Monday, November 23, 2009

The hunters return

The hunters and their four Marlins return from the hunt

Something old,
Something new

Something borrowed

Something blued.

We were staying in an old farmhouse that belongs to a friend, empty of furniture and appliances, but clean and warm. Roughing it? No, but after last years season of public hunting ground, tents and rain, this was heaven. Plenty of room to lay out the sleeping bags.

I survived the Camp Cocktails. Propane, Coke, Dried Fruit and Rum! MMMM. I'm just kidding, we left out the dried fruit.

We ate well, with coolers and ice, and a little camp stove, taking turns cooking. The pie didn't last long.

Og made this cheesy beef, Rotel dip in a crockpot that didn't last long either. It was incredible. For breakfast, there were ham and egg sandwiches and and since someone made the remark LAST hunting trip about being tired of corned beef hash I couldn't resist throwing this in the box of food. (We didn't open it.)
There was some technical difficulties. What do you mean no one brought duct tape?
And somehow I managed to do a faceplant in a corn row while walking alongside Og  (wow Og, you can really see the detail in this soil close up:-). But still, we got out in time for the late day hunt on day one, Og bringing down a nice buck 5 minutes after he walked into the fields. That night, good food, some board games (yes that WAS an actual board game from the 80's that someone brought. Just the board itself would be a whole post). Hilarious.
(click on the picture to read the box)
Day two, we were up at 5, getting ready to head out. There was a lot of laughter. As we all piled into my king cab truck, half way to the field someone starts in with the theme song to the A Team and off we went.

Where we were hunting was a pretty good section of land. No trees of the owner to put blinds on, but some slight rises on the edges where a few of the neighbors trees were, from which we could look down into rows that had been cut a day or two before. As the farmer worked the field, a couple of deer moved out and away, popping up into these lanes when you least expected it. Sit motionless for hours in the cold. Nothing. Stand up for 5 minutes to tell a joke? Look Deer!

I can honestly say it was the most fun I've had hunting in years, Staying out dawn to dusk as a hunter you see things few do, and think thoughts that come unbidden, there in the quiet. Good times, whether you bring home a trophy or not. My grandparents and great-grandparents were farmers, ranchers or lumberjacks. My Dad's parents, were originally from this area, moving West. Hard stock. Good people. As people of the land they understand the checks of nature, the culling of a herd to keep it healthy, the sacrifices of both the land and the beasts to feed us, to keep us healthy.

I write of the farmer often here, though it's been years since I lived on anything more than a hobby farm. Seeing it out here, watching these men work such long hours, literally sun up to sun down, I came home with a renewed respect for the single family farmer, for all of those who make their living from the soil, or tend to its bounty, providing sustenance to their family with the stores of God's earth.

We were asleep by 9 and up much before the sunrise. With tags allowing us more than one deer, and a farmer with some prize corn that was happy to see the deer population gleaned a bit, we headed back out each day for new adventure. I learned how to better wield a knife to field dress and got to see a squirrel pee on Og on day two. Day three, after a lot of the corn was taken down, leaving just a small area in which there were tracks going in we decided to flush them out, if there was one or two in there still. as though we had a couple of deer, we still could get more. Two of us walked the edges of that area while the other two guys went through the middle trying to make noise to flush them out towards us. It was deathly silent, then from inside the corn rows, I hear the vocal strains of "Ode to Joy" which then segued into Back Home in Indiana, in an incredibly rich, clear tenor that blew me away. I couldn't see who was singing but I broke out in a wide smile. Then the same voice broke into a rousing chorus of The Scrotum Song. Ahhh. Hunting with the guys. You never know what to expect.

But you will expect a wonderful time. There's nothing like hunting the small hills and rows of an Indiana cornfield with people you like and trust. For our host, there is not enough thanks. We appreciate it more than you know, and look forward to returning again. For now, the rounds have been removed from our Marlins, and we're ready to load up the truck for the day.

A neighboring farm still had 650 acres up in corn, backed by a nature preserve, so a good portion of the deer were still in there. But we all got to try our hand and came home with more than one deer, with memories of a great time. There will be more, with muzzleloader and archery season around the corner, and some more deer still hiding out there in the corn, waiting for the A-team.

Thanks for all your well wishes folks. I didn't come home empty handed, though none of us got a chance at the big buck whose prints we saw in and around when the sun came up. With a lot of corn still up due to the cold summer and late harvest, the deer, bucks and does, were scarce. But, with the genorisity of a landowner and the support of friends. I got a nice doe. Not a trophy, but fat and healthy, with tenderloins which now, are resting in my fridge after processing in the kitchen. Tomorrow, some of the remainder will be mixed with beef and pork and spice to make sausage in a new grinder purchased for the future. All in all, enough meat for a couple of months for this small household. To be eaten with thankful respect.


