Thankgiving Hunt: When a Plan Comes Together

I've had a good year. Every other sit, I've seen deer, which is rare indeed for a public land hunter in the Northeast. I managed to take my first deer with a bow earlier this season, and Thanksgiving morning, a big doe walked in front of my gun sights.

I love it when a plan comes together, as Hannibal would say. The doe hunt started the night before with the annual family warning: "You better be home by 1 p.m. supper!"

My uncle and I took the canoe across a local river to a piece we hoped was untouched by less enterprising hunters. It was the last day of Connecticut's shotgun A season. I set up on a side hill, overlooking two fallow fields. The deer did what they were supposed to do - at about 8 a.m. they walked the ribbon woods between the two fields, about 70 yards below my stand.

The bullet did what it was supposed to do, too. The Federal Barnes Expander, 20 gauge slug, opened right up. She was quartering to rather dramatically, almost a frontal shot, and the bullet went in at the lungs, cut down the length of her, and lodged in the back ham.

A short downhill drag to the canoe, and I was helping set the table at 10 a.m. My hunts never seem to work that smoothly. It made for an especially thankful holiday.