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Welcome to Mayberry

PhotoBy Leon DeLoof

-- Last year during the third weekend of Michigan's bow season, my buddy and I were walking to our makeshift ground blind when two does and a nice 6-point buck jumped not even 40 yards from us. We trailed the does in hopes we would see the buck again. Instead, we found ourselves less than 15 yards from where the does stood their ground, stomping their hooves and snorting at us. We thought the larger doe was going to charge us. Judging by its body movements and actions, the doe did not want us in the area.

Because neither of us had a doe tag for public hunting grounds we were at a loss. After what seemed like an eternity, the two does finally fled. My buddy and I regained our senses and turned around to see the buck standing just 25 yards behind us. As I drew my bow to take the shot, my own movements caught the buck's attention. Its little white flag went straight up, and it was gone. We spent the following week trying to bring the buck back to the area. We tried calling, rattling and tracking it for over five miles on foot. That day, we actually tried to jump the buck again. We found plenty of bedding areas that we circled hoping the buck would appear.

As night began to fall, we realized we were in unfamiliar territory. As we continued to walk, hoping to find something that we recognized, it soon became too dark to even see the trail. With only a cell phone for light, we were in trouble. My phone did not gain a signal through the thick forest. When we came into a clearing, I finally had a little signal on my cell. So I tried to get in contact with my wife. She could not hear me talking to her.

Frustrated and cold, we kept walking and eventually found ourselves in a cow pasture. Not knowing the extent of what was really in the pasture, we tried to make our way to the farmhouse only a few 100 yards away. As we got closer to the barn, we realized one of the pasture's residents was a large bull. The bull snorted. We ran.

We ended up on a dirt road nearly 10 miles from our original starting point. Again, we had no sense of direction or which way our vehicle was, so we started walking blindly. About a half-mile or so down the road was a house with one light glowing in the window. Nervously, we walked up and knocked on the door. We were greeted with the smile from someone who looked like Aunt Bee from "The Andy Griffith Show." We told her our situation, got a drink of water and her husband offered us a ride back to our vehicle. With a sigh of relief, we accepted.

To add insult to injury, my buddy and I did not see hide nor hair of that buck the rest of the season.

This season I hope to get that buck!
 
Leon DeLoof
Grandville, Michigan

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