This could be the year. Waiting for daythe dayto break, your anticipation is so high your thoughts nearly become whispers. In a few minutes it will be a brand new deer season, a fresh start. The possibilities are as endless as the miles between you and the sun that seems to be taking forever to rise.
This could be the year everything goes right, when before noon you're looking over your shoulder at 10 high points of bone as you lean into the drag rope. You found the giant over Labor Day weekend, after you and some buddies put the new porch on your camp. He was standing at the edge of a nasty, blackberry-choked clear-cut no one dared enter. Except you. An hour ago you slipped into his hiding spot, creeping along the old logging road discovered on your third scouting trip, and in the chilly darkness you silently settled into your blind. The wind was perfect.
Maybe it's the year you kill your first buck. Somehow you just know it will be a big one. For more than half your 12-year lifetime, you've waited for this moment. What used to be just another day off school, provided by the district so older kids and teachers could hunt, now has real purpose. Before you merely listened to hunting stories; after today you'll be telling them. Grandpa's sitting on the other side of the treethis is his favorite spot. It's now yours, too.
It might be the year Dad finally fills his tag again. Too many seasons have passed since his last buck, and climbing mountains doesn't get any easier on a hunter in his 60s. But he's still out here, now following in your footsteps, waiting for his chance. He even bought new camo this year. Smiling through the sweat glistening on a beard more white than gray, he lets you know it's always worth the struggle.
Maybe this will be the year you take the first doe that wanders by, because times are tough and backstrap is not. You have just one day to hunt, not even a full one at that, and as a provider you're going to make the most of it. You wonder what your 3-year-old will think when he sees the glazed-over eyes of what will become this winter's meals. You hope he'll be curious and brave enough to run his fingers over the sleek hide, and pray you'll have a good answer when he asks why the animal is no longer breathing.
No matter your thoughts, your plans, your dreams on this opening day of deer season, let your mind revel in the unknownon what could happen. A chance at success in the deer woodsand never a guarantee of itis why we're out here in the first place.
Hunters' Field-Judging Tips
An exceptionally large male may lay down a track as wide as 5 inches. Tracks of adult females are 3.5 inches wide or less
When walking on impressionable terrain like snow or soft dirt, on level ground a mature male's average stride should stretch more than 40 inches; anything less is likely a female. More than one set of tracks likely indicates a female with young.
Gender isn't easy to determine. Mature males' skulls are larger and more round than that of females', with ears set lower on the head. They may also have tattered ears and scarred faces. Another good indicator is genitalia. Good luck checking that out.
Adults' teeth are usually stained yellow, and the tips of their canines are blunt; their coats are a uniform, tawny color, and their bellies are white. Sub-adults' teeth are bright white, with sharp canines; those less than 3 years old usually display faint spots on their sides and back, barring on the inside of their legs, and spots or barring on their bellies
At this year's Texas Truck Rodeo, the Texas Auto Writers Association named Ram Trucks worthy of delivering true Lone Star State capability. We're proud to announce Ram Trucks roped in some respected awards, including the highly coveted title of Truck of Texas for the 2011 Ram 1500. No small feat in a state that's known for big things—like standards for their trucks.
2011 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn: Luxury Pickup Truck of Texas. Fit for the rodeo. Worthy of Rodeo Drive. Ram Laramie Longhorn was named Luxury Truck of Texas for a reason–it's loaded with only the best. Like premium leather trim, heated and ventilated front seats, ornate belt buckle seatbacks and more. With authentic southwest style and true Ram Truck capability, 2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn sets a higher standard for luxury trucks.
2011 Ram Outdoorsman: JFull-Size Pickup Truck of Texas. From open range to thick backwoods, Ram Outdoorsman has the off-road capability to take you where ordinary trucks can't. Rugged, all-terrain tires, heavy-duty cooling, enhanced lighting and available RamBox storage with Mopar gun and fishing rod holsters making heading into the sticks more fun than ever.
1EPA est. 14 city/20 hwy mpg for Ram 4x2. Ram, HEMI, and RamBox are registered trademarks of Chrysler Group LLC.
Like the fossilized skeletons of its ancestors displayed in the Smithsonian, a 12-foot alligator can be scary even when it's dead—something that Shooting Illustrated's Adam Heggenstaller learned in person during a gator hunt in Florida. Read More »