Deer hunting -- worth the argument
How many articles have we read regarding baiting, minimum antler size, how long to track a lost deer, the number of hunting seasons, the quantity of deer actually killed each year versus what gets reported, etc? These same discussions not only heat up the pages of our favorite hunting magazine, but our local taverns, and our own hunting camps.
Because when we aren't hunting, we want to talk about hunting.
What past time do you know spurs so much conversation, long winded tales, and outright fabrications? I don't hear anyone regaling a group of bowling alley buddies, sitting in their bowling shirts off season, about the 7-10 split they made 3 years ago, or the elusive mystery round they never seem to hit.
We are a group of addicts. We eat, drink, sleep, and breathe this stuff.
All I have to do on a long work day is fire up just one e-mail to my deer hunting buddies about what's on tap for this next year and away they go for hours. The electronic campfire is a blaze with stories of the new tractor they are going to buy to till up this year's foodplot, or the new bow that will make them even more invincible in the deer woods to the point where the bucks might as well just lay down and wait to be harvested.
We love the sport to a fault. Many of us think about deer hunting every day of the year. Whether on line scanning satellite photos of a new hunting ground, or picking out tree stand locations on properties that we don't even have access to as we make our daily commute from home to work.
Billions of dollars gets poured into this religion, willingly, and what we receive back is a piece of mind that can help heal what ails us, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
How many times have you sorted out all of the worlds problems sitting on the stand? Or have been able to think of absolutely nothing but the sound of your own heart beating in your ears on a dead silent morning. If you can take yourself back to that moment in this hectic world, it can bring you a calming peace, even for a brief moment. That is exactly what we latch on to. The thought of hard work that pays off with the harvest of a nice buck on the edge of a properly prepared foodplot. The satisfaction of taking a deer with a bow that we crafted with our own hands from a tree. The emotion of watching a friend or relative experience their first hunt. I go to these places regularly.
When life gets me down I rarely revert to the negative. Why spend time feeling bad for yourself where you can go somewhere in your mind that brings fond memories and hope for the future.
We are five months away from this year's opener and I am absolutely fixated on what is in store for this year. The trail cams are already out. I can