I read this in The Morning Sun out of central Michigan. It was written by Ed Gilbert.
I'm sure many of you have their own similiar story or recollection. I found it a great read. Enjoy.
Ed Gilbert: From my favorite stump.
It seems as though I'm drawn to this singular spot on or about the opening of every firearms deer season.
It doesn't have the panoramic view I get from my tree stand. No, its drawing card is something else.
From this particular old stump I can almost bring back the past. And that past includes the ability to almost see my father sitting on another weathered old stump about six feet from mine.
When I was young and during those first years of hunting, dad would build a small fire between us.
Then we'd sit and watch the smoke curl upward from the fire. And dad would light his pipe and we'd talk in low tones about hunting, or school, or most anything that came to mind.
So, why the fire?
Well, I was taught at that early age that deer are naturally curious critters,and that any strange thing or item is certain to draw their curiosity.
Now, although I don't practice the fire idea much any more, back in those days it seemed to really work for us. If we'd sit still and just talk in low tones, eventually it seemed that a curious deer, or even several, would come sneaking in sniffing the air and twitching their ears.
In such a manner we were sometimes able to fill our tags. And even though it didn't work every season, we sort of stuck with it.
Maybe that was also due to having that warm fire at our feet.
I recall one season when the hunt from our stumps paid off in particularly good fashion. The snow was falling around us, mostly landing above on those oak leaves still on the trees, and a little on our caps, when we heard a rustling a little way off in the potato-chip-like leaves.
Turning slowly in that direction and carefully lifting our rifles, we finally could see three deer coming slowly down the trail. They were sniffing the smoke and moving slowly toward us.
"The two behind are bucks," dad whispered. "When they get in a little closer, you take the first buck and I'll try for the one in the rear."
And that's just what we did.
When the deer were about 30 yards away we lifted our rifles and fired. Both deer, dad's six-pointer and my four-point, dropped in their tracks.
It was an exciting day for both of us, and for me in particular because it was my first deer.
Yes, I'm writing from my favorite stump on this day. It's amazing what these new-fangled computers will do. For many years, like many other writers, I went through the paper and fax stages. The computers have left all that behind, and now you readers aren't safe from us writers no matter where either of us happen to be!
I haven't seen any deer this morning, but there are fresh tracks on the two, crossing runways nearby.
However, on second thought, maybe I didn't come out to this stump today to actually scout deer and write.
Perhaps it was for sentimental reasons. And, as I look over at that nearby stump I can almost see my dad, sitting there in his old black and red checkered hunting suit, the smoke spiraling upward from his pipe, and a look of anticipation on his weathered face.