Sweet Dreams

Posted on August 19, 2014



I dreamed a dream in time gone by                              

When hope was high and life worth living – Les Miserables


The dog days of August are arguably the most boring and typically, the hottest and often humid time of the year. The phrase ‘dog days’ was actually coined by the ancient Romans, who named them after the constellation of Canis Major (bigger dog), within which the star Sirius is found. As the hottest and most humid days of summer generally coincided with the period where Sirius rose/set with the sun, they believed that heat from Sirius was increasing the heat of the sun. And as Paul Harvey would say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

But it is not heat and humidity that the deer hunter is thinking about – he’s had enough of that by now – its multi-branch antlered bucks that are dancing in his head. As he sits on a warm sandy beach alongside his family, with the sound of surf, seagulls and screaming mothers yelling to their kids, “Come back towards shore”, his mind is distracted by whitetail visions. With his nose firmly planted in the latest deer magazine or book, he scarcely notices the other beach scenery in front of him. That’s a good thing based on the fact that his bride is probably sitting within striking distance. You have to admit, there is something to be said about the white-tailed deer being a positive distraction.

Regardless of where the annual summer family vacation may be, or whatever is planned for activities during this time, the whitetail enthusiasts thoughts will quite naturally gravitate towards deer and the hunting of the animal. This is not to imply that deer hunters only take vacations to placate family obligations, nor should it be misconstrued as an even trade off for time in the deer woods come autumn, it’s simply to point out the way we deer hunters actually think.


August is the time when we begin to mentally strategize, formulate and dream about the approaching deer season. It comes at a point in the year when we are most relaxed; yet, with the season looming close, the initial stage of anticipation is kindled. Memories from the season past, good and bad, have long since been erased, and nothing but positive expectations now fill our head.

It is easy for us to look to the future and make mental predictions. Indeed, hope does spring eternal. Like another at bat during a baseball game, in spite of the results of your last plate appearance, you now get a fresh opportunity. After all, our remembrance of things past is really anything but perfect. We as hunters, as well as human beings, have a real passion for control. Without feeling like we are in control, our emotions become helpless, hopeless and depressed. Dreaming about the future deer season not only puts us in control, but also allows us to direct the action and imagine our desired result without having to be concerned with all of the difficulties involved in the actual hunt. Thinking about the future is pleasurable. Even as you read this right now your mind begins to daydream. Whether you’re in a coffee shop, recliner at home, on vacation in a secluded location, or amidst co-workers, you automatically begin to drift to your favorite hunting bailiwick. The buck is leaping a windfall coming straight at you, or he is slinking in towards your shooting lane with but one step to go. The factitious buck may even be bedded as you sneak up within shooting distance of the unsuspecting beast. In spite of the various hunting scenarios that each of us will imagine, the ending is always the same. A triumphant hero wraps his fingers around a huge set of antlers with a victorious grin. We can easily envision ourselves posing for a camera shot that is sure to grace the cover of our favorite hunting periodical. But after all, isn’t that why they are called daydreams rather than nightmares?


August is also when we make acquisitions, adding accouterments to what has now become a storage bin overflowing with an assortment of stuff we think we need. Products, accessories, gear and gadgets that at this time of the year makes perfect sense to purchase. It’s simple to convince ourselves that this piece of equipment is something that will benefit us and is sure to aid in our success. However, how often has been the case that despite the clever marketing campaign prompting us to make the purchases, come fall, we realize it either doesn’t live up to its billing, or it’s really something we could have lived without. How often we become lulled into believing that there exists a magic bullet guaranteeing us success. We, like lambs being led to the slaughter, buy into the notion that if we have that specific gun, bow, grunt tube, brand of camo, scent elimination system or tree stand, we could be more successful. After all, our deer hunting heroes are pictured with the products! If it is good for them, it must benefit us in our quest to duplicate their accomplishments. This irrational thought process, one that plagues most deer hunters at this time of the year has to be the result of either the sun’s intensity hitting our uncovered head, or too much free time on our hands.


Yes indeed, from a lawn chair, hammock, porch swing or even stump placed next to a roaring campfire, the deer hunter is in serious preparations for the forthcoming season. To the casual observer it would seem that he is nothing more than a relaxed vacationer, but to those who know him intimately, wives, girlfriends, kids and fellow hunters stricken with the same disease, they know differently. Inside that cranium is flowing mental images of bounding bucks, sounds of rifle shots echoing across hidden basins, an assortment of smells ranging from gunpowder to doe-in-estrus urine, and the feeling of tranquility that only truly comes as the sun rises while sitting in your deer stand.


As the dog days of summer begin to fade on the horizon like the tranquil amber after-glow of an evening sunset, we too are aroused from our whimsical dreams. The hunter’s grandest season is about to arrive where reality must replace imaginings. But for now, for just a little while longer, dream on. After all, sometimes dreams really do come true.



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Posted in: Whitetail Deer