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Video: Jameson’s first deer

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My son taking his first deer!

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Jameson Gowan with his first deer, a Mississippi doe!

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The Best Hunt Ever

By Josh Gowan

This article is best read with Survivor’s 1982 smash hit “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background.

After a marathon year of taking my son deer hunting, we eventually exhausted both Kentucky and Missouri’s seasons, and conceded defeat. It was bittersweet unpacking the guns and hunting totes and folding chairs and extra honey buns from the truck. We were both disheartened that we didn’t close the deal, but it took a heavier toll on me. The boy hunted hard and well, and really wanted to get a deer, and not just for himself but also because he knew how important it was to me, because he’s just that kind of a kid.

We practiced plenty with his rifle, and I knew he could shoot, but it was up to me to put him in a position where he’d have an opportunity. I had to get a deer in front of him, and after 24 hunts, I had failed. The “sweet” part was that we were exhausted and ready for a break, both having neglected everything else in our lives during the season, my wife, job, and writing assignments for me, and friends, basketball, and video games for him.

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Fast forward to last Wednesday, when a friend of mine from Grenada, Mississippi read my last woeful article, and called me up with the words (and I’m paraphrasing and editing a bit) “put that boy in the truck and get your butts down here!” Brandon Fulgham is a crappie and duck guide in Grenada, and we met last winter pre-fishing for the Crappie Master’s tourney on Lake Washington. He showed me around the lake and offered some advice, and we just sort of hit it off, being birds of a feather and all.

I’d told Jameson about these shooting houses looking out over fields where deer come out every day, and Brandon guaranteed that he had the set up and we’d see deer and get an opportunity if we came down. I was concerned about pitching the idea to my wife, but she said, “If he guarantees Jameson will get a shot at a deer, then what do I need to pack?!”

I’d talked to dad about him going deer hunting with us before, and since he’d never been, Brandon told me to bring him on too. We were put up at the luxurious cabin used by Grenadalakecharters.com (which is Brandon’s crappie fishing guide service) which was fully equipped with a stone fireplace, hand-carved wooden everything, top-end appliances and furnishings and all. I figured after the year we’d had, we deserved it!

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Saturday afternoon Brandon picked us up and took us out to the field, instructing me not to wear much clothes even though it was just above freezing, because we would get hot walking in. I’ve gotten hot about every time I’ve ever walked and climbed into a stand wearing my hunting gear, so I wasn’t concerned. What I didn’t know was that Mississippi had a mountain chain, and the shooting house was at the peak! Three-quarters of the way there, I stopped to catch my breath, and gave my guide who was be-bopping up the slope like a mountain goat a look that he understood, and he walked back and said, “if you drive a 4-wheeler in and shut it off the deer won’t come out, but if you walk all the way they’ll always come out.” I couldn’t argue with that, mostly because I couldn’t breathe, but regardless we continued our trek up Mount Grenada until we arrived at a shooting house on stilts. It was a picture generally reserved for the Outdoor Channel, three strips of green vegetation 40 yards in width, 300 yards to the left, 150 yards in front, and likewise to the right, cut out of an extremely dense forest.

We got in and did some maneuvering so that we were ready in any situation. Once I get everything settled we always practice “deer to the left,” “the right,” and so on. That way regardless of the situation we are ready, and are able to detect any issues that may arise.

At around 4:30, I saw what looked like a deer way out in the green field. After looking through my binoculars I saw that it was a doe, and got Jameson’s gun up for him. I generally wouldn’t let him take a shot that far, but we’d had a tough season without him ever firing a shot, and he was confident that he was on her. The first squeeze of the trigger resulted in a “click”, as I hadn’t turned the safety off, but after a quick adjustment he was ready again. I made him wait until I could get my binoculars back up and make sure she was broadside, and then gave him the green light.

He was as steady as a military sniper when he squeezed the trigger. Leaning into him I shared the jolt of the rifle and didn’t see the impact, but afterwards the deer appeared to limp across the field. He said he saw her and wanted to shoot again, but by the time I got another bullet into the single-shot .243 she was gone. I assumed that he’d clipped her in the leg by the way she was limping, and began telling him that it was an incredibly long shot and just hitting her was awesome, and that more deer would probably come out.

We were both hanging our head, and not just because he didn’t kill his first deer, but because, as he put it, “I don’t want to just injure her and she has to live with a broken foot.” That made me proud and showed me that some of what I’d been telling him in our countless hours in the woods had sunk in. Before I could respond, something caught my eye way down the green field on the side the deer disappeared into. Behind a log on the edge of the woods there was a flurry of white, zigzagging around for just a few seconds. We’d both seen it, and I said “Jameson, you may have just killed your first deer!”

