“Show Me”

I hunted the last 4-1/2 days of the Missouri's early archery season with hopes of getting a nice buck with my Hoyt bow, and then get to use my firearm permit during the following three days of the ten day rifle season.

On the third day of my bow hunt, my oldest son Sage flew out to meet me. He did some scouting on his first day there, while awaiting the opening of rifle season. On my final afternoon of bowhunting, Sage joined me in my Ameristep double ladder stand. Since I hadn't seen a shooter size buck all week, I was really hoping for a chance at one of the four he had seen the previous afternoon. In the stand only 15 minutes, out walked a beautiful 140" 10-point. The buck wanted nothing to do with us. We tried to lure him in with the grunt tube and doe bleat. Sage informed me that he was the smallest of the four bucks he had seen. We continued to wait while the rain came down in a steady drizzle. Cold air was on the way with a large cold front approaching. The end of bow season was approaching as darkness did. Sage became more excited knowing that tomorrow he got his chance with the rifle.

The following afternoon, after our eyes were nearly burnt out of our heads from the wind of the morning hunt, we decided to better our chances and split up for the afternoon hunt. Of course Sage took the stand where he had viewed the four big boys. I found myself in an identical stand not 400 yards away. When I got to my stand, which I hadn't sat in since the previous two seasons, I had to saw some limbs and two small trees down. The odds were stacked against me. The wind was at my back blowing directly into a patch of young oaks that were at the top of three draws. The brush around me was tall and I knew as light faded, it would be hard to see a deer unless its rack of antlers stood high. The wind from the front was still fierce. I hoped it had covered any noise I had made readying my shooting lanes.

The magic time was approaching. I hoped to hear a gun shot from Sage with about 45 minutes of shooting light left. Suddenly two shots in front of me rang out. I knew it wasn't Sage because he was to my left. Ten minutes later, I heard voices on the neighboring farm. Nearly a half mile straight in front of me, I watched three hunters walking in the neighbors' timber. It appeared as though they were searching for the deer they had shot at. I couldn't stand it any longer. I had decided to climb down and walk to a small brushy pasture which was between Sage and I. Thinking that this may be the spot to hunt tomorrow if the wind continued to blow in the same direction. I texted Sage to tell him about my plans, and as I turned to my left to remove the strap from my Hunter Safety System vest, I caught movement. The bucks' high rack grabbed my attention. I lifted my binoculars to be sure this was what I thought it was. Immediately, I saw that it was the same buck we had seen yesterday. I lifted the unproven Thompson Center Encore that I had borrowed from my youngest son Case that he had graciously let me try to take a deer with. As I settled the Nikon BDC scope on the bucks' lower neck, the 308 caliber bullet found its mark.

It seems that we as hunters can run a "perfect hunt" through our minds. But it always seems that it never happens that way. Had the events of that afternoon not taken place, I may not have spotted that buck. NOTE: "Do not text and drive and certainly do not text and hunt".

Hunter: Hoppy Kempfer