The Days Before Deer Season
As the days in September pass, I can't help but feel the air changing. I can't help but to look at the calendar and then pinch myself. Thinking, "Is it really mid-September already?" I then proceed to go down the list of things that I have yet to accomplish before it's hunting time. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were chasing spring turkeys and bowfishing. Now the fall breeze is beginning to blow.
It really is crazy how time can fly, especially in the outdoors. You get to a certain point where one season morphs into the next. At least that is where I'm at these days. So focused on the mission and the various objectives in between that it feels like a blur. That's the gist of what I want to discuss in today's post. I want to talk about perspective in the days before deer season. Maybe you're in the early goings of your particular season, but go along with me.
I think that this is a great time of the year to calibrate the compass and really soak in the moment. Before all of the madness of the peak fall hunting season really hits us. It's something that I know I need to do more of but typically neglect. Living in the moment is a key to life and a definite key for anyone crazy enough to chase wild animals around the backcountry with a camera in hand.
When we fail to live in the moment, life just loses its luster. Even our beloved whitetail deer hunting season can become a chore, and I've been there before. You lose sight of what really matters and become engulfed in trying to accomplish some kind of goal. Killing a certain class of trophy buck, filling a certain number of tags, or trying to film all of the above with your camera. The nuances of hunting and life can consume you, so I think it's important to really gain some perspective before you step into something like a 3-month or better hunting season.
I'm looking at two weeks before the state of Ohio will kick off its nearly 4-month long archery deer hunting season. A season that I know will change how I live my life, for better and for worse at some points. There will be incredible ups (hopefully) and plenty of downs. Just because that's the life of a deer hunter. This is an unknown journey that can literally take you to the peak of emotional highs and the pits of emotional lows. It can energize you to your core and drain you in the same breath.
I could sit here and ramble on about all of the specific goals that I have this season, but that's not the point. The point is that this is the perfect time of the year to sit back and really thank God for what we're about to partake in. I say this often, but we really do have to remember that some of our hunting brothers and sisters won't be joining us on opening day this year. Those of us who are lucky enough to hit the woods should cherish the opportunity to simply kick off another season. Not everyone gets to do it.
That child-like excitement that bowhunters are feeling at this time of the year is something that I wish I could bottle up and save for a rainy day. A day in November when it's literally raining and I've been up at 4:00 a.m. for an entire week to see as many deer as I can count on one hand. That raw excitement that we feel in anticipation of the season to come should remind us of what really matters. It's all about the journey, the tradition, and the distinct honor of sharing God's country with these incredible wild creatures. And it's definitely about spending time in the field with friends and family.
I guess what I am really saying is that we should focus on the journey and the process. Focus on enjoying all of the little things that make the outdoors special and it may just culminate to make something magical. Cliché, I know, but I definitely know that I need to hear it. I'd bet that someone else out there needs to hear it as well.
When it's mid-November and we're all so enamored with trying to run an arrow through a giant buck, we will probably need to hear it again. It's always easy to lose perspective and forget about how awesome this lifestyle truly is, and that's what I'm trying to remind us of collectively. Whether you're hunting public ground or a private ranch, you're incredibly lucky to start another hunting season. Go ahead and read that again.
It's not about how many deer you kill, how big the horns are, or who looks the coolest doing it. Hunting is an all-encompassing lifestyle, and I think we have lost a little bit of perspective on that in recent times. We're so worried about who kills the biggest buck or lays down the sickest film that we forgot how this is supposed to be done. Hunting is supposed to be fun, relaxing and rewarding. Again, it's a lifestyle.
I am by no means saying that we shouldn't strive for special things when we're hunting. What I am saying is that we should all strive for pure, unfiltered enjoyment when we're hunting. That most certainly comes with variety. My enjoyment may be chasing mature bucks with a video camera, while your enjoyment may simply be harvesting a doe to feed your family on public ground.
If we're both enjoying our version of the hunting lifestyle, we're winning.
Just take a second to focus on that thought of enjoying the season to come. However that may look for you. The days before deer season are the perfect time to set the tone.