I believed that commotion was the last efforts of a dying deer, but at that distance there was no way to know for sure, and after our prior experiences I was still a skeptic and didn’t want him to get his hopes up too high.

I couldn’t see anything with my binoculars, and although waiting may have been a better option, my instincts and gut said that what I saw was exactly what it looked like. I told them to stay put and that I’d ease up on the other side and look with my binoculars. I kept stopping and glassing, but to no avail, and finally reached the other side of the field parallel to the log, and right behind it was a doe, hammer-dead!

220 yards was the final count, and he center-punched her. I don’t know how to describe our excitement or emotions, but I’ll have the video up in a few days and you can see for yourself. I’m wrapping this up with Jameson’s version, and then we’re going to debone and cook some of his deer, letting him enjoy feeding the family for the first time!

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Per Jameson, entitled “My First Deer” – I was deer hunting with my dad and my papa down in Mississippi. My dad’s friend Brandon let us hunt on his property in the creakiest stand you’ve ever heard. Then around prime time which was around 4:30 for us, a good sized doe came out of the woods. Dad helped me get my gun out the window, then I aimed the crosshairs on the doe and pulled the trigger, but when I did, the safety was on but luckily the deer didn’t hear it. So my dad turned the safety off, and then I shot the deer.

After that the deer limped across the field and fell behind a dead tree. A few minutes later it went crazy and shook its tail like a mad man. We didn’t know if I killed it. At first we thought I hit it in the leg. So my dad went down to check it out, and he came back and said I KILLED IT!! It was the best hunt ever!

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Jason Aycock with a big Mississippi River blue catfish

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The Big Year-Ender

By Josh Gowan

What an awesome year we’ve had in the great outdoors, and hopefully 2015 will be even better! There’s a bit of a cold snap bearing down on us that should bring at least a few ducks down to our area. Deer season is all but over, with just a week of archery hunting left, and the fishing has been fantastic everywhere in the Midwest and will continue to get better as long as Mother Nature will refrain from freezing all the water again! To keep from crying on my computer over the sad story that culminated last Tuesday without filling that youth deer tag I’ve been carrying around, I figured a look back at the year was in order.

If you recall, last winter brought the longest and most severe stretch of arctic air that has descended on the Heartland in at least the last 20 years. Everything, everywhere was frozen, and this took quite a toll on the fishing. Anglers were unable to get on the water until late February, and the shad kill that was the result of the extended freeze made it nearly impossible to catch fish. The good news though, was that once the gamefish had finally eaten their weight in shad enough times to clear them out and give us a chance at catching them, they were fat and healthy!

Early March found Chippy and I in southern Mississippi fishing a BassProShop’s CrappieMaster’s tournament on new water. Lake Washington has since become our favorite place to visit. The oxbow lake in the Lower Mississippi Delta is not only full of gargantuan crappie, it also houses one of the most picturesque landscapes I’ve ever seen, wrapped on one side by ancient, moss-covered cypress trees, with the other side dotted with old plantation mansions, some renovated and some hollowed out and covered in vines. I also got to meet Mike Jones, owner/operator of Bait’n’Thangs and Southern Star R.V. and Cabins on the bank of Lake Washington, who has since become a good friend and was instrumental in the highlight of my year in the outdoors, but we’ll get to that.

April, May, and June were an absolute blast, and on April 12th, my 34th birthday, I had one of the best days crappie fishing I’ve ever had, and was lucky enough to share it with my wife. The video from that day has well over 20,000 views, with my wife and I smashing big black crappie from the shallow swamp that is my home lake, Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee (if you haven’t seen it, it’s at www.youtube.com/wylecat1). We caught fish all the way through late June, and completely made up for the late start the frigid winter caused.

Summertime often found me poolside and spending a lot of weekends playing volleyball, as well as sharing my love for carpentry with my son, as we built numerous whatnots out of free pallet wood I’d collected from work. I also managed to make time for a bit of fishing, slipping over to Kinkaid Lake in Illinois for some big crappie. Another vacation at our favorite beachfront locale in Mexico Beach, Florida took my brother-in-law Crowley from deep-sea fishing to pier fishing to shore fishing for a myriad of saltwater fish.

