Dusty McGehee: We will be busy!

The first weekend in September is the official kickoff of hunting season. It typically falls on Labor Day weekend which is perfect for the hardworking hunters. We can either grab a shotgun for doves or get on a tractor to prep for deer season. I grabbed my son, and a couple of shotguns and went to a field full of goatweed and doves. We killed a few doves and missed a lot, but even still, a good time was had by all in the field.

From now on, there is no need to ask a hunter “You got any plans this weekend?” The answer will be unanimous: “We will be busy”. From now until October 1 st , we will be planting food plots, setting up deer stands, and sighting in bows/rifles all for that one chance we get at that monster buck we’ve been dreaming about for months. Once October hits, we will be in the woods… because that’s where the monster buck lives.

If there aren’t any big bucks on your camera in the early season, no reason to fret. The rut is coming in November, and he will probably show up then. If the wind switches from the north, don’t ask if we have plans because down here in the south, those days are sacred. We will be busy.

This reminds me of a story from back in 2010, back when my hunting neighbor/friend had plans on a Saturday evening in sweet November. We were hunting this giant buck in Downsville, the largest buck either of us had ever seen but he was only showing up on camera at night. We were not secretive about him. In fact, we were sharing intel. A buck this size was something special and we couldn’t even lie about him.

Unfortunately for my neighbor, he had planned on a certain Saturday evening. One of his friends was getting married and he thought so much of him, that he decided to attend the wedding. Now my neighbor/friend doesn’t miss a minute of spare time in the deer stand. He hunts just as hard as me, if not harder. I’m not sure if he was a groomsman or a guest, but I am afraid to ask because this story is a sore subject.

While he was at the wedding, his father decided to drive through their hunting property for a late evening hunt. When he got to the Highline and looked down, there was a majestic 160-inch buck, point blank from his deer stand, eating in the middle of his shooting lane. The deer bounded off, never to be seen again until December 10th. How do I know he was 160 inches and last seen in December of 2010?

Well, spoiler alert, he is on my wall now, but I will tell that story later.

I don’t want to rub salt in the wound, but I’d like to thank the couple who got married that evening. I’d also like to thank my friend for “having plans” and attending. I assume he was fine with going; he and his wife are still happily married today.

We laugh about it now but in 2010, hunting that buck was no laughing matter. We weren’t in competition but we both knew we had a buck so big, of which we had never seen and would probably never see again on the Lincoln/Union Parish line. We poured countless hours into hunting him and the ONE evening he took off, the buck showed up at his stand.

On behalf of all the hunters in the area for the 2022-2023 hunting season, I’d like to speak up for everyone and let you know ahead of time… if you ask us if we have plans this weekend. WE WILL BE BUSY!

And if there is a wedding we are obligated to attend. Well, we might just show up late at the reception. You never know when that monster buck might show up!

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Dusty McGehee is a native of Downsville and a 2006 graduate of Louisiana Tech University with a bachelors in wildlife conservation. He is currently employed by WestRock and serves as an environmental engineer at the Hodge Mill. Dusty is an avid hunter and crappie fisherman, fishing crappie tournaments with his son when he is not in the woods. He and his wife Rachel have three young outdoorsmen/women: Anders, Ridge, and Mae. If you have a story idea or question about the great outdoors, you can reach Dusty at dusty.mcgehee@westrock.com.


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