Last year, I sat in my ground blind next to a deer trail. The trail was coming out of the timber and going to a field of picked corn. The woods behind me contained the pitter-patter of falling acorns caused by the multitude of squirrel activity. Old dried leaves from maples and oaks flew by as the morning wind picked up.
My goal was to sit this day out despite the wind and maybe an upcoming storm and not settling for anything less. The squirrel activity increased, telling me that surely there would be a storm. Animals are a far better weather predictor than any human.
The fall deer season was in full swing, and I had seen only glimpses of distant deer for two days. In spite of the wind and squirrel activity, I was entertained by them and found calmness watching them oblivious to my presence. It was extremely interesting to see how wild life interacted for survival. Soon it would be time to quit.
Just before the sun dropped below the horizon, I spotted a flicker of white. This was at least 100 yards up the trail I was watching. I kept my eyes focused and saw that the deer was moving my way. Slowly he picked at acorns, and every so often his head would shoot up as he scanned the terrain for danger. I unholstered the handgun.
When the deer dropped his head again I placed the crosshairs just behind his shoulder and slowly squeezed the trigger. The recoil of the 44 mag. hit me, and I watched as the deer took off in high gear. The recoil caused me to lose sight of the deer at the shot even though I was sure I had made a good hit.
I waited a good 30 minutes before coming out of the ground blind. The leaves near where I had shot were speckled with blood. I followed for about 40 yards and then climbed atop a tree stump to get a better view.
A brown spot about 40 years ahead of me was the deer. His ears contained notches from many fights. There was no doubt in my mind that he was the king of this forest. His coat was starting to turn silver and his hoofs showed signs of wear. I knew from experience that he would be a good hamburger deer and nothing else. I thanked the good lord for the opportunity.
Many hunts like this are a thing of beauty. Watching the woods and animals mean just as much to me as harvesting an animal.
Again river fishing has been very slow.
My companions and I traveled many miles last Thursday trying to catch a few sauger, but it was to no avail. We ran about 30 miles downstream from Starved Rock. We fished all the hot-spots including the clam beads. One of my friends caught a smallmouth bass around 1 p.m. That was the only fish we caught after 5 hours of fishing.
I have fished this river for over 70 years and have never seen conditions this bad.