Contributed by Barak Gurney
My hunting buddy Ryan went to his treestand in the bog around 2 p.m. after he dropped me off at the turn-around at the town line.
I walked the edge of the field to the hulk of the old vehicle abandoned there, probably 50 years ago, and figured out how to climb onto what was hood, put my feet through what was windshield and rest my rifle over what was the cab.
No small feat to get mounted in there with both feet hanging down inside the cab.
As it turns out this position aligns up directly with the woods road coming out of the south end of the field. (This is important).
I sat in this contraption for more than three hours. That gave me a lot of time to think over the years of the hunting stories and instruction given to me by my Dad and Uncle Nelson.
When I was just old enough to go hunting, they always said to go watch a field as the last thing to do hunting each day.
Wait. There were further instructions. Stay still, wait them out. Stay until dark. Always look everything over as you determine when to leave the stand at the end of the day.
Well, as I thought that over, I first googled on my phone when sunset would be. That answer was 5:26 p.m.
As the sun was setting, I texted Ryan to say that I would stay in that stand until 5:10 p.m. As that time drew close, there were a flurry of text messages to and from Ryan, my son Jason and my wife Marcia.
Ryan answered OK. Jason asked if we had any luck. And Marcia asked how I was doing.
To each I replied as best I could under the circumstances. I mention this to describe the amount of activity my hands and arms were doing. So much for remaining still.
I didn’t make much noise, but that activity may not have gone on without notice. If I had it to do over again, I would have left the phone in the truck.
So, as it nears 5ish I realized that I had to “go” and I don’t mean to leave the stand. I decided to hold it a few minutes longer. What difference would a few minutes make?
As the time neared 5:05 p.m., it was really getting colder and the thought of leaving then crossed my mind. But my goal was to stick it out, again looking at the time on my phone each minute.
I scanned the tree line at the edge of the field with my scope several times. I now question how well I did that.
I got a text from Ryan saying he had left his treestand and was headed for the truck. OK, I said to myself, now I could leave. The time on the phone was 5:11 p.m.
Now to figure out how to get out of where I was. I decided to lift my left leg out counter-clockwise, but my foot had fallen asleep.
It was truly dusk at this time and I had basically given up the thought of seeing anything.
Here is the rest of the story, as longtime radio personality Paul Harvey would say.
When I lifted my left leg and removed it from the space where the windshield had been, it made a “clang” of some type. Immediately after, I saw the white flag of a deer in the road at the end of the field. And it wasn’t the flag of surrender. I equate it to the middle finger.
Saying crap under my breath, I swung my rifle there to take a look through the scope. In a split second, there were two more deer there. So now I have three deer running directly away from me waving flags.
My great debate was whether to shoot or not to shoot. I decided that at best, all I would do was to take some hair soup or perhaps draw a few red specks on the leaves.
Having done that would have required going in the woods in the dark to find a shot deer, and the prospect of anything good coming of it was nil.
So I took a deep breath and proceeded to pull myself out of the trap I had placed myself in, and headed back to the truck — empty-handed. No shots fired.
All of this happened after telling everyone I hadn’t seen anything. As for “going,” that waited until I got to Old Town. I guess I forgot about it in the commotion.
After having a night to reflect on those happenings, I think those deer either smelled me or saw me and they were waiting for me to leave. I think they were on that road for quite a while.
They were going to feed in that field — just not as long as I was there. The probability of my getting any of them simply didn’t exist.
It was a lesson learned. Leave your phone in your pocket unless it is absolutely necessary to use it.
Barack Gurney lives in Old Town.