When I chat with non-hunters, they always seem to ask the same questions and make the same comments. “How can you sit in the rain, snow and the cold for hours and enjoy it? I think I would be bored if I had to sit still for hours, and not to mention what’s the point if you don’t see anything?” The funny part to this story is I sometimes ask myself these same questions and wonder why in the heck I’m not at home warm and comfortable. However, when light snow starts to fall or there’s a hard frost from the night before I just can’t help myself from needing the outdoors.
I once had a standing tradition with a long time friend during college to drop everything on the first snowfall and go fly fishing. The cold breeze, light snow and all the sounds made for a remarkable experience. The smell of the coming winter warmed my heart by assuring me that all my daily problems were truly nothing but distractions from life itself. Even though I haven’t held up that tradition the past four years, I still relive those moments every year when winter arrives.
My addiction to the outdoors is hard to explain to others and I find it even harder to control. An alcoholic can wake up with a terrible hangover but still have an uncontrollable craving to drink again, and the same can be said for the habits of a smoker or even a shopaholic. I guess we all have our vices, addictions and desires. My addiction just so happens to be a wool cap, freezing rain and my bow or traps depending on the season. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my hands in ice cold water trapping beaver or chased wild game in the nastiest weather conditions, but I can say that even though my traps were empty or I didn’t see any deer I still find myself longing for tomorrow to come so I may try again. The tradition of trial and error is the great outdoors and it is my addiction.
Wolf hunting has proven no exception when it comes to trial and error. For the last few days my hunting partner, Ed Johnson, and I have been going toe to toe with wolves and we have yet to see anything during hunting hours. Using predator calls, baits and game cameras we are trying everything in the book to get these master predators to show up during daylight. The wolves at my bait site had been shy the first few nights, leaving me to wonder about my location and my odds of being successful. However, this morning when checking my stand location with our guide Keith A. of Bluffy Lake Lodge, I was excited to see things had changed after I left the night before. The signs around the bait site and the trail camera showed 2-3 wolves had come in about an hour after I had left to turn in for the night. Besides destroying my bait, one of the wolves left behind tracks that measure about the diameter of a softball. Needless to say, my hopes and excitement are now through the roof and I can’t wait for tonight’s hunt to come.
With only three more days to hunt we are still very hopeful to have a successful harvest, but even if I leave on Saturday with only memories and experience I will be extremely pleased. In the end, I may never be able to fully explain to my fiancée why I hunt or ever convince an non-hunter to change their mind, but I can admit that I have an addiction to the outdoors, an addiction to trial and error. I only hope that someday they too will live for the smell of a soft rain, the sounds of life awakening on a spring morning and the comfort that a view from a treestand brings as fall pulls leaves from the forest crown.
Check out Heath’s article about his first day wolf hunting here. Keep following Outdoor Hub for more updates from Ed and Heath as their hunt continues.