It's over. The last drive was completed at 4:26 pm behind the brick house. Here's how the day started.
I took Union street, past the elementary school, figuring i'd drop into Maybrook on the back end and be at the farm before 11:00 am. I passed the catholic church, Mike's Deli and slowed right into line of traffic behind one of those big waste disposal semis, that seem to be tipping over everywhere. I looked at the clock. Plenty of time. Then, just past Roger Beatty's house I looked in my rear view and saw flashing lights. Fuck.
I could go into great detail how i get along with cops, but i know you want me to get to the hunt. Suffice it to say he gave me a ticket, I was pissed and let him know. I always forget I'll get to see him again in court. Hands Up. I can't breathe!
So I tossed the ticket on the floor and beat it to the farm. Savage, Uncle Bob and i were going to push the spots that hadn't been pushed all season. They were seeing more does feeding and a big buck could easily be bedded in one of the swamps or woodlots that surrounded the place, cheek to jowl with houses, roads and barns. It was tight shooting, but Savage and UB knew it perfectly and I'd hunted it enough to be comfortable.
The first drive put out does and a tall spike. The radio crackled: "If that spike gives me a shot, you want me to shoot him?" Savaged asked. "That's why we're here...to shoot deer." UB confirmed the mission. We all had buck and doe tags. It was old school meat hunting. If it's brown it's down.
Savage shot a doe that took a little bit to find, in the thick cover. But Savage's eye for a blood trail got him to her. UB missed a long shot on a doe in the woods and I saw nothing. The next drive Savage shot the spike, but it didn't go down. He found good blood, but the buck jumped and went down the bank to the river, towards the golf course. We couldn't follow. The plan was to go back in the morning by boat and hopefully find a dead deer. This part of hunting sucks, but it happens. If a deer isn't mortally wounded it can go for miles. We had no choice but to move on. Oh. I saw nothing, but the smoke from Savage's gun.
After a little lunch we set up for a promising drive, now with Young Bob along. Savage and UB drove, while YBob and I were on stand. I saw deer go out ahead of Savage and YBob's gun cracked. Then UB came over the radio. "One's going out the back door, Mike." I turned to see a huge doe cross the field and stop broadside at "not quite" 300 yards. I pulled up the gun and leaned against the tree in Charlie's Stand, clicked back the hammer, settled the crosshairs right behind her shoulder, and fired. All I saw was smoke. I got on the radio. "I don't know if I hit her." I said. "I'll have to go look for blood." "Just direct me." UB offered and he and Savage took up the track, while I swung around to the bridge, at the end of the swamp. They had good blood, but no deer. I scanned the road for blood and saw nothing. Then I turned and saw brown in the middle of a green field. She was down.
I've killed 3 deer in four days, after a season of frustration, mistakes, passed opportunities, and bone crushing endurance. The feeling that I pursued in chasing a big buck has more than been fulfilled by the clean killing success I have had since Sat. Three deer with three shots. And two I dropped in their tracks. No gut shots or lost tracks. Two of these deer I took with some of my favorite people: Savage, Mupp, Photogeorge, and Uncle Bob. As well as being along for Milawyer scoring on a nice buck, I packed in the social aspect of hunting pretty well in this season, with these solid, completely safe and very good hunters. We all came through unscathed. No heart attacks. No gunshot wounds. I bow to them all. A man couldn't ask for better hunting partners. Mission accomplished.