My November attire usually consists of athletic wear and camouflage. Who am I kidding, that’s my year-round attire for the most part. Yet, here I am on the first Tuesday of November, wearing a sport coat and slacks, awaiting the arrival of a man I’ve long admired. Dr. Benjamin Carson is set to speak at our annual scholarship dinner at William Carey University, and I’ve been given the privilege of having lunch with him and his wife ahead of the evening’s events.
I’ve never been “star struck” in the presence of someone famous, granted most of my encounters have generally been with athletes. I’ve always viewed these folks as just like the rest of us. However, being in the room with Dr. Carson feels entirely different. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was amongst someone that was incredibly important on a global scale. Not only is Dr. Carson one of the most accomplished neuro-surgeons in the world, he is someone that I once hoped would be the leader of the free world. I’ve told a number of people that when we vote for a leader on a national level, we really don’t know what they are like face to face. It was refreshing, and a relief, to learn that Dr. Carson is everything I thought he was, and more. He’s a gentle voice of reason in a chaotic time, and this country could use more leaders like him.
After the luncheon, and the scholarship dinner, it was time for me to slip back into more suitable attire for November. On Thursday, I packed my truck with the necessary implements of destruction and headed northwest toward the woods. Archery season is in full swing, and the price of beef ain’t getting any cheaper! We’d just finished off our last pack of deer burger from the freezer, and with the encouragement of my wife, it is beyond time to restock. The pressure is on!
If you read my article a few weeks ago, you’d know that my first hunting/camping trip was quite the learning experience. I found there were things that I needed, but didn’t have, and things that I had, but didn’t need. The first order of business was making sure I didn’t freeze to death during the long nights. I invested in a better sleeping bag, and took a propane heater that was donated by a close friend. I’m a bit leery about leaving the heater on while I sleep, but it came in handy before I called it a night. The sleeping bag made all of the difference, and I didn’t get cold a single time while sleeping. I also took a seven gallon water container with fresh water for drinking and hand washing. It’s a little much to lug around, but was nice to clean up.
After arriving and setting up camp, I hit the woods for a late evening hunt. After being in the stand less than an hour, two does approach my position. I drew my bow back and made a noise to stop the largest doe, providing me with a clean, broadside shot. I let the arrow fly and heard the almost immediate “whack” sound. This is not generally a good thing because it means you’ve hit bone, most likely the shoulder blade. The doe high tailed it out of the plot and disappeared into a thicket. After climbing down and finding my arrow, I found the first trace of blood. It wasn’t a lot, and I followed the blood trail into the thicket. Being dark, and there not being hardly any blood, I decided to back out and look again in the morning, not confident in my shot.
The next morning arrived, and back to the blood trail I went. I found a little more during the daylight than I had the previous night, but not much. The trail finally went cold, and my heart sank at the thought of wounding an animal. I feel like the wound isn’t mortal, but I find little comfort in not making a clean kill. Later that evening, I hunted another stand on the property. Three more deer approach, and once again I let an arrow fly. This time, my arrow visibly misses the deer beneath her. Something is not right. I’m not the greatest archer that ever lived, but I don’t miss 19 yard shots. I chalk it up to my sights being off on my bow. Both shots seemed to be low, so the next shot I will just aim high to compensate until I can get home and check the sights. The next opportunity never came.
My last evening sit of the trip was an exciting one. I had two young bucks get within spitting distance of me before they winded me and alerted all of West Mississippi of the danger in the woods. As darkness fell, I began my climb down. This is where things get sketchy. My bottom piece of my climber got hung up and I attempted to free it. It came loose and in the process, fell ten feet below me. I was dangling fifteen feet up in the tree with no clear cut way of how I was going to get down. Fifteen feet may not seem that high, but it’s a long way to jump at my age. I made a quick call to my cousin, Hunter, who is well versed in outdoor calamity.
We tried to think of ways for me to get down, but none seemed reasonable. Finally, I dangled myself from the top piece and dropped down to the lower piece without it falling farther down the tree. Never have I been so happy to put my boots on the ground. I also realized that I must have hit the age where God endows you with “grown man strength” because there is no way I should have been able to hold myself up. This event should serve as a lesson for everyone to be careful when hunting from any elevated stand. As I drove back home, all I could think of was if the rest of November is like the first week, what an adventure it will be.