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Simply go to this page: http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/books.htm and follow the ordering link to Amazon. A percentage of each sale goes to back to M-S!

For those who may wonder what the book is about, It's a collection of humorous outdoor-related short stories that follow the misadventures of a group of characters in their ill-fated journey's into Michigans woods and waters.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

Beef and the Big Buck

Ah...autumn. If there is a better time of year to be alive, I haven't found it. The peace and serenity of the woods and rivers as they come alive with activity is second to none. The Salmon and Steelhead return to the rivers to tangle with avid anglers, the leaves turn colors in brilliant fashion and football season starts. Autumn is my favorite season.
It's also the time of year when a number of hunting activities begin. People in my part of the state revere this time of year. Deer hunting is the climax of the hunting season and is looked at in the same respect as a national holiday.
Despite my failed experiences at deer hunting, I've still been a casual observer of this fall rite of passage. Many of my compatriots are regular participants in the sport and I root for them every year. Wally is an avid hunter and never comes home empty handed. Whether he's deer hunting, goose hunting, you name it, he always puts food on the table. Same thing with The Buckmaster, his exploits are well known throughout Hillsdale county and people call him out of the blue to get advice and pointers on bagging that prized buck. What I can't understand is the perseverance of my closest friend, Beef.
Beef has been hunting since he was of legal age. His uncle is The Buckmaster and he's had his choice of prime hunting spots year in and year out. He's never shot a deer. In fact, he's never even taken a shot at a deer. Ten years and counting…the big zero looms large. As everyone is telling tales about the buck they shot or the monster that ducked their gunfire, Beef is gnashing his teeth and attempting to contain his envy. In Hillsdale he's known as "buck-less Beef".
But he never gives up. As November 15 approaches every autumn, Beef is sighting in his shotgun and building his blind, ever optimistic that this is the year. The season passes and Beef is left to ponder all the what ifs…
"Did you see anything," I'll ask.
"Nope…I'm going to try a different spot tomorrow," is Beef's usual answer.
Therein lies the problem. Beef has no patience. He moves around, he sleeps and he snores. Even I know that you have to remain still when hunting!
Once upon a time, he came close. Oh! How close it was. I was there to verify the events that surrounded his near success as I still partake in the sport occasionally. This is how it happened…
As November 15th approached this particular year, Beef seemed more intense in his preparations for the upcoming hunt. You could tell that the stress of being known as "buck-less Beef" was starting to get to him.
He covered the area he was going to hunt with sugar beets, apples, carrots and anything he could get his hands on that a deer would be attracted to. If he could've found an actual doe in heat to chain to his area, he'd have done it…that's how desperate he was to lure a buck into his shooting lane!
As a casual observer, mind you, it was quite amusing to witness his newfound intensity for success. I myself wasn't all that concerned with bagging a deer; my only mission was to seek a hunting blind that wasn't located under an acorn tree. My previous hunting experience gave me the knowledge that acorn trees and squirrels are not conducive to a peaceful hunt. Hell, for all I knew, the demon squirrel who terrorized me the year before could still be lurking in trees since I failed to exterminate him in a bitter fit of rage! My blind was situated in an area completely void of any trees.
The Buckmaster had spent most of the summer scouting his area and his blind was installed months prior. His guns were sighted in and all he had to do was wait for the opener. Even he was amazed at Beef's passion.
"It's about time the boy started listening to me," stated The Buckmaster. " Do you know how embarrassing it is to have a blood relative of mine be such a failure at hunting?"
"I listened to you and where did it get me?" I answered. "I got tortured by a demented rodent."
"Hunting is about concentration, you have to block out everything around you and concentrate on the kill." said The Buckmaster in a Yoda like manner.
"I'd like to see you keep your concentration when you're getting pelted with acorns for hours on end!" I retaliated.
"The spirit of the wild is not with you," he said, "and you will never be a hunter until you listen for its call."
The Buckmaster was starting to get creepy. I simply nodded and tried to carry on with what I was doing. Almost everyone in Hillsdale County starts to get a little weird at that time of the year; deer hunting consumes their every thought…
Beef's daily ritual was to check his hunting area for signs of deer. He'd walk the area looking for tracks and would check his bait piles to see if anything had been eaten. Three days before the opener, Beef was amazed at what he discovered.
There was a massive scrape on a tree near his blind and one of the bait piles was nearly gone. A set of very large deer tracks covered the area. The size of the scrape indicated that a set of very large antlers had damaged the bark of the tree. Clearly, the buck of Beef's dreams had staked a claim of the area. Beef replenished the bait pile and didn't sleep much after that. He rambled incessantly about the monster buck that was stalking his blind. The day before the opener, Beef added the coup de grace…a large dose of doe in heat scent.
