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A couple of weeks ago, deer desperate me posted on the Land for Sale/Lease Forum hoping to find a place to go for the late-antlerless season. Deputy generously offered his spot in Hillsdale Co. I was elated, my gratitude increasing geometrically when he offered to pick me up at my home, drive me to Hillsdale, sit with me in his portable ground blind, and lend me his new muzzleloader. Too awesome for words!

Yesterday, I was ready at 445am when his truck pulled up in my driveway and off we went. On the way, he told me about the property we would be hunting and where and when we would likely see deer. This was repeated as we hiked in and set up the blind overlooking a cut soybean field. Nevertheless, I was skeptical. Deer waltzing into an open field late in the morning? This ran counter to most of what I'd been told about deer hunting and what little experience I possessed. I was sure he was kidding and kept my eyes peeled as the sun came up and deputy softly snored in his seat.

The air was chill but I was snug in that Double Bull blind, swaddled in my Daddy's old treebark bibs and parka with Thermacares attached to strategic locations. I was ready.

The shadows shortened, and the sun turned the new-fallen snow into a carpet of diamonds, but, no deer. Occasionally my guide would wake and asked how I was and if I'd seen anything. I tried not to look worried as I replied in the negative. Deputy would reassure me that he rarely saw this particular group of does before 930am and then drift off into dreamland. 930am and then 1000am passed without a whitetail. Deputy, now awake and alert, scanned the treeline. About 1030am, he suddenly exclaimed "Deer!" A group of does was just leaving the shelter of the woods and crossing through the middle of the field. One glance told me they were too far away for me to comfortably take a shot. I passed deputy the Thompson and he readied the shooting sticks. The field echoed with the sound of gunfire and the blind with colorful language. A miss. Deputy reloaded with a speed that would've impressed the minutemen as the confused does milled around the field. Again, he steadied the muzzleloader on the shooting sticks and fired. More interesting comments on the nature of deer sex and ancestry. As he reloaded, three does broke off from the group and came toward us at a trot. One hesitated just as deputy shouldered the gun. The doe dropped almost instantly while the the others, still confused, slowly wandered back into the woods.

I am quite certain few men have ever been as happy about their 12 point bucks as deputy was about this doe. I was high-fived, back-slapped, bear-hugged and treated to him dancing across the field to his prize.

We dressed the doe, dropped her off at the processor's and ate a very satisfying lunch at a Chinese buffet. At lunch deputy lamented that he hadn't let me try for his doe. I wasn't sure he believed my completely sincere response that I could not have made a 135 yard shot at a nearly head-on deer. I would happily wait for something closer, broadside and standing still and was now confident I would get my chance if I was patient.

We set up again in a slightly different location for the afternoon hunt. Again, deputy dozed while I continuously scanned the treeline. About 4pm, exactly when deputy predicted they might appear, I saw heads and tails moving through a hollow in the field at a high rate of speed. They were gone before I could even glass them. Poor deputy was most unhappy, but vowed we would try again the next day.

To be continued (after I get some sleep)...
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