These are 2.5 year old bulls. Good eating!
November passed quickly and Thanksgiving week came fast. Jordan and his pal spent another tough week in some awful nasty cold and didn't turn up a good buck with their bows so they both settled on last night opportunity with a rifle. On his last night in MT his pal took this 5 x 6 whitey.
On the last night before Jordan headed back to study for semester final exams he looked at me and said, "Dad, I'm taking my rifle with my bow tonight". Jordan didn't draw a tag in MT in 2018 and he was feeling it so on his last night in MT he headed out with his HOYT and a Browning Bar .243 slung over his shoulder. Good thing he did because this brute didn't come any closer than 100 yards.
We had a great early Thanksgiving and with my retirement have so much to be thankful for. We took our family Christmas picture in Montana!
On the last weekend of the season with my family gone I did what friends do and invited a local neighbor over to hunt. Here is my recap of my good neighbor Ed!
I have a great neighbor. His name is Ed. He is 72, husband, father and grandfather. Ed was an Air Force aviator and schooled as an engineer. Ed retired from the power plant facility in Colstrip, MT and with his wife keeps the Yellowstone River Valley in produce. Ed has been teaching bowhunter education in MT for 33 years. He has taught grandfathers, sons and grandsons bow hunter safety! Funny thing, Ed hasn’t shot a deer with a rifle in 33 years. All his teaching is on a volunteer basis. Ed provides onions, berries, cucumbers, potatoes and tomatoes to our family each fall. Ed is always around and does so much for us. This year he made wood duck boxes and helped me put them up. Last year it was bat boxes. On Thanksgiving I was at Ed’s table. He is always calling to check on my sons hunting luck daily. He has never asked for anything other than I put sugar in his coffee!
Well, I told Ed last month to come hunt. Bring your bow or rifle and enjoy yourself. He came over a few afternoons and sat on stand. Ed Had a great time but it never came together but that is bow hunting. So the other day I told Ed, come and kill a bomber. Told him no shooting small bucks. Told him no killing cull bucks. Only a tank for you Ed! Use a rifle when the wind is howling!This morning Ed was shaking like a leaf. He did it. With my help he got it done. The emotion was unbelievable. It was all I could do to hold back tears when he grabbed that massive bone and said “Buck of a lifetime”! I am humbled by how much Ed appreciated this opportunity. He made a great shot and listened to me every step of the way to get this magnificent deer on the ground. It was the only deer I saw for 3 hours today which in itself is simply hard to believe. In the blowing snow, glasses fogged, no gloves and unfamiliar weapon he made a great heart shot after I got the deer stopped. We were lucky. It was Ed’s opportunity and he made the most of it. It is friends like Ed that make Montana so special! Talk about being blessed today to give back to a friend so appreciative of what it takes to grow deer to maturity! I am so thankful and full of gratitude for what God provides and the enjoyment we get from our ranch. It is truly a magical place for growing deer and today was Ed’s day!
As for me, got back to TN in December and headed down to Georgia where I have a lifetime license and went for a walk. I love stalk hunting in south Georgia. Slow, real slow. Had fun and enjoyed myself. It's what hunting is all about.
Baiting is legal in Georgia now. That is my pals truck. I don't hunt over feeders or corn piles. Not my thing. Each to his own I reckon. TN hunters who feed corn to keep does around their hunting territory, I don't know if it is legal, I hear many do it, are like my friends in GA who are spending big $$$ to keep those deer from going to the neighboring property. Seems expensive to me but expensive is relative. I do know when I field dressed this buck he had more bait in his throat than most bird feeders! So I got me a buck! Am trying some jalapeno and Vidalia onion sausage out with him. Can't wait.
As for me, next year can't come soon enough. Maybe the tag gods will be shining on me. Maybe not. I'll still enjoy every second afield. Watching, studying, observing, making myself a better hunter. These old bucks don't just come easy. They are different animals at 4.5 years of age. Different tactics, different patterns, I still love the game.
May 2020 be your best year afield as well!
If anyone within an hour from Crossville needs coyotes thinned out I am pretty good at trapping coyotes and not educating them. I have been after them for nearly 50 years and know what I am doing and do it well. It's in my blood and would love to help teach or coach up a youngster or grandkid on the many aspects of catching them. As for retirement the jury is still out. I need time to figure things out. I have everything I need and most of what I want. One can't buy health, relationships, the love of my wife. Those always have to be worked at, nurtured, savored. I'll let you know more about how I feel about retirement next year. All i really know is work is good for the mind, body and soul. Every day now I get to work on things I want to do. Believe it or not I even have more time to pray!
I have a hunch the best is yet to come!