Wishful Thinking

On The Back Page With Daryl Gay, December 2017

Daryl Gay | December 1, 2017

So, it’s that time of year again: filling out the ol’ Christmas wish list. You say yours has been done for months now? Congratulations. Pat yourself on the head. Hard. And just call me Procrastinator. (Look it up.)

But a better fit would likely be Old School. Seems I ran out of wants several years ago. And my needs are pretty much miniscule. Hobbies? Well, let’s see now… there’s hunting. As well as hunting. And then there’s hunting.

Or maybe the hunt is life, and everything else is a hobby. I’m easily confused.

My mentor and boon companion, Doyle Dowdy, once told me that as I got older, I’d hunt less and fish more. But as is usually the case with me, the opposite has proven true.

A couple of exceptions are redfish and speckled trout. They, however, can’t truly be labeled aquatic species since scientifically they fall under the formal classification of Addiction.

Besides, I’ve accumulated more fishing gear than Bass Pro…

So back, hurriedly, to hunting and let’s narrow it down: just what do I need for the remainder of deer season?

Well, let’s pull out the tub and see.

Oh, you don’t know about the tub? It’s knee-high, plastic, has ingenious heavy-duty rope handles and was purchased better’n 20 years ago as a bin for the boys’ toys.

Makes a great gut bucket!

I was originally ordered to trash it immediately following the Knuckleheads’ transitions from baseballs to blondes. But hey, man, it’s light, durable, paid for… and came from the factory already bright red! What’s not to like?

When not being rather gorily used, it’s cleaned, more or less, and replaced in the pickup—where it holds the rest of my deer gear.

Which consists of…

Before we start, be advised that I am the simplest, old-schooledest, hardcorest deer hunter you will never spot in the woods. You want acces- sories? Go to our Advertiser Index; they got ’em all.

Inside the tub: boots; camo coveralls; a clean, more or less, bone saw; and a fanny pack.

That’ s it. Nothing here that needs replacing; probably outlast

me. Inside the fanny pack: pocket- sized folding limb saw; gutting/skin-ning knives and sharpener in their case; two camo face masks (thin/ heavy); two pairs of gloves (thin/ heavy); glass bottle of Tink’s 69, plus four orange hanging containers; windicator; spare pins and wing nuts for stand (more in a minute); matches; flashlight.

Nope; all good. I manage to sober up a half-dozen or so bucks drunk on Tink’s every three years. Still a couple to go with current bottle…

OK. Only two more items and

you can toss me into any swamp in the South; I’ll be just fine. And it’s this final pair that qualified for semi- serious wish list consideration.

The first is my old (school) rifle. Since reading Jack O’Connor as a kid, I literally craved a Winchester Model 70 chambered in .30-06. And it has surpassed every expectation. Whitetails haven’t shown an awful lot of appreciation for it over the past few decades, but if there’s one thing above all else,

it’s the 70’s supreme accuracy.

I’ve taken deer directly below my feet from the climber, as well as at 336 yards—measured with a 100-foot steel tape from the tree to the buck’s nose. I could just imagine drivers on the nearby road: “Look at them two rednecks measuring soybeans with a 100-foot tape…”

Make no mistake, Santa;

we’re not talking REPLACE! Best bring bombs to get that gun. But if you happen to have an extra pre1964 70, any caliber at all, in walnut…

Secondly, there’s the stand.

You want old school simple? It goes (very lightly) into the woods on my back, gets me

(safely, quickly and quietly) up the tree of my choosing, and the process is reversed on the way out.

Nothing is constructed, scattered, strowed or left behind. Slip in, slip out. I’ve only used that same stand a little longer than 30 years now. My only complaints are that I’m too clumsy in the dark to not mis- place the wing nut that holds the two pieces together when carried, and my fingers are too big to properly tie trotline cord onto the locking pins so as not to lose them.

So there you have it; my wish list dilemma is obvious. However…

Fortunately, following dire strain on the old thinker, I managed to come up with one must-have item at last: Yo, Santa! Bring bullets!

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