There’s an old saying that goes, “Put your money where your mouth is.” There’s another old saying that reads something like, “His mouth wrote a check that his butt couldn’t cash.” For too many times in my life I’ve opened my mouth when I probably shouldn’t have. Only time will tell if this is one of those moments.
I’ve mentioned before that sometimes my mind wanders. At times, that deep thinking often leads to poor decisions, and at other times it hits the mark. Caught in a moment of deep thought on the lawn mower a couple of weeks ago, I wandered how Pinstripes to Camo could have some sort of Big Buck Contest. Then it hit me! Why not mix together the two things that I enjoy most: hunting and baseball. But, how would the competition work? I’ll tell you how. We’ll pit William Carey and Southern Miss baseball teams against each other. After running the idea by my business partners and WCU Athletic Director, DJ Pulley, the only thing left to do was pitch it to Coach Berry at USM. He too seemed to think it would be a fun competition and just like that the First Annual WCU/USM Baseball Big Buck Contest was born.
It didn’t take neither of us very long to find several willing participants. Both teams will each have eight players participating with myself and Coach Berry. It only seems fitting to have nine total competitors from each team seeing that nine players are on the field for each team in a baseball game. The competition will run from October 1st to January 31st, just in time for baseball season to arrive.
In the spirit of competition, and trying to make sure I haven’t screwed up by doing this, I made sure to be in the woods on opening day. Not only that, but my wife is on my case about us being out of deer meat, so it’s time to fill the freezer once again. Plus, it’s been a few years since I struck crimson on opening day, and I had the itch.
Before I go on with the story, last week I wrote a column about being prepared before you hunt. I mentioned checking your gear, practicing with your bow, and having a plan. And I had each of those categories covered with the exception of one thing: my clothing. We moved houses back in May and I feel like we’ve finally settled in. For the most part, things are where they are supposed to be. However, when I went to pull out my early season camo from my storage box, I absolutely could not find it. For the next two hours I tore apart the entire house and attic in a frantic search. Nothing. I was worried that I’d accidentally put it in one of the donation bags that we made while moving. Or even worse, it may have gotten put in a trash bag. Just when I was about to give up hope of finding them, I noticed a very small box in the top of my closet that used to hold a few Christmas ornaments. Thinking that there’s no way they could be in there I pulled the box down just to make sure. To my surprise there they were, rolled up tightly inside. I still have no recollection of putting them there, or even why I would have put them there. I’m blaming Amy.
Saturday morning came and I headed off to check some cameras on a piece of private property that I’m planning to hunt this year. I got halfway there and realized I needed to refreshen my bait pile. I decided to stop in the little town down the road from the land (I won’t name the town). I stopped at a hardware store that looked like they’d sell corn, but the gentleman working directed me across the street to…a liquor store. To my amazement, the liquor store did in fact sell corn, as well as seed and fertilizer. This was a first for me. It wasn’t my only first of the day, though, as another fine outstanding citizen of this community attempted to sell me crack in the parking lot. What a place!
With my cameras checked, and my deer about to receive the greatest high of their life (kidding), I headed to my cousin’s place to hunt for the evening. I climbed a water oak on the side of a busted-up food plot around 4:00 for the evening hunt. Situated in the distance was a feeder that does were frequently visiting. Since I’ve got until January 31st to win this competition, I figured it best to go ahead and procure some meat to appease the Mrs. So, the evening turned into a doe hunt. There was only one problem, bucks showed up instead of does.
I’m not sure that I’ve written about it before, but I know I’ve mentioned it on the podcast…I don’t like the idea of shooting a buck that is going to a feeder. It just doesn’t seem right to me. My cousin, Brandon, shares the same sentiments, so we made the agreement that no bucks would be shot at this location. The bucks must have heard the conversation because knowing that they were safe from harm, four rack bucks showed up to feed. I watched, in agonizing pain, what would have been the largest buck that I’d ever killed with a bow taunt me from 35 yards for more than a half hour. More than once I tried to talk myself out of our rule and put an arrow through his pump station. In the end, I just couldn’t do it.
Upon arriving back at the truck with Brandon, I assured him that if there were ever any questions about my loyalty and love for him, they could now be put to rest. This was a level of self-control that I’m not used to having. The good news is my deer season has started with a bang and my desire to get in the woods is higher than it’s been for a while. That’s bad news for the deer…and for Coach Berry and USM.