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With age comes wisdom, especially in winter

Last Sunday, my bow tag was still good. I could go hunting, but the thermometer read below zero when I rose before daylight.

I like to hunt as much as the next guy, probably more than most people, but I do not own enough clothes to sit quietly in a tree for several hours without freezing to death. It is bad enough people are injured each year by accidentally falling out of their tree stands but to be found frozen to death while sitting in a tree would give the whole bow hunting community a bad name. I would not like to have written on my tombstone, "Here lies Walter Scott. Did not have enough sense to come in out of the cold." There has to be a few warmer days before the end of the final deer season.

I made a pot of coffee and waited for my lovely wife to arise. Before long, she came stumbling out of the bedroom wondering why I was up so early. I explained I had second thoughts about going hunting. Glancing at the thermometer, she decided I was wiser than I looked.

I suggested we have a cup of coffee, go out for breakfast, and go check the game cameras. She thought that was a great idea, all except the part about checking the game cameras. I assured her, since we have four wheel drive, we can go almost anywhere. She was quick to pick up on the "almost" part of my statement and felt confident that was where we would go and be stuck in the middle of nowhere in ridiculously cold temperatures.

After convincing her I would avoid anyplace that looked as though it would ensnare a truck, walk out for help leaving her in the warm truck if we did get stuck, and load enough emergency provisions to make an assault on Mt. Everest, she agreed to go along for the ride.

After a leisurely breakfast, we headed toward the farm. I think my wife was beginning to get cold feet. She had the appropriate footwear for the occasion. Her cold feet had nothing to do with the weather. She has been on questionable excursions with me before. It did nothing to assuage her concerns when we started across the open pasture with six to twelve inches of snow and no tracks other than deer and coyotes.

We drove past one of the food plots that contained turnips. Deer by the dozens had been eating the tops and digging down to find the turnip itself. The first camera was overlooking the second food plot that was mostly winter wheat. As we neared the timber patch where this is located, deer tracks became more concentrated. I got out to check the camera only to find the batteries were dead. Cold weather is hard on batteries and it had been cold for several days. I did not have high hopes for a large number of quality pictures.

I walked the edge of the food plot, observing the variety of tracks in the area. Deer of all sizes had taken advantage of a good meal in a protected area. Turkeys had also scratched to the ground, clearing a large area of snow in search of acorns and green wheat sprouts. Squirrels, songbirds, and rabbits had also been using the food plot. It was nice to know wildlife appreciated our efforts, even if I did not have pictures to prove it.

As I drove down the hill toward Twin Sluices, my wife slammed on her brakes. Unfortunately, there is no brake peddle on her side of the truck so our forward progress was not slowed by her physical efforts. Her verbal effects though did an amazing job of stopping the truck as she explained in no uncertain terms what she would do to me if I tried the crossing.

I am old and wise enough to learn from past mistakes. To push a woman beyond a certain point shows no more wisdom than freezing to death high up a tree while bow hunting. As proof of my wisdom; I am neither dead nor divorced. The other camera can wait just as another day will come for deer hunting.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.