Saturday, June 22, 2024

Thanksgiving traditions

by Warren Illi
| November 25, 2021 12:00 AM

Happy Thanksgiving! This is one, if not the happiest weekends of the year for me. Today, like most of you, I will enjoy one of the best, if not the best meal of the year. For those of you that read this column regularly, you know how much I love to hunt, fish and enjoy the outdoors. But one of my most favorite indoor activities, which I enjoy year-round, is eating. Judging by the obesity problem we have in America, I am not alone in my love for eating.

Among the many blessings that America has bestowed upon me is my good fortune of having a wife that is a good cook. Her traditional Thanksgiving dinner is perhaps the best dinner of the year. While the turkey, many salads, sweet potatoes and homemade dinner rolls are great, the best part of Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey stuffing’s or dressing, and gravy. They are the best in the world. Lucky me! So, I hope your Thanksgiving dinner and day will be as great as mine.

Adding to the fun of having family and friends over for Thanksgiving, we, or at least the men folks, will watch a good football game, plus take a good nap. Then comes Black Friday. Black Friday will start with the arrival of the Thursday edition of the Daily Inter Lake. This will likely be the “fattest” paper of the year. I will carefully read and reread the ads from the sporting goods stores, hardware stores and building supply stores for all the “man” things I think I need. I already have more rifles, sporting goods and tools that any man deserves or needs, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t crave for more. I am an American male and in America more is almost always better than less. I just completed a new 1,700 square foot shop or barn building at my farm near Malta, so I have lots of needs or wants to properly equip that building. Next to buying hunting and fishing gear, I also love to buy tools.

There will be the usual Black Friday ads for guns. I will be perfectly honest with you, I have absolutely no need for any more guns for hunting, but that doesn’t mean I will not find a gun ad that will lead me to be standing at a gun counter fondling a new weapon. Like most men, I am not a shopper like my wife, I am a buyer and I love Black Friday when outdoor gear and tools ads are just too much of a bargain to pass up.

One of my annual end of season hunting events is trying to rattle-in a nice whitetail buck. I was very careful this year to harvest only does, saving my one buck tag for rattling. For those readers not familiar with whitetail deer hunting, the whitetail rut is now on. This is when normally wary whitetail bucks will be moving around all day looking for a sweet doe ready to breed. The rattling concept is for a hunter to take a pair of deer antlers and rattle them together to simulate two bucks fighting over a doe ready to breed. The selection process of the natural world is for most of the breeding to be done by the biggest and strongest bucks which means that future generations of deer will be bigger, stronger and smarter. This better assures the survival of the deer population in an ever-changing natural world.

When hunters rattle deer antlers, any or most nearby bucks will come to the rattle to see if there are two bucks fighting over a doe ready to breed. Now don’t think you can just go out and rattle and suddenly every nearby buck will come trotting in. My experience is that I get a buck coming in about one time in 10 sit-down rattling sessions. But it is a fun variation in my normal sequence of hunting during the last part of hunting season.

A few years ago, I rattled in a small buck which I shot. After, field dressing the buck, for the fun of it, I backtracked the buck to see how far he came to my rattle. I tracked him for two hundred yards in fresh snow, to his bed. I can only assume my rattling caused him to get out of his bed to investigate the rattle. He came to the rattle sound straight as a laser to where I was sitting.

So, there is no doubt my rattling caused him to leave the safety and comfort of his day bed to investigate the antler rattling. If you don’t have a set of antlers to rattle, you can buy plastic gismos at sporting goods stores that can be used to rattle in a buck. Try it, you will like it.

So, if you can tear yourself away from football games this weekend, get out and enjoy the last few days of the general rifle hunting season. Good luck!