I put my compass on the table and tried to focus on the choices dad was trying to give me about where I was going to spend the next several hours of the hunt.
The planning phase ritual at our deer camp had just been started. This is an evening ritual at our camp that involves clearing off the dinner table and taking out a large photographic map of our hunt camp property. We follow the aerial map up with a large topo map, a bag of peanuts, and ice old cokes.
I took a look at the maps and my mind wandered and reflected on an old memory for a moment…
“Bill, we’ll put you on the Snell’s road. After I have finished walking through Grandpa’s lot – I will come back to get you.”
Simple enough plan, I thought to myself. It falls in line with the crumby deer watch I was about to spend the next 2 hours standing on. This stand was a just small clearing on a logging road that was surrounded with evergreens. A deer would have to ignore the hunter in the clearing and walk casually on the road for me to get a shot.
The plan and my location stunk. That’s what I get for not speaking up quickly enough during the camp’s planning session the night before.
Don’t get me wrong. Being able to spend anytime hunting at any stand is a privilege. I am just calling a spade a spade. This watch would rank low on anyone’s Top 10 Most Probable Buck Watches List.
Of course at 16, I thought I knew it all.
After about 30 minutes (maybe more) our hound ran past me in the clearing while sniffing at the ground.
My chances sunk even lower with the smell of dog now permeating the clearing around me. I would have been better off clanging metal pots with wooden a spoon in the middle of this forest opening. I never got the chance to find out.
Within a few seconds of the hound entering the evergreens, I heard leaves crackling and branches breaking towards me. I almost called out to the hound to end his parade in the leaves. Before I could, a buck walked out of the evergreens! One vital shot later and I had killed my first buck.
<em>The sound of the shell exiting the chamber of my gun, brought my mind back to the table, the maps, and the deer stand assignments in front of me.</em>
“So, where do you want to watch, Bill?”, my father asked for the second time.
I replied and smiled, “I don’t care. I’ll take whatever watch is left – just make sure it has some evergreens…”.