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Outdoor adventures: Some weeks are worse than others

Jesse Ryan/Special to SVM
See the Doe between the trees? That's one of the deer that slipped out of Matt Jones' range while being distracted by a monster buck.
Jesse Ryan/Special to SVM See the Doe between the trees? That's one of the deer that slipped out of Matt Jones' range while being distracted by a monster buck.

Sometimes I wonder why we as outdoorsman subject ourselves to the frustrations that hunting and fishing often provide.

When our hobbies are going well, there’s nothing better. Every cast is producing a fish. Every sit on stand produces an encounter. That’s the stuff dreams are made of.

But a lot of the time, the very opposite happens. You know you’ve been there. No matter what you do, something goes wrong.

I had one of those moments – scratch that – I had several of those moments this week. And since my shrink says it is good to talk about things, I just figured I’d share them with you.

Close your eyes and sink into the moment with me here. I’m nestled in an oak tree some 18 feet above the ground, watching the Rock River gently roll by. The birds are chirping, and there’s a gentle breeze pushing the crisp fall air.

My camera buddy, Jesse, is settled in a few feet above me with the camera mounted to the tree and ready to go.

Then like following a script, here come the deer. One, then another, then another and yet another appear from the tall grass plot over my left shoulder. Then the deep guttural sounds of a buck grunting as he follows the does.

I’m thinking, “Man, how perfect can this be?”

The buck, a small deer with a tiny nothing of a rack, is chasing these ladies like there’s no tomorrow. He continues to do this as we watch him run the does in circles to the point we almost get dizzy.

Finally, I decide I am going to shoot this one rather large doe for the meat and for the video – a win-win. I smoothly draw the bow and, as I do, I hear a “pop” from behind me.

Yep. There’s the monster. The one I had been waiting on. I know better, but I did it, anyway. I watch, as this big sucker wheels and disappears back into the tall grass and, wouldn’t you know, by time I recover from that, my heart starts beating again and I am ready to re-focus on the does.

But they’re out of range, too. I guess when it’s not your day, it’s just not your day.

Then, to add insult to injury, the next morning finds me perched in the same stand in the pre-dawn darkness.

I get to my stand quickly and quietly. The wind is perfect, and the adrenaline is flowing. The sun is rising in the eastern sky, and I just know it is going to be a great morning. That is, until the unthinkable happens.

Here come three dogs running through the timber like they just been called to dinner. I mean, by this point I’m ready to scream, but I hold it in and watch as these mutts run circles through the woods barking and chasing their tails. Fully frustrated, I exit the stand and do what any hunter would do. I go fishing.

I guess it is still true what they say, though: A bad day of hunting is still better than a good day at work.

When these kind of events take place, I am not always sure that adage is true. At least not until I have had time to think about it some.

This week just has to be better and, hopefully, I can get my hands on a giant.

Go Catfish!

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