I cursed at a trail camera the other day. Had it out for five days in an area where I knew a good buck lives and, when I plugged the memory card into my computer, 34 of the forty images were black. I spent a day being mad at the camera. Checked the batteries, banged my card-reader on my desk. Even tried to photo-shop a couple of the black holes into visibility. Nada.

Then I realized I hadn’t programmed the thing correctly. I’d accidentally programmed it out of flash mode, a move that naturally renders a trail cam useless when deer are most likely to show. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Deer season is a little over a month away and I’m a wreck. Doing lots of busy little prep-things that don’t amount to squat; counting tree steps, taking a stand inventory, marking arrows that need repair….Just lots of busy work I convince myself is important, but what amounts to little more than pacing the floor. And, as the camera-thing illustrates, probably not doing much of anything very well.

So what about you? How do bide time as you count the days? Last weekend, I accepted an invite to take a deer drive with one of my buddies on property he manages for his employer. The place resembled a whitetail zoo; we glassed close to 50 bucks (including some real studs) in one four-mile stretch of road. I was jazzed at the time, but the next day my illness was worse. And then my buddy sent me the trail cam pics below. “These are a couple we didn’t see,” he joked in his email. “You should come back again and see if we can find the real toads.”

Well, maybe. Until then, I’ve got a trail cam to set out again. This time, I’m gonna let my kids program the thing….