Ramble with Storm: The oddities of deer season

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Mulling things on my morning ramble

with Storm, the family’s mixed Lab.

Deer hunting season is my favorite time of the year, and it has been since I was 12.

And I mean the whole shebang, from the packing and prep, to the driving or getting there, to the deer camp, to the hunt itself, to the coming home.

I’ve hunted three states: Illinois, Pennsylvania when I was young (and occasionally since I lived around Chicago) and Indiana when I was in college (I suspect the idea of having a shotgun at college now would not be kosher or legal).

A gray squirrel scurried around a pole downtown this morning.

So this year feels all screwed up.

The only thing that felt normal was going out with a buddy to put a deer stand Wednesday afternoon, then going pheasant hunting before sunset.

That put me in the mood of deer hunting.

But otherwise, everything is discombobulated.

On the extended ramble, as the meathead and I passed the southwest corner of the north old clay pit, three mourning doves, of all things, whistled off.

Thursday, when I am usually getting all wound up and packed up at night, was spent instead at the Lake Michigan informational meeting in Des Plaines.

I still don’t understand why the IDNR holds an important meeting the night before 200,000-plus guys (and some gals), including many of those who fish Lake Michigan, are heading out to the fields, woods and timber of Illinois.

So I didn’t get home until nearly midnight, and until I caught up on email, Facebook, etc. and wound myself down, it was near 1 a.m.

A coot swam far out on the north old clay pit.

Then I was up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready. I did something different and spend the morning at the Gebhard Woods State Park, the check-in station for Grundy County.

I am glad I did that. It was a good learning experience and I think made a different Sunday column for the Sun-Times outdoors.

I have to admit, the sheer volume of big deer coming in was something.

Just a gorgeous fall morning today. Cold enough to step lively, and yes we did. I caught the sunrise, coming up a red ball because there was just enough wisps of clouds, perfectly over the town pond. Cold enough for another heavy frost, so heavy there was touch of icy fog. But not enough for hoarfrost.

Mid-afternoon yesterday, I went out with my buddy. We had deer running all over. He knocked his scope loose and will have to redo it for today.

I have an antlerless-only permit and will need to try again this afternoon. My best chance was at a buck, so had to wait.

But it was good to sit in the corner of the small patch of woods, and let the sunset slowly darken the evening.

A few Canada geese yakked loud enough on the lake south of town that it drifted over us as we walked to the porch.

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