Public land hunting can work for you or against you. In this case it worked out for me. After dropping off a couple other hunters I headed for my intended stand location. As I arrived in the area, I saw a flashlight in the distance and it was coming closer. The other hunter had been set up about 75-100 yards from where I was looking to sit. After a short, respectful talk between hunters, I moved off the top of the ridge and on to the side hill. In this case, if it weren't for another hunters concern with safety, this buck may not have crossed my path.
About an hour after shooting time, I heard a deer working up the side hill in front of me but I couldn't see it because of terrain. Finally, after a few minutes, I saw a rack emerge over the crest of a ridge point 60 yards below.
I then took in the moment as I watched the buck methodically move about the terrain. With the wind blowing up the mountain, the buck was cutting the wind by walking parallel to the ridge a few yards then turning up a few yards. When he stopped, he would carefully scan his surroundings before moving. It was something I had seen before but something I never get tired of watching.
The buck repeated this movement until he had closed the distance to about 35 yards and had turned straight up the ridge directly facing me. Unknown to me at the time is I had set up in direct sight line with the same trail he apparently intended to use in climbing the ridge further. He instantly knew something was amiss but he hesitated just long enough for me to squeeze off a well placed shot. The buck dropped where he stood. I thanked the buck and spent the rest of the morning waiting for others around me to fill their tags.
At lunch time, my adult son who I haven't hunted with in several years came over and for the first time helped drag my buck out of the woods. He didn't fill a tag but had a blast seeing a bunch of deer and helping his dad drag one out.