah, and the snow!" He would say, "Must have had 2 feet on the ground!"
Was my grandpa some sort of super hero? Or, is this story totally blown out of proportion? This past saturday was the deer hunting opener, and like thousands of hunters across our state, I FROZE MY TAIL OFF! Now the weather was right around 30 degrees all weekend. We did have the blowing snow, and winds from the north at 30 miles per hour, but how in the heck can a guy sit in a tree all day when it is 50 degrees colder than that? Grandpa...You must have been tough as nails, or just a really good story teller.
For the past several seasons, Minnesota has not seen an opening day deer hunt that has been this blustery and cold. Must have been why I found myself reliving my grandfathers tales. Brrrr...Was the phrase of the day, and I do believe everybody said it at least once!
How did the hunt go? I don't care if it is 50 below zero. If I am in the deer woods, it is a great day! Yep, I saw deer to boot! And, so did my hunting party of 10. While not perfect hunting conditions, we did manage to tag a few nice deer in this opening weekend cold. Day 1 for me was more about taking in the cold air, watching deer in front of me, and laughing at hunter blunders. I saw 7 in total that day, and one very nice buck. In fact I saw the buck twice. Both times he was chasing his fine lady, and both times they ran circles around hunters that never saw them. Let me explain. Saturday morning I watched the neighbor climb out of his deer stand across the road. As he got down and walked to the truck to meet his buddies, he failed to look behind him as a very nice buck chased a doe under his tree. It was a very small chunk of trees, and I never saw the deer exit. The hunter drove off, and I chuckled. That afternoon the hunter arrived again, and I just knew what was about to happen. As he got out of the truck and got his gear ready, the big buck and his lady exited quietly out the back side where they came from, and the hunter clearly never saw a thing. Guess it shows how smart those deer can be!
Unfortunately, I waited all day for that deer to come out of that woods and cross the road into my property. It never happened, and I only have a good story to tell about a hunter that I don't know. A few hungry does and fawns closed out the last rays of light from day one, and I was soon looking forward to day 2. Sunday morning brought almost identical winds and even cooler temps. Brrr...was again the word of the day. I only saw one deer that morning, and you guessed it, the guy across the fence shot him. He was 8 points. I guess you can see a lot when you overlook a square mile of freshly picked beans. That afternoon I decided to pull the trigger. Not out of frustration from the activities I had witnessed, but out of the joy I get from any deer. We passed on watching the Vikes game, and made a small deer drive. While I'm not a big fan of this approach, it did get a few deer moving, and I safely tagged a large doe. Not exactly the way that you would draw up the opening weekend, but then again, I don't know if there is a textbook hunt. Our group of 10 claimed 9 deer those first two days, a couple bucks and the rest were does. A cold beginning to the season, but remember....Its just the beginning!