  1. Congratulations! We had no luck, but still had a good time. Thankfully, we still have 2 more months.....

  2. What a great time you must have had! I'm jealous. And that last pic is priceless. Congrats on your deer.

  3. Yay! Good for you, Brigid. I'm glad you got your deer, but even gladder (is that a word?) that you had such a fun, wonderful time. You deserve it. :)

  4. Congratulations!! I bet Barkley was happy to see you. Especially with the venison. :-)

    I didn't know you could use modern rifles for deer hunting in Indiana. Illinois only allows shotgun slugs, muzzleloader, pistol or bow (all in special seasons for each). Each state varies I guess.

  5. Cut that tenderloin up in pieces and wrap them with bacon and cook on the grill. Congratulations, that doe should provide plenty of good eating.


  6. "got to see a squirrel pee on Og on day two"

    Was he that still that the squirrel didn't know he was there or was he blocking access to his winter stores? :-)

  7. Golly, I forgot about the truncate error. My Bad. Here it is again (with a proper link):

  8. Indiana now allows rifles with pistol cartridges. Think that is pretty recent, I've always hunted with shotguns up until this year.

  9. I'm glad to hear you had a good time.


  10. Your words put me right there in the middle of it. I could almost hear the squirrel's little trickle of revenge, or was it affection? ;D Musta been some great camouflage.

    And, as usual, wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing, even if I am now green with envy. And congrats on bagging the doe.

  11. Brigid: It was great to have you. I wished I could have spent more time with you, but duty called and our livihood depends upon my answering the bell.

    And we have next year to look forward to, just like I do with farming...

    All The Best,
    Frank W. James

  12. Frank - thank you. I wish we hadn't all been so tired and had more time to share stories of great travels. Next time. (and I'll bring another pie)

    Give our best to your wife as well, the house was neat and clean and we really enjoyed staying there.

  13. Sounds like a fantastic trip; wish I could have been there. Congratulations on harvesting some venison.

  14. Mine was .44. I think the guys had 357.

  15. What a great weekend!
    And just so everyone knows - that pecan pie tasted even better than it looks.
    Brigid, you paint a much better image of the weekend that I ever could. I'm just glad I was able to be a part of it.
    Oh, I also found the website for Public Assistance ( I bought my copy in 1980, but it is still available (or available again).

  16. Congrats on the doe! They're better eating than bucks anyway (you can't eat antlers).

  17. Congrats! It sounds like you had a great time. Although, I'm not sure how anyone could not have a good time if they are out hunting.

  18. Brigid,
    I really enjoy your writing. Makes me wish I was still in Indiana where I was born and raised. I only get back about once a year but your posts take me back.
    Thanks again.
    Dave in TX

  19. Sound like fun!

    Venison sausage sure beats eating something called "spotted dick"

  20. I understand that there have been Regulations passed in The Land Where England Used To Be that the food shown in that photograph shall henceforth be known as "Spotted Richard."

  21. That was a great hunt! Congrats. I agree 100% with the part about a good hunt not requiring a shot to be fired. Good companions, a beautiful site, great food and conversation around the fire and the opportunity to see squirrel's pee. Of course, if there is meat in the freezer when you get home it is even better.

  22. Last Sunday after Church, I walked out the back of the building for a breath of air. Some kids were inside practicing some song and were a "bit" off-key. The back of the church faces a woodlot about 100yds away and is on the edge of town.

    As I stood there, a buck and two does walked out of the woodline to graze on the grass of the church's back yard. Goodly sized. If I had my M1 and tags, I could've potted them all. As it was, I just watched them for a while until another parishioner came out and scared them off.

    It was a nice view while it lasted.

  23. Brigid, I enjoyed that. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Glad it went well and a good time was had by all! :-)

  25. Congratulations on a good hunt, and good company.

    BTW I'll wash your truck for one Tenderloin dinner.

    See Ya

  26. It must be great living in a state where deer hunting can be done with metallic cartridge rifles. Not allowed in Iowa, although we can use handguns in a range of chamberings, which is challenging in it's own right. Looks like a wonderful time was had.

  27. Brigid,

    Thank you for the respect and reverence you bestow upon your kill. It's but through the Lord's bounty we are able to survive.


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