The hind quarters kicked like a mule, and throbby bounded off over the ridge, and out of site. I looked up into the sky, closed my eyes, and exhaled the heavy load off my chest.
It was the November 2015 whitetail season in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. The entire night before was nothing but high winds and heavy rain. I had been closely following the forecast, which suggested that all would come to an end by 5AM. Hmmm, I thought. “There’s a chance”.
My alarm sounded and my initial hope was that it was still raining and windy, so I could turn it off, roll over, and go back to sleep. Not so. It had completely stopped raining, and the winds were calm. I had been hunting in the area for the past two weeks and had seen nothing but doe’s. Some thoughts ran through my mind as I lay in my warm bed. Two things in particular came to mind. First, was the driving wind and rain over the past 8 hours, surely keeping the animals hunkered down, vs. the now calm, quiet weather pattern. Next, was the thought of seeing those doe’s over the preceding weeks, and not one buck. As it was heading towards the tail end of the rut, I was determined (or should I say, hopeful) that a buck would turn up sooner or later. So, between the two, I figured it best to peel myself from the sheets and get into my stand.
As I reached for my raingear, I saw the set of camo that hung on a hook in my garage, which belonged to my father-in-law, Glenn, who had just recently passed away. It was made by U.S. Cavalry and featured the old army camouflage pattern, which is essentially non-existent today. Something triggered in my mind that I needed to be wearing this and that it would bring good luck. The jacket being a bit baggy, I donned only the pants to keep dry while walking through the wet brush in route to my stand.
Dark turned to light and the damp, misty air slowly cleared under the heavy overcast. My ears navigated the sound of raindrops trickling off the trees, deciphering what sounded “normal” and what didn’t. Then, there it was. The sound of snapping twigs. I turned to my left for a look, and there he stood; a beautiful 10-point, walking in my direction. I could not believe my eyes. At that moment I had to reassure myself this was indeed real. Having never seen this deer in person or on any trailcam photos, I was completely shocked. I struggled to maintain my composure, watching, as he continued to approach. He walked with purpose, looking straight ahead, completely unaware of my presence. A perfect shot followed at 25 yards. After a 30-minute wait, a heavy blood trail led me to my biggest buck in nearly 26 years of hunting.
As I looked back over the next few weeks, all I could think of was; “what if I hadn’t gotten out of bed that morning”. The simple decision to get up, resulted in success as opposed to failure. What’s important is the rationale which drove this, being the drastic weather change and doe activity.
The fact is, however, in any condition, opportunity can strike. Keep that in mind when considering what you’ll do (or not do) in your quest this upcoming season. And, always remember…..………there just could be a chance.