Deer hunting story months in the making


Leader photo illustration by Carol Ryczek A group of Belle Plaine hunters demonstrates their technique for a deer drive on Friday. The hunters gathered at Bryce Beyer’s home on State Highway 22 south of Shawano before heading out for the drive. The nine-day gun deer season ends on Sunday.

Hey, just what you need — another deer hunting story!

Every year around this time, I have a notion to sit with my husband in his deer stand. I go back and forth in my head trying to talk myself out of it. This year, the voice inside my head won. Pulling on blaze orange on top of layers; tugging on boots and grabbing thermos, cookies, water bottle, notepad, pen and cell phone, I bounced my way out the door with my husband and son.

Getting to the drop-off spot, I closed the truck door as quietly as possible and, following my husband, trudged out to the deer blind, talking to myself the entire way.

My nose started running. “Good thing I grabbed Kleenex.”

I got a bit of a chill. “Wow am I glad I packed six hand warmers!”

My lips felt chapped. “Do I have my Carmex?”

“How long yet?”

Plodding along behind my husband, I lengthened my stride to accommodate his so I’d keep up. Making our way finally, we climbed the steps to the hexagon hunting blind, mounted 13 feet up in the air.

Early this summer, my husband had the idea he needed a new hunting blind. This hunting hobby can get dang expensive, and he was hesitant. I told him, “Listen, you don’t drink, smoke or gamble. You hunt. Go for it.” He was considering building, but we spotted one in a Fleet Farm flyer that was on sale; plus, if I’d take out a credit card in my name, we’d get an additional 10 percent off. We got it.

Getting it home, I helped him put it together in spurts and fits, whenever we had the time. He placed four 6-by-6-foot treated posts in pre-dug holes, and one day a couple of friends came over and built a platform. Hauling our skidster and the completed blind on our trailer down to the spot, we hoisted the stand up with the skidster bucket, placing it on the completed platform and securing it in place.

That done, he realized it needed reinforcement, so more treated posts were purchased with the idea of putting up an “x” in between each post. Hauling the material down and dumping it, he got busy with summer haying. The deer stand was put on hold.

“How’re you gonna get up there?” I asked one day, early August.

“Aluminum ladder and pull my bow up with a rope.”

I thought, “Oh, no you’re not.” A surprise birthday gift was taking shape inside my head. We have neighbors who happened to be very gifted in the area of carpentry. Texting them one day, I inquired if they’d consider building a steps on our new hexagon hunting blind, complete with a railing on both sides, along with a three-sided railing just for stability on the platform encircling the blind, but not obstructing the view. Plus could you reinforce the 6-by-6 posts with “x” beams in between? I was specific. They hooted with glee on being included in this great surprise. Agreeing with it all, they set about making it happen.

We had planned a short vacation away from the farm, which included a weekend in late August. Calling our other neighbors, I informed them there would be a strange vehicle towing a trailer on our property down by our woods, so don’t text my husband that something was amiss while we were away. We have good neighbors like that. (There were a number of people in on this surprise.)

Getting home, I couldn’t wait to take him down there. “Let’s go for a ride!”

“Where?”

“I’ll tell you.”

“What’d you hit?” He is so suspicious.

When we came upon the stand, he was pleased beyond measure. It has proven to be such a blessing to be able to securely walk up a flight of stairs with a double railing. We bought a second-hand hunk of carpet, hauled two padded chairs up and there we sat this hunting season, the two of us like royalty with a view fit for a king.

Getting out there at 5:30 a.m., I settled in for the long haul. We could whisper up there and, because the windows are tinted, we could even move around a little. Until he opened them, that is.

Whispering, “Is that Highway 29 traffic noise?”

“Wind’s coming from the south. Yeah.”

“I should have brought my book. I think I’ll have my coffee now. You want a cookie?”

My glasses started fogging up.

“Look. My glasses are fogging up.”

“Shh. It’s cuz you’re talkin’ too much.”

I quieted myself then and intently looked around. There was a shape that looked suspiciously like a huge buck, until dawn broke and a large stone formed. Ferociously, colorful pheasants were clucking to the right of us like they were warning deer to stay away!

Around 8 a.m., in a hoarse whisper, my husband exclaimed, “There’s one!” Immediately he brought his gun up, eyeballing through the scope. I don’t think I was breathing. Quietly, he clicked off the safety. Waiting … waiting … waiting … BANG!

Watching the buck approach across the field, I was astonished to see it buckle and then walk as if in a daze. It didn’t run; it walked. Then stopped, then walked. Husband shot again. BANG! I flinched. The deer just simply kept walking. But haphazardly. The buck was definitely wounded.

We waited, watching where it went. Much later, we got out and started tracking. Our son joined in. He is an excellent finder of all things lost, so it was no surprise when he found an itsy bitsy spot of red on a fallen leaf.

Pointing, “Mom. Stay here.” I was instructed without fanfare to guard the spot where the last speck of blood was found. Noses to the ground, husband and son forged ahead.

Eventually, my husband took me back to the house, for by that time I could no longer feel my toes. The kid kept looking. Even before the truck left the yard to go back down, he called me telling me he found more blood and this time it looked promising.

In the end, they found the buck just mere yards from where they were looking. It turned out to be a nice nine-pointer, about 165 pounds. We will have venison in the freezer this winter. Thank you, Father God.

And that’s my deer hunting story!

(“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise, give thanks to him and praise his name!” Psalm 100:4)