Gone For The Day

Posted on October 16, 2018

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It is this total silence that stirs your very soul
with a deep sense of eerie loneliness.
The absolute stillness brings you back vivid memories
of past hunts, and you fully realize,
that it is this very solitude that keys your anticipation
and lures you back year after year.
– Mer Speltz

Change is inevitable. Perhaps not as predictable as the seasons, but modifications will indeed come. Yes, my friends, I am about to be Gone for the Day. However, rather than heading off to an unfamiliar hinterland in search of buckskin and bone where I customarily reunite with all that is wildest and most free, that will not be the case for me; at least not this autumn. Due to ongoing, unresolved health issues and a reluctance to worry my best gal who has been by my side through this lengthy malady, I’ll be hunting from home for the first time in my deer hunting career.

 

 

In preparation of this hunt, I’m reminded of the once vibrant multi-colored leaves that have long since deadened their appearance with the passing of time, and on the current of a whimsical breeze, have slipped their surly bonds floating helplessly to their death knell upon the woodland floor. Trees that were once filled to overflow capacity with nature’s fruitful bounty now stand statuesquely naked with only a remnant of nuts sporadically sprinkled beneath the skeletal limbs that first bore them. Squirrels anxiously scurry in a frenetic pace to gather all these treasures before they become buried beneath winter’s blanket, for on the slate blue horizon looms a bank head of ominous, billowing, clouds brimming with frozen precipitation. Peacefully the first flakes of snow will come sauntering down, but before long, the intensity of the storm’s fury will be unleashed, and the deer tracker’s world will quickly transform into an unsullied, featureless landscape of white.

There will undoubtedly be newfound joy and excitement within the deer tracker’s backyard bailiwick, happiness the likes of which even the most miserable of dispositions can’t extinguish. The magician has waved his magic wand producing an all-revealing tablet of pristine parchment in which the comings and goings of the forest’s inhabitants will be clearly etched. Although it’s not a yellow brick road, or the wilderness, I expect that what will be found at the end of the trail will be no less astonishing. I am however, hopeful to find the imprint of a buck that’s slower, older, and in worse shape than me; that is a buck I might be able to catch.

 

Regardless, I can still feel my pulse quicken as I type these words, due to the mere thought that in only a few days I will once again be on the track in a forest pursuing the greatest game animal God ever created. Even after forty-nine years of hunting this grand creature, the white-tailed deer, my enthusiasm for the chase and respect for the animal has yet to diminish. You see, “When pursuing whitetails,” deer historian, Rob Wegner explains, “We divert and distract ourselves from industrial madness and its laborious occupations. When we leave the city of degeneration and go to the woods, it is astounding how naturally and quickly we free ourselves from worry, tension and temper. A fresh and fragrant atmosphere once again circulates through our blood as we become submerged in nature. It’s almost like returning to the old homeland.”

And in the words of Old Flintlock Rutledge, “Now and then you will find an inveterate hunter who is constantly seeing, studying and understanding things. When you find him, you have found a man who knows as much as anybody about nature as it really is.” I am he, as Rutledge inquires,

Who haunts the lonely woods at daybreak, and sometimes lingers far in the forest until the first stars appear? Usually only the hunter does this; and by constantly pitting his intelligence against that of wild things in the wilderness, he comes to a just appreciation of their character and their ability. In addition to those pioneer virtues that all real hunters possess – their hardihood, their good sportsmanship, their patience, their capacity to take disappointment – they acquire by firsthand experience a type of knowledge of wild creatures such as no other man can attain.

 

Time is now slipping away. With several things still left to do to get myself physically prepared for what may turn out to be my most unusual hunt, I am most thankful that I will be able to don my favored green and black togs, sling my 760 and hunt! But before I bid you adieu, I wish all of you the best of deer seasons. May yours be filled with memories that will last for a lifetime and may the end of your drag rope be filled with antlers and venison. Until December my friends…Gone for the Day!

 

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Posted in: Whitetail Deer