The day was everything my uncle had planned. And more! With less than a month until gun season, it was to be his 60th; he was all about the preparation.

He’d had some lean years in the beginning, but for the most part had eaten a lot of venison over the decades he’d spent in these Ozark hills and hollows. And he always credited the planning.

Bismarck, ND July 8,2011-- Storm clouds and high winds prompted a tornado warning for Bismarck,ND  The area is also experiencing flooding because the Missouri River has overflowed its' banks.  Recent rain and heavy snow melt has caused the Missouri River to rise to record levels.  Photo by Patsy Lynch/FEMA

The day he’d selected for this important pre-season scouting was supposed to be one of furious activity according to the lunar charts, and a moderate fall day with a bit of overcast according to the National Weather Service.

He met his two comrades; both of whom had shared the better part of the last half-century by his side in these adventures. One a doctor, retired; the other a disbarred attorney. His military background helped to round out their trio of professional experience.

The night before, my uncle’s kitchen table was covered with maps. These, in turn, were covered with multi-colored lines depicting projected wind currents and temperature rises, possible mast crops and bedding areas. And the lists.

Supply lists. Gear. Food. And the assignments. Who would walk which hollow. Who would cook each meal.

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