Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wife Knows Best

I first want to thank both the Wilson Times and Yancey County News on these last two years of allowing me to share stories with their readers. January 18th marks 2 years since I had my first deadline. Also, I want to share that Bill Howard's Outdoors will now also run in the Concord Independent Tribune, Hickory Daily Record, Marion-McDowell News, Morganton News Herald, and the Statesville Record & Landmark. I look forward to many years of sharing and promoting the outdoors.

      Sometimes you should just listen to your wife. Like the time I was told to wash dark clothes in warm water and light clothes in cold water. Or was it dark clothes in cold water and light clothes in warm water? See. I should have listened. My camo came out more tie-dyed than when it went in the washing machine.
      Rusty Owens had one of these moments recently as well. Not with washing his clothes, but still…
      The last day of deer season Rusty headed out to his hunting club. The weather was nasty. Wet, cold, windy. Not really enticing unless you are duck hunting. Those ducks, well they like the nastiest weather. But for deer hunting, they just don’t get up and out like the ducks do in weather like that.
      Rusty chatted with his hunting buddies for a while that morning and then headed back to the house. He got back in time to eat lunch with his wife Windy. This is not the part where Rusty should have listened to his wife. Not yet anyway.
      Rusty thought about the season after lunch. He remembered this unique buck he had on camera back in July. That buck was on the hit list. He patterned the buck for a couple of months. The buck appeared on camera as regular as a senior on prune juice. Things changed once September rolled around though. The deer was not seen. Not on Rusty’s trail camera anyway. And none of the other members mentioned seeing the unusual buck during the season.
      Rusty tried to watch television, but couldn’t settle on any particular show. The flashback of the season just kept playing in his mind. Windy could tell he was antsy. Finally, here it comes, Windy told him to just go on back out to the hunting club and give it one last shot. “It’s the last day of the season,” she said, “You’ll regret it the rest of the year if you don’t go one last time.”
      Rusty didn’t listen. You see, women are wise. Women become wise somewhere between “I do” and the birth of the first child. I have seen many women make mistakes before this stage in life. I have very little experience of women making those same mistakes after this stage in life. Granted, I really only have my wife and my mother to truly relate to this theory, but based on that the theory holds 2 to nothing.
      Rusty moped around the house for while longer. Then, around 3:45pm, Rusty had an epiphany. Windy is usually right! “I’m going hunting!” he told her. He quickly donned his hunting clothes and drove the 30 minute drive back to the hunting club.
      He was up in his stand at 4:35pm. There was less than an hour left in the season and several of the other hunters were running dogs earlier that afternoon. It did not seem promising, but he figured he would close the season out just the same as he started; he would sit the same stand and appreciate the little time he had.
      Rusty constantly scanned the fields, and at 5:25pm he spotted a buck walking toward him. The buck kept his head down toward the ground as it strolled. Rusty could make out it was an 8 pointer. The antlers were also extended past the outside of its ears indicating this was a shooter. The last day, the last few minutes, and here was an opportunity.
Rusty steadied his .25-06 Browning A-bolt. With the sight locked in, Rusty gently squeezed the trigger. The 115 grain Nosler Boat Tail ballistic tip bullet spiraled toward the vitals and the buck dropped in its tracks. Rusty’s last shot of the season was true.
      As Rusty approached the downed whitetail he spotted an extra tine at the base of the left antler. Could this be? He knelt down after confirming the kill and it became apparent. This was the deer. This was the one on his hit list. The uniqueness of an extra ‘beam’ protruding about 3 inches below the main left beam just above the eye was the same as he saw nearly half a year earlier on his trail camera while the deer was still in velvet. The same deer that none of the other hunters had even spotted but also vanished from Rusty’s scouting notes. He was successful.
      He listened to his wife.


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