September is early archery season in Missouri – the land of giants, the best home-cooked meals, and hosts I now consider to be more like family.
It’s still warm in September and an afternoon hunt and just like every hunt, there are things you consider backpacking into the stand. Then there are things not important you leave behind because who wants to be soaking wet with sweat by the time you make it to the deer stand?
We pulled up to the edge of the soybean field, and my guide directed me to the stand.
I got out of the truck to start looking for markers. What looked like a no big deal, just “walk through the beans, down a hill, when you get to the trees, follow the markers, cross the ditch on the other side of the ditch on the left” quickly turned into looking for a reflector in a tree trying to find my stand.
After I made it through the bean field, I got to my next marker and I turned right instead of left. Ahhhh! I found myself walking back and forth through a thick CRP field looking for the tree line and ditch to cross to get to my stand. At this point, I’m hot, sweaty, and getting tired of trekking through tall fields of grass.
I retraced my steps, found a spot with phone service, and asked for directions again. This time I’m looking for a camera. After what seemed like an hour going in circles, I found the camera and treestand.
I gather myself, clip my backyard, bow, and harness to the line and up the tree, I climbed. I get up, turn around and instantly feel relieved that I made it; it looks promising a beautiful spot. I see turkey and deer way off in the distance. I look behind me to see a beat-down crossing. I get excited.
I put my release on, and grab my bow to knock an arrow. My quiver full of arrows is not on my bow. I look in my seat, my bag, on the ground, but my quiver is not there. My heart sinks. What am I going to do? I’ve been wasting time already getting around and there is no way I can retrace my steps.
I felt like I walked all over the CRP field so I climbed back down, all the while thinking to myself that I’m going to see the biggest buck of my life with no arrows.
I cross the ditch, backtrack far enough to get cell service, and call back to the lodge to ask if anyone can look in my bow case to see if I somehow left my quiver. Nope. But I had an arrow and a broadhead that Dan would bring to me.
I walked back to the stand and climbed up again. Still in disbelief as to how the heck I lost my quiver full of arrows. Thankfully, I had an extra broadband and arrow. It wasn’t too long at all before Dan comes with his smirking grin saving the day and my hunt.
“Dan the man.”
He climbed up my ladder, handed me the arrow, and said “Good luck. I'll look for your quiver on the way back out.”
He didn’t ever find my quiver. On this hunt, I had deer walking literally under my stand, but not any bucks I could take because this was my last afternoon, but a hunt I will never forget.
As I pack extra arrows and broadheads in my bow case to prepare for my next hunt in Missouri, I am reminded that I learn a lesson just about on every hunt I ever find myself on and this hunt was no different.
Always be prepared for whatever mishaps or unexpected things happen. Always no matter how short your walk to the stand you have, track your steps and drop a pin. You never know when you might need to retrace your steps.
Take water. Be prepared!