Feb 2017 – Shed Hunting

A few weekends ago my husband loaded the children up for the YMCA as we go most ever Saturday during the winter months, but on this particular day I didn’t feel like going. He proceeded as planned and I had the morning to myself at home. I completed a few necessary chores before taking a hike out on our 20 to look for deer sheds. Now to be clear I have never found one, I have never gone out looking and had little knowledge of what I was looking for.

I mean I did a Google search and read a few blogs before going out, but it was more or less just a hike. I found a den in the side of a hill where I think the raccoons have been living…..we’ll take care of them now that we know where they are living. I found a lot of deer scat, but not a single shed. We also don’t have many bucks around here as a few of our neighbors shoot anything with horns regardless of size. Jerks.

Anyway, I just realized with my lack of 2016 posts you were not aware I went out deer hunting for the first time in my life! Okay so now I’m going to take a quick detour from my original post and tell you about it. I don’t know if many of you know this, but I’m a U.S Army veteran. I’m obviously highly trained on how to sight in and use a gun, but have never killed anything in my life. Last year in like March I announced to my husband that I was going to go deer hunting in the fall.

I didn’t do much to prepare. I went out the night before opening day and sighted in an old rifle. I grouped in my first three shots so I went with it. We don’t have any deer stands on our property and I hadn’t scouted where I would sit. Also, and probably my biggest issue is I’m terrified of the dark. So opening morning I got up early, thew on my gear and headed out. It had rained the night before so the ground was wet, it was crazy windy and the rain was turning to snow. Well it was trying to snow, but the temps were right around 32 so it was just sleety nasty. I got out in the woods in the dark and found a downed tree that I decided to sit under. I’ll have to head out there one night and get a picture for you.

Anyway, so there’s this down tree….it’s snapped like 7 feet off the ground and the top part makes like a teepee to the ground. Then immediately in front of this tree is a living larger tree and to my right a bunch of thick buckthorn. I get settled in, pour my coffee and get on my phone. I fully intend to just sit outside and drink my coffee in piece and quiet and claim to not see anything. Once I hit shooting time I put my phone away and try to listen for movement. With the crazy swirling winds it was impossible to hear myself think, let alone hear if anything was coming.

Off on the tree line I see three deer moving out to the field to eat. I think to myself that I set up in a dumb place and wish I had stayed tight to the field just for that reason. Too late now.

Awhile later I spot a small buck off to my right heading down into our cofferdam damn to get a drink. I text my husband about his arrival and ask him if I should try to “advance” on the deer. At this point I think he realizes that I’m crazy and should not have been allowed out on my own to hunt. We continue texting about how I’m going to sneak up and shoot this deer. Between texts I look up and it appears I’m sitting right on a deer run and there are three dear like twelve feet in front of me. I pull up and it seems that time slows down to a crawl. I have her in my sights, but fear this is the doe and her two fawns that I enjoy watching from my kitchen window on weekends.

I still have her in my sights, I slide the safety off and squeeze. KABOOM!! Jesus, my ears are ringing, should I have worn earplugs. I see the other two deer look up and I have the second one in my sights, I think about pulling the trigger, but refrain.

Meanwhile, the deer I “shot” jumps over me on my left. Great, I missed it all together. I feel like an ass and am glad I didn’t shot any more than I had. By now my phone is blowing up as my husband wants to know if that was my shot and if I got anything. I respond to him and then turn to see if there is anything to track. I take a couple steps and see the deer laying on the ground a few feet behind me. “That’s silly.” I think to myself. Why is she……out of no where I get these crazy, uncontrollable shakes. I hit her, OMG what have I done. I start to walk towards her. At this point I’m in shock, she gets up and jumps.

My husband is coming out now and is upset that I jumped her…..I don’t know what I’m doing. I never thought I would actually shot anything. I just wanted to drink my coffee. She didn’t go far so we go in the house. We come out a little while later as we can see the area she fell inside the cofferdam from the kitchen window. She’s dead. My husband wants a picture of me with her, but I’m sobbing. I’ve never killed anything and man was it sad, but I know we’re going to eat her and she’ll be tasty.

I compose myself and did end up getting a picture with her. My husband was kind enough to field dress her, as one of us had to stay with the children or I would have been out there helping. Turns out I even shot her right and exploded her lungs.

I went out most all of the other nights and had two other chances, but they were nothing like that first shot and I really didn’t want to track a deer so I let them go….I think this is how deer hunting stories go lol.

So, now I’m hopelessly addicted and will probably go out this season and do it all again. Crying included as it’s still sad to me.

Anyway, back to the post at hand. (Shed hunting) I went out for something like two hours and found nothing. I managed to slide down a hill and wrap myself around a few trees resulting in some nasty bruises on my forearm and knee. Oh well, maybe someday I’ll stumble upon just one shed, that’s all I need to make this wreath I want for our home.

Alright, enough for one evening. I’ll try to come back and share with you more often as this was nice.


First Hike of 2017, Green Coulee Park

Well hello! It’s been entirely too long. So as some of you know my family and I live in Wisconsin. This spring (?) we have had some crazy warm weather. Today March 5th it was 60 degrees and my family and I went out on our first hike in what feels like forever.

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We decided on the Green Coulee Park in Onalaska, WI. So it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. First of all you drive through this posh subdivision and park in a small lot right in the middle of this neighborhood. We selected the Pierce Path, anticipating to hook up with the Humfeld Summit Trail going out the the Highest Point. Well, sometimes things don’t go according to plan.

The trails started out clearly marked, but somewhere along the way we lost the trail?! Or need up on an area that is not on this map. We ended up on top of a coulee next to our end point. The view was still amazing, but with three littles the path left me with high anxiety. I say path as it didn’t resemble much of a trail, but more something that a herd of deer have carved into the landscape. Then on either side it was basically a steep grade with buckthorn and under brush. My husband had our youngest in the Kelty backpack, I had my three year olds arm and our oldest, well she was being her usual sweet self. Not really, she’s basically 7 going on 15 and knows everything….I don’t remember being as emotion as her at this age, but whatever it’s only going to get worse before it gets better.

Anyway, there was still a significant amount of snow up on the trail which had been packed down and was rather slick in some parts. While other parts were mud and just as slippery. There was a portion of the trail where a rope had been secured to a tree and was essential to hold onto to proceed up the trail. I’m still not entirely sure how I managed this part with a child literally under my arm. I’m thankful I made it up and down in one piece. I guess my daily workouts are really paying off.

All-in-all the trail was okay. I don’t think we would go there again as I prefer some place a little more off the beaten path where the children can burn off some energy. It was nice to just get outside and out of the house.

We were discussing places to go on hikes today and I pulled out my log book, there are still a fair amount of hikes that I haven’t document. Also, there are a great number of trails we have planned for this year. Now that our youngest is 15 months we have a few more options and don’t need to be quite as careful. I’m sad to not have anymore babies in our home, but thankful to get out and explore more as a family. I guess it’s double edged.

Until I feel the urge to share again.