In September I landed a new gig as the “crappie writer” for Wired2Fish.com, one of the biggest fishing websites around, and with their help and Mr. Mike Jones, along with some beloved local sponsors, Chippy and I were able to attend our first National Championship back on Lake Washington. I lost my outboard to a rogue stump and we took a whooping in the process, but the experience was incredible and something we’ll never forget!

Fall fell and I returned to the woods, chasing the elusive whitetail buck with my favorite, albeit most unlucky weapon, my 9-year-old son. We hunted a total of 24 hunts, spanning two states and five counties, and as previously mentioned were unsuccessful, but only if you measure success by your harvest. We had a lot of great times in the woods and I really appreciate everyone who invited us out.

The only week I hunted without him was during rifle season when I traveled north and left him in school, and of course the deer were running all over each other, and I shot a good buck, which my son was very proud of and we have been dining on venison ever since!

I’d like to thank all the readers that follow this column throughout the year, and especially the folks that send in pictures and stories! If you ever have a good picture or story, shoot me an email at joshmgowan@yahoo.com

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Terry Shands and Damon Secoy from East Prairie, Mo with some Illinois slabs

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The Saga Continues

By Josh Gowan

Well, the story I’ve been waiting to write since the ultrasound nurse detected an extra appendage will have to wait at least another week, as my son and I are continuing our time-honored tradition of not shooting deer. The good news is, our sorrowful story is getting out and my friends in the hunting community are stepping up and inviting us to their farms, where we subsequently shut down all deer activity for the next 24 hours.

It is not out of the norm to ask permission to dove or rabbit hunt on someone’s property, or even ask to duck or goose hunt if no one is hunting there, but you simply don’t ask someone to deer hunt on their property. In Southeast Missouri, if there are deer there, someone is hunting them, or at the very least watching them until next year when they’ll resume hunting them.

Fortunately I have a few friends who are familiar with our plight, and Kevin Murphy invited us up to hunt with him in what I believe is northeastern Scott County. Being that we hadn’t hunted there before, I thought there may be a few deer that were not yet familiar with our scent.

As Kevin and I were planning what time to meet, he asked what time it gets light, and during a complete lapse of judgment I repeated the question to my wife, whom I know has a terrible track record at such things. “6 AM” she said confidently, and we decided on a 5:15 meeting time, which had us in the stand by 5:30, an hour and 15 minutes before it was light enough to shoot…

My son was a bit more difficult to rise than usual, and he was open about the fact that he was quite tired, possibly from our late night viewing of Tim Allen’s Santa Clause trilogy. I wasn’t concerned, as he has a form of controlled narcolepsy and possesses the ability to stop anything he’s doing and declare that he’s taking a nap, and fall into a deep sleep within minutes, so I knew he’d catch up on the ride.

We arrived a bit early at Casa de Murphy, and I managed to wake my son long enough to get him from the truck to the Bad Boy, were he resumed his slumber. We had a very short walk to the stand, and while I’m not positive, I believe he stopped on the 4th rung of the 15 ft ladder for a quick cat nap. I nudged him and he lumbered the rest of the way up.

He barely got his butt in the seat and was dozing off again, but our stand had a bit of a forward lean, which kept his head bobbing irregularly and offbeat, and occasionally jarring him enough that he’d open his eyes for a second and say “what?” I pondered a decent simile, and how I imagine Joe Biden at a Jay Z concert came to mind, if that makes any sense.

I don’t mind him sleeping in the stand, the boy’s slept in more trees than a band of gypsy coons, and it usually allows us to stay out longer in cold weather and with little activity. I can intently scan the area while he is still and quiet. However with our stand’s forward tilt causing his awkward head bobbing, still, he was not. As it finally became light I let him lay down on the seat and I stood up. Unfortunately after he became comfortable, his deep sleeping caused the loudest breathing those woods have ever heard. He sounded like an obese chain smoker who was one spot away from a blackout jackpot at the VFW’s bingo night (no offense Memaw).

Needless to say, although we were on a beautiful farm sitting over a classic natural funnel, we never saw a deer. Fortunately for Kevin we were only there for one hunt, and deer activity resumed to normal the next day. I have received another invite from another sympathetic landowner in a new county, and we will be trying every chance we get over the next week!

