Since 1967 I’ve been an avid deer hunter. It’s not so much about being successful as it is about the adventures, friendships and camaraderie of the hunt. In my first years I began hunting with my pals, the guys I hung around with during high school and early adulthood. We hunted in the Ogemaw Hills near West Branch Michigan. But I had a desire to hunt in the far north. My Uncle had been a hunter for many, many years and hunted the Upper Peninsula. I was anxious to have the opportunity to hunt in the Upper Peninsula with him and learn what he could teach me. Working in the same ‘construction’ industry I often worked with my Uncle and knew several of his hunting ‘crew’. During lunch or coffee breaks on job-sites I often heard the tales of their hunting excursions. These tales fed the desire to be part of the ‘crew’.
The Upper Peninsula was a place of mystery and awe to me. Though I had been there many times as a child when summer vacation trips took my family to, Curtis, Michigan and the Manistique lake area. In those days it was a very long trip. The modern I-75 highway didn’t exist and there was no Mackinac Bridge. Crossing the Straights of Mackinac was by car ferry and waits to get aboard could take hours due to heavy seasonal traffic.
My older brother had been hunting with our uncle for a season already and with his invitation I became part of the ‘crew’. The Mackinac Bridge, which had been built in 1957, was now the means of crossing from the Lower Peninsula to the Upper Peninsula. I-75 had been built and except for a portion that utilized US-27 was a straight route to the Bridge. A few years later the need to use the US-27 portion was eliminated when a section of I-75 was built right through the Ogemaw Hills woods that I first started hunting in.
My first trip with the ‘crew’ was for the ‘final’ weekend of the season. I was excited with this opportunity. I had visions of extreme wilderness that would be far different from the Ogemaw Hills of the Lower Peninsula. I expected deer to be everywhere and terrain that would be challenging to travel. It was colder than I had experienced in the Lower Peninsula which didn’t surprise me because we were 200 plus miles north.
Ever since that first trip with the ‘crew’ my hunting season would always be in the Upper Peninsula. As I said, for me it was the adventure and (though a little disappointing) the lack of success wasn’t important. Posts that I intend to link to this page will be about the adventures I’ve had hunting over about 45 years.