The firearms deer season here in Minnesota, as we know it, is now history.
It came to a close this past Sunday evening at "dark" for the majority of the state. There are still a few pockets and strong "holdouts," with sporadic firing in the northeast part of the state, which ends this Sunday.
Miles of venison sausage will be made, some with top secret recipes, as stories are retold many times over. First-time hunters, with high expectations, joined the large, nearly 500,000 "blaze orange" rifle toters. We all had the experience of being on our deer stand, which at times, seemed like an "eternal wait." Some of us froze, while others came prepared.
We witnessed the red squirrel scurrying through the leaves and up some tree, chattering and scolding, while crows flew over, making sounds other than their normal "caw, caw." The friendly chickadee landing close like a friend, while the blue jay squawked, which seemed to warn the surroundings.
"Ghost Bucks" are still out there and some will awake us in the middle of the night.
Unsuccessful "Stick Hunters" are again picking up their bows and heading to a cold, dark, windy woods. These have to be a dedicated bunch as they perch themselves in some dark tree, waving in the wind, as icicles form below their nose, to pit their skills against the most educated, "rut-less" whitetails. It has to be brutal out there and that class of hunters are one dedicated bunch. They will hang up their bow the end of December.
Black powder hunting, for the elusive whitetail, will begin Thanksgiving weekend, or Saturday, Nov. 29, with the first ignition of black powder at 0700 hours or 7 a.m. Many hunters will put on their "coon skin hat" and hit the woods...one more time, with their trusty "one-shot only", scopeless, smoke pole. These musket toters that used scoped rifle, with a "banana clip" during the regular firearms season, could go into "hunter's shock". The motto of these Musket Toters, "keep your powder dry".
One key to success is patience, "I only have one shot and it must be close."
I do hope that you had a safe, successful, and memorable hunt. It is not how many deer that are "rolled" that makes for a good hunt, but the getting out in the woods, spending time with one's self on a deer stand, and the hunting party you hunt with. Having that "high five" or that celebration drink after the sun goes down and eating as much "junk food" as you like.
(If I see another bite-size left over Halloween candy or another salted peanut...I am going to scream).
So for the most of us deer hunters in Minnesota...bagging a deer is a "bonus."
I love Minnesota, the great people that inhabit this state and have the most respect for the Minnesota whitetail.
Have a good one.
TONY WENZEL of Randall is a retired platoon sergeant with the Minnesota Army National Guard at Camp Ripley and a lifetime resident of central Minnesota.
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