November 27, 2003

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I thought it was funny when the first few people teased me about finally getting my dear. Hey, I was pleased that many people actually read my column. But when the numbers started soaring into the triple digits I began to wonder if people were just giving me a hard time, or if they simply didnít believe that I had really gotten a deer. Then again, itís been widely rumored that I occasionally take a little liberty with some of my descriptions and from time to time may get a bit carried away with my stories, so maybe they just wanted to make sure he was as big as I may have insinuated. So for all you non-believers, here you go.

So I finally got the monkey off my back Ė boy, I could not believe how nice it has really been. Shoot, the deer thing is great (my wife even has a place picked out for the mount and itís not in the garage or a closet). Iím very pleased with the buck I took. But what I canít believe is everything that goes with it. Of course the biggest benefit of bagging the big guy on the opening weekend was I didnít have to get up at 4:45 a.m. all this week. I didnít have to miss any work ďto do research for the Outdoor Corner.Ē I wasnít setting at my desk jealously watching hunters trek in and out of the gun shop next door with their deer hanging out of the back of their trucks (okay, so I was still jealous of a couple of the really big ones.) I actually was able to complete a relatively normal week at the office.

Itís funny how one deer all of a sudden makes me the expert. Several family members were back for the second weekend of hunting and they all were interested in my opinion about where they should hunt, what types of ammo to shoot, etc. Before they wouldnít even listen to my lunch menu suggestions.

Of course itís not all good. I was planning to go with my brother-in-law Sunday morning, but the rain made it an easy decision to stay in bed. We did brave the cold and wind Sunday afternoon and set out for what would be my last hunt of the firearms season. I still had my bonus doe tag but really was just planning to go along to keep him company. We split up and set on two different ridges. We were still in sight of each other, but far enough away that neither of us had a really good look at the deer in front of the other one.

I was about froze out after no more than an hour out in the field when I started seeing a few deer moving. That few rather quickly turned into many. Most of the deer were traveling across my path and heading for the other stand so I really didnít want to shoot a doe and mess up my brother-in-laws chances. Besides I had way more fun watching what I believe was at least seven different bucks following the number of groups of females that were coming off the bottom to feed in the cut bean field. I saw the nine-pointer I had shot at opening morning. Unfortunately he saw me as well and made a quick dash in the opposite direction. Then there was a decent eight-pointer. My brother-in-law is in the same boat as me, wait, the same boat I was in, meaning no bucks to his record yet. This guy followed a trio of does in his direction but never made the connection.

Then there was a pair of small bucks that were trying to pick off a doe from a bigger bunch. The girls werenít interested. As they sauntered away out came a very tall spiked buck. He was alone and looked lonely. His rack was so upright I couldnít help but watch him in the binoculars. As I followed him across the field I nearly dropped the field glasses when I caught a glimpse of Mr. Big standing on the edge of the timber. Initially I saw just one side of the rack that looked like a giant candelabra minus the fire. My drop dropped another notch when he turned and I got a glimpse of the full width of this majestic rack. I believe a person could have hung a whole load of laundry out to dry on that clothes line. Iím not sure that the north side of those horns werenít hanging out over the Iowa line.

I watched him for a few minutes before he trotted off back from where he had come. Oh well, it gave me something to look forward to next year, and offered yet another lesson in the game Ė good things are worth waiting for.

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