Lots of people cannot conceive why an otherwise intelligent person, not facing starvation, would venture out into the cold woods in 22 F weather. After all there is no tv, no www, no cell coverage there.
For the majority of the year, I am running hither and yon, I am emailing, texting, talking on the phone. I am trying to resolve problems, many of my own creation. I am proposing this project or that, I am trying to teach this or that. Sometimes I am studying, sometimes writing, sometimes talking, but not so often thinking quietly.
All that changes with deer season. In mid-October the archery season begins. The odds of killing a deer with a bow, especially for me, are quite low. But, the joy of sitting quietly in the woods, the joy of seeing sunrise, the joy of seeing the woods wake up, is an irresistible draw for me.
This is the quietest it gets in the modern world. The first sound is a squirrel coming down a tree to search for acorns in the dry leaves. Now a titmouse lights in the dead tree next to my elevated perch. A crow calls in the distance, and a pileated woodpecker calls nearby. The blue jays, the ruby-crowned kinglets, the cardinals sprinkled the dark gray woods with sparks of light.
Bow season is quietly replaced by a week of muzzle-loader hunting. This week we pour a measured dose of black-powder down a long heavy barrel, and follow that with a separate 50-caliber bullet. The gun looks antique, and connects me with a couple hundred years of our forefathers, who hunted to stave off starvation. We have different motives, but share some of the joys of the hunt. Just I am under considerably less pressure for success than they were.
After a short week we are at the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In Alabama that is opening day of modern gun hunting. Many citizens have been waiting for this day since the 31st of January earlier that year. It will be high excitement, as it is for about 11 million of my fellow deer hunters across the USA.
When the kids were little, we needed about 5 whitetails per year to give us lean, organic, free-range meat. Now one or two deer is all we need.
Our kids ate a lot of it when they were growing up. Our son David would whine a bit about eating nothing but venison as mostly our only red meat. When he came home this Christmas, and Brenda asked him what special food to prepare, he said, “venison”.
We’ll continue this another day, there’s just too much to tell. It you are highly sensitive, look away, you can look next time.
Dec 2013 deer Bobby Mc and I killed same day.