It’s a beautiful day in summer and I’m sitting here just daydreaming about the last hunt I took with my good friend Monte Hunnel of Jefferson and my son-in-law Mike. It was late fall two years ago when Mike, Monte and I arrived at Macon County Outfitters in northern Missouri.

At the time, I was 84 years old and that, I am told, was remarkable. There were a lot of reasons why this trip would be worth reminiscing about and I have written about it before. But there are still a few stories left.

We normally hunt in Greene County at Montes’s home or close by, but at this place they set you up in a box blind. Because of my age I had asked Matt to allow Monte to sit with me this year in the blind. The year before, Mike had gone out here with me to do the same and we had been successful. Before the hunt everyone has to demonstrate their ability to shoot, and Matt uses a gong set up like a lot of people. Pennsylvania demonstrated its ability well and we rang that gong at 400 yards.

Mike had been here before so he headed out to his stand. Monte and I waited our turn as one of Matt’s rules is to wait for the truck to pick you up and take you to the stand. They try to keep everyone safe and ask that if you hit a deer, then you call for pickup. This, protects all hunters.

This first day, Mike made a great shot, even if not a patient one, on an OK buck. The bucks in Missouri are so much bigger than the ones here and an OK buck there is bigger than an OK buck here. He said he waited and watched as long as he could, which I understand as there are such a lot of bucks there. It is the corn fields and the mast, plus the sub-species of deer, that allow them to be so much bigger. It is hard to resist shooting and wait for Mr. Big Buck. I know of one friend who also was there who never shot anything so I guess that would be not so good either. To wait or not to wait, that is the question.

It was the second day of the hunt that for me was the most memorable as Monte and I had a ball. We spotted 23 legal bucks in that one day. There are no fences on this property pertaining to hunting and we never saw another hunter.

Sitting in a box blind we were drawn to talk and naturally the conversation turned to rifles and chamberings suitable for a variety of hunts. I had, of course, fallen on my old habits and brought along my trusty 270. I had vowed to everyone that I would try something else prior to the trip, so I was surprised to see that Monte went modern on me, bringing his 300 Winchester Short Magnum.

We, of course, share a love of external, internal and terminal ballistics that we discussed at length. Every time a new buck appeared, we would pause and examine him thoroughly. This was a lot of fun and kept everything interesting.

Finally, a nice buck appeared, and I could not take anymore. He wasn’t anything spectacular. I just decided I was ready and took the shot. It was a nice clean shot and we settled in after checking him out. Monte called Matt for a pickup, and we went back to watching this long field in front of us.

Suddenly, a coyote appeared and headed straight for my downed dead deer. He grabbed it by the tail as Monte and I scrambled to chase it off. Monte called Matt to ask permission to shoot this deer-stealing nuisance and Matt said he would rather we did not. It seems his dad loves to trap them. So, we chased him off and the truck came and picked up my buck.

Now it was mid-morning and that 180-degree view in front of us was a bit quieter.

Matt’s property has nicely placed stands and this one had a spectacular view from all sides. We switched back and forth shifting positions and I might have had a short cat nap. Suddenly, a nice buck passed by the stand. Then he came back and as he passed by at about 380 yards, he stopped and looked right at Monte. That was it. Monte made a great shot and down went the deer. He could have been hunting with a single shot for that buck was done. For 380 yards is a nice shot, and we both were happy – Monte because he had a nice clean shot at a good buck, the biggest one, we took that trip, and for me the fun of watching a friend make that great shot with his modern rifle.

It was just such a nice memory that remains with me. Monte and I called Matt and reported in. Then we all just enjoyed the rest of our trip out there in a nice, relaxed atmosphere.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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