"This will absolutely drive him crazy!" Beef stated. He was a man on a mission. Why else would he spend $38 on a bottle of scent? The man was usually a cheapskate.
Beef and I decided to stay at the Buckmaster's house that evening. We figured it would be easier if all three of us were in the same location come morning. Less hassle rounding everyone up.
The Buckmaster spent the evening meditating in his chair. He felt that his mind had to be completely at ease in order to hear the spirit of the wild the next morning. This is the same man who never speaks of the mighty spirit until a week before hunting season! I had to draw the line when he started chanting like a Mongolian monk.
"Ohmmmmm, Ohmmmmm"
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Preparing myself for the hunt," The Buckmaster answered. "Your mind must be free to hear the spirit of the wild."
"You're in the living room," I said. "Irritating me with your Gregorian chants isn't going to summon the spirit. Who are you, Fred Bear?"
"You got something against Fred?" The Buckmaster asked.
"No, I have nothing against Mr. Bear…he was a woodsman through and through, you on the other hand haven't seen a forest since last year." I quickly shot back.
"I believe in the spirit of the wild," Beef joined in. "I can feel it when I'm hunting…I can feel it moving through me."
"That's just gas," I said, "either that or you're still drunk from the night before!"
I believe in the spirit of the wild, don't get me wrong, but I sense it's presence in other ways; like the wind blowing through the trees or the reflection on a stream at day break. It's omnipresent and powerful but it isn't going to guide a bullet into the chest of a mighty buck. That requires skill and good marksmanship, Beef possesses neither. That's why he's "buck-less Beef". Annoying chants aren't going to summon the spirit either…
The amazing thing about opening day eve was Beef's reluctance to partake of his usual carousing. In years past, he would seek out the spirit of the wild by enjoying the company of a young woman and a case of adult beverages. Tonight he didn't want either one.
"I need to be rested when that big buck comes out," he said. "I can't be napping like I usually am."
Whoa! This definitely was a changed man!
The alarm clock went off at 4:30am. Beef was the first one out of bed and had the coffee ready when I reluctantly stumbled into the kitchen. The Buckmaster was close behind.
"Someone please explain to me why fishing and hunting always have to involve getting up early," I mumbled.
"Because the spirit demands it," The Buckmaster mumbled back. Beef was wide awake and rushing us to drink our coffee. He wanted to get into his blind as soon as possible. You never know when that buck is going to wander through…
A short time later, we were walking down the dark trail towards our hunting area. The county roads were alive with traffic as hunters made there way towards the zillions of acres of cornfields that typically host Hillsdale county hunting activities.
The Buckmaster crawled into his blind, which overlooked a fencerow, and settled into a Zen like trance. Beef and I continued down the trail until we got to his blind.
"I'll just dump another dose of this doe in heat scent and that buck will come running!" Beef stated. He struggled with the cap on his bottle of scent. He grimaced as he attempted to unscrew the lid.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Can't get the lid off this stuff," he grunted.
"Bang it on that log over there," I suggested. Beef thumped the lid on the edge of the log a few times. Finally, he wedged the bottle between his legs and put all of his muscle into prying the lid off. The lid broke free but the force of the momentum caused the bottle to fly out from between his legs. A huge amount of liquid splashed out and landed on the front of Beef's carharts. He cursed a couple of times and dumped the remaining fluid on the ground near his bait piles.
"I'll see ya when I shoot that buck!" he said as he wandered toward his blind, the heavy scent of doe in heat trailing him. I continued down the trail and hunkered in my tree-less blind. I had a clear view of Beef's hunting area to my right and occasionally would glance over there to check his progress. Much to my surprise, he was wide-awake and sitting motionless like a statue. For all his perseverance I sincerely hoped that his record of futility would end today…
As the sun rose and cast it's warm illumination over the land, the sound of gunshots filled the morning air. Two loud and echoing shots that emanated from the Buckmaster's blind signaled the fall of a six point buck and another triumph for the master. The spirit of the wild rewarded him very early that morning. I wasn't too concerned with shooting a deer, I was happy for his success and really just enjoyed being outdoors on such a fine morning. A flock of wild turkeys emerged from the bushes in front of me and milled about in front of my blind pecking at the dirt for their morning meal. The sound of mourning doves provided a pleasing soundtrack to the display set before me.
I heard a snap of a twig behind me and the mourning doves ceased their cooing. The turkey's raised their heads and glanced in the direction of the sound. Without warning, the turkey's scrambled back into the brush. I slowly turned to see what was up and caught site of the most regal buck I'd ever laid eyes on.
The majestic creature emerged from the trees and started toward Beef's blind. The beast was huge and sported 12 points on its mighty rack. Beef was wide eyed with disbelief as the monster sauntered toward his blind.
