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A Good Time Was Had by All

November 17, 2009

Last Sunday Number Two Son and I rousted ourselves out of bed at 4:00 a.m., loaded guns and gear into the truck, stopped at the truck stop for breakfast, and then hit the road for our hunt at Jim Willuweit’s ranch.  We pulled in about 6:30 a.m. and ran into Dennis who was setting out to go find a calf that had gone astray.  He filled us in a bit and allowed as yesterday had been a “circus.”  Thankfully things had calmed down considerably.

Having about 5 square miles of draws and rolling cattle country to choose from, Lee and I elected to go over the east side of the ranch and run a series of draws there.  The day was going to be sunny, but the temperature was still crisp and the wind was out of the west at a good clip.

Fun story short, we saw lots of deer in the area that morning, most off the property we had permission to hunt or out of range for us.  The draws we selected turned out to be good deer habitat.  Both of us had our opportunities at taking nice, big does early on that morning. 

Mine came as I was working out a branch off the first draw.  As luck would have it, that was also the exact time that I had let my mind wander off the task at hand.  In my detached state I missed the obvious and the doe caught my attention as she moved into cover in the bottom of the draw, hopping the fence and heading for quieter surroundings.  It was a moment that could be aptly summed up that old Minnesota idiom, “Aw, for dumb!”

We worked the main draw up to the top of the hill, then moved over to work a smaller, forked draw down toward the pasture where we’d left the truck.  About a third of the way down I heard Lee let drive with his .30-30 and looked over in time to see a big doe run up and stop on the ridge opposite him.  He jacked in another round and took aim.  I grinned as I watched a puff of dirt behind the doe,  then heard the shot.  That doe also left the country.

At least Lee had been paying attention.  He’d spotted two younger deer exiting the draw first, then saw the doe he’d tried for sneaking out on another route.  He was straight up about missing the opportunity, so I had to confess my brain fart to him.  He laughed.

We spent the remainder of the morning looking around at the other areas of the ranch and taking note of the crops that were on some of the adjoining ranches.  Then drove into Wall for gas, coffee and pie. 

When we got back things were pretty quiet all over the country, so we thought we’d go back to where we’d started, pull up some ground and see what might come down looking to move across the big pasture to the neighbor’s corn ground.  We each picked a draw and separated for a couple hours of solitude.

No deer bothered either of us, but I’d gotten out of the wind which was dying over the course of the afternoon.  So it was a pretty relaxing, enjoyable time, until the sun slipped behind the hills and it instantly got damn cold.  I gritted it out for 45 minutes and then admitted  I was under dressed for this type of hunting and went back out to the truck.  I was stowing my rifle and gear when Lee came over the ridge having had the same revelation.  We both agreed it was a day well spent, and Lee wants to go again.  Will do, but meantime, I’m  going again this Friday.

— Jim Margadant

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