Friday, November 23, 2007

More baby pics

Mom and her two grandsons
Great-grandpa Ferd, the source of Jack's middle name
A proud great-grandma
Much-needed rest for baby and momma

Jack and Wes on their birthdays

Jack Ferdinand Erickson

At 7:09 AM on November 20th, Amy gave birth to our second son. Everyone present - doctor and nurses included - were amazed at the speed and ease of the delivery, considering that our boy came in at 23" long and weighed a healthy 10 lb 7 oz!

Amy was scheduled to be induced at 6 AM on Tuesday, but couldn't quite wait that long. About 9:00 the prior evening, she started to feel the first twinges. At 1:30 AM Tuesday, she shook me awake and gently suggested I get everything ready to go! We were out the door at 2:30, to the hospital by 3:00 (after dodging several deer on the way), and Jack Ferdinand Erickson entered the world just four hours later. We are all thankful for such an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery!

Ready to get started
First look
Four generations together
So sweet

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Baby induction date

Since baby is waaaay to comfy and refuses to budge, an induction date has been set for Tuesday, November 20th at 6am. Please pray for a healthy baby and safe delivery. We'll post pictures as soon as we can.

Wes loves his puppies

Deer #2

Weekend #2 of hunting came and went without any deer. Kevin came and hunted a little, but only saw a couple deer and didn't take anything. I passed up four does and a small buck on Saturday, and about a 150 yard shot at another trophy buck (that's a long ways to lob a 12 gauge slug!) on Sunday morning. The windy, sleety weather just wasn't very conducive to a good hunt.

Monday, on the other hand, was a beautiful day, and I had a hunch the deer would be moving after a couple icky days. After spending the late morning/early afternoon trying (unsuccessfully) to get a head start on Christmas shopping in Bemidji, I headed out to my stand at about 3:00.

En route to the stand, I made note of some fresh tracks on the main trail, and decided to slow down in case there was a deer nearby. Sure enough, just after rounding a bend in the trail, I saw a doe grazing just off the trail in some young popple trees about 200 yards ahead of me.

As I mentioned above, I still hunt with a 12 gauge - a leftover from the days when I hunted in the shotgun-only zone in western MN (a donation of a quality used or new 30-06, 30-30, .308, .303 or .270 would be happily accepted). For those who have ever had the opportunity to actually stalk a deer, with nothing but open space and a few saplings between you and the deer, can imagine that 100 yards is a LONG way to go without snapping a twig, rustling a bunch of leaves, farting, or doing anything else that would spook the deer before you can get a shot off. One thing going in my favor is that the wind was coming from the WSW, and I was approaching from the SE, so I knew it would be tough for the doe to pick up my scent.

S l o w l y I started the stalk, taking extreme care to step only on soft, bare dirt (thank goodness for the recent rain!) and avoid anything that would make much of a sound. Only once did I step on a twig that broke - that mistake resulted in about a 5 minute standoff with the doe looking directly at me, and me trying to stay PERFECTLY still. Until you have to do it, you can't imagine how hard it is to go several minutes with moving AT ALL! I was so sure she was going to hear my heart pounding, even from 125 yards away, and run off!

Finally, she put her head back down, and I got myself into position where I had the clearest shot I was likely to get, from about 100 yards. I flipped on my Tasco, put the dot just behind her shoulder, and squeezed. And hit the one sapling I was worried about, snapping it in half, and deflecting the slug (I found later that the redirected slug had just grazed the neck).

Of course, the deer took off in a dead sprint, and I'm thinking I just wasted 45 minutes of stalking! Luckily, she took a path where I had another shot, though a longer, much more difficult running shot. That one found the intended mark, and I had my second deer of the season! Amy doesn't eat much venison, so this will be enough meat to last until next November.

After field dressing it, I dragged the deer the half mile or so to my garage and strung it up. Ma and pa were kind enough to do the butcher work, so I didn't have to miss any work for it. For their trouble, I gave them some roasts and steaks, and they gave some backstrap steaks to grandpa Ferd as well. It's so nice to have family willing to help!

