Bear animation

Three Scents Worth
Sam Wood

Booneville, MS

As an avid whitetail hunter, I had been known to try some questionable measures while searching for that one particular trophy buck that would grace my living room wall and prove to my friends that I was the ultimate deer hunter.
The first day of deer season dawned clear and unusually warm. Though we'd had our share of hard winters in North Mississippi, this winter had started with a whimper but most likely would end with a bang. The coldest part of the year always seemed to come about the middle of February.

I was delighted that the temperature wasn't bitter this particular morning, so was more than willing to get up early to meet my hunting partner, Bucky Timbes, at our agreed-upon meeting spot. An hour and a half before dawn usually allowed us time to stop at Fishers Restaurant for a cup of coffee before heading into the woods.

Every hunter should have a friend like Bucky. He was born in Tennessee and came from a long line of coon hunters, thus he considered himself a woodsman of some background. His house was one of those we in the South call a "Shotgun" house--one long hallway that ran the length of the dwelling and was open on each end. Generally, this hallway was filled with a collection of mixed breed hounds that would alert every neighbor for miles at the approach of a stranger.

"I gotta warn you that I'm gonna be the first to bag one this year, Sam," Bucky said as we sat down to our coffee. "Think so?" I asked skeptically. As I said, I've tried some questionable measures but I had to admit that Bucky's schemes to bag the big one always made my efforts seem lackluster. "What do you have in mind this year?" I asked smiling.

"Ye'll see," he answered with a chuckle.

The first dim light of the coming dawn was brightening the sky to the east as my old four-wheel-drive bounced and jolted down the little washed-out logging road that lead to the deepest part, Hindman's Bottom. I had scouted the bottom the week before and the scrapes and rubs were proof that there would be no shortage of game. The day before we had carried our climbing stands in to the spots we had picked to hunt that day.

While removing our guns from the truck I noticed Bucky pull a small red bottle from one of his pockets. "What's that?" I inquired. "Doe urine," he informed me, applying a liberal amount to his right boot. Replacing the bottle, he removed a small green one from another pocket. "Big Buck Scent," he said before I could ask. This he applied to his left boot. At this point I wasn't sure if I would allow him to ride back with me without jumping in a lake first! To my dismay, he produced a third bottle from another pocket. "This," he said holding it up, "is what's gonna bring ‘em in for sure." "What is it?" I asked. "Wee Willy Wick," he answered, holding it up. "You see, you pull this little wick-like thing up and that’s what gives off the scent without all the mess."

With my rifle slung and my fragrant partner in tow we headed for our respective stands. Reaching mine first I began to connect my climber (something every deer hunter should own,) as Bucky, with a wave, moved on down the bottom. With skill and many years of practice I climbed and began to wait for my trophy to appear. About an hour passed without a sound when the baying of several hounds began to move in my direction--hot on the trail. Using their baying, I picked the spot where I believed the whitetail they were trailing would appear in range. To my disappointment three great-looking beagles finally appeared, but their query had somehow eluded me and they continued on down the bottom in Bucky's direction.

After a couple hours, with the sun edging the treetops, I reconciled myself to the fact that this wasn't the morning and I returned to the truck. Thirty minutes more passed and Bucky appeared swearing and mumbling loudly. "What did you see?" I asked, barely able to contain my laughter. "Nothin’," he stormed, "Stupid hounds had me treed all darn mornin’. Didn't think they was ever gonna let me get down!" I let go, laughing so hard I was rolling. So much for the first day of deer season.

Sam Wood