2015 turned out to be quite a season for me, despite not bagging a deer. I hunted more than I have in recent years, and this year even ventured out of state with my dad. Pheasant season was a nice change of pace for me. I haven't gone out in recent years due to just being too damn busy to take the better half of a Saturday morning and spend it walking fields. This year, though, I decided to try my luck, and I'm glad I did. I wasn't in the first field where I hunt more than twenty minutes when an older couple's dog flushed a few birds. They missed their two shots, so with nothing to lose I shouldered my shotgun and fired a shot. I managed to hit a nice sized hen that their dog then retrieved to me. I tried to give the bird to the nice couple, but they insisted that because I shot the bird I should keep it. Well, I thanked them profusely and then a few weeks later served it as an appetizer at Thanksgiving.
Even though I managed to harvest something during pheasant season, I had no luck during deer season. I hunted two Saturdays on our hunting property here in town, and saw considerably more sign than I did last year, but still struck out even seeing one.
In November, though, I had the awesome opportunity to go away for a weekend with my dad to his friend's house in Orwell, VT, which is located in west central Vermont. Orwell brings a whole new meaning to the term rural, but it's equally as beautiful. We drove up on the Friday after Thanksgiving and met Mike and his wife Elizabeth at the Fairhaven Inn & Restaurant for dinner in neighboring Fairhaven, VT. After a delicious meal (I had quail!), we retired to Mike and Elizabeth's home where we all fell asleep almost instantly.
In the morning, Mike took great care going over a map of his 60 acres with me. Dad had already hunted there many times, so he knew the lay of the land. With me being the rookie of the group, I needed some instruction. Not thirty minutes into the morning hunt I flushed a large doe who scared me as much as I scared her, but she was the only deer I saw for hours. I bumped into dad a few times while I explored the property, but saw nothing more than sign. After lunch back at Mike's house, we headed back out for a few more hours. Right as the sun was setting and dusk was taking its rightful place in the day, I saw another deer slowly stalk down an opposing hillside facing me. I never managed to get close enough to get a shot off, nor could I tell if it was a doe or a buck, but it was still exhilarating, as it always is, to see deer in the woods. After a full day of hunting we all showered up and headed to the Iron Lantern in Castleton for dinner. To no one's surprise, not a single one of us was long for the day after dinner.
Our hunting complete, the only thing left to do before heading three hours home was a nice, big breakfast. Apparently, when you're in west central Vermont, the only place to do that is the Wheel Inn in Benson. After completely devouring my Eggs Irish, I could see why. This place definitely ranks in the Top 10 Breakfast Hall of Fame. After our goodbyes to Mike and Elizabeth, Dad and I hit the road in his trusty Tundra and returned home in near-record (slow) time, but not without stopping for a couple frosty beers on the way home. Just like our snowmobile weekends, this hunting weekend spent with my dad was time I'll never forget.