Firearm Deer Season is Here

November 18, 2019

Pat Maurer

Friday is the first day of deer hunting gun season and by the time this issue hits the stands, all over northern Michigan hunters will already be in the woods looking for that trophy deer.

Our “trophy deer” these days are all hiding out in our little woods and along the riverbank on the Tobacco, hoping to elude those sneaky hunters and live for another year.

I’m pretty sure our little herd has figured out that they are safe here. I know they have figured out that our bird feeder is available for a little snack every now and then and our flowers, which are now safely covered with snow, make up a great “salad bar.”

Gun season for deer is a wild time all over the state and especially up here in the “north country.”

I am writing this on Wednesday, but I’m sure by tomorrow the freeways and roads north will be filled bumper to bumper with hopeful hunters heading for their best hunting areas in hopes of bagging that big buck.

I know deer season sure was an exciting time around Roscommon when I was young.

Growing up in Crawford County, just northeast of Roscommon, our house always had plenty of company around the 15th of November. We were a hunting camp!

Sometimes Mom, bless her heart, would be cooking for up to 25 burly guys in red and black plaid wool hunting gear.

Those hunters would camp in the yard, sleep on the floor or in the garage, in fact just about anywhere they could find a little space. It was exciting for a kid! Hunting season up there was like a costume carnival with “hunter’s red” the color of choice.

Every grownup I knew hunted in those days, and sometimes the trophies would hang in front of the garage as friends (and my brothers) posed for photos.

They were a rowdy bunch. Card games were the main entertainment, ongoing every evening, and sometimes a campfire would be built out in the driveway. Although I wasn’t allowed outside on that first day, sometimes I would get to stay up late and go out to watch the fire and listen to the hunters tell their “fish” stories. I was the only girl around and the youngest in the family too, so with two big brothers, we really were a hunting family.

Even Mom hunted occasionally, although I don’t ever remember her actually shooting anything. There was a hunting story floating around back then about her telling a beautiful buck to “Shoo” one time. I think the time she spent in the woods was just a really special thing for her and great entertainment for most of her life.

Dad, who was the best storyteller of the whole bunch, was also an avid hunter for many, many years. There weren’t any classes back then, but he taught me gun safety when I was pretty small with an old BB rifle that would barely shoot — one that was passed down to me from my brothers. Of course I didn’t really get to go hunting until I was a teenager, but I knew all of the rules long before that, and even got to be a pretty good shot, although like Mom, I’ve never really “shot” anything – but those woods up home have always still held a magical attraction for me.

I think that the chance to be completely alone with nature has a lot to do with the ritual of hunting season. It is a chance to be outdoors, alone in the woods, that draws people to the sport.

We have gotten a bit old to be traipsing around in the wilds at Roscommon, but still enjoy the antics of the deer in our own backyard.

The family hunting tradition has passed on now and my kids (and grandkids) are the ones going hunting nowadays. Terry and Lisa just can’t wait for opening day!

Once that feeling is experienced, it stays with you a lifetime. Some of the best times I can remember are of going “hunting” with my dad, and although I still own a hunting rifle, I no longer carry a gun or go hunting.

Despite that, I still can’t go too long without a trip up home and a walk in the woods.

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