Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Big Hunt

 I’d planned it as kind of a mini-celebration.  A nod to good health and unchanging—mostly unchanging—interest in hunting deer.  I must confess that as the years have flown by bagging a deer is of less interest than being out in the woods on a quiet November morning, enjoying the quiet and the beauty, and appreciating being with my son, and my brother and his three sons as we have hunted together for many years.

It was my 70th year hunting deer without missing a single year.  Even when I was on active duty in the army I did not miss opening day of deer season.  Opening day of deer season took precedent over everything including attending a wedding for a couple so foolish as to plan a wedding on that day or even paying my respects to someone so unfortunate that a funeral was set on that Saturday before Thanksgiving.

The Friday before opening day this year was warm and beautiful, in the mid-60s.  Shirt sleeve weather.  I went to bed looking forward to Saturday morning with warm temps and the possibility of a ten-point buck walking by my place in the woods.

Alas.  It was not to be.  I woke up at 5:30 on Saturday morning to an inch of snow on the ground, the temperature in the low 20s and a roaring wind out of the north.  I put on all the warm clothing I could find at the cabin, and found my way to my special place in the woods.  But there was no peace and quiet, only the roar of the wind through the tops of the bare maples and oaks.  No sign of wildlife.  No crows, no woodpeckers.  No deer.  Just the menacing, mean sound of the north wind that successfully had chased a warm fall away and was now introducing me once more to winter. 

I sat listening to the wind, and thinking about my first deer hunt.  The year was 1946 and I, along with my father and neighbor, Bill Miller, drove to Adams County, about 20 miles west of our Waushara County farm looking for deer, as there were none in our county.  I carried a double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun that weighed a ton and kicked like a wild bronco.  I shot at a deer and missed.  I remember it as a dreary, dark November Saturday but not near as snowy and chilly as my 70th outing.   I have never forgotten that day so many years ago, when deer hunting was one of those events that helped change a farm boy into a man.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Deer hunting is much more than hunting deer.

Upcoming Events:

November 29.7:00 p.m. Sequoia Public Library, Madison.  Roshara Journal with Jerry and Steve Apps.

December 6, 1:30 to 3:00 p.m.
Writers, Creativity & Aging  Fitchburg Senior Center, 5510 Lacy Road Fitchburg, WI 53711   I'll be talking about Telling Your Story. Sponsored by Retiree Rebels.

December 7, 11:00 to 1:00, Headquarters Bldg. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison.  Holiday book sale—book signing.

December 10, (Time to announced) McFarlane’s Sauk City.

Purchase Jerry’s DVDS and his Books from the Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose, Wisconsin (a fundraiser for them): 
The library now has available signed copies of Jerry’s DVDs:

 Emmy Winner, A Farm Winter with Jerry Apps (based on The Quiet Season book.)
 Jerry Apps a Farm Story (based on Rural Wit and Wisdom and Old Farm books.)
 The Land with Jerry Apps, (based on the book Whispers and Shadows.)
Also available are several of Jerry’s signed books including: Jerry’s newest novel, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County. and Wisconsin Agriculture: A History.
Jerry’s newest books, Roshara Journal (with photos by Steve Apps) and Telling Your Story—a guide book for those who want to write their stories—are also available.
Contact the library for prices and special package deals.
Patterson Memorial Library
500 Division Street
Wild Rose, WI 54984

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