Don’t Overthink It!

Daryl Gay's Back Page, December 2018

Daryl Gay | December 7, 2018

You’d be surprised how many columns—like this one—I come up with while sitting in a Tom Cat climber. For instance, here I perch way up on this pine, see, silent and still. Glancing to the right, I  pick up movement…

Does your mind wander? Well, it probably would if you’d put that stupid phone down. (Question: has it ever entered your punkin’ head that a cell phone features a very attention-attracting light function when being tapped upon?)

At any rate, mine’s in my shirt pocket. Under my coveralls. On vibrate. And I gotta admit that my mind’s about 140 miles away when the buck steps into view.


In two seconds I come to two conclusions: he’s too young and too safe. Too young to shoot and too safe in this location—because the narrow 8-pointer has been within 50 feet of me and son Dylan a half-dozen times already this season. Lots of potential down the road, but he’d be best served to hang about pretty close for the next couple of months.

So just when is it that bucks become such masters of deception, disguise and invisibility? Obviously, since this one’s two-plus, the answer is past three years of age.

And here goes my mind again, wandering off even as he does. For the umpteenth time, with no clue how close he had been. See you upon maturity in 2021.

So who better to discuss the educational process with than a teacher, right? Like my youngest, Myles. Besides, for the past 24 years, I’ve loved having conversations with Myles.

He has a social studies degree and is in his master’s program right now, so when I call, there’s talk of this paper he’s writing.

Seems there is a fundamental distinction between qualitative and quantitative data.

Just shoot me. (I’m mature.)

From the get-go, I can see that this canoe ride has got to go up a different creek, so I consider his many duties. Master’s program? Nada. Sixth-grade social studies? A possibility. Football? Yep. Baseball? All day. Deer hunting? Get that paddle in the water…

It’s mid-afternoon, Saturday. He’s just finished the paper, the process of which sounds as much fun as dog-paddling the Pacific and has my sympathy. His wife is now on the way home from whatever it is wives do at bridal showers. Whether qualitative or quantitative, I’m pleased to have no clue.

All that typing seems to have caused a reaction in his trigger finger, so they load up and drive 70 miles to her folk’s place so that she can relax at the old homestead, and he can clear his mind in the woods.

While hopefully completing the education of something large, horned and wearing a fur coat. (Priorities lined up in exact order!)

Should you have plans to shoot a deer, it always helps to find one first. Write that down if you’re taking notes. To that end, Myles goes to “the spot.”

You have one, I have one, we all have one. If I gotta kill a deer, I’m going to the spot.

Time is short, but the uneducated begin showing up to the little food plot right on cue. Yearlings—with professorial yet exasperated does—prance about, and a 4-pointer slips in among them.

And then looks back…


I’ve seen, killed and dragged some lard-butt bucks in my 40-plus years of whitetail hunting but only a couple like the 8-pointer that strolled in just before last light. And I can’t quote the mass/velocity charts to explain why a 100-grain Silvertip from a .243 will bounce a buck like this nose-first in his tracks—but it always does. Myles has a math degree, too; ask him!

What I do know is that it required the help of his tiny wife and her tinier sister to get the thing onto a Gator. Speaking of math, I’m smart enough to never ask them to step on a scale but am convinced that deer outweighed both little ladies…

And I’ve decided NOT to factor the obese deceased’s data into my statistical analysis. Because some bucks just never learn…     


Order your copy of Daryl Gay’s books, “Rabbit Stompin’ And Other Homegrown Safari Tactics,” $19.95 plus $3 S&H and “Life On the Back Page,” $14.95 plus $3 S&H from or 16 Press, 219 Brookwood Drive, Dublin, GA, 31021.

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