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Outdoor Gift Guide

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Outdoor Gift Guide – The Countdown to Christmas

By Josh Gowan

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all the outdoors-folk in our beautiful little piece of America! Jesus is the reason for the season, and there are blessings abound in our neck of the woods. Lord knows I love the thrill of fishing and hunting, and the beauty of the great outdoors, but without friends and family to share this awesome passion with, I doubt many of us would be near as adamant about it. So take a kid fishing or hunting, and thank the Lord for time spent in the serenity of God’s creation with the ones we love, because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Hopefully a lot of kids (and dads and grandpas) are receiving a ton of camouflage, guns, ammo, fishing poles, and so on for Christmas this year. I’m just beginning the annual expedition to our family’s many Christmases, one of the advantages of having a huge family and then strategically marrying into one, so it’s too early to take inventory!

I read an article from a would-be prominent newspaper (no outdoor column) a few days ago that listed some great last minute gift ideas for the outdoorsman in your life. Actually that’s not true, the article only listed one, a hunting or fishing license, which is really not a very good gift because I can assure you we are going to buy those for ourselves! However, I figured a few last minute ideas for the always tough-to-buy-for hunter or fisherman might help.

While there are outdoor stores in all the big towns and cities, and some of these things can be purchased at Wal-Mart and possibly for a nickel less, for this particular gift-guide I am using Grizzly Jig Co. in Caruthersville, Missouri. Grizzly is not only a family-owned, brick and mortar store that has been serving West Tennessee and Southeast Missouri for over 20 years, but it also serves as my day job, and I’m pushing for a nice bonus this year!

Here’s a list of gifts and prices, followed by the age group they’re best suited for divided into kids, dads, and grandpas!

Polarized sunglasses: From the Flying Fisherman line that runs around $25, to the Native line that tops out around $150, fishermen can never have enough polarized sunglasses. For: kids, dads, and grandpas, unless they wear glasses full time.

Cablz: These are the devices that insure we don’t lose those new sunglasses. They’re $12 and worth every penny, as I’ve had the same one through three pairs of sunglasses, which all broke rather than were lost. For: kids, dads, and grandpas. Also fit easily in a stocking.

Plano Dry-loc Case: Everyone should own one of these. The larger of the two is a bit smaller than a Kleenex box and has a thick rubber seal and a tough clamp-lock. I’ve owned the same one for four years and it goes to the beach, the river, and the lake with us. Easily holds and protects 2-3 cell phones, a small camera and a wallet all at once for $17. The smaller one would hold one phone and contents of a wallet for $12. For: kids, dads, and grandpas.

Frogg Togg Rain Suit: This rain suit will fit in your glove box when it’s rolled up, but put on, you won’t find a nicer rain suit for under $80, and it sells for $40. For: dads and grandpas, no kid’s sizes.

Zebco 33 Combo: This push-button rod and reel has been around in one form or another for longer than I’ve been alive. This is a great starter setup, and for $26 you’re sure to put a smile on a kid’s face. For: kids, and dads and grandpas that have a pond or aren’t serious anglers (however, if you’ve been eyeballing a new tie for dad or grandpa, I can assure you he’d rather have the 33 Combo, even if your grandpa’s Bill Dance!)

Crappie Angler Magazine subscription: This only applies to crappie fishermen, but for only $25 a year you get to enjoy six issues of crappie tips and tactics, and what may be the best humor article in the fishing world! For: everyone that crappie fishes!

We also have a ton of hats, knives, stocking stuffer stuff, and so on, and then there’s always the very popular gift certificate! So come see us and let us save the men in your life from another Christmas morn of ties, underwear, and socks!

Call 1-800-305-9866 or go to www.grizzlyjig.com!

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Why you should thank the hunter that shot the albino buck

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Legendary Albino Buck Harvested by Bowhunter

By Josh Gowan

The top story in the outdoors this past week has been well-documented and dramatically over-reported on, so staying true to journalistic form, I’d be remiss if I didn’t beat it into the ground a bit more!

Here’s the headline: “The majestic White Stag from Narnia was bludgeoned to death by a heartless murderer in the name of fame, fortune, and evil, and now the good townsfolk are arming themselves with pitchforks and torches and aiming to lynch the accused.” That might had well been the headline anyway, but at the end of the day, the only thing that happened was a deer hunter killed a deer, and a pretty nice one at that.

Jerry Kinnaman from Cape Girardeau, MO took the big, mature, white buck that has caused a lot of uproar and nonsensical dramatics among our community. It was a great kill for a lifelong hunter, and one he should be proud of and able to enjoy, rather than have to get bashed by people who know little and have done less to help this deer, let alone the rest of his species.

