By Some Guy:
One Fall day I was driving the back roads of western Iowa, um, ah, . . . looking for new hunting areas. That is what I like to call being completely lost with no idea where I am. I came across this very intriguing valley. A corn field extended up the valley about half a mile, where it split into a “Y” configuration. Three heavily wooded ridges boxed in the Y. A small stream meandered down the edge of the middle ridge. “This is a perfect place for deer”, I told myself. “Truly one of God’s greatest works.” “I wonder who owns it?”
A quick survey of the nearby farm houses had led me to the land owner. The old guy who owned the property was real hesitant to allow deer hunters on his land. He had some “very bad” experiences with large groups in the past. After explaining to him that I preferred still hunting for deer and that there would only be one other person with me, he agreed to let me hunt.
My hunting partner Bubba Greasly and I made several scouting trips to this picturesque valley. The woods were loaded with sign! We found several large rubs and many heavily used trails. It didn’t take long to pick out our spots to sit to give us the best chance at one of the monster bucks that seemed to be in the area. The strategy was simple. I would take the west branch of the valley and Bubba the east. I would have to cross the small creek, but that shouldn’t be any problem. We would hunt in the morning and meet back at the truck for lunch. Then we would go back to our stands until dark, if needed. We would most likely have our deer before noon. This season was going to be a sure thing!
Opening morning came and I bolted upright in bed. I had the strange feeling I had overslept. As I was rummaging for my clothes I could hear the wife mumble, “What’s wrong with you?” “It’s 3 o’clock!” I made a quick glance at the clock and thought, “Oh, it’s only 3:00, I have plenty of time.” I made myself some coffee and a quick breakfast.
I was just finishing up when Bubba pulls into the driveway and lets himself in through the garage. “Got everything?” he asks. “Yep”, I said. “Lunch?” Oops, I forgot my lunch. “Hold on a second and I will throw something together.” A quick check of the cupboard found some potato chips and a quarter loaf of bread. “I’ll make a sandwich.” Back into the bedroom I went. “Honey”, I whispered, “Do we have anything to make a sandwich out of?” I know now that asking your wife this question at 4:00 AM is bad. Very bad! She replied, “mumble, mumble, what you use!” “mumble, mumble, eat the egg salad, mumble, mumble, two days ago!” “Thanks Honey.” Egg salad it is.
Bubba and I arrived at the field with plenty of time to make the quick one half mile hike into our stands and get set up just before sunrise. The weather was great for still hunting. There was no wind to speak of and it was about 40º. I crossed the tiny creek and went up the valley to my stand, all the time with the utmost optimism for this spot. That morning I saw a lot of does and even passed up a shot on a small buck. I wanted to hold off for one of the monster bucks we had seen signs of.
At noon Bubba and I met back at the truck for lunch. I told Bubba what I had seen and he seemed surprised. He saw nothing! “It was just a rot fest for me.” Bubba said. “Well, maybe your luck will change this afternoon.” We ate our lunch and headed back into our stands.
Across the small creek and back up the valley I went. Half way to my stand I saw a huge buck standing in the corn field in the vicinity of my stand. “Crap!” I thought. “I’ll just tuck into the trees here and wait him out.” The buck walked across the field and went into the trees on the far side of the field from me. I stayed in the trees the last few hundred yards to my stand, sure that the big buck hadn’t seen or winded me. “He’ll be back.” I thought.
I sat quietly for the next couple hours without seeing anything. But, by this time I really didn’t care. I was lost in the overwhelming beauty of this valley. It had started to snow a little. The light snow falling perfectly framed the picturesque setting of the woods around me. I thought, “This is one reason why I do this sort of thing.” “Just to enjoy the surroundings of nature.” It was like an image right out of Currier & Ives. It’s no wonder deer like this God blessed valley. But then it started.
I felt it first deep in my stomach. I thought, “Ooh, this is not good.” The feeling quickly raced into my bowels. I started to cramp up like a 7” tall man in the backseat of a Volkswagen bug. It was about this time that I realized that it was the egg salad priming itself for a triumphant return. It was then that I also began to assemble together the few audible words my wife spoke this morning with the mumbles. The egg salad was bad! My eyes frantically searched the woods for a log to relieve myself over. “There’s one!” “I’ll have to cross the creek again.” “No problem.” Off came the coat and coveralls. A quick jump over the creek and I was perched on the log. Relief was mine! The wind had picked up a bit and it started snowing a little harder now. Just then I looked up and saw him staring at me.
Standing there was the biggest buck I had ever seen. The rack was so large it looked like two Christmas trees tied to his head. “My gun!” “Crap, I can’t reach it.” The buck just stood there with a kind of smirk on his face. Almost as if he found humor in my bare-bottomed, gun-less predicament. I slowly crept to the side and grabbed my gun just as the buck bolted to the east. “Arrgh!” “There’s still some daylight left, maybe another buck will come by.”
As I went to jump the creek back to my stand to retrieve my coat and coveralls I slipped in the newly fallen snow and went in. “Wow!” I thought. “This creek didn’t look near this deep.” As I was thrashing in the waist deep water trying to get out I heard a nearby gunshot. “Bubba!”
By now the wind had picked up and it was starting to snow really hard. I put on my coveralls and coat that seemed to be full of snow. Funny how laying them on the ground during a snow storm will do this. I decided that I had better keep moving or I would freeze to death. I made it about half way back to the truck when the rest of my lunch wanted out. Off came the coat, and coveralls . . . . frozen! Won’t come off! I thought, “This is no time for pretty, just get an opening!” The first time I did pretty good. But this time I really made a mess of myself. If you know what I mean?
By this time I could barely see in front of me. The wind was cutting right through me and freezing even the parts of my body that weren’t wet. I kept telling myself, “O.K., just a little further.” “My God, how far is it!” “There’s that river again!” “O.K., just ahead is the truck.” As I made my attempt to jump the “Mississippi” one last time it dawned on me why track & field athletes wear gym shorts instead of frozen coveralls. Not good! In I went again. After a short struggle I was out on the other side. As I approached the truck I could see Bubba sitting with coat off comfortably sipping coffee in the cab. “At least he has the truck warmed up.” I thought.
As I opened the door to get in I saw the huge “Christmas tree” antlered buck lying dead in the bed proudly displaying Bubba’s tag. “Looks like you got a good one Bubba.” I said sarcastically. Bubba said, “Yeah!” “It was strange!” “I didn’t see a dam thing all day until it started to snow and the wind came up.” “That is when this one just came running up to me from the west.” “I think he may have winded you because he kept looking back the whole time.” “He never saw me!” “Yeah, I’m sure he smelled something.” I said. Bubba said, “This buck was kind of weird though.” “If I didn’t know any better I would have sworn he had a kind of smirk on his face.” “Almost like he was laughing at something.” “You’ll have that with deer sometimes.” I said. “How about you, see anything this afternoon?” Bubba asked. I said, “Just drive Bubba.” “Why are you so wet?” “Just drive Bubba.” “And what the heck is that smell?” “Just drive Bubba.” “Did you know it’s down to 25º now?” “Just drive Bubba.”
As Bubba backed his truck onto the road, I looked back and said, “Why in the %$#@ would deer ever want to live in such a God forsaken hell hole as that valley?” “What did you say?” Bubba asked. I said, “Just drive Bubba.”