At times it felt like there was a little black rain cloud over my head! Take for example the evening before Thanksgiving, hunting the tail-end of the Kansas rut, with just a few minutes of shooting light remaining a breathtaking whitetail buck started walking down the lane toward my stand. ~PAUSE~ Now rewind several hours earlier....I had somehow managed to squeeze an evening hunt into very rigid travel plans made by my lovely wife, the trade-off was catching a ride with my father in-law to our destination at a prearranged time. Due to the intricate structure of the plans and precise timing involved, I had decided it was a good idea to not silence my phone in the event plans needed altering. ~UNPAUSE~ Now at 50 yards, this typical 10-point is continuing his approach completely unaware of my presence. His scheduled arrival would put him at 22 yards in my "bread & butter" shooting lane. So sure of this deer's impending fate, with each step he took in my direction, I contemplated various excuses I would provide my wife and family to explain my extreme tardiness from the pre-Thanksgiving festivities. The moment of truth had arrived, now at 23-yards and only one tree left to clear before getting the green light, I drew. Maybe it was the creak of the stand, or subtle noises from my jacket, or the slide of the arrow across the rest, but something had grabbed his attention and his approach ceased one step short of becoming a trophy on my wall. At full draw, all I could see from behind the scrubby hedge tree was 166" of antler (the duration of his pause actually allowed me to calculate a rough B/C score)...as he lifted his foot to take his last step, it happened. A vibration in my left chest pocket, an innocent one second vibration, a silent warning which would become the precursor to disaster. Time stood still, image the feeling of seeing the timer reach zero on a time bomb, all that's left now is the boom! The boom in this case came in the form of a loud phone screaming in my pocket!! Immediately upon detecting the unnatural noise, I watched what had now become 175" of antler whirl and blow away. At 70 yards he paused and briefly looked back in my direction, but quickly sprinted off when he heard the raunchy string of obscenities I had unleashed. There was nothing left to do but sit in my stand under the little black cloud and weather the storm.....the real salt in the wound was The Call, it was my wife calling to make sure everything was on schedule, I explain how ill timed her call was to which she replies, "why would someone trying to be quiet not silence their phone, that's just dumb!"
On at least three separate occasions this season, I got phone calls on a Thursday or Friday with a scouting report proclaiming epic numbers of waterfowl had been located and plans were made for a weekend slaughter. Not one shot was fired on these so-called "slam dunk" hunts, my phone went silent by late season as all of buddies drew weary of my bad ju ju.
All of this said I cannot complain about this season, I was fortunate enough to hunt more days than most managing to fill the freezer and am still alive to tell about it. This year's hunting adventures spanned 2 countries and 7 states. The best part was all the friends I was able to spend time with along the way, I especially enjoyed spending time with my boy as his interest in the outdoors continues to grow!