No luck yet for me, hunting in Kelsey, but a couple fresh rubs nearby. Anyone else having luck?
You know the feeling. You just sat down on your bucket in your stand, it’s at little after 6 a.m. It’s still dark but you can see a sliver of light starting to climb in the southeastern horizon. Your heart is beating from your walk in and you feel so warm your thinking there is no way it is 28 degrees.
Within minutes your sweat starts to cool you down and you quickly put back on your tossle cap as you feel that cool chill creep under your skin. Maybe it is below freezing you think as you sinch up your jacket collar. As you settle it, you double check to make sure your trusty rifle is in that perfect spot to get it into shooting position when and if that time comes.
You are well versed at that drill as the morning forest has a way of fooling your senses as a part of her morning entertainment. Minutes turn to hours, dark to light as the forest wakes, the eastern sky starts to paint a pink horizon, it’s one if those, 1 of 1, priceless pieces of art that is amazing each year.
As you sit scanning for any movement you notice things to the west are starting to lighten up as the rays of the sun paint the treetops. You sit, you wait, you think, you reflect. Yes, opening morning of deer hunting, millions of Minnesota deer hunters take to their perch high up in their tree hoping to harvest a deer, hopefully a buck. But to most hunters it is much more then that. It is continuing traditions passed down by generations, starting new traditions with family and stepping away from all the distractions in life to just climb up in your stand and sit.
As the forest, now fully awake, continues to brighten you start to see how much has changed but how at its roots everything is the same. Natures is a good reflection of life. Old trees have gotten older and wiser, some are no longer there, new trees have grown up, familar paths and trails are changed and rerouted, nests are gone, replaced with new ones and the brush and plants with the smallest roots seems to always be the most vulnerable.
My 20+ year-old stand is weathered but sturdy in the same spot it has always been. Sure, its needed some repairs here and there, but haven’t we all? The point is hunting can be so much more then the hunt. As years go by things change, your path is constantly changing, we are growing, kids are growing, but like a forest at its foundation is unchanged. Yearly traditions are a great way to keep in touch with that which is unchanged and reflect with the people you know best about what has passed and what is yet to come.
The sky is now blue, birds and critters are strumming about. It always amazes me how much that small squirrel can make my heart rate rise as I think it might be the one. Nope, damn it, just a squirrel. A hawk just flew over my head and its always cool to hear the noise of the powerful wings in flight. Yep if you’re like me and you hunt, you know the feeling.
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