By Aaron Uthoff
Winds were gusting to 25 miles per hour when I climbed into my tree stand. The 2006 Missouri rifle season lasted only 10 days. It was six days into the season, and I just had to be out there.
The swaying tree made my stand pop. Once, I even felt it move. I kept telling myself I was an idiot to be up in a tree under such conditions. At time or two, I even felt a little seasick.
The first hour of the hunt, I saw seven squirrels fattening up for winter, but nothing else. Another hour passed, and there were still no deer to be seen.
Then came a break in the wind, down to around 10 mph, and I thought it would be still for a while. The break lasted five minutes at the most, and once again, I was hanging on for the ride.
I decided to call it quits around 9 a.m. I simply could not take it anymore. I have always been a believer in the good ol’ 30-minute rule: When you pick a stopping point, wait 30 more minutes, just in case.
Nine-thirty arrived, and there were still no deer in sight — time to call it a day.
Lowering my backpack to the ground, I saw a big, mature doe out of the corner of my eye. She didn’t seem spooked by the backpack, so maybe a buck was chasing her. I decided to wait a few more minutes to find out.
Well, guess what? A nice buck came right down the trail behind her.
The 3 1/2-year-old 9 pointer scored 122 1/2 gross and netted 118 1/8. I never thought I’d take a buck like this one on such a bad, windy day.