Another Maryland Deer Season Has Arrived
The darkness of the night is vanishing. A new Maryland deer season is beginning. I should have been in the woods by now. I should have been sitting waiting for the new day and new season, a day only experienced once a year; Christmas to deer hunters. This opener held a lack of excitement for my adventurous soul. I am not feeling the opening day jitters of years past.
My long time hunting partner and father is no longer here on this earth to share the day. My latest hunting partner and daughter has found other interests. My good friend and favorite hunting partner is hunting another farm this morning and while we hunt together regularly, we rarely hunt together on opening day for one reason or another. While the lack of sharing the day with another family member or friend has its effect on my outlook for the day, there is another reason for the disconnect with this morning.
I walk along the edge of the railroad tracks toward my hunting spot, a place where I have hunted and killed several deer in the past. The almost morning allows me to see the flickering tails of three deer as they scamper off into the woods. It remains too dark to see enough to take aim.
I find the old log and place my green colored beach chair on the ground. I set beside me my backpack filled with the essentials of the hunt, including my lunch of leftover turkey sandwiches. What would an opening day hunt be without the leftover turkey sandwiches?
The sun rises, the special day has arrived. I am deer hunting with my rifle. An event I love so much, but am only able to do a few days each year. I sit and think of past hunting seasons, realizing I cannot remember a season when I have shot a deer in the first minutes of the opening day.
Opening Day Buck
The thought is barely out of my mind, when a buck enters my vision. Seventy yards away, he briskly walks through the woods and crosses the small stream. My Remington comes to my shoulder and the shot echoes through the grey early morning haze. Twenty minutes from home at 8:17 AM, on opening day, I am sitting in my truck enjoying the warmth of the heater and a buck is lying in the bed of the truck.
But something was missing, adventure.
Life and Adventure
Last season’s opener, I spent hunting 3,300 acres of Garrett County Mountains. That morning, I still hunted a wooded mountain ridge looking over the beginning of the Potomac River. The morning was cold, snow intermittently fell, and I only saw a few does, never making that opening morning kill. But the day was filled with hunting adventure. I placed my feet in new areas, experiencing the woods. The next two days, I hunted in single digit temperatures in a wood covered is a fresh blanket of white. I experienced the expectation that comes with discovering deer sign in the woods, formulating the hunting plans, and the wait for success. In the end, I traveled home without a deer in the bed of my truck, but my mind filled with new memories of an adventure.
Am I happy I harvested the buck on opening day this week? Yes, very much so. Am I thankful for the opportunity to hunt so close to home? Yes, I am. In its own way, this year’s hunt may have been short lived but it did provide an experience to be treasured and remembered. However, once again I am reminded that life is not always about the buck in the back of the truck, but the adventures and experiences we live while here on earth.
I have been following a like minded hunter, Mark Huelsing, this fall on his hunting journeys on his blog Sole Adventure. He’s had some great adventures this season.