WHEN I FINALLY REACH MY treestand on the closing day of rifle season, it looks just as I remember it. The camo cushions have faded in the last few years, and the extra-tall ladder is dinged in places, but otherwise it’s in fine shape.
The stand faces a narrow field with alternating strips of food plots and cover, the northern border of the family farm just beyond. To the south, there’s an ever-expanding beaver pond; to the west, a creek and a steep hill. A dense stand of cedars grows to the east. Deer are drawn to this place, and so am I.
I hitch my rifle over my shoulder, close one hand around a cold metal rung, and begin to climb.
THE LAST TIME I SAW A GOOD buck here was in 2013, when Indiana was still a shotgun-only state. That was also the final day of gun season. Conditions were perfect for my stand, so that’s where I went. In my hurry to get there, though, I loaded only one shell. I’d load the others later.
Thick frost glittered in the sunshine, but everything else was still. I watched the creek until, about an hour after daybreak, a noise turned my head. Fifty yards in front of me stood a buck. He was big—the biggest I’ve ever seen on the farm—and he was broadside. A turnip poked out of his mouth, and I could hear the root crunching between his teeth. He looked worn from the rut and dazed, like a midnight snacker chewing with his mouth open in front of the fridge.
I shifted. The seat didn’t betray me with a creak, and neither did the railing as I eased the shotgun onto its padding. I was shaking badly, but the deer didn’t seem to be going anywhere. So I just sat there, collecting myself and looking everywhere but at his antlers. He was standing placidly, perfectly, his jaw still working when I yanked the trigger.
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LIVING THE DREAM
After the author arrives in Maine’s fabled North Woods with a moose tag in his pocket, an adventure he’s been wanting to take his entire hunting life, reality sets in, and he learns a valuable lesson: Be careful what you wish for
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Is there any place better than a good hunting camp? It has everything: great food, games and pranks, and of course, hunting. Shoot, we don’t even mind going to camp for grueling work days in the summer. Here, our contributors share their favorite stories, traditions, and lessons learned from camps they’ve shared. So come on in and join us. The door’s open.
Before you even claim a bunk, you need to eyeball the hardware your buddies have brought. In the process, you’ll see that the guns at deer camp are changing. What was walnut and blued steel may now be Kevlar and carbon fiber. The 10 rifles featured here aren’t your father’s deer guns. They’re today’s new camp classics
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Readers will recall, distressingly, that I have tried their patience on just about every topic that marginally relates to audio. LP grooves, CD bumps, flat response, boomy bass, warm recordings, cold binary bits—I have waxed philosophically on all of them. Which bring us to today’s audio topic: gender.
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Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her
Wild-card playoff: Buffalo 27, Indianapolis 24
Stefon Diggs and the rest of the passing game ultimately came through in the end
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Region To Region
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Indiana Jones gig derailed by abuse scandal