My Mother-in-law came for a visit last week. She mostly likes to help with my kids and hang with her daughter. She claims to like me too, but the way I see it, I am the low man on the totem pole when stacked up against my wife and kids, so I took that opportunity to sneak out for as many hunts as possible during her visit. While I was out hunting, I got the feeling that my wife took the opportunity to reinforce her feelings to her mother that hunting is usually a complete waste of time. Appalling. Simply appalling.
I’m not afraid of the dark when I’m sitting in the light. I suspect most people feel the same way. But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never been afraid in the dark before. There was that time a screech owl tried to murder me…. that’s happened almost twenty times now. Then there was the time that I visited a city at night. That was very scary. There have been other times, too, but my first morning hunt of the year tops them all.
My deer season has gotten off to a slow start, there is no denying that. New Hampshire archery season opened on September 15th, but I was not able to hunt for the first time until the 25th and it was in an absolute downpour. It was a halfhearted attempt because of the weather, and I was mostly interested in taking the opportunity to check some trail cameras I’d set out a few weeks prior anyway.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing many bucks over the years. Their pictures take up space on my phone and cover the walls in my office. I’ve even had the pleasure of meeting a few them. Every detail of our relationship is easily recalled in my mind at a moment’s notice. I know I’m not alone here. Why is that? Remembering the items my wife told me to pick up at the grocery store only minutes before is next to impossible. But that big buck I saw three days after the season ended back in 2001 has stayed with me to this date.
There was a time in my life when I swore I’d never have to dust off my golf clubs each time I used them, miss a Sunday afternoon nap, or scout for deer in the dark. And then the other day I realized I’d done all three in the past week!
Scouting for deer in the dark, you ask? Yup. I’ve done it. Not very effectively, mind you, but I’ve done it. Last Thursday I rolled out of bed nice and early to check my trail cameras before work. Unfortunately, work starts at 7, so that meant I had to check them in the dark. Ironically, that’s exactly how I set them up – in the dark under the light up my headlamp. Knee deep into a deer season this approach can work reasonably well after you’ve had a month or two to orient yourself to the local deer patterns. But it doesn’t work nearly as well fresh off a summer of NOT being in the woods at all.