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Research for my new series

Two treks into the woods

Trek # one: 12/09/2017

(Both events depicted occurred during December, just getting around to posting them now.)

While I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the woods in south Georgia. My 15 year old son, Caleb, is next to me. In his hands is a Savage 7mm-08. So yeah, we’re hunting whitetail deer. Driving along the muddy dirt roads, a doe crossed in front of us. We took it as a good sign. About three miles later we reached our destination – and passed it in the dark.

After realizing this, I turned around and drove back to the area I wanted to hunt, Caleb got out and walked in to see if there was parking. There was, but someone else was already in there. I figured I’d park there too, but head away from the prime spot so we wouldn’t hunt on top of other folks.

It’s cloudy today and about 43 degrees. So far we’ve been in the woods about an hour. I’ve thrown out a few calls and we’re waiting patiently for a good size deer to come along. It’s an either sex day on this WMA. He wants a big buck of course, but if I know that boy he won’t let an opportunity on a doe pass him by.

I told my wife I’d text her, but there’s no signal out here in the woods. Should have sent it when we were still on the road. Oh well, lesson learned for next time. I just have to make sure we don’t go so deep in the forest that I can’t get us out. Used a compass to get our direction from the truck into an old oxbow section of river. We’re about a quarter mile in, so if we kill one, we’ll be able to drag it to the truck no problem.

At any rate we’ve put meat in the freezer before, like Joe and Eli keep in theirs. (Mentioned in chapter one of the new book.) And if we come up empty today, then hopefully we’ll have success before the season ends. We got two last year, Caleb dropped a young buck and I got a doe. And with another whole month in the season, we can get in another hunt if we try.

One main difference in the way we’re hunting and the way my fictional characters, Joe and Eli, hunt is choice of weapons. They carry 12 gauge shotguns, which means they’re shooting at close range. But they’re also using them to guard their moonshine. I don’t know if they’d shoot a lawman. But I’m not sure yet what lawman are in that world. It may mean something different to them than it does to us. And I’m suspicious about the moonshine too. I get the feeling there’s more to it than just high proof corn liquor.

Closing out for now. Just wanted to take some time to write about the day and give a little background info on some of the stuff that I’m putting in this series. Yeah it’s gonna be set in the south and will mention things like hunting and such. And in case you’re wondering, no I don’t have a moonshine still.

Update – While moving from one location to another we spooked a doe out of hiding. Caleb tried to get a bead on her, but couldn’t. He has enough sense not to take a wild shot, so she bounded away without him ever pulling the trigger. Great to see that. We saw plenty of signs (hoof prints, scrapes, and even a rub), but didn’t bag a deer today. We did see a great horned owl and heard a Redtail Hawk cry out in the distance, so all in all a great day in the woods.

Peace – JSW

Trek # two: 12/22/2017

Another trip into the woods. This time on some private land owned by a friend.  I’d write a long post like the last one, but there wasn’t time.  We were barely in the stand 15 minutes when two deer stepped right out in front of us. Caleb shot, and dropped one. Or so he said. I told him to wait a minute and maybe the other one would come back.

Amazingly, it did. He put a perfect shot right into the kill zone behind the shoulder. This time we got out of the stand and prepared to pull both deer back to the truck.

Well, after about 25 minutes of searching we found only one blood trail that led to the second deer he shot out.  The animal only went about 50 feet from the place Caleb shot it.  It bled out very quickly and was dead when we recovered it. We promptly moved it to the trail. We looked a little more, but never saw evidence that Caleb’s first shot hit anything.

My thoughts are that his first shot missed and simply scared the two deer off. The waiting turned out to be a good decision, since the young buck came wandering back around. Caleb’s shot that time was spot on. Bullet went strait through the top of the lung and out the other side. This was evident later when we were cleaning the animal and were able to cut out the heart. It was untouched and in perfect condition for eating (yes, deer heart is excellent meat; if prepared correctly).

I thanked our friend for letting us hunt his land and we made it home by 8 am.  Shortly thereafter we began the task of skinning and cleaning the animal. As I write this, the meat is at a local processor being made into hamburger and sausage.  So, thanks Caleb for once again putting meat in the freezer.

He also wanted to preserve the skull, since this was his first sizable buck.  Though it was only a spike, it was as big as many fully grown doe I’ve seen.  He got the head off the carcass on his own, skinned it out, then boiled it and scraped it cleaned. I helped a little with the mounting.  It was later that we realized, as pointed out by my wife, that Caleb killed the deer on what would have been his grandfather’s 70th birthday. Jimmy passed away in October of 2016. We still miss him, but I can’t help but think that he was looking down on his grandson that day with pride.

Later that same day, I had the chance to go watch my younger son Levi wrestle. All in all, it was a great day to be a dad.

Peace – JSW