Along The Trail 8-8-13



Yep, that’s me.

I have a tendency to put things off until the last minute - and my deer scouting routine for the upcoming archery season fits into that category. Normally by this time of year, all of my plans have been laid. Patterns followed, tree stands perched and trail cameras all hidden away in the perfect spot waiting to snap a photo of Mossy Horns!

Saturday morning found me heading to my hunting spot to hang a couple of cameras and do a little reconnaissance scouting mission. The weather seemed like it was going to cooperate, and the way I figured, I shouldn’t be gone more than an hour or so.

I hop out of the truck into the dew-covered, waist high weeds and remember that I forgot my bug spray. I wade through the weeds, hoping for an easier trail next to the 10-foot tall corn crop.

No such luck.

I ponder my choices: a quarter mile hike through rows of corn; tramp along the field edge in the tick infested weeds; or bulldoze my way into the thicket and fight through the blackberry and multi-floral rose bushes and spider webs.

None of them seem appealing.

I forced my way into the woods, grumbling at my situation. It’s my own fault, procrastination. Normally, I’d have had a trail beaten down next to the corn field from repeated visits to the woods; but this year I was either too busy or more likely, too lazy. I hadn’t made it far when I came to a dead end. I was trapped by briars and thorns everywhere. I hopped up on a huge red oak stump to survey my options. I had made my way into the nastiest tangle of pointed, needle-sharp vegetation you could imagine.

I cursed under my breath at myself for not being more prepared…

Now for those of you not familiar with what a freshly logged over woods looks like after a wet, cool summer, picture in your minds a Southeastern Indiana version of the Amazon, or maybe the Congo! My beautiful hunting spot that had been covered in hardwoods mixed in with some thickets here and there and sprinkling of cedars had transformed into something out of ‘Jurassic Park’. Thick, tangled, twisted. Choked out with vines, thorns and prickles of every sort. Great cover and hiding spots for deer, but almost impossible to navigate for a vertically challenged, somewhat stocky, two-legged creature like myself.

I managed to find a solid hickory limb and hacked my way to freedom and found a deer trail that I followed to daylight.

Finally to my treestand and I get my camera set. Covered in dew and sweat and blood from being stuck like a pin cushion, I sigh and shake my head at the thought of back tracking my way out through the thicket.

“At least it’s not raining,” I think to myself.

“What’s that noise?” I wonder. Quiet at first, but gaining volume. Sounds like the wind is picking up and then it comes:

A solid downpour beating the leaves on the trees and soaking me even further. I slump my shoulders and pull down the bill of my cap and make the hike out to the cornfield. Soaked clear through my skivvies and slashed by corn leaves seemed like a better option than fighting the jungle again.

My hour-long trip had turned into twice that by the time I reached my parking spot; and to add insult to injury, I ripped the crotch out of a favorite pair of jeans hopping a barbwire strand.

I slid into the driver’s seat, dripping wet and pull back out onto the road, bemoaning my procrastination, feeling pretty sorry for myself and foolish at the same time.

But just as I was having my ‘pity party’, I drove by the elementary school and saw a field full of kids, chasing around a black and white ball, and saw the parents, huddled on the edge of the field, soaked, in a down pour, some running for cover; and suddenly I didn’t feel like the my morning was so bad as a smile returned to my face.

– David Hewitt