Was The 2014 Hunting Season A Success?

Written By: Michael B. Adams - Jan• 13•15

As a year comes to a close I always like to reflect back on accomplishments as well as events that didn’t go so well when it comes to my hunting and outdoor adventures, 2014 was no different. If you haven’t been following what has been going on in my life for the past two years you know that due to two major tragedies in my life I haven’t hit the woods since May of 2013. 2014 I was bound and determined to change that, it took longer than I had anticipated!

As our home was being rebuilt from the fire I began to plan my 2014 fall hunts and even managed to get up north and hang my treestands with the help of some pre-scouting from my friend at deer camp. Jacob and I spent an entire weekend getting 6 sets out and ready to ambush some deer this fall which made me feel pretty confident about October’s soon arrival. It should be a slam dunk to get out and hit it hard since I was supposed to be back in our house by late September….WRONG!

Delay after delay kept pushing our move in date back and my planned trip to northern Michigan along with my dad and uncle who were coming into town seemed doomed! The middle of October arrived along with an eventual move in date of the last week of October, how was I going to manage getting everything ready to move in with my dad expecting me to hunt for an entire week? Come hell or high water I was bound and determined to head north and north I went!

I needed that trip more than anyone knew, a year and a half of tragedy in my life had taken…check that, stolen my time in the field with my family, kids and myself. The week was uneventful but I spent 5 days in the treestand when it wasn’t raining and when it was raining I was in a shooting house with my dad whom I hadn’t hunted with in about four years. We spent two rain soaked mornings sitting and talking for hours while waiting for deer that we knew would never come, but we stayed out anyway and shared both good and bad times that had fallen upon us over the last couple of years. I also had the privilege of watching my dad and uncle spend time together at camp, you see these two haven’t spent time in the outdoors together in years. It was good to see them connect as well!

I didn’t even see a buck worth shooting that week but that time afield was a cleansing of the soul for me! It awoke my hunting spirit that had been robbed from me the last year and a half. It was good to be alive again! With the end of that hunt I began to look forward to the upcoming firearm deer season just a month away, only problem was I still needed to get moved back into the house. The last few days of October I managed to get everything moved into the house and settled in. My trip north with my two oldest kids seemed doomed since my oldest daughter couldn’t make the trip all of a sudden due to school demands. Ok I thought, I will just let my youngest boy Jake go with us but he too had issues with school and couldn’t make the trip. With only a few days before heading north I asked my youngest daughter if she wanted to go on her first deer hunt, with gleaming eyes she said YES!

She had only been on a squirrel hunt once with me and she had been on a few trapping runs as well, but she had never been to the deer woods! I was a little reluctant to put that kind of pressure on her but she had her mind set on going and I couldn’t let her down. After getting some new gear for her to wear and everything ready we headed north with my oldest son Mikey as well. I wondered in the back of my mind, could she cut it? Could she set in the cold and wait for a deer that might not ever show up? If it did could she pull the trigger and execute the shot? Only time would tell….

Opening morning came and we hit the woods before daylight and as we got to the blind I could tell she was a little skittish because of the dark. We got settled in and waited for daylight. It didn’t take long for the action to start and get her curiosity peaked. We had deer all around us that morning with a huge shooter buck making his way near us but he never presented a shot. Now she was hooked! The evening hunt didn’t go as well since we only saw a few does and small bucks. With the action not equal to the morning hunt she wanted to leave before it got dark and I had to explain to her that it wasn’t good to leave before dark, it was what we call “Prime Time”! The day went the same way it came, silent. The next morning started the same as the previous ended, with little action. During the down time when there wasn’t much going on I explained to her the things she had seen and tried to use those instances as teaching moments so she could better understand what was going on and how to hunt. That is how we passed much of the first two hours of that second morning.

About 9:00 or 9:30 we began to watch two small does feeding and then they bedded down next to our blind. I thought oh great now we are trapped in our blind if they don’t leave, then a small buck come sneaking in and bumped the does away. Only he decided to hang around a few minutes longer after they left and he was starring behind the blind. My daughter Madi said, “Dad something is behind us because he keeps looking that way. I turned around and looked through the rear window only to see nothing but a big buck about 30 yards behind us! I told her to get her rifle up and into the window and get ready to shoot if he came that way. Within seconds he began to trot right in front of her rifle muzzle at about 40 yards out. She tried to draw a bead on him as he was moving and then he stopped, I said shoot him…..BANG! The buck runs about 30 yards and drops! She turned to me and held her hand up and said give me five!

We were high fiving each other in the blind, laughing and hugging each other! I was one proud dad! I knew this deer was a nice buck but you never fully know until you walk up to them and get a closer look at the antlers. As we walked up she thought he was a small buck because his right side antlers were buried in leaves. She got a big ‘ol smile on her face when she grabbed the antlers that were showing and pulled his head up to expose the other side that was under the leaves! A big old Michigan 8 point buck! I couldn’t have been happier for her!

There is something special about watching your children shoot their first deer. It is something that cannot be explained, it has to be experienced to fully understand what it means. I have had the pleasure and great fortune of being there when all four of my children have shot their first deer! There are not a lot of people that can say that and I have had that fortune!

After that hunting trip I managed to get out a few more times downstate with my son Jacob to hunt a piece of land I leased this year but we didn’t have any luck taking a deer. But I did enjoy my time afield with him as well. It doesn’t always boil down to bringing game home to have a successful hunting trip, sometimes its all about the time spent in the woods and whom you spend it with that means more than any game animal you can bring home to put in the freezer. For me 2014 was a HUGE success in more ways than one! I got back into the outdoors for the first time in a year and a half. I got to spend time and hunt with my father for the first time in over four years. I got to watch my dad and uncle hang out together at camp and enjoy the time spent there. I watched my youngest daughter take her first deer on her very first deer hunt. Last of all, I got to spend time with my youngest boy Jake in the late season watching it snow and see Michigan’s fall turn to winter.

Yes I had a great 2014!

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