For hunters, the start of the Whitetail season is always optimistic, and game seems to be bountiful. Hopes are high to harvest a solid buck, and there’s typically no shortage of Reconyx pictures to sort through and target animals. Confidence levels are booming, and the vision of a shooter walking in to your set is quite vivid. Then the lull rolls around, movement slows down, and you tell yourself, “It’s all gonna unleash when the rut fires up around Halloween!” But the thirty-first comes and goes and you don’t have your trophy on the ground yet. However, your 5 favorite days in November, that have been so successful in years-gone-by, will definitely be your ace in the hole, except they’re not. The bucks start to lock down, daylight movement slows again, some of your target bucks have dropped off the cameras, Thanksgiving is celebrated, wind and weather patterns are less than desirable, and your patience to endure is rivaled only by your need to get your Whitetail Fix. Next thing you know, you go to check the weather on your phone and you realize it’s December 1st, and you wonder if you’ll ever live out that scenario that once seemed so attainable almost 70 days prior.
And that was my season, in a nutshell.
It was December 7 and Jose’ and I had tirelessly chased after a couple of our target bucks that seemed to be nothing more than ghosts. We had endured one of the slowest ruts I can remember in my 28 years of hunting, and in this late stage of the game, our hopes were dwindling, and our patience was being tested.
However, with God’s will, we endured. We knew we had to keep our eye on the prize, but not take ourselves too seriously, and made sure to keep having fun. So in that spirit, I knew exactly what I needed to do, and that was head to an area that was just like home to me, an area I had first learned to hunt, an area where I had formed so many fond memories of hunting; the DeSantis Farm, in Southern Michigan.
Muzzleloader in hand, we were perched 8 feet high in a Maverick blind, sitting over an acre and a half of one of Ben Oliverio’s (Michigan Food Plot Services) prettiest Turnip food plots I’d ever seen. A straight east wind, coupled with 22 degree temps, made this one of the easiest decisions I had made in the last 68 days. By 3 pm the field was already starting to see action. In fact, the draw of the turnips created an incessant parade of deer for the next hour and a half. With snow falling quite heavily, and the field teeming with deer, I looked over at Jose’ and said, “If it’s gonna happen bro, it’s gonna be tonight.” As time passed, I wondered if it really would happen.
However, at that precise moment, a 3 year old buck, my uncle had coined “Diamond Jim”, emerged from the native grasses. The scenario that I had dreamed about for so many days had, in an instant, turned to reality. As my heart rate quickened, I communicated to Jose’ that this was a buck I wanted to harvest. All of it happening so fast, Diamond Jim had made his way to the turnip plot, and was feeding intently, yet quite voraciously, and broadside, at 80 yards.
Having spent 99% of the season with the Bear Bow in hand, raising the Muzzleloader definitely had a distinct feeling to it as I positioned the shooting stick to my liking. Once I was settled, and Jose’ had given me the highly anticipated “green light”, I placed the crosshairs where they needed to be, and gently squeezed…
In an instant, the buck had dropped, and it was a quick, clean harvest. The moment I had waited for, for so long, had finally come to fruition. Instantly I was overwhelmed with emotion, gratitude, and thanks to God.
This season taught me so many things, but one lesson that really struck a chord for me was to never stop having fun. I’m so thankful to God for all the blessings in my life, and the privilege, and ability, to hunt is one of them that I refuse to ever take for granted, no matter how challenging a season may be.
I want to thank God for everything. I would also like to thank my wife Stacey who not only supports what I do, but embraces it, and sacrifices her own schedule to accommodate mine. To my mom, and to Stacey’s parents who are always there to help out with my children, and my dad who works so hard to help me with preparing hunting equipment, among so many other things. And to Jose who is as rock solid of a hunting partner, and friend, you could ask for.
I’m so thankful for all these blessings, and more, simply because I know full well that I can’t do any of this without them.
For more information on Michigan Food Plot Services be sure to visit Michigan Food Plot Services on facebook, or call Ben Oliverio at 1.734.564.7985.