Christmas In September

Deer Hunting

Hunters everywhere are preparing for the upcoming deer season; working on shooting form and accuracy, hanging stands, and checking equipment. The level of anticipation ratchets up with every sighting or trail camera picture of a shooter buck.

We have a photo of one buck in particular that I would sure like to meet up with at some point during the season. The possibility of encounters with animals like him is what gets us hunters so excited as we count down the days.

Yes, opening day of deer season is like Christmas in September for many hunters. Like youngsters eager to see what those wrapped boxes contain, we can’t wait to see what the next few months have in store for us. Will we be the boy who unwraps the new toy for which he’s been begging for months? Or the one who receives underwear? And if the season doesn’t go our way, will we still be grateful for the experience?

With a buck tag in my pocket and the sun dropping below the horizon on the final day of the season, will I have a positive attitude and good memories of the hunt? Or will I be bitterly disappointed and feel like a failure?

What is an unsuccessful hunter anyway? The one who hunts the whole season and never gets a shot? The one who does get a shot, but blows it? I don’t think so. I believe an unsuccessful hunter is one who fails to appreciate the experience. The one who doesn’t share it with at least one family member or good friend. He is also the one who kills a big buck, but still can’t be satisfied. He is the driven, goal-oriented hunter who defines success only as the killing of a trophy buck.

It is all too easy to get caught up in the chase and forget that we hunt for fun. I know; I’ve been there myself. The expectations and goals we set for ourselves turn hunting into a chore. When we get so close to closing the deal on a buck and some little thing goes wrong, it is very easy to get frustrated. But why, exactly, do we get frustrated? Do we want hunting to be easy? Do we have something to prove?

This season, let’s try to not become so obsessed with a destination that we fail to enjoy the journey. After all, we can be masters of strategy and dedicated students of the whitetail and, when all is said and done, chance still plays a major role in the outcome of all our efforts. We can do everything right and still come up empty-handed. And then the choice is ours. We can become bitter and start placing blame on circumstances and other people, or we can resolve to take what we can from the season and be grateful for all the little ways in which hunting can enrich our lives.

Henry Hershberger
Hillcrest Lumber

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