First and foremost, Jerry passed on this deer before, because his neighbor had asked him to, and it wasn’t until his neighbor’s property was becoming overrun with people attempting to see and photograph the deer that he told Jerry to please harvest the buck. As Jerry told him, it’s not that easy, and it was 3 years later before he had the chance to shoot the buck, who at 7 ½ years old had a very small chance at making it through the winter.

Secondly, albinism is not a gift from God, and as far as nature is concerned it would much more closely resemble a curse. Deer are brown for a reason, and white deer very rarely make it in the wild. Many states, like Missouri, encourage the shooting and harvesting of white deer so that their traits are not passed down causing an unhealthy balance in the herd. That’s THE HERD, encompassing all the deer in the state, not just the pretty ones.

White fawns are very rare, but white 2-year-olds are much rarer, as predators pick them off easily due to their lack of camouflage. This buck living as long as he has has produced many fawns that didn’t make it to their 6th month, but hey, that’s just nature being nature, not blood thirsty humans shooting them for sport, right? Not quite.

The problem with that line of thinking, or lack thereof, is that if weren’t for hunters, there would be no white deer, brown deer, or any other deer. In 1925 our state’s deer herd was estimated to be around 400 due to the European settlers wiping out anything and everything they could eat, wear, or turn into a dollar. In 1937 the first Conservation Commission was formed by concerned hunters, and deer season was closed for five years, while they stocked deer from northern states. The state began training conservation agents, and by 1944 the state’s herd was estimated at 15,000 and Missouri held a 2-day, bucks-only season that 7,557 hunters bought licenses for and took 583 deer.

Today the deer herd in the state of Missouri is estimated at over 1.5 million, and our conservation agency is touted as one of the top in the nation. In 2013 alone, 4,487 hunters donated 227,358 pounds of venison to the Share the Harvest program to feed the needy, and the opportunities for youth to enjoy the outdoors through our conservation departments numerous programs are the envy of other states, and continue to grow. Hunters and fishermen alone supported the MDC up until the late 1970’s, when Missouri passed the Design for Conservation Tax, allotting 1/8 of 1 percent of the state’s sales tax to go to the conservation department. This money, along with the licenses and tags bought by hunters and fishermen, along with the deep appreciation of land management and the conservation of fish and game by outdoorsmen and women, is the reason that majestic white buck was there in the first place.

Hunters and fishermen, WE are the ones who put in the work, who pay the bills, who manage the land, and who undoubtedly have a much deeper connection and appreciation of deer, ALL DEER, not just the pretty ones, than anyone else.

So in closing, if you truly loved that white buck, rather than curse and demean Jerry Kinnaman, go shake his hand, and thank him for doing his part for conservation, and hope that we outdoorsmen and women remain the vast majority, so that the rest of you will have plenty of beautiful animals and picturesque landscapes to enjoy for years to come.

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My son and I awaiting a deer!

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An Epic Journey: Part II

By Josh Gowan

He stayed tight to my hip, and we arrived at the creek without further incident, and without sight or sound of a four-wheeler. I surveyed the 20-foot-wide creek and found a suitable place to cross. My boots are much higher than his, but a large rock seemed as though it could assist him across the deepest part. I waded out into the water wearing my massive backpack, holding his gun in one hand, flashlight in my mouth, and reached out so he could take my hand and jump to the rock. He did so, and upon landing both of his boots went sliding off in either direction, unable to grab any traction from the slime-covered rock. So there we were, in the dark in the middle of the creek, me holding a gun in one hand and a 10-year-old in the other, attempting to yell directions through the flashlight in my mouth while he desperately scrambled to get traction.

It will surprise many of you to know that I am not extremely tall, and my son is quickly gaining on me, so to keep him out of the water with the death grip I had on his hand, I had to hold my hand quite high above my head. Realizing that the rock was getting less and less likely to catch a boot, let alone an entire 10-year-old, I quickly turned to an impromptu plan B, and swung him 180 degrees between myself and our intended escape. I felt confident the noise we made would run off any yetis in the vicinity, or bring them closer out of curiosity, one or the other. Once he was firmly settled in a foot of water, I was able to extract the slobber-covered flashlight from my mouth and give him further instructions, something like, “my dear son, please make your way out of this delightful creek and up on that lovely bank” I believe were the words, more of less…

Still without rescue, we came to the last leg of our trek, and sticking to the plot of all epic journeys, it was the most worrisome. I am a country boy, having spent a lot of time on farms, but farms of row crop and not cows. I know nothing of cows, except how to properly grill them. We walked up to the gate and I expressed my concern to my companion, and he informed me that through his vast 4th grade research into farm animals he’d learned that cows can be very territorial, and I had no reason to doubt him.