When I say sauntered that's not a stretch of the imagination. This buck was cool. He inhaled the scent of a doe in heat and smoothly maneuvered towards its source with one thing in mind. Mr. Buck was looking to score.
The beast sniffed the air several times and strutted toward the blind in a manner similar to someone entering the playboy mansion. He had that John Travolta-Saturday Night Fever Strut down pat and the only thing missing was a fur covered pimp hat and dark sunglasses! Hell, I thought the creature was going to light a cigarette at any moment. Beef was taken aback by the bucks immense size and demeanor and was clearly nervous. He had no idea that his futility was going to be broken by such a huge creature!
The buck, meanwhile, started scraping the ground around the bait pile with his mighty antlers. He stomped his feet a couple of times before raising his head. He sniffed the air again in an attempt to locate the doe in heat and slowly turned his head toward Beef's blind. The buck's eyes caught Beef's eyes and the animal let out a smooth grunt that sounded eerily similar to Barry White. I swear I heard the romantic sounds of Luther Vandross music fill the air as Mr. Buck gave Beef a wink and began strutting toward the blind. When a buck that big is in the rut they're oblivious to everything around them. They have one thing and only one thing on their mind. Beef quickly raised his shotgun and aimed at the beast as it slid ever closer to the blind. The buck let out another Barry White like grunt as Beef pulled the trigger on the gun.
The idiot Beef, in all his preparation, had forgotten to load his shotgun! In an act that could have easily come from that show "When Animals Attack", the buck jumped into the blind with Beef. Clearly Mr. Buck was eager to consummate their newfound relationship.
Beef threw his shotgun at the love struck buck and started running like a madman across the field. The buck wasn't about to let his doe in heat get away and chased after him.
Mr. Buck was gaining on Beef and at one point attempted to jump on Beef's back. Beef scrambled up the nearest tree he could find and clawed his way to a safe distance off the ground. I was simply awestruck at the whole spectacle and could only watch with mouth wide open. The Buckmaster wandered down the trail to look for Beef and I. When he focused in on the activities afoot, his mouth dropped to the ground. The buck circled the tree, grunting, and made several attempts to shake Beef off the branch he was clinging to.
"Shoot it! Shoot it!" Beef screamed.
"I can't!" shouted the Buckmaster. "I already filled my tag!"
"Steve! Get over here and shoot this thing!"
I jumped up from my blind and ran toward the tree. I stood beside the Buckmaster and aimed my weapon at the monster buck's chest.
"Dear God! Shoot it!" Beef pleaded. The Buck was digging his hooves into the bark of the tree and was actually trying to climb the damn thing! I was laughing so hard that I couldn't hold the gun straight. The Buck had almost figured out how to get to Beef.
"What are you waiting for!" Beef screamed. "Pull the trigger!"
I couldn't do it. All that creature wanted was a little companionship and I certainly didn't want someone shooting me while I was trying to get lucky…although a few irate fathers had attempted it in the past! I pointed the gun in the air and rattled off three quick shots. The sound of the thunderous release caused the buck to snap from his erotic trance and realize what he'd gotten himself into. He took one look at us and sprinted back into the woods, never to be seen again.
"Why didn't you shoot it?" asked the Buckmaster.
"You want someone to shoot you the next time your in bed with your wife?" I said.
"Well…yeah! I hope someone would put me out of misery!" he answered.
"When the day comes for me to shoot a buck, it's not going to be while he's trying to score!" I said. "Jeez, have a heart!"
"I ain't no deer's wife!" Beef shouted from his branch.
It took quite a bit of coaxing to get Beef out of the tree. Once he finally came down, he immediately sprinted toward the safety of the truck. As he jumped in, he locked the doors behind him. We drove back home with the Buckmaster's deer in the back of the pick up. The Buckmaster couldn't stop laughing the entire way.
"I'll say this," he said between chuckles, "that scent you bought really works!"
"Nobody says a word about any of this…got it?" Beef threatened. "And you, Mr. outdoor writer, I don't wanna see any damn articles about this either!"
Ok, I kept my word. I didn't write any articles about this. What I wrote here is a humorous short story…there's a huge difference you know! Besides, it's not like Beef will ever read this. He'll never know…

The Fish of a Thousand Casts can be ordered through Michigan Sportsman, by following this link: http://www.michigan-sportsman.com/books.htm

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think the neat thing about this, is that the stories could take place anywhere. They're not about Michigan, per se, they just happen to take place there...kinda like a McManus book in that the majority of his stories take place in Idaho, but are not about Idaho. It's basically about the characters and the situations they end up in...which, in reality, could take place in Ohio, Kentucky or Alaska. "Beef and the Big Buck" Could take place anywhere there is a cornfield! ;)

In all honesty, though, the humor is in what happens to the characters. I don't really focus on the Michigan aspect to much other than to provide locations for all of the madness that takes place. Is it based in Michigan? For the most part, yes. Is it about Michigan? Absolutely not...it's strictly about the characters.

Give it a shot, I'm positive enjoy it! :cool:
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