By Mark Kenyon
My stomach feels like I just ate Taco Bell for breakfast and lunch today…My fingers are shaking uncontrollably and my left big toe is twitching erratically, kind of like it did the one time I drank a Monster energy drink and 5 Hour Energy within 30 minutes of each other while driving to Idaho….I’ve got a nervous sweat collecting on my brow and dripping off into my bowl of Campbell’s Chunky soup. But I don’t care.
This is what a happy hunter looks like in August.
So how does a hunter get to this point? Well you might be able to relate, so let me explain …
Step 1 – Go Crazy: As any self respecting whitetail addict does, I’ve been running trail cameras for months now. I’ve got cameras on bean fields, cameras in travel corridors, cameras on trails and cameras just about everywhere else you could think of. I’m a trail camera nut and I take summer scouting with these cameras pretty darn seriously. Unfortunately, every time I’ve checked these cameras this year, I’ve been disappointed. Dead batteries, weeds grown up in front of the lens, and worst of all – no shooters! Not a single buck that for sure I’d be interested in hunting this coming season. And as my unsuccessful trail camera checks kept piling up, so did news of my huntin buddies getting monsters on their cameras. As I mentioned in a previous article (The 7 Greatest Dangers of Trail Cameras), “SD Card Envy” can be a serious and debilitating affliction for the whitetail obsessed (especially those who live in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Vermont and the like), and I had a bad case of it this summer. I couldn’t buy a single shooter buck, and I was going crazy.
Step 2 – Become Wet and Miserable: Much to my dismay, one of my best properties in Michigan surprisingly had just not been producing summer time sightings or pictures like it usually does and I couldn’t figure out why. That said, I decided I wanted to move one of my cameras a little closer to where I thought the local bucks might be hanging out. To do this, I had to wait until it rained, so I could sneak in and out of this area without making much noise or leaving scent. Finally, today we got that rain, and so I suited up and trudged off into the downpour to pull the trail camera from its current location and move it to a new area. While doing this, I of course swapped out SD cards.
After getting my camera re-located, I sprinted across the bean field in anticipation of checking my camera back at home (until I rolled my ankle in the gopher hole and slammed into the mud – but that’s a story for another day). Despite my long history of trail camera misery this summer, I had a feeling that things might finally be different this time. And as I arrived back at home, I kicked off my 15 LB boots weighed down with thick clay and mud, and ran to my office. I then quickly ran back into the mud room when I realized that gallons of water were still dripping off of my rain gear onto our carpet. This brings us to Step 3…
Step 3 – Scroll to Picture #395: Finally at my computer, I slipped the SD card into the slot on the side of my computer and waited as my cursor turned into a rainbow colored spinning wheel. For you Windows users out there, this spinning wheel of death is similar to the hourglass that your cursor turns into when something is loading. And you Mac users, well you know what I’m talking about. The spinning wheel of death is a dirty son of a buck. And as I waited to finally see what was on this camera, the wheel kept spinning, and spinning, and spinning. Finally, after nearly pulling out the SD card and stomping on it (see danger #3 in the aforementioned 7 Greatest Dangers article), my photos loaded. And I began clicking, then scrolling, clicking then scrolling. Doe. Doe. Doe. Doe. Doe. Freaking doe. Little buck. Little buck. (I hate Michigan ;)). Little buck. Doe. Doe. Little buck.
And then it happened. At picture #395, my stomach went into Taco Bell mode. My fingers and toes went into caffeine overdose tremors, and my Campbell’s Chunky soup got sweaty.
Finally, for the love of all things good in this world, finally a SHOOTER!
Yes, it was a shooter, and a stink pig (IMO) of a shooter too! I’ve always had a thing for tight and tall bucks like this, and now finally here was one I could hunt.
Given the fact that I like to share all my ups and downs with my fellow whitetail nuts on Wired To Hunt, I figured I needed to record my excitement for all to see, and so I flipped on my Apple computer’s camera, and recorded a bit as I clicked through the remaining photos of this tall tined giant of a buck. That nifty video is to thank for the slightly scary, but altogether joy-filled photo of me celebrating at the top of this story. This, my friends, is what a happy hunter looks like in August.
So here I sit, coming down from the just discussed adrenaline rush, and a sense of relief is washing over me. Today I can breathe easy. I might even get a few hours of sleep tonight. After months of concern, the worries can now drift away.
Finally, I have a buck worth going crazy for.