Only 50 more weeks til the 2008 season!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Tender heart

After Kyle brought in his buck my little tender hearted boy needed to be consoled. He kept saying that we shouldn't be doing this and was crying and went off to sulk with the dogs. He has a soft spot in his heart for animals just like me so we had a good conversation about it and I think he is okay now although, when asked, he simply says 'I just don't wanna talk about it'.

Hunting pics

Kevin getting ready in the wee hours of opening morning. Kev said he kicked up several deer on his way out to the stand, but it was far too dark for a shot. Right place, wrong time!

The four huntsmen returning:
(left to right) Kirk Ronzheimer, Tom Erickson, Kevin Erickson, Me Erickson

The weather was beautiful!

My wee little 8-point buck. Not a monster like last year, but a lot easier to hoist up and butcher, that's for sure!

Wes reacted a little hard to the sight of the deer. He's such a tenderhearted little kid! After awhile though, he rode his tricycle in circles around the deer, and mustered up the courage to touch the antlers.

Kirk with his first ever deer! For a newbie hunter, he did a great job of waiting for the deer to come into the clear, then made a perfect heart shot and dropped the buck right in its tracks. I think Kirk called everyone in his cell phone to tell them the news. It was great to see his excitement! Kirk and I talked a lot about how the kill is such a small part of what makes hunting enjoyable. We agreed that as important is the chance to be out enjoying nature, watching the sun rise, having a lot of quiet time to think and pray, and learning PATIENCE!

Amy was such a wonderful hostess this weekend. At 40 weeks pregnant, she didn't complain once about having four hunters in her house! She made some delicious chili, cornbread, and bread pudding (among other yummy treats) that the guys just loved, and was so kind in letting us do our thing for a weekend. Thanks, babe!

We finished the butchering work Monday morning, so Tom and Kirk could get back home. Everyone got some nice steaks, and we're having the trimmings made into wild rice brats, cheddarwurst, and summer sausage at Rod's Meats in Bemidji. The front quarters from each deer I gave to our neighbors, as they are always on a really tight budget this time of year. And for the first time, I am going to try making venison jerky! The first batch is curing in the fridge at home right now, and I'll try my hand at it tonight.

Oh - and still no baby.

Monday, November 5, 2007


Our internet connection has been down for a couple days, so update will be sporadic for a while. I was fortunate enough to get an 8-point buck this year, with an assist from Dave Wittner. Not a trophy like last year, but still very nice. I wounded my deer (first time ever I had to track one!) and was trailing it when Dave finished it off.

Later, in a fitting twist, Tom finished off a deer that Dave had wounded. What goes around comes around, as they say. Kevin had a chance at a small 6-pointer, but passed it up to let it grow. I'm very proud of him for doing that - he saw very few deer this weekend, and it takes a lot of discipline to pass up an easy shot at a buck in order to build a trophy for the future!

Next Spring, Dave is going to bring some of his machinery and help me build a food plot for the deer, which should help the numbers of deer as well as building bigger racks. Can't wait for the '08 hunting season!

Pictures and more detail will follow as our junky internet service allow.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Almost baby time, almost hunting season

Deer hunting opens on Saturday. Amy is due with baby #2 on Sunday. That could make for an interesting weekend! I'm not sure how much actual hunting I will get to do, but I will post pictures of whatever my hunting party (brother Kevin, cousin Tom, and old college buddy Kirk) manage to take down. We just got a new camera - a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT - and are anxious to test it out.

Last year, I was fortunate to get a nifty 9-point buck, the second-largest deer in my 16 years of hunting. I know there are a couple big ones left out there, but all I've seen moving the past couple weeks are lots and lots and lots of does. We'll just have to wait and see what shows up. The weather forecast is for highs in the mid-40s, the moon in its waning quarter, and the wind coming from the west on Saturday, and south-southwest on Sunday. That's about the best possible scenario for hunting on our property, as it will keep us downwind from all the most-used deer trails, and increase our chances of a successful hunt!

Only 44 more hours till breakfast opening morning!