Our rifle season opens this Saturday. You know all that.
You know the limit is three does per day and no more than two bucks for the entire season. You know you have to have the right license and wear a minimum of 500-square inches of blaze orange on your head and upper body. You know all that, probably have your stand picked out. You know, if you are climbing a tree, you need to wear a fall restraint device. We call them safety belts.
You know all that.
I guess I'll go, Lord willing and weather cooperating. I'm not real excited about it. I'm not hunting some trophy buck or hunting a stand I have been saving for just this day.
But, after all, it is opening day. You have to go, don't you?
I remember an opening day back in the late 90's. It was one of those you just don't forget. It was out of the old Pearl Jail Camp in Illinois.
The camp was in fact, an old jail. On this opening day, Toby and I were guiding Vito and Guido, a couple hunters from New Yawk. They were excited. We were all shooting muzzleloaders instead of shotguns. We spent Friday afternoon, making sure they were dead on. They were excited.
We enjoyed a sumptuous dinner and hit the sack early. I don't think they, (Vito and Guido,) slept all night.
I know they were up and ready to go two hours before time to leave. Finally, we did just that. Toby took Guido and I took Vito and away we went. It was a long, four minute drive and three minute walk.
I put Vito in his stand and then walked to mine. Since I was plenty warm from walking, I just lay down under my tree and took me a 30-minute nap. It was still dark as the inside of a house cat. At dawn I climbed the tree, safetied off and put a go-bang on my Knight rifle.
Then, since it was, after all, hunting season, I turned around and shot the nice 9-point walking across the field, 75-yards in front of me. I had been in the tree all of 30-seconds.
As I was climbing down, I heard Vito shoot and as I hit the ground, I heard Toby shoot.
Five minutes later, a shot came from Guido's direction. It seems our opening day was over in less than 10-minutes. I was anxious to see what they had.
Now maybe you think that was it. Wrong. We get all four deer loaded and hear a shot down below us in a meadow.
Toby's son, Adam comes walking up the road allowing he needed help dragging his deer out. That is five better than average bucks on the ground in a space less than 150-acres in less than 90-minutes.
Well, we took them back to the jail and hung them from the meat pole and pretty soon, a crowd starts gathering, just folks, mostly hunters, driving by, saw the deer and pulled in to check them out. So, we take a picture and I don't know half the folks in it.
I remember that opening morning, well.
And I recall another one that had me laughing so hard I almost soiled myself. See, I'm hunting with a well-known outdoor writer who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty.
We had hunted some land I had leased in Hickman County and had not killed anything by late morning. So, we meet back at the old logging road and he, the semi-famous outdoor writer wants me to shoot some pictures he can use for stock photos. I said sure.
One of the pictures he wanted was of him, sitting on a log in the sun and pretending to hunt. He left his rifle in the truck so he was holding mine, unloaded of course. He gets all situated and I snap a couple pictures when I notice another player in the camera lens. I start pointing he finally turns around just in time to see a fair, eight-point walking calmly less than 30-yards behind him.
He just about broke my rifle trying to jack a shell in the chamber from an empty magazine. By the time I threw him a bullet, the buck was gone. But there is more.
The next morning, I killed the same buck, not 50-yards from where we had been taking pictures. I was just about to get down when he came walking by, calm as could be.
Hunt safe, hunt well and good luck.
Email Sloan at email@example.com