Tired and for sure wishing I was still in bed I closed the door to Bob's car as my brother sat half asleep in the back seat. It was November and in Mississippi it was not cold, but we were fortunate to have a slight cool front move in the day before and 45 degrees was just fine with us. It would take an hour and half to drive to a place along the Pearl River just south of Columbia, Mississippi.
I was pondering just where I would set up and hunt for a big buck and was reviewing in my mind all the info of past scouting trips. When all of a sudden I yield out, "stop the car now!!!" It had dawned on me that I might have forgotten my bullets for my rifle. I leaped out of the stopped car and ran around to the trunk and opened it to realize my worst fears. No bullets!! That's right, I for got them.
I looked up at Bob and my brother Steve and they were not even cracking a smile or moving knowing my possible mood. What a bummer! I looked at them and since we were almost there I said, "Well guys, I will have to just go along and take pictures with my camera". I was trying to act like it was no big deal but I was so disappointed and angry with myself.
Just then I heard the most hopeful words a dejected hunter could hear standing along a lonely back road in Mississippi at 4:30 in the morning with no rifle and a blown day of hunting. "I have a 30-30 in the bottom of my trunk" said Bob. He went on to say, "I have not used it in three years but my brother used it two years ago but he didn't shoot anything with it."
I looked up at Bob in disbelief because no way would I have kept any rifle I owned in the trunk of a car for three years. I said, "What, you have a rifle that has been in your trunk for three years? Do you have any ammo for it?" "Oh yeah!" Bob responded with excitement, "the box got a little wet once but I think they will be ok. I bought them when I got the rifle and the six I shots I took with the rifle were really accurate."
Here I was with a Winchester 94 30-30 that had rust all over one side as I sat there in the front seat of his car looking out the side window in dismay. Of coarse it was my fault for leaving my ammo but that did not relieve my immediate felt depression. We drove down the old dirt road and parked were we usually parked. As we were exiting the car I could see a grin on my little brothers face. He new I was looking for a big buck that we had been scouting and he also new where I needed to setup, which was about 125yds from where we all thought he might come.
Well, there I was setting in my latter stand about 12 feet off the ground and not knowing if this rusted old 30-30 with iron sights could hit the side of a barn much less the heart lung area of a deer. Daylight was upon me and the oak bottom was so still as leaves would fall to the ground at the slightest breeze. What a morning and the conditions were so right for the deer to move in that bottom which ran along the river.
I hadn't been in that stand for 40 minutes and here he came, just walking taking his time and it was the buck I was looking for. "This can't be happening to me today, why, me, why today?" as I talked to myself. I really had to hold all my other thoughts in the back of my mind while telling myself, "Put the sights on the heart and pull the trigger don't do any guessing" as I hoped that this neglected 30-30 and 150gr Remington ammo would be on target.
I pulled the trigger and to my surprise some 50yds away that big old boy just fell in this tracks. "WOW!!!! I got him!!" as I yield at the top of my voice. I waited for a few minutes and I could see no movement so I climbed down from my stand. I walked over to the dead 8 point and the hole was exactly where I had put the sights. I was for sure lucky that day using an old rusted 30-30 that bailed me out and made my hunt a true success.
I wonder how many times the 30-30 has made someones hunt a sure thing, leaving good memories for years to come? I gave Bob's 30-30 a name that he still uses to this day, "The Old Rust Bucket".