I shined my light into the pasture, and figured out why we were unable to see our feet before. A thick fog had been rising, and was now surrounding us. About halfway across, my intent scanning found a dark blog in the mist, and our greatest fear was upon us. My partner was walking step for step with me, with his upper body between me and my backpack, so I saw no need to alert him of the looming danger. As we walked within 15-feet of the savory beast, he turned his head towards us, which through the fog appeared as an alien-like triangle with glowing orbs on either side. I pondered if there were standard rancher rules about flashlights and cows, either “shine your light in a cows eyes and it will stand still” or “shine your light in a cows eyes and it will charge you,” I couldn’t be sure so I settled on a strobe effect that seemed to hold the monster at bay. Just as we were passing him, my light discovered more triangles affixed with glowing orbs that appeared to be closing in on us. While frantically scanning all sides, keeping a brisk pace, and trying to decide which cow to shoot first, I caught sight of another set of glowing objects, taillights!

We arrived at the truck, and no sooner had I opened the door and taken the backpack and 10-year-old off than I saw the lights of the ATV heading towards us!

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Tony Jacques with his 18-point buck from Dunklin County, Missouri

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An Epic Journey: Part 1

By Josh Gowan

I realize this title is a bit out of the norm for the outdoor column, but I assure you the journey I speak of is quite relevant. Besides, the rest of the outdoor news can be summed up fairly quickly this week. The cold front that pushed through sent most of the ducks south of the Heartland, and area hunters are waiting on new arrivals from the north that will hopefully point their “V’s” towards our stretch of the Upper Mississippi Valley. The deer hunting has been rather stagnant due to the rain and warmer temps that came through in the last few days. The crappie are right in the beginning stages of the “fall feeding frenzy” and if you can find a spot out of the wind, the tasty panfish are ripe for the plucking!

Alright, now on to my epic journey! I figured that if I titled the article “Youth Deer Hunting, Part 12” readers may begin to doubt the originality and freshness of my weekly attempts at journalism, and this story is not really about the hunt anyhow.

I was however back in the woods with my little counterpart, who despite his best effort, seems to send every deer in a 1-mile vicinity running for cover upon arrival. I have never worked this hard for anything in my life, and there are a significant number of ex-teachers and employers who will happily attest to this, some without even being asked. I figured that every deer near Current River and in West Kentucky had already seen, smelled, and heard the two of us, so I began actively looking for somewhere else to go. After delivering my woeful stories to a few buddies, someone finally felt sorry enough for us to invite us to their farm just outside of Poplar Bluff, where the deer were so thick they had to install traffic lights on the main trail crossings to avoid collisions (they tried a round-about first, but the deer couldn’t seem to wrap their head around the difference between clockwise and counter-clockwise.)

To make a long story less long, we arrived at the beautiful farm in the hills and every deer in the county began either burrowing in the ground or submerging themselves in the creek and using reeds to breathe, and the only thing we saw was a set of ears as a doe tunneled past us at 250-yards.

We were taken in via ATV across a large pasture filled with cows, down a trail in the woods, across a knee-deep creek, back up a longer trail in the woods, across an even larger pasture, and down two trails in the woods to a ground blind. We were to walk out of the woods at dark and would be picked up and taken back.

As it became dark enough to pack up, we gathered our things and began walking out of the woods. It was not yet dark enough to necessitate a flashlight, and as we arrived at the first pasture it had a very eerie look to it. In the dim light of dusk, it looked like a ghostly, aqua-green sea. Very “Scooby-doo-ish,” if you will. It began to rain, and we decided rather than to stand still and wait for the ATV which I heard or saw no sign of, that we should start making our way across the pasture, less we drown.

Walking across the pasture became increasingly creepy as the light faded. Our feet were barely visible, although the treetops were still in plain view. We crossed the pasture and arrived at the top of the long, descending trail in the woods, and with no sign of our taxi, I turned on my flashlight and we began walking.

I am no stranger to dark woods, and as long as I am not worried, my young companion is not worried. So without worry, about two-thirds of the way down, we jumped something very large in the woods, probably a deer, but possibly a Sasquatch. I was already trying to convince my son there was nothing to be afraid of as we were coming back down from record vertical leaps, which was especially impressive for me since I was carrying his gun and a massive backpack. I told him to stay behind me for the rest of the walk, as the single-shot .243 was our only means of protection, and if it was a bigfoot, I would have to make that shot count…

Stay tuned next week for part 2!

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