A few mornings ago, despite wind gusts of 30 mph, I took my Nosler 6.5/284 to the range to check its zero so that I can go to Maine and freeze for a week. The first shot, out of a clean barrel, went precisely where it should. I mean, precisely. The second shot went through the hole made by the first. I let out a senile cackle of pure joy, packed up my stuff, and left. Treasure moments like these. They make up for all the times when your bullets are flying everywhere but where they should.

Remember when you are on stand that it is not all right to read or sleep. Every big deer that I’ve killed from a stand was going somewhere in a hurry, and I saw them for only a few seconds. If you’re engrossed in “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm,” you’ll never know you had a visitor. If you fall asleep, dream that you are naked and being snapped with a wet rat-tail towel by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. This will bring you awake gibbering with such terror that you will not fall asleep again that day.

Turn your damned scope down to 4X. Right now. Do it.

Don’t dither when faced with the decision to shoot or not to shoot. If you want an eating deer, so be it. If you want to hold out for something to hang on the wall, you should have a very good idea of what you’re looking for before your finger goes near the trigger. You will have only a few seconds to shoot or not shoot, and you have to do your deciding beforehand.