So there I was. bumping up and down on the 4-wheeler behind my grandpa. it was late afternoon, but the temperature was already in the thirties and dropping fast. I was dressed in many layers of warm clothing, but my favorite by far was my parka. well, actually, it's my dad's gray military-issued parka. it's like, ten pounds all by itself, with a gigantic hood with some sort of white fur around the edge. for those of you who don't know, whatever the military issues is guaranteed to be durable, excessively big, and very warm, so it was ideal for hunting.
I stared into the woods as we drove through the tiny trail that weaved through the trees on my way to my stand. they looked eerie and mysterious, like they were hiding a deep secret or concealing a terrible enemy.
I climbed into my stand and sat there, shivering beneath my parka, waiting. dainty little snowflakes tinkled down from the sky. Grandpa had said we were in for "weather" but this wasn't bad at all. a few snowflakes couldn't bother me. in that moment of forgetfulness, I forgot that this was northern Minnesota...when they say "weather", they mean "WEATHER".
So a few minutes go by, when I see this...well it looked like a wave. a wall of snowflakes. I noticed it when it was about two-hundred yards away. a blizzard coming at me like a tidal wave. and it came closer and closer...when I realized that this wasn't just a gust of wind that would die down...this was a STORM! I almost yelled, "BRACE FOR IMPACT!!!" but then I remembered...oh yeah...it's just snow.
Then it hit. I closed my eyes and held on for dear life as my deer stand was blown to and fro. snow blew into my face and down my neck and into the scope of my gun, which I had forgotten to cover. oops. all visibility was gone...I couldn't even see the ground under my stand. I put my head down to my lap, completely shielding myself with my parka and just praying the snow would stop so I could see outside and continue hunting.
After about half an hour of blizzard, I put my head back up. it was still coming down really hard, but I could now see part of the trail, which was now completely covered in snow. slowly, the storm subsides, until it is just a small trickle of snowflakes. then the sun poked out of the clouds and shined on the falling snow. wow. that was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. the sun reflecting on a thousand snowflakes at once...it was awesome.
Anyways, the storm is gone, and I'm sitting there hearing gunshots of the hunters in all directions, but I'm still seeing no deer. the sun goes lower and lower, until it's lost in the trees. I've still seen no deer. by now, my main motivation is that I don't want to have to get up at 4 a.m. again tomorrow morning, so I want a deer really, really badly.
Nightfall, the end of legal shooting time, is around 5:30 up here, and at that point I was guessing the time to be about 5:25...when she stepped out of the woods about 150 yards in front of me. a doe. at this point, I wanted whatever I could get. I hesitated only a moment, wondering if I was still within the legal shooting time. I shrug. whatever. I knew I could still see her, so it was a safe shot, and that's all that mattered. I put up my gun and peek through the scope. my thumb clicks the safety. now if I pulled the trigger, it would fire.
I lined up the cross hairs where I wanted them. no shakes this time. I wanted that deer, and she was oblivious to my presence. she stops walking, stopping in the middle of the trail. she puts her head up and looks toward where I sit. I pull the trigger. a loud and familiar boom echoes through the woods and an orange burst of flame goes out the end of the 25.6 rifle as the bullet exits the barrel at lightning speed. I felt the familiar tingles of excitement, my heart throbbing in my ears, adrenaline pumping through my body. I think it's the most amazing feeling ever.
My vision clears and I look down the trail, trying to spot my doe. she's still there, whether laying dead on the trail or simply standing there wondering what that noise was, it was too dark to tell. I decide she's probably laying dead. or maybe I was just hoping she was. I didn't think I could've missed...it was a good shot. so I climb down the ladder, gun in hand, and make my way toward her. I would've waited in my stand like I always do, but I didn't want Grandpa to run over her with the 4-wheeler. I get to where she's laying, and sure enough, deader than a doornail. one bullet knocked her off her feet in an instant. it's the first time I've ever done that.
So apparently, according to Grandpa, my doe is pretty big. "a dandy" he says. which is lucky for me...I can never tell how big a deer is just by looking at it. so we got it back to the house and got it gutted (which Mary described as "a disgusting experience"), and now it's hanging in Grandpa's shed. I told my cousin Brock, it looks like we're a bunch of serial killers or something...we've got four dead animals hanging by their necks from the ceiling, a bunch of scary-looking tools hanging on the walls, blood all over the floor, animal legs and heads scattered all over the place...which is all totally legal...it just looks like we're a bunch of murderers or something.
Anyways. this is my last blog until I get back. we make the journey home tomorrow (not through the night this time, whew!). so anyway. thanks to all you who read the Adventures of Jo's Hunting Extravaganza!! see all you blokes when I get back!