Three…two…one…happy new year! Welcome to the 2012 Michigan deer season!
It will have been 272 days from my last hunt when I take to the woods the morning of October 1st. If you are wondering, that is 6,528 hours or 391,680 minutes since I last played the role of “predator” against a whitetail deer. It’s a role that I truly love to play and the wait between the end of the prior season and the start of the new season is always agonizingly long.
It’s likely that if you are reading this you are also a deer hunter and you probably feel the same way I do. Hopefully you will be joining me in the deer woods on the morning of October 1st to get the season started and put that long wait behind you. Good luck to all my fellow hunters out there as we embark on the 2012 deer season.
This off season has been a rocky one across our great state. We’ve had a massive wildfire in the Upper Peninsula, drought conditions and scorching heat through most of the summer and a long, hard battle with epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) in the lower half of the lower peninsula. These factors have led to some people having a negative outlook for the upcoming season which is why it’s more important than ever to remember that regardless of the number of deer seen or whether or not a deer was harvested, the memories made are what really matter in the end.
A good year for the majority of hunters only includes the harvest of one, two or maybe three deer over the course of the entire season but if you were to count up the number of fond memories created during the year it would be much, much higher than the number of kills recorded. Enjoying a deer camp with your buddies, early morning coffee and strategizing before the hunt or a slow walk through the pre-dawn darkness are all moments that we as hunters need to be sure to enjoy.
Of course it’s also important to remember that all the good times and good memories in the world are useless if you aren’t around to enjoy them for years to come. With that in mind please be safe as we take to the woods this season. It’s becoming all too common to hear of hunters getting injured or even losing their lives while out doing what they love to do.
Take those extra few seconds to strap yourself into the tree or to unload your firearm before lowering it down at the end of the hunt. If you’re hunting alone be sure to let someone know where you’ll be and check in when your hunt is finished. If you have a deer to drag be sure to give a friend a call or wait for a hunting buddy to show up and help. I know that excitement can easily get the better of common sense or patience and can cause some poor decision making but keeping safety at the forefront of your thought process will help you make the right decisions and get home to share the memories of your hunt with those around you.
Speaking of excitement, it is really starting to build for me as we are now only a few short days away. I have sorted all my gear, washed all my clothes and started the pile of stuff that will get loaded into the car. I got out this afternoon and shot my bow for a while to make sure things were good to go and ready for the season.
We’ve done habitat work and planted food plots, we’ve scouted and gotten a good look at the bucks we’ll be after this year, we’ve checked and set our stands and have been practiced our shooting all summer. The time for preparation is over and it’s now finally time to hit the woods.
I wish all of you good luck this season. Have fun, hunt hard and hunt safe.
This article originally appeared on the Whitetail Weekly blog on Michigan-Sportsman.com.