Corn after a storm

buckI was roaring down the gravel road on my farm, trying to get back to the 10-acre field I planned on bowhunting for the Arkansas season opener.

It was 15 minutes after sunset, which I estimated gave me about another 10 minutes of daylight before I would no longer be able to see.

I turned a corner and, despite my noisy approach, a doe bounded across the path. I had about 15 seconds to daydream about her big brother, when I came up to the dirt road — not more than a truck’s width wide — that emptied out into the field I was trying to access. This road is one with more potholes than smooth surfaces, and six inches of rain from the past week had left standing water in each dip and depression.

I decided to keep it in two-wheel drive. Giving no respect to my truck’s shocks, I drove fast enough that my seatbelt tightened accusingly across my midsection and my keys jangled like wind chimes in a tornado.

Halfway down the road, I came to a pine tree that had fallen and completely blocked my path. The last rays of sunlight were struggling to stay above the horizon, and I knew I didn’t have time to hook up chains to the tree and move it. Slow but steady, with branches complaining with their creaking, I drove over the tree.

Making it out into the field, I quickly studied the wooded corner I wanted to hunt, checking for blind placement, wind direction and the path I believed the deer would take. Swatting mosquitos and ripping open bags of corn like a kid at Christmas, I managed to spread the feed where I wanted, and even put out a mineral lick that I hoped would keep the deer interested once the corn was gone.

I got back into my truck, turned on the headlights, and left the farm with the vision of the doe’s big brother still taunting me.

Two more weeks, big boy.

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