I Love it When a Plan Comes Together

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Seems we plan and plan and then plan some more as our deer seasons get closer. Once they are upon us though, we simply need to go with the flow, as the saying goes. Perhaps you scouted and placed a stand in a very special location, two weeks before  the start of the season. But when you arrive the day before the gun opener with camper in tow you see a couple of trucks parked near your stand site.

Then, the worst of horrors as you make your way into your spot in the pitch dark and just as you begin climbing up into your ladder stand someone whistles and blinks his light at you from 50' away in his climber. Yup, I did let him know what I'd thought of his intrusion after obviously seeing my stand there already, before I left the area.

What happened next though is what keeps up slogging through the mud, waking up on a rainy day and sitting with numb toes.

The rest of the story, plan "B"

I did see one small buck that opening morning after my chosen area had been become someone else's. But, even with Tennessee's multiple buck tags, I was not tempted to take him. My plan now was to come up with a plan "B" and so I re-checked some other areas close by the camper's location. There was a nice area where a stream bed (dry) ran down and past a section of planted pines that looked promising.

I cleared a few areas that would make decent ground spots depending on the winds, sat at one for the afternoon and then headed back as light left the woods. On the way up the last low ridge I paused to catch my breath and saw that where I stood looked to be a pretty good vantage point, looking down the point of this low ridge that had two seasonal stream beds coming from either side of that point, meeting and then continuing on as one.

I spent a couple of minutes clearing this one last spot that happened to be only about 250 yards from the camper. I met my Dad back at the camper, we fixed some dinner and after a purely medicinal half glass of cough "medicine" we turned in early for our 4 AM planned wake-up.

The alarm sounded off on time although I'm still surprised we even heard it through the gale force winds and pelting rain blowing outside our snug little retreat. I simply said, "I'm not going out in this" and heard my Dad reply, "Heck, I hope not!". I rolled back over and dozed listening to the rain and wind for another 2-3 hours.

Finally, I unzipped the sleeping bag and said that I'd thought the weather sounded like it was improving some. We both got up, ate our typical hunting breakfast of instant oatmeal and headed out the door just after 7 AM. About 40* and still windy outside but raining not nearly as hard as it was just a few hours before, we headed for our chosen areas on either side of our dead end logging trail.

I slowly walked into my side and decided to simply sit at the last spot I'd cleared no more than 250 yds from the camper. Heck, if it started really pouring again, I could be back inside the camper within 10 minutes or so. I found my tree and set down my little hunting seat directly behind the 15-18" diameter tree I'd found the afternoon before.

"Not too nasty" I kept telling myself every 2 minutes as I sat scanning the still dimly lit woods around me. After a bit, I turned my head to the left and saw a deer walking slowly along that little stream bed headed towards the point of my little ridge finger. The model 100 Carbine in .308 came to my shoulder, the safety was silently pushed to fire and as the buck stepped past a tree directly below me I fired.
He dropped to the shot and I waited a few minutes watching him. I finally lost any patience and headed down to what looked like a really nice buck. He was most definitely a keeper. Ten points total and a very high, but not overly wide rack. He was clearly my best buck to date. My Dad was soon whistling to me as he made his way down the point after seeing me at the bottom.

He'd not been sitting five minutes when he heard me shoot and I'd only been seated about 20 minutes myself when I shot. We just stood and admired that pretty deer for a while and then took some photos. We gutted him there on the spot and dragged him (slowly) up that ridge to the logging road.

We enjoyed some lunch and then the decision was made to go on home and try to dry everything out. We checked in the deer en route to my house and this was (and still is) the only time I out-guess the "deer check guy" on the weight of a deer. I guessed 150 and he guessed 145, dressed. He went 148.

Two lessons here, perhaps. I still think this was the worst weather day I ever went hunting, but it certainly worked out OK. And also we need to remain calm and optimistic even when plan "A" gets totally blown out of the water! Hopefully you have not put all your eggs in one basket, as the saying goes. Even today, I sometimes feel a shiver when I glance at his shoulder mount in the den. After all it was a very cold, rainy and windy morning when plan "B" worked out for me.

The "Plan B" buck

Ed Sr looking like he's not looking forward to the drag!

Here's everything all loaded up and ready to roll

Just before we hooked up to the camper, this is what we saw! Hey, I couldn't make this stuff up!


Deer Slayer's picture

Congratulations, that is a

Congratulations, that is a great looking 10 pointer. It was an excellent story and you provided some great photo's. One time on opening day my dad told me to sit in one stand, but I wanted to sit in the stand like 30 yards away. If I would have listened to my dad I could have had an easy shot on a 150" 10 point. Later on that morning my dad did shoot a nice big mature doe. I never did see that buck again.


groovy mike's picture

100% right about “Going with the flow”.

Great buck Ed. You are 100% right about “Going with the flow”. Someday I hope I get a ten point too. I hope that the guy who took your spot saw you drive out with that nice rack on your roof too! I think we all have had other hunters mess with our plan A. And yep Jerry – The neighbors dog has screwed up my hunt on occasion too! At least I’m not the only one!

ManOfTheFall's picture

Congratulations on a very

Congratulations on a very nice looking 10 pointer. I really enjoyed your story and the photo's. I have had those days as well. One time I was going to one of my better area's. Right close together in this spot we had two stands up. I wanted to go into the stand that was a little further away. I got to my tree and the steps were gone. I double checked to make sure it was the right tree and it was. I looked up and seen my stand was gone too. Thankfully we had that other stand close by. I went and sat in that stand and that morning I arrowed a very nice doe.

jim boyd's picture

That is a great buck and a

That is a great buck and a great story - complete with good photos to go along with it!

Man - you hit the perils of hunting public land on the head when you talked about your ladder stand and the guy in the climber - I have had similar incidents to this many times over down in Georgia while hunting public land.

In fact, I have pretty much given up hunting public land in the south... and I went to Illinois this past fall and ran into the same issues... very frustrating to say the least.

Back to your buck, that is a great, tall rack - I am sure he make a nice mount - if you chose to do so.

Hunting in harsh weather is hard to do - I commend you for finally getting up and getting after them... the rain, wind and cold just take the wind out of a hunters sails and once the will goes, execution is not far behind.

You have shown with this story that perseverance is one of the key components (that can not be overstated) to hunting success and that a Plan B is a great idea!

I do so love these family based stories - they are great for our sport and the traditions we enjoy - and yes, I agree.... Ed Sr does not look overly enthused at the prospect of pulling the now deceased ten pointer back to camp!!

Great story - I enjoyed it very well - love the photos, also.


jaybe's picture


I hate to say it, Ed, but you don't look all that happy, either!

For a guy who just shot a really nice buck, you should have been grinning from ear to ear!

You're absolutely right about "going with the flow". Sometimes our best-laid plans are upset by other hunters, weather (or both), the neighbors dog (argghh!) or other factors.

It doesn't do a bit of good to get all steamed up about it, and it shows good sportsmanship and the ability to adapt when we go to "plan B", whatever that may be.

By the way, it looks like you had a pretty nice deer camp there in that Airstream.

If it were me, I'd sure have had some bacon and eggs, not just instant oatmeal. :>)

Thanks for the good story.