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What’s That Smell?

“What’s that smell?”  It was cold out and the wind was sustaining tornado like forces as I struggled to hear my own predator calling.  The weather app said rain but but this is crazy!  Actually, it was an entire series of crazy!  Nothing had gone right up to this moment.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had hunts like this but I am thankful they only come around ever so often for me.  It started with the alarm clock….actually it started the day before.  On Saturday I cleaned my truck out to haul people.  I have a new rule….never clean your truck out during hunting season.  Truck cleaning is for June and July and only then if the fish aren’t biting.   When I clean out my truck, it becomes void of the things I normally keep in my truck like skunk scent (we’re getting to that one), camo jackets, gloves, hats, etc.  It becomes void of all of life’s necessities….

At the sound of the alarm on Sunday morning I jumped out of bed only to realize I had set the alarm for one hour later than I had planned.  I made the customary mad dash through the house gathering supplies while trying not to make noise as to wake anyone who gets up at a sane time.   I ran out the door, into the truck (mighty clean) and headed to the field.  My drive would take me 7o minutes southeast of Lincoln…well it would had I not just remembered I forgot the coyote loads for my shotgun.  Ten minutes seems like an eternity when you have to drive back home for such frivolous items.   Now that I had shells I was off and ready.  The sky was ugly dark but getting clearer as I headed south.  Good sign!

When I arrived at my first stand I opened the door which was almost ripped off the hinges by the gale force winds.  Wow!  I had not calculated tornadoes into my equation for coyote success.  I once called a bobcat in during a wind storm up near Niobrara….that is another story.   The wind felt cold.  Darn cold.   This made me reach into the back seat for my handy wind-proof camo jacket.  Which I now realized was removed from the premises during the cleaning episode I reluctantly took part in yesterday.  This was going to be a cold hunt.  I did have a fleece pullover that would have to work.  Now I know why they invented wind proof clothing!   After the 1/2 mile hike to my calling site, I sat down and gazed into the woods in front of me…wishing I had the gloves that were tucked neatly in the pockets of my favorite camo jacket I left in the garage because other parties wanted my truck cleaned out!

I turned on the caller and set out a Mojo Wild Thing decoy.  This baby has worked well for me in the past.   In the heavy winds though, it made a few quick moves before the furry tail blew off.  I get up from my field seat, walk over to the Mojo and put the furry tail back on.   I return to me seat to find a bare spot.  The cushion blew into the crick!  I am having difficulty staying sane at this point.  I crawl down the crick to retrieve the seat and am back in business.  This brings me to the smell….I begin to notice a really bad smell when I realize I have found my skunk scent.  During all the commotion of the morning I had placed it into my front pocket.  Well….during the commotion, the lid came open and I now feel this warm wet sensation on my right side.  Could this hunt go any further south?!?! Oh yes it can….the caller is now out of battery.  I later learned the vehicle charger chord had separated from the plug (now I also need a new charger) from repeated abuse/use.

Needless to say I left the field cold, wind blown and thoroughly defeated.   I think I heard coyotes laughing but that could have just been the wind.  I know better than to call in such conditions.   They can’t respond to what they can’t hear.  Even with hand calling there was little chance of such music reaching the ears of a hungry critter.  I think there truly are some hunts best left alone….this was one of  them!  As I sit here on Monday morning typing this I can’t wait to head out again.  A new sun will bring new luck!  But…. I still… smell something…..skunk!

Jeff “Rawly” Rawlinson

Things almost seem normal here
Poor little thing just before it blew away...

About jeff rawlinson

Jeff is the Education Manager in the Communications Division with Game and Parks where he has worked for the last 15 years. He oversees the Hunter Education, Boater Education, Hunter Outreach and Shooting Range Development for the Commission and is a devout hunter, angler, wildlife viewer, naturalist, father and husband. He holds a BS and MS from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has been a Hunter Education Instructor for over 20 years, NRA firearms instructor and range officer, National Archery in the Schools Program Archery Instructor Specialist and member of the National NASP Board, sits on the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Hunter Recruitment and Retention Committee and Education Committee. Jeff is an avid handgun hunter, loves to chase turkeys in the spring, squirrel hunting enthusiast and philosopher of the outdoors. He is an avid shooter and loves to spend outdoor time with family and friends. He has a passion for exciting others about the outdoors. A history buff, Jeff is a strong supporter of our North American Model of Conservation and tries to spread the message of its importance and relevance every chance he gets.

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