I once lived in Illinois for a short time and was so excited to get to hunt as a resident I could hardly contain myself. The Bowhunting angels were on my side THIS year.
I was lucky enough to get into Allerton Park. 2200 acres of wooded heaven that was gifted to the U of I 50 years ago and hadn’t been hunted until the prior year after 3 joggers were chased by swollen necked Casanovas looking for love in all the wrong places and one guy getting gang raped by a pack of rutting whitetails who thought his biking hot pants were indeed, very hot.
So I draw Oct 24-30th and I’m giddy as a schoolgirl getting ready for prom.
I have the spot, I have the gear, I have all my ducks in a row and this is going to be my season to smoke a P&Y world class Mega Buck. I’d seen pictures from the previous season and no less than a dozen deer over 160 were taken and 1 a beauty 16 point that scored 198 and change…I tinkled on the floor.
Oct 23 I started feeling a little sick-ish but ignored it completely. The weather was bad. Cold, rained like crazy the 22nd and 23rd and turned to ice that night. EVERYTHING had ½” sheath of ice.
Morning of I can’t remove the smile with a hammer even though I aint in the best shape. I have some serious lower bowel issues and my stomach is a turning inside out pretty regularly but I only have a week and by God I’m getting to the dream land.
I head out at a million O’clock and it’s slick. Real slick. The roads are evil even for a Michigander and there are more cars in the ditch than on the road. I spent 100% of the 35 minute trip (turned to an hour) in 4wd and 40% on the shoulder or in someone’s yard. Mostly backwards or sideways. The ice had claimed everything.
I get to my spot and park, climber, bow, headlamp, safety harness….check check check let’s get it on.
My climber is scaring me on the way up. Everything is iced like a glazed doughnut and I’m feeling increasingly like I may yak…I can shoot first and yak later.
I get to the top and get settle in to wait for dawn. Than I throw up.
I can hang. It passes and the sun starts to crawl over the ridge. I see some movement and grab the Binos….un-freakin believable. He’s a mainframe 10 that’s far and away the biggest deer I’ve ever seen in the woods. He gets to about 40 yards and my nausea returns. My mouth starts to water and swallow it away trying to wait for him to come into range.
30 yards…vitals behind a tree and one step and he’s as good as above the fireplace with a great story of fighting through the elements and sickness to trick this wary wizened monster buck to falling to my incredible hunting prowess….than I yak. It nearly hit him.
I feel like crying but can’t because I just hurled every bit of moisture left in my body but I sure as hell need to get out of here because this AINT workin’ today. I’ve blown it in the first hour of the first day.
I lower my gear and start the descent. As I sit down for a second about 4 feet into my declination to hurl again I see it as if it’s in slow motion….the bottom of my climber doesn’t quite catch…hanging in mid air by the strap that’s not knotted tight enough….it slips….and crashes to the base of the tree taking the express lane due to the 6” of ice covering every damn thing in this God forsaken woods.
I breathe deep…No problem. I’ll just bear hug the tree and slide down. Grip it real tight and nice and easy down to the bottom. I get all set and have a ferocious grip and look up at the seat of my climber…how the hell am I going to get it down?
Ahh…I’ll give it a little nudge and it’ll follow me.
I land at the base of the tree in .003 seconds and somewhere along the trip I’ve crapped my pants. I land on my butt so hard it knocks my wind out and I see stars…than I’m walloped in the head with the climber and don’t remember anything for a little while.
I wake up and my left eye glued shut in frozen blood. I’m bleeding, puking and I have soiled boxers and feeling pretty poorly at this minute. I sit up and the blood flows freely from my head.
I look around to try to get my bearings to the nearest road and quickest route to my truck and there stands that buck. Not 20 yards out just staring at me.
I swear to God I’ve never seen a deer smile before or after but this one did.
I make a snowball and whip it at his head.
I leave everything and make my way to the road…I’m relieved when I hear a car coming as I’m leaving a copious bloodtrail and I’m not sure how bad the gash on my cranium is.
The car comes around the corner and I see it’s a woman in her 50’s or so alone. I wave and our eyes meet…than she crashes off into the ditch and into a stand of young trees. I go over to help just as she throws it in reverse and backs out doing a 180 that would make Bow and Luke Duke envious…apparently I look pretty rough and she’s not taking any chances with a bloody guy in camo staggering out of the wood in the middle of nowhere.
I take the road back toward my truck and have fashioned a makeshift bandage from my knit hat…the bleeding has subsided somewhat but I’m feeling pretty weak, tired and I smell like poop. Than I yak again.
½ a mile left to get to my truck and the DNR rolls by and stops to give me a lift. He’s very concerned for me but I see the wound has almost stopped bleeding now. It looks like the top half of an egg is glued under my skin with an angry jagged red slash across the top. He kinda chuckles as he drops me off and tells me he’ll go get my gear for me. Than I yak again.
He returns my gear and makes sure I feel ok to drive and as he’s about to leave I can tell he’s trying to find words but struggling…than he asks, “ I know you’re having a hard day but I have to ask…did you **** in my truck?”
I went home and went back to bed still dreaming of that buck.