Backstrap Heaven 2023!
I would like to think I know my sacred Michigan swamp like the back of my hand. I’ve been hunting this incredible soul cleansing wild gameground for more than 53 years, and my fascination with the lay of the land and its wild critters has driven me to walk and explore every inch of the more than 1000 acres nonstop year in and year out.
No wonder my American rock-n-roll is so primal!
All that boots on the ground dedication can be interpreted as the ultimate pre-hunt scouting, and plotting all that intelligence combined with lessons learned over a lifetime, my ambush locations are high percentage killzones for sure.
So, when the early doe season erupted in crazy 2023, I was in the tree stand of my dreams, deep into the belly of the Spirit beast, wind in my face, rising sun at my back, surrounded by the ultimate wildlife habitat confluence of impenetrable sanctuary bedding ground, agriculture, food plot transition forest travel corridor that has produced incredible memories and tons-O-straps!
I feel truly sorry for people who have never walked the wild pre-dawn to a deerstand and participated in a sunrise in the lap of God.
An endless symphony of birdsong of every imaginable tone, frequency and melody titillated my soul. The crackling of overhead sandhill cranes, the unique cadence of honking geese, and even the occasional cackle of a rooster pheasant called my name.
A big, fat groundhog scampered in and out of the puckerbrush hedgerow, while red, grey and black fox squirrels moved about on the ground and in distant oak canopies. And as always, an angry pine squirrel scolded the world.
A squadron of high velocity wood ducks zoomed past along the winding creek and a woodpecker hammered an ancient dead maple tree nearby.
Thank God for my Miracle Ear hearing aids or I would not have heard all this wonderful, magical exciting soundtrack of the Spirit of the Wild!
I suppose not seeing a deer the first hour might qualify as no action to the uninitiated, but for me it was a perfect morning so far.
Way off along a high glacier cut ridgeline, my binoculars picked up a dozen or so wild tom Eastern turkeys with long beards dragging on the ground as they pecked their way into the hinterland of the marsh.
Lo and behold, a huge, black mink darted amongst the cattails and disappeared as fast as he showed up.
Then she came!
To my way of old school bowhunting, there is no better bow and arrow kill trophy than a big, old grey mare matriarch doe, and this old gal was showing her ultimate Michigan whitetail prey wisdom, experience, knowledge, cunning and survival skills. The swamp donkey queen has seen this movie before!
But so have I! I didn’t move a twitch the whole 30 minutes she scanned, surveyed, scrutinized and reviewed her surroundings, step by cautious step, inch my spooky inch.
When her head was obscured by a tangle of multiflora rose and ferns, I slowly lifted my new Mathews Image bow from the hook and brought it into shooting position.
I swear I had to remind myself to breathe a dozen times while she waterboarded me with nervous anticipation.
It’s funny how all that wild stimulation all around me that so piqued my interest just moments ago was now literally blocked from my senses. Oh, I’m sure it was still all going on, but my predator radar was now locked onto the incoming bogie strapper, and I was so focused on killing her that there was nothing else in the world allowed into my being.
Waiting for the perfect broadside shot into her pump station crease, doing everything I could to calm the hell down, she finally moved her foreleg ahead, and like a million arrows before, the glowing Lumenok vanished right where the good backstrap doctor ordered, and the world was momentarily perfect once again.
The bloodtrail tracking job was equally exciting, and about 100 yards later I gave the huge old gal a hug. I always sit down with the animal at the recovery, making sure I savor all these phenomenal celebratory emotions and sensations.
Like the great warrior Sitting Bull said, I did not kill or take this animal, but rather humbly accept the gift of life that it provides by dedicating myself to being the best, most efficient reasoning predator I can be.
So here is a huge Nuge SALUTE to all my American Spirit of the Wild hunting families across the land who continue to perform our stewardship duties to God and His miraculous creation. These fall months are the best of the best of the year, and we should indeed thank God that in this otherwise crazy, treacherous modern world, now more than ever, our hands-on participation in the healing powers of nature will provide the happiest of times.
I would hope you would all join me at Hunternation.org and HuntTheVote.org to also participate in this sacred American experiment in self-government to help make America America again.
Have the best, safest hunting season of your lives, and dedicate equal time and energy to make America great again.
The backstraps are worth it, and freedom is worth it.