This past, early Saturday morning,  I just about filled my britches. I didn't know whether to turn around and run back to the pickup or to just keep walking to my stand where I was hunting archery deer in South Dakota.

When I was growing up, I was afraid of the dark. I hated going out to the barn to check on the horses or 4-H calves late at night if the lights were off. Hated it. Than, I started bow hunting and quickly realized that I was going to have to overcome any fear of the dark I may still have. Up until Saturday morning I thought I had it under control. I was wrong.

I like to be out and up in the stand siting and ready a full 30 minutes before legal shooting time. So if the sun rises at 7:15 AM, I like to be sitting at 6:15 AM. Yep, it's still dark. I got to my spot, dressed beside the truck, double checked and crossed the fence and started down the hill.

I won't give away where I hunt, but I'll tell you it's along a river, with a sizable creek that empties into it. I was walking along the creek, in the dark and BANG! It sounded like someone had taken a wooden fence post and threw it against the side of a barn. What the hell was that? A beaver slapping a tail? If it was a tree falling in the woods I certainly now knew the answer to that age old question.

I kept going to my stand. Turkeys had decided to roost down lower, because of the windy conditions the days before and they were exploding out of the trees. The guys on the hunting shows would have been laughing their butts off watching me. I soldiered on, climbed up and tied on. But the sounds continued.

Some of the sounds were like rifle shots, some were closer to a sound effect you might download and use for radio production. I thought about recording the sounds, and I should have, but I didn't. The sounds were coming from behind me to my right and to my left.

Well, it's the Saturday. Maybe some of the locals had too much fun last night and decided to come out and raise some heck.

As the sun came up, deer started to appear. They were coming through doing what they do in November and didn't seem to be the bit surprised by it. It wasn't till then that I started adding things up.

I looked behind and noticed a thin layer of ice on the creek. I heard another crack and slowly turned around. There, the ice was now cracked!  It wasn't till then that I recalled reading about ice making a loud cracking noise. Maybe it was Call Of The Wild by Jack London or Little House On The Prairie. The sounds continued and I was pretty sure that's what it was.

It wasn't till I got to the house and was talking to the landowner who said, You got to hear that this morning? I said Yep! They said, yes, I've heard it before, it can come from all over, up the river, down the river and it can be LOUD! 

How about you? Have you ever been around ice cracking and making loud noises? I've talked to a couple ice fisherman and they say yes it can be quite loud!

Share this with your hunting friends and outdoor enthusiasts. Maybe if we spread the word, other hunters won't be as wigged out as I was this past Saturday morning.

Have a cool hunting story you would like to share? Write it up and send it to me jdcollins@kikn.com.