As my feet hit the porch, I could tell right away it was going to be a good day. The air was cool and crisp, a sliver-shaped moon cast barely a hint of light over the dark morning and the crickets sang in harmony. As I started my walk I was giddy and full of excitement. I had visions of that first deer of the morning coming into sight and could almost hear the faint crunch of leaves as the second deer of the morning worked in behind it.
Unfortunately it was the morning of August 15th and hunting season was still some 46 days away. Regardless of the date, just the feel of the morning put me in a good mood and calmed my nerves as I drove into work. My work day was hectic, frustrating, confusing and lasted 45 minutes past my quitting time but still wasn’t long enough to get everything done that I needed to complete. I walked towards the exit with my head in a fog and hanging low. I was a tired, beaten man.
As I swung the door open and felt the fresh air, something popped into my head. I thought back to the memory of the morning and that feeling of fall. Just like that my attitude changed, I pepped up a bit and could feel my head coming out of the 5 o’clock fog it had been in. It wasn’t fall like anymore, probably close to 80 with a warm sun, but that didn’t matter to me. My mind was back on my front porch in that crisp morning air and that was all I cared about. The worries of the day were left right there behind me and things were quickly looking up.
It’s crazy to me how therapeutic hunting can be and it never ceases to amaze me how a few days in the woods can all but erase any bad moods or bad times that may be going on for me. Some people go to church and some people go to a therapist but for me, when it comes to a mental cleansing and reboot, there is nothing that compares to few hours of solitude in the deer woods. It’s amazing the things I can think about and take care of as I scan the woods looking for deer. Things just aren’t as big of a deal when I’m out enjoying nature and taking in the things going on around me.
People, both hunters and non hunters alike, are always asking the question “what do you like about hunting”. My answer to that question tends to change a bit depending on who’s asking, but one thing that never changes is my love for simply being out there. There is something really enjoyable for me in the simple act of blending in with nature and letting it go on around you.
Make no mistake, the actual hunting is a huge, huge part of what I love about deer hunting but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped looking for deer and just spent 5 or 10 minutes watching the sun set or rise from my stand. Or how many times a deer has snuck up on me as I watched a squirrel, bird, chipmunk or some other animal go about its daily routine.
Watching a sunset like this can make a lot of life’s troubles disappear.
I’ve spent time on my stand thinking about lost family members, lost loves, lost opportunities and lost money. I sat one year and wondered what it would be like to be a father. I then sat the next year and thought about how crazy it was to now be a father. I’ve come up with song’s, made up jokes and laid out ideas for blog entries. I’ve thought way too much about some things and have also sat and thought about absolutely nothing for hours on end. I’ve listened to all kinds of animals and critters and have also listened to silence until it became deafening.
If you’re reading this blog you’re likely a deer hunter and are most probably nodding your head in agreement with some of the stuff written above. I’m sure you will also agree with me that it’s been a long summer and it has been far too long since you last hit the deer woods.
Take solace in the fact that hunting season will be here before you know it, but in the meantime that rush of adrenalin that will fuel your soul is no more than a cool crisp August morning away.
Images courtesy of Whitetail Weekly