Have you ever felt like a deer in the headlights?
I was out with my buddy Matt for an early season archery deer hunt on the Tamarac Refuge in north central Minnesota. Like any good hunter, I was prepared to outsmart the big bucks with my superb scent elimination tactics. I suggested to Matt we pack our hunting clothes in plastic bags after the odorless wash process… he thought that was a great idea!
It was still pitch black when I pulled my old jeep unto the Blackbird Trail which connected several small lakes and passed our morning stand. I slammed the truck into first gear and came to an abrupt halt in the middle of the road. There were no other hunters… right?!?
Excited to get to our spot before the cover of night gave way to sunlight, we jumped out, grabbed our de-scented clothes from the pickup box, and proceeded to strip down.
Did I say there were no other hunters?
Much to my surprise I saw lights flash through the trees ahead. With my pants wrapped around my ankles like my two kids tying to tackle me, I tried to recover my vulnerable position from the side of the vehicle. It all happened so fast, I am sure the operators of the on-coming truck were speeding. In mere seconds, a set of Halogen head-lamps beamed from an F-250 and fully cast their revealing light on me. Their big v-eight idled impatiently. Being the conscientious sportsman that I am, my driving thought was to clear the road for these fine folks. I looked at Matt for some consolation as I waddled forward trying to pull myself together, but he was engrossed in hysterical laughter safe from detection on the other side of our rig. Time slowed. My movements became leaden. I managed to get my trousers over my knees as I fell into the Jeep, swung the door shut, and inched out of the way so these fellow outdoor enthusiasts could pass.
My one mistake… I had forgotten it was also goose season, and the normally vacant back roads were filled with anxious water-fowler’s.
To this day, I imagine my story being recited from the observer’s perspective for years to come around hunting camps, and coffee tables, by what I am certain were a truck load of highly entertained lady hunters en-route to their blinds.