Monday, Nov. 2, 2020

My company decided they would give employees a mental break day off this year and said it would have to be on Nov. 2 for me. I couldn’t have been happier when I heard the news. How often do you get a paid day off to go hunting for no reason other than to have a mental break and use it to do something you enjoy? Well, that was me today.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best of days, with the wind blowing 25-35 mph along with a blinding snowstorm for about an hour.

On my way up the road, I almost hit a giant 10-pointer crossing the road. Being close to home, I couldn’t believe the size of the buck. When he hit the dirt road in front of me, I couldn’t believe it. He was hauling ass, too. Instantly, it brought hope to my thoughts about the day.

As I marched around the mountain and headed down the steep terrain on the back side, the snow pelted my face with a fury all its own. I couldn’t escape it, so I welcomed it and continue walking.

When I sat down and changed my clothes, I felt refreshed. The snow had stopped, and I patiently waited for the woods to come alive — and it didn’t take long.

I battle some bad things with my insulin pump all night, so I didn’t get any rest at all. The pump wasn’t hooked to the infusion set properly, and it stopped delivering insulin while I was sleeping. My blood glucose shot to over 500 by the time I figured it out. Stupidly, I headed into the woods anyway.

After sitting down, my blood began crashing. I had three arrows going down, and I needed something to eat as soon as possible. I looked down to find something in my backpack. When I chose to have a peanut butter cup, I was content. Then, I caught movement to my left and saw a really good wanna-be 10-pointer walking up the hill at a good clip. He was a dandy.

I quickly clicked the safety off and readied my ears for the explosion. Another second or two and the gun would fire. Walking at a fast pace, he stepped behind two huge trees. I waited patiently to shoot him when he came out the other side. He was 40 yards away.

Suddenly, does started running all over on the ridge above me and he bolted toward them, and I never saw his initial burst. It was still gray in the woods and hard to see. He quickly mixed in with the other deer, and they were gone in seconds. I was highly disappointed. The does blew as they ran way. I’m still not sure what happened.

I’m not sure if the buck smelled me and ran or if he was after the does that I never saw and bolted toward them. I’ll never know the answer, but I do know that I missed a prime opportunity. It feels like this year is just one of those years. I did everything I needed to do to take this buck, and a lack of concentration for a couple of seconds cost me a dandy. It’s all part of hunting but it seems to hurt this year more than it has hurt in many years. It’s probably because of everything going on. I just took it on the chin, got up and began still-hunting in the freshly fallen snow.

A few hours into my hunt, I spotted movement in the slash and instantly saw antlers. I clicked the safety off and got ready to let it rip. My excitement was still through the roof, which had me on edge. I saw three uprights on one side, but I quickly saw that it wasn’t a buck I wanted to take. Instead, I reached in my coat pocket and got my video camera out. I ended up taking some video, but it didn’t come out that well. When I return from Illinois, I might try to download some of it to share with you. I guess I’ve been lucky to have passed two 8-pointers in two weeks in the Adirondacks. If I look back 30 years ago, I don’t think I ever could have imagined me becoming the guy who would be able to do that. Now, I don’t mind one bit. It’s no longer about taking a buck to me. It’s more about pursuing specific animals and learning about them as I go. I like to outsmart deer that I’m actually hunting. It always feels much more rewarding doing it that way than lucking into it.

Brian is in Illinois. He has been seeing good bucks. I guess that’s exciting. Unfortunately, it’s supposed to be in the 80s when I arrive at the end of the week and stay that way for a solid week. I’m not looking forward to that.

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