In my blogging heyday, I could have written a week's worth of blog posts about Thanksgiving week 2013. Those days are behind me unfortunately, but I'll summarize it in this post.
I made my first attempt at hunting public land at the beginning of the week when I traveled to Phelps Wildlife Management Area. For once I was glad that you can't hunt on Sundays here in Virginia, and I spent the afternoon that day wandering around the 4,500 acre WMA.
I hunted Monday morning; didn't see much, a couple does from a great distance, and I'm not sold on Phelps as a place to hunt. It's an awesome piece of property though, and I'll definitely be back with the kids when deer season is over and the weather warms up a little.
I bow hunted. Saw a nice buck, but he spooked when I drew the string. Bow hunting is tough; more on that later.
I wasn't planning on hunting, but at the last minute decided to hunt a property near Leesburg. My young co-worker Andrew was at the same property, and he blasted a big doe at about 150 yards. Andrew just started hunting a few weeks ago, and this was his first deer.
Being there and helping him out with his harvest was truly a privilege! Andrew is an outstanding young man and the kind of guy we need more of in the great sport of hunting.
Daybreak found my son Jake and myself in our old Ashburn stomping grounds, where we participated in the 20th Annual Ashburn Farm Thanksgiving Day 10k. It's a big race, and I don't know how many people ran in it or where we placed but I can tell you Jake - who is not quite 13 - was one of the youngest runners I saw.
It was amazing to see him grind it out and finish that race. What an amazing kid!
We've Got a Floater!
Following a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat I found myself again in a tree stand with my bow and arrows. Didn't expect to shoot anything, and when I saw the buck with its antlers broken off on one side I figured I'd video it rather than kill it. Only when it approached I realized the broken antler was actually a poorly formed antler. I took the following very short video just before I decided to shoot the deer.
So I made a good shot, and the buck ran into a thicket by the pond. I was so sure I'd find it there that I walked in on the other side. Great blood trail coming out of the thicket, but it suddenly gave out. I looked for the blood trail and the deer for about an hour before deciding I'd have to come back the next day.
But I went back to that spot where I'd last seen blood in a final effort to find some kind of sign of where that deer had gone. As I was about to head for my truck, I heard something coming from the pond.
The sound continued as I approached the water with my flashlight, and I half expected some kind of angry varmint to spring for my neck. Then my light landed on a beaver swimming away from the shore. The beaver knew my bow was back at the truck and that I had no power against it. It slowly swam away, laughter in its eyes. I followed the destructive creature with my light, wanting it to know that I'd be back. But then I saw something else:
My buck, floating in the pond! Evidently the reason the blood trail gave out was that the deer took a dive. That's when the real adventure of fishing him out began.
We got the deer out after a lot of hard work and decided to donate it to Hunters for the Hungry. Here's Brett with the deer at the processor's.
None of my kids have been much into deer hunting this year, but Jake has been eager to get out and get after the waterfowl. So we jumped at the chance when our friends Brian and Jake M. invited us to go duck hunting Saturday morning. We arrived at their house at 5:30 with the thermometer reading 19 degrees.
We motored down the river breaking ice as we went. The temperature continued to drop and as the ice thickened the ducks flew overhead without hitting the water. We saw a lot of ducks and geese and got off a few volleys but went home empty-handed. Still, it was a fun trip and we're hoping for a little warmer weather and better waterfowl hunting in the coming month.
Meanwhile. . .
The busy time of year continued in my dead deer removal business. This has been quite a year for this little sideline that I started back in 2009. If you're one of those unfortunate folks who wakes up to find a dead deer in your yard, you know who to call. And remember, we make dead deer disappear!