by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson
I’m not old. Not by most standards, and judging by the way I act sometimes most people think I’m 12.
As my body’s odometer clicked past 37 last week I started to take stock in my life. I’ve never been too caught up in birthdays as I try to enjoy each day as they come, but there is no question I’ve looked back and wondered why I didn’t do some things differently. I spent a lot of time in the outdoors as a kid, but as I grew older I let life get in the way.
Maybe that’s a common occurrence for people as they creep towards 40 and the trendy thing to say is “I wouldn’t change a thing”. Well….I think I would.
Unfortunately you really don’t know if choosing a different path would come as easily as those words were typed.
I could begin a winding dissertation on the meaning of life and the benefits of overcoming life’s challenges and all that nonsense. But I’ll save that for a Lifetime Movie script. I want to talk about big racks.
Specifically the whitetail I saw on my trail cam yesterday that I’ve uncreatively named “Brutus”. In fact if you can come up with a better name for him (and you should be able to) you could win a pair of tickets to the nearest Backwoods Film Tour event. Post them here.
Why I would wait until I was about to stumble over the hill to experience the sheer adrenaline rush of seeing the snout of Sir Brutus on my laptop screen is beyond me.
Ben Brettingen and I walked out to my stand yesterday to see what critters had ventured close enough to trigger the motion activated picture taker. The wind wasn’t right for hunting that stand so it was a quick trip and we brought the laptop right out into the woods. As the memory card unloaded its cache, the 900 pictures from the prior week flashed across the screen. A few does, then about 800 pictures of tall grass swaying in the 30 mph winds the day before. For one split second we glimpsed something majestic and antlered filling up the entire screen. Then moving grass again.
We never saw the grass pictures.
When Brutus gave us the sneak peek, Ben and I both looked up at each other at the same time and may have made the same little school girl squealy noise.
The time stamp on the photo indicated the intelligence level of Brutus was not to go unnoticed.
23:54, just before midnight.
Why had I waited until 37 to experience the pure anticipation of seeing a buck like Brutus sashay within range of my Z28. Not completely sure why I’d imagined him “sashaying”, but I figure any big buck named Brutus could pretty much move around any way he wants without ridicule.
The trail cam photos also revealed two other decent bucks. That makes at least 4 shooters that have been spotted nearby. Decisions, decisions.
I’d be more than happy to fling a G5 towards any of them and hopefully I get my chance. I just wish I hadn’t waited this long to get that chance.
On a related note Ben and I had the chance to recently go border jumping to try our luck on the Canadian side of Lake of the Woods. We stayed at Ballard’s Black Island and I hooked into a couple of the biggest northerns I’ve ever tempted. Much of the credit goes to Ben “el boato capitano”, whose Muskie gear I was using. He also put me in the right position and took the picture that you see here. We didn’t catch the mysterious muskellunge we were after, but boating a pike that had about 24 inches of girth was pretty awesome. Am I too old to say “pretty awesome”?
To make a short story long, it’s easy to look back and say “I wouldn’t change a thing” even if you’re thinking to yourself “I wish I would have done things differently”. But it’s never too late to go out and do it.
by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson
*Check out Minnesota Sporting Journal radio this weekend on a station near you. We talk Lake of the Woods fishing, bear hunting and preview next weekends pheasant opener.