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Reader Reply: September 2018

This month, we asked our readers to submit replies to the following... Share one of your most memorable hunting stories.

SEEING NATURE

Several years ago, we received a telephone call. “Would you like to join us on an elk hunt in Montana?” Of course, I am not a hunter nor do I handle a gun. My husband, who is an avid hunter, replied, “Yes!” Our son made arrangements to hunt on land near Livingston, Mont.

On a beautiful fall day, we drove along mountain trails located in the valley in search of elk. We came upon several large herds, with 200 to 300 on different trails. The elk were traveling at a rapid pace. It was absolutely awesome to see such large herds in all sizes.

At the end of the day, upon returning to the lodge, we spotted the tails of some wildlife on the trail. As we neared the tails, we spotted two mountain lion cubs. Upon approaching the cubs, a mature mountain lion rushed the cubs into tall grass. For the hunters, the day was not successful, but it was the most exciting hunt to see these magnificent animals in the wilderness.

June Dokken, Member of Verendrye Electric Cooperative

 

FOLLOWING THE GUIDE

I do NOT love deer hunting. But I do love a deer hunter, my husband of 39 years and guide extraordinaire. The 2017 season was a roller coaster of emotions, tempered by God’s word calming or challenging me.

When a large buck headed straight for us, my guide told me that he would say when I should shoot. I decided that I had a clear shot at his chest. I missed, ruining the good shot my guide had in mind. God’s word: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.”

My guide built up the stock on my rifle so I could see better through the scope. He was gracious to forgive me and guide me once again. (As does my heavenly guide.)

God’s word: “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.” I determined to put my whole heart into the hunt, and humbly allow my guide to guide me.

A large buck was spotted. (Probably the same buck that a fool shot at two days ago!) With the help of my guide to set up the shot and my guide to tell me when to pull the trigger on that shaky gun, the buck went down. God’s word: “It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them.”

A fool does not need to remain a fool. I’m thankful for the adventure I had with my guide.

Marilou Ueker, Member of Dakota Valley Electric Cooperative

 

SHARING AT THE SHACK

Within the timbered beauty of the Turtle Mountains is a place where we, the deer hunters, migrate each November. It is a humble place, once a wooden granary, which has taken on a life of its own. It is now covered by galvanized tin with new windows, eyes to view the drama of nature. Electricity and water lines now course through walls that were once lifeless. Instead of barley, the floor of this one-room dwelling now supports a kitchen and a long walnut dining table where no two chairs are the same. There are two tattered couches and an oil-stained bench for reloading shells. The walls are decorated with taxidermy, the trophies of  past seasons.

It is here that good-hearted men, from all walks of life, come to share their lives, their dreams and tell tales of past adventures. These are rough-cut men, some unshaven and unshowered. For these few days of fall, they can escape the mundane, the routine, the urgent.

Since we last met, one of us has experienced the death of a wife, another has gained a grandchild and still another has lost his job. But we are together now.

The air is filled with the lingering gray smoke of unfiltered cigarettes and the coffee pot will get no rest. We will reminisce about the glory years, the days of our youth when we were invincible, and our strength was still in us. Days before we understood the meaning of weariness, of high cholesterol and of prostate cancer. Days when our fathers were our heroes and our mothers still made homemade bread and apple pie.

We will spin stories of the big ones that got away and of miracle shots made at 500-plus yards. We will talk of politics and seek to solve the ills of this world. Everyone has a turn at cook or dishwasher. Appetites are at their peak because the food just tastes so much better up here. For a few short days, life becomes a little simpler, for there’s no telephone and no television. Not many shots will be fired, not many deer will be slain. But we will laugh together, and we will cry together. And we will share the comradeship of yet another hunting season at the shack.

Gene Putnam, Member of SRT Communications

 

GROUSE BY CHANCE

It was several years ago, a crisp fall early morning. I was at the end of the farm driveway, digging in a new railroad tie by hand, replacing a corner post that had broken off. It was the opening weekend of grouse season, but I had not seen many hunters drive by like they do during pheasant season. It seems like not as many people like to hunt and eat grouse. I, on the other hand, love grouse meat. 

As I was digging in the tie, a large covey of grouse flew over. I wondered if I should have carried a shotgun with me. I would have had a perfect shot. That thought had just traveled through my consciousness, when, BANG, a very dead grouse came tumbling practically at my feet.

I was startled, glancing all around me. Had a hunter come up unnoticed and shot the grouse? There was no one within sight. I then looked up and noticed the power line slowly swinging, back and forth. I’m a tad slow, but my mind grasped what had happened. The group of grouse was flying by and one of the birds peered down to see this human digging a hole. He (or she) was distracted for a split second, long enough to fly into the wire at 40 miles an hour. 

That evening, with a covering of flour, salt, pepper and fried to a golden brown, along with a side of new potatoes, the grouse was delicious!      

Scott Nelson, Member of Mor-Gran-Sou Electric Cooperative

 

HUNTING SUGGESTIONS

My husband tells the story of my first deer tag much better than I do. He has that storytelling ability that turns the ordeals of life into something that makes you laugh until your sides hurt. Bless his heart. When the story comes up, all I can do is nod my head in acknowledgement that yes, what you are hearing really is true! It has entertained many family and friends, to say the least. At any rate, let’s just say I learned a lot of what not to do on a hunt. So, I’ll just offer some advice to the ladies out there who are gearing up for their first deer tag. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Do not shoot your deer 10 minutes before sundown. In November, it gets dark mighty quick after sunset and loading your deer into the back of a truck in the dark with a flashlight may cause your spouse to utter a few colorful words.

2) Do not send your husband back to the truck that is parked 200 yards away to get more bullets so that you can keep shooting at the deer that would not die. Apparently, running out of bullets is a hunting no-no. Now I know.

3) Do not hunt when it is below zero. While all the adrenaline and excitement will likely keep you warm until you get your deer loaded, there will come a point when your fingers, nose and toes will remind you that it is November after all and so will your spouse – with even more colorful words.

4) Do not ask whose land you are hunting on after the shooting is over – unless you want to keep the adrenaline going! Happy hunting, ladies!

Susan Schmitt, Member of Slope Electric Cooperative

 

IT’S ALL SKILL

Hunting has never been something that I wanted to do, but being a good wife, I decided one year to go with my husband and try. On the first day, I saw a deer and shot, hitting it toward the rear so that it was down, but very much alive. I was told that next time I should shoot the deer in the ear, making it easier for my husband. OK, I would keep that in mind.

We went again and I see a deer, but my husband shakes his head “no.” Thinking that he means it is too small, when he had meant too far for my rifle, I waited. I see another deer and shoot, scaring my poor husband.

He said, “What did you shoot?” I said, “A bigger deer.” He said, “Where”? Well, of course, in the ear. Shaking his head, he went to look, because he knew my 30/30 could not possibly make that shot. As he is looking 100 yards away, he finds a deer. He turns it over and there is the bullet hole in the ear, just like I told him. To this day, he tells people the deer must have heard us and turned its head and the bullet went in its ear. That is my hunting story. Two bullets. Two deer. I retired from hunting.

Laverne Whitaker, Member of Roughrider Electric Cooperative


OCTOBER: Farm vehicles and equipment are in motion, completing the harvest, and school bus and school-related car trips are at a high level. What vehicle and machinery operation safety steps are you taking? Have you developed some useful disciplines and habits for staying off phones and mobile devices while operating your vehicle, or other equipment?

Deadline for submission: Sept. 12

 

NOVEMBER: As we give thanks this month, what makes you most thankful about living in North Dakota?

Deadline for submission: Oct. 12