By James Waesche


One of the benefits of being assigned to the CGC Mackinaw was the opportunity for "north woods R&R." 

I was assigned to the MACKINAW in 1945 ... The ship left Lorain, Ohio to go on up to Detroit, Lake St, Claire, Lake Huron, and into Cheboygan. This was in late September.

In early October the ship took off for Lake Superior and had to pass a place between Upper Michigan and Drummond Island. The skipper, Commander Roland decided it would be nice for the crew to have a little R&R. This consisted of a chance for any of the crew who wished to go deer hunting the next day on Drummond Island.

So the next morning at 0500, a cold and windy 0500, we loaded to motor lifeboats. The water was almost coming over the gunnels. I thought we would never make it to the island. We split up into twos and my partner was the ship's doctor. ... I was not sure whether that was a good or bad omen.

The rule was you couldn't fire at a deer until sunrise. At sunrise all hell broke loose ... there were rifles going off all around us. It was like being in no man's land. Most of these guys had never been deer hunting. The Doc and I wandered around, seeing nothing, colder than a well digger's clavicle ... windy ... really brutal. I kept thinking about the guys who stayed aboard that must have known something that I didn't.

A rabbit jumps out and the Doc fires ... hits him with a 30.06 ... dum-dum bullet ... all that was left was an ear and the tail.

At 1600 it was time to head back to the ship. Nobody ... but nobody ... even saw a deer ... but a lot of shooting went on.

As we neared the ship we spied something hanging from one of the cranes. It was a large buck ... completely skinned. While we were running around that island conducting our Chinese Fire Drill ... a doe and a buck came swimming by going to another island. A boat was lowered ... the buck was hit in the head, taken aboard and skinned.

You can guess who ate venison and who ate crow.

From "This - *?#!@*? Was The Coast Guard" by Esther Stormer 1985

Reprinted by permission.


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