October 6 – Deer down

Tuesday I went to the Kiwanis meeting at noon with Stacey.  The lunch is normally the part I look forward to, but this time it was meat loaf.  What luck!  Not a favorite of either of us.  Anyway, it was a good meeting.  In the afternoon I went to the office and took care of a few small things.  I then had a meeting at main campus with my division and an HLC representative–the organization that accredits us as a University.  That went pretty well too.  When I got home, I noted that the woodchuck had not yet dug himself out. 

Wednesday morning I went in to QU again to hear the result of the HLC visit.  We were accredited for another 10 years.  There was much rejoicing.  I went to my office for a bit.  I talked to some students I haven’t seen since last year.  I picked up Lowell and we ate at the diner in Ewing.  Lowell is now a 1/45th owner of the building.  It’s not much of an investment, just a way to make sure that the diner stays in business.  We fished two rounds of the lake.  It was sunny but windy.  It was tough fishing.  I caught two small bass on a Rat-L-Trap, while Lowell caught one bluegill.  Lowell had to go to Quincy, so I stayed and read the paper and took a brief nap.  I changed into camos and went out to sit in deer stand number two.  I was just about done reading the last article in American Entomologist when I noticed a deer walking down the fence line toward me.  I put the magazine under my rear and watched.  It was a small buck with four points on each side, which made him a legal shooter.  He had just a basket rack though, nothing impressive at all.  He continued straight toward me, stopping to nibble on plants.  At one point a cow mooed in the distance. He kind of cocked his head and listened, then kept going.  It was so cool to seem him that close.  Too bad I couldn’t pull out the camera.  After he passed me I stood up and drew.  I whistled him to a stop and fired an arrow.  He ducked and ran a short distance while the arrow went over his shoulder.  He stopped about 30 yards out, then continued moseying on.  I don’t think he ever knew I was there.  I wasn’t too broken up about missing.  I’d rather shoot a bigger buck.  It was just fun to see one, which doesn’t often happen.

Thursday it rained all day.  I stayed in and worked up a report of our data from Ruby.  There’s a lot of stuff there, but it all hangs together fairly well.  I also scanned all the old photos my sister had given me while I was out in California.  I can’t believe I was ever that skinny, or had such bad hair or clothing.  The most interesting among them were the class photos from Byron Elementary School.  I have kindergarten and grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8.  I went through them and wrote down the names of all the classmates I could remember.  I actually did get most of them, but there are still a few unknowns, even in the 8th grade.  I don’t recall accomplishing much more than that, except forgetting to put the trash out. 

Friday I rearranged the plants in the house and vacuumed up all the fern leaves.  I went outside and filled up two out of three woodchuck burrows.  He never dug himself out, so I’m declaring myself the winner.  The third hole is under a wood pile that I will have to burn first.  I went down to the boat house and got the Honda Mini Trail 70 started.  It didn’t want to run without the choke.  The battery is pretty much shot too.  I made two trips to Orscheln’s to get shims to install the Harley mirrors on it that Mike gave me.  All I really need to finish the project is a new headlight and a tail light lens.  I spent the afternoon working on another research project–non-insect arthropods in popular music.  When Stacey got home we went to Primo’s for pizza.

Saturday morning I went in to QU for a Discovery Day.  I set up my display boards and my laptop with a looping presentation of photos.  I got only one student who was interested in biology, but that’s normal.  I got to talk to some students and friends anyway.  And we had free lunch.  I went to Lowell’s afterward.  It was pretty cold, but it wasn’t supposed to rain.  We went around to all the deer stands and measured off 20 yards in different directions and marked trees.  We had done this about three years ago, but many of the reflective markers were gone, and he had put up a new stand since then.  So now I have good range estimation from every stand.  We went inside for awhile, and I must admit I took a little nap.  Lowell had to go off to a function, and I went out to stand 3A and climbed up in it.  First I saw something white walking toward me.  I thought it was a deer at first.  It turned out to be a house cat!  A little while later I saw a deer run from the bean field into the end of a line of trees.  If it followed the trees down, it would go right past me.  So I stood up and got ready, but it didn’t show.   As I was growing colder, and implementing every spare item of clothing I had, I saw a fawn walking down the trail by the lake, maybe 25 yards away.  I drew my bow, but it stopped behind a tree and I couldn’t shoot.  I let down my draw, and eventually it walked out into the open about 30 yards out.  I shot.  My arrow made a spiral like a corkscrew and landed nowhere near the deer, which ran away.  What the hell?  I thought maybe it was a bad arrow.  Later I saw a big doe out in the bean field, but she never got any closer than about 40 yards, then she walked back into the trees.  I started to shiver, and that’s where I draw the line.  After I couldn’t take it any more, I climbed down, although there was maybe an hour of shooting light left.  I picked up the arrow I had shot, and there didn’t appear to be anything wrong with it.  I first thought that my bow was out of tune, but upon further reflection, it may be that my broadheads are not aerodynamic.  As I walked past the catfish pond I saw a fawn (perhaps the same one) in the field.  I sneaked toward it while hiding behind a peach tree.  It didn’t move, and I stepped out and shot.  I got the spiral effect again, and a clean miss.  The deer moved a few feet and kept eating. I shot again.  Bigger spiral.  I probably should have stopped at that point, as taking haphazard shots is moderately irresponsible, but this had to be the stupidest deer in the world.  He walked another five feet and stood broadside.  I nocked another arrow and stood up.  He looked straight at me and didn’t run away!  I aimed for the heart/lung region and fired again.  He ran off into the woods and I just assumed I had missed again.  But then I heard a lot of thrashing around in the woods there, and when I walked over to where he had been standing, there was significant blood.  Son of a gun, I had hit him.  I walked to the edge of the woods where he had gone in and I parted the bushes.  I could see him lying there on the forest floor.  Dang.  I walked up and found it had a big hole in the throat.  The arrow had passed right through, cutting carotid arteries and trachea.  There was blood all over the ground.  I tagged him and gutted him, using the new knife I had gotten for Christmas last year.  I dragged him out to the trail, then decided that it would be a lot easier with an ATV, even though it was a small deer–a button buck, it turned out.  I got Lowell’s Mule out of the shed, picked up the deer with it, and took it to my car.  I laid a big trash bag in the trunk, put the deer on top and drove home.  Now that we got rid of the basketball goal, I had to hang the deer from a tree in the back yard. 

I spent all of Sunday butchering the deer.  Fortunat
ely, Savannah was there helping me, even if sometimes it was just moral support and wisecracks.  It was all really good meat, being a young animal and having no wounds in the edible parts. 

Monday I went in to Quincy.  I got some new mechanical broadheads at WalMart.  They were really cheap, but they should fly better than the big fixed-blade ones I have been using.  I should have learned this lesson already.  A few years ago I had penetration problems shooting mechanical broadheads from my longbow.  I also went to Home Depot and bought a new handle for the sliding glass door.  While I was driving down Broadway I was behind this car I’ve seen before.  It’s an old, crappy Chevy Cavalier that looks like it was painted by throwing buckets of green paint on it.  I’m surpised it hasn’t been ticketed for paint on the license plate and tail lights.  What cracks me up, though, is written in the back window: Practice Safe Sex, Go F*&% Yourself.  And right after that, I saw on another car a bumper sticker that read, “I’m only speeding because I have to poop.”  I met Stacey at Hy-Vee and we had Chinese food.  It was her birthday.  She’s that magical age, a number that is the answer to the meaning of life, if you subscribe to Douglas Adams’ version of things in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  I went to the office and met with a prospective student, a tall kid who’s a basketball recruit.  I started work on my lectures for next week.  When I got home I took a nap then installed the new door handle.  I kept filing and grinding the new latch to fit the old door, then just decided to use the old latch.  That worked out better. 

Photos for this week’s entry (with captions!) are here:
Be forewarned there are gory dead deer images.

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