Thursday, November 14, 2013

Deer Hunting near Dayton

     This past weekend I went deer hunting with my son James. It is actually more harvesting than hunting as does are much easier to find than a buck with a minimum of three points on each side of his antlers. I had planned on going deer and elk hunting with my brother Mike but it didn't work out this year. However, I had drawn a doe tag for the Marengo area just north of Dayton and I didn't want it to go to waste. James didn't have a license but graciously agreed to accompany me so I would have help packing the deer to the car.

     The place I hunted was on property leased by a wind farm on the ridge above the Tucannon River valley.  The first day we spent about 4 hours driving around to various locations on the ridge where we saw a lot of mule deer does, but no white tails. My tag was specifically for a white tail doe. As it got closer to evening we set up where we had some cover on a little hill overlooking an alfalfa field in the valley. As I had hoped, as evening approached, some white tail does came out into the field to graze on the alfalfa. I had a good shot, but unfortunately I missed. That was the only deer I remember having missed over the past ten or fifteen years.  I tried a second shot on a moving target which I also missed. My tag was good from the first of November through the twelfth so I had until the following Tuesday before my doe tag expired.  We drove back to Ellensburg to spend Sunday with James and his family, with the plan that I would return Monday morning and try again.

     I had a wonderful sabbath day with the Tunnells.  I got to spend some quality time with the new baby, Nora Lavender, while Britton, Lucy, and John always make me feel welcome.  Nora seemed very inclined to sleep while I held her. Either she finds me very soothing or very boring. I would prefer to think soothing.  I am so very grateful for the love of my grand children and I can't begin to describe the joy they give me. The highlights of church for me were the privilege of sitting with my grandchildren through Sacrament Meeting and a very moving Sunday School lesson about the importance of Family History work. I left church with a desire to repent and get busy again with my genealogy. Later that evening I went with James and his family to a dinner at a friend's house. There were about four other young couples there, all members of one of the other Ellensburg wards, with a goodly quantity of young children. I was the sole representative of the older generation.  The dinner was wonderful. The host had made a tasty lasagna and Beth had brought her fantastic home made bread sticks.

       James decided to accompany me back to Dayton. Whether it was an effort to keep me out of trouble or just the opportunity to spend time together, I was grateful for his company.  James and I left Ellensburg at about 8 pm Sunday evening and drove to Pasco. We spent the night at my nephew Gavin's home to shorten our drive to Dayton early Monday morning.  We needed to be in our chosen location before daylight. We got up at about 4:30 am the next morning and arrived at the field at 6:10 am.  James dropped me off and drove back to Dayton to handle an important errand that required cell phone service. The chosen location was the same field where I had missed my shot on Saturday. It is an alfalfa field in the Tucannon River Valley which has a lower part and an upper part, separated by a band of ground too steep to plow, about 50 feet wide. The weeds that grow in the unplowed portion of the field provided good cover for an ambush of the deer grazing in the lower portion of the field.

     As I started to walk across the field it was just light enough that I could see to walk. I walked slowly and carefully across the field, trying to avoid making noise lest I spook any deer who might be grazing in the lower portion of the field.  As I approached the unplowed band of weeds I was able to see part of the lower field.  As I reached the weeds I saw two white tail does in the field below, about 100 yards away. One of them happened to be looking in my direction. I had read that deer notice movement more than anything else so I just stood still for about ten minutes until the deer again lowered their heads to graze. At that point I raised the rifle and shot the deer that presented the best target. One deer was standing broadside to me while the other one was bladed to one side. This time I was successful. By 7:30 am the deer had been field dressed and loaded into the back of the car and we were driving back towards Ellensburg. It didn't require a great deal of physical effort or hunting skill, but success always feels good. Besides, I didn't want to disappoint grandchildren to whom I had promised some venison jerky.
The scene of the successful hunt.  The deer in this photo is barely visible in my iPhone's telephoto lens.

      When we arrived in Ellensburg we had a celebratory lunch with Beth and the kids at their new IHOP restaurant. With all of the wonderful fun things they had on the menu the kids chose a grilled cheese sandwich, a cheeseburger, and chicken nuggets.  Not many kids have an adventurous palate. They always seem to prefer the familiar.  John was wearing his spiderman shirt and kept wanting to climb the walls of our restaurant booth.

John and Lucy sharing a booth at IHOP with their very grubby grandpa.

      I really do enjoy going hunting once in a while.  I have a lot of fond childhood memories associated with hunting with my dad and brothers.  The best part of this particular hunting trip was getting to see grand kids and spending several days with my son James.

No comments:

Post a Comment