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- Prostaff Member Steve Johnson
Anticipation is at an all-time high on opening morning. As I gather my gear and load it into the truck, thoughts of the big bucks caught by the trail cameras all summer long run through my mind. The adrenaline already running through me is the feeling that drives most hunters out of bed at 4 o’clock in the morning. As I arrive at the property I will be hunting, the excitement and possibilities of the hunt are almost too much to handle.
As I pull into the driveway and hop out of the truck almost 2 hours prior to daybreak, this uneasy feeling comes over me and the roller coaster of emotions worsens. The Wind. It's opening morning and my early season stand is set up for the way the wind blows 90% of the time, but not this morning. This morning is the one day out of 10 that it's blowing dead wrong. I have waited for this morning for months; I scouted, planned, and re-planned only to have everything foiled by the wind.
A decision has to be made. Do I hunt the stand anyway and hope for the best, or do I hang it up on opening morning? It's too late to go to another property, and I am saving other stands at this property for later in the season. Should I hunt anyway and take the chance of ruining the spot, or do I put opening morning in the bag and head back to the house?
After pacing around the truck for a few minutes trying to come up with a solution, I decide to bag it and head home. This is one of the hardest decisions a hunter faces, especially on opening morning. However, it's a decision that I had to make and one that could pay big in the end. Even though I had done everything right the morning of, from taking a scent-free shower, packing all my clothes and gear in scent-safe bags, and planning everything just right, beating a whitetail's nose is not a risk I am willing to take. It only takes one whiff of danger for a mature buck to change his patterns, which is highly likely to happen by hunting a stand with the wrong wind even with all precautions taken.
So as I watch the sun come up through the window at the house, I take comfort in knowing I made the right decision. Although going home opening morning without hunting was very difficult, preserving all the hard work, time and preparation put into a stand location on the first morning seems well worth it.