The deer have got me discombobulated, there is no doubt. My time lugging the ol’ smokepole around the New Hampshire woods has yielded zero pounds of venison for the fridge, though I did have a chip shot opportunity at a lone doe. I decided to pass on her since it was the first day and since I know the woods are crawling with 200” class bucks. One of them is bound to walk by me in the daylight at some point. When it does, I’ll be sure to share a picture and lie about the location.
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.
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.
Another summer has come and gone and with it the satisfaction of checking off some summer goals and the disappointment of not checking off some others. My summer was as busy as I can ever recall. Work has sucked up a lot of my time, eleven-month-old Oliver has put a serious dent in my blog writing time, and house projects I’ve been putting off for years and years took up what was left. We did manage to slip in a family vacation, so I don’t have any complaints there. As far as my time in the woods goes, I haven’t set foot in it since I shot my second turkey at the end of May. It’s depressing to think about.
Just what is the biggest threat that hunting faces today? Is it shrinking participation numbers or accessible land to hunt? Maybe it’s anti-hunters? It must be Social Media, right? Is it Chronic Wasting Disease? I know, it’s climate change! Maybe it’s a combination of many different things, or maybe it all funnels back to one main reason.