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La Grange Island, Illinois
Bob & Sean Morgan, Bill Giffune, Stefan & Me
mid-30s, windy

Back out this morning, this time with Bob Morgan joining us for the hunt. It was good to see Bob this morning.

We took the boat back into ole Miss again this morning, entering the island from the west side. Bob, Sean, and Bill dropped us off on La Grange and headed off for Long in the pre-dawn darkness. Stefan and I weren't quite sure where we were in the dark so we found a couple of large trees and cleared out a spot to wait for a bit of daylight. As light faded in we quickly got our bearings and headed for our respective stands, guns loaded and ready. My last advice to Stefan - "don't worry about a buck, if it's brown, it's down." I wanted him to get his first deer under his belt.

I decided to move my stand closer to the brush line in which I'd seen the big buck yesterday. Rather than wait until lunch, I decided to get it over with as quietly as possible and moved 40 or 50 yards farther north and 20 yards east. The Tree Lounges setup and tear down pretty quickly but it's still a bit of work. As I was completing the task, I saw Stefan 150 yards off walking away from his stand. I sneaked back to where he was and he said he'd misplaced his ammo pouch after loading this morning. I told him where we had setup off the shoreline before daylight and he went to look. I headed back to my stand to get the morning underway.

I got up in my tree, again only 10 or 12 feet up, and settled in. I was hot and sweaty from the early morning exertion so I had a little water and loosened my jacket to cool down. After 45 minutes or so I saw a doe around 60 yards on the other side of the first band of thick brush. My buck antenna went up, working under the principle that where there are does there are bucks. As I scanned the area looking for antlers, I heard a single shot from behind me from Stefan's stand. I then heard a deer running top speed off to my left but never had a visual. I was on high alert, though, expecting that he may have missed or the deer may not have been alone. I thought about climbing down but then thought I'd be pretty bummed if I climbed down and walked over to him, only to find out he'd missed a deer. I concluded that he'd come to me if he had one down. Sure enough, 20 minutes or so later, I heard him sneaking towards me and he whistled once. I peaked around the tree and he gave me the "Buckwheat Otay Panky" sign! As he got closer he whispered he had put a doe down and, man, was he excited. Just to mess with, I told him to sit at the base of my tree, that I was still hunting. I let him sit for about 30 seconds before I told him I was just kidding - it was time to get his deer. I climbed down and we walked back to his stand, excited father and son.

Stefan with first deer He described the situation to me as we got to his stand. He was about 15 feet up in the tree in his Tree Lounge when he heard the deer walking from behind him to his left, just inside of the brush line. As the doe got up almost even with him, it stopped and looked right at him. The hunter and the doe had a 90 second stare down, complete with front leg stomping and what Stefan describes as “the stillest and quietest I have ever been in my life” before the doe put her head down and took two steps forward. Stefan laid the lead on her from his Remington 870 Express Rifled Barrel shooting Federal 12 gauge sabots. His shot broke the right front shoulder, went through both lungs and the heart, and out just below the left shoulder. Even with the perfect shot, she managed to run 30 yards. It was a classic "Stevie Wonder" blood trail, as she was squirting blood out both the entry and exit wounds. She ran into some small saplings, spun around once and dropped.

Stefan by the Miss I had him drag the doe out of the saplings so I could snap a couple of pictures then walked him through the field dressing process. Stefan field-dressed the deer himself and did a really nice job. We then drug the deer 200 yards or so to the shoreline and collapsed to revel in the moment. I snapped a few more pics with the Miss as the backdrop. Our "water taxi" came by around 11:00 am and there was much rejoicing.

After lunch I came back to hunt until dusk and Stefan brought a book to read from his tree stand. Fittingly, he had brought Huck Finn and even read a few pages while lying on the banks of the Mississippi. I hunted from my Tree Lounge again and saw three does come out at dusk, directly from the spot I had seen the huge buck step out of yesterday. The buck antenna went up again but, alas, no buck to be seen.

Morgan Deer Hauling What a day! Stefan experienced the ceremonial removal of the shirttail at a local establishment to top off the day and almost saw his first bar fight! On Sunday morning, thanks to Bob's "By Land or By Water Deer Hauling Service", we delivered the deer to the butcher. As I reflect on the events of the day I relish in the fact that the young man is finally putting food on the table, instead of just taking it off! It was a magical moment, a right of passage, and I'm thrilled to have been there with him. And I'm thankful for friends like Bob & Sean Morgan and our new friend Bill Giffune, for being a part of such a great experience. Until next year!

  Loren – 4 does seen
  Stefan – 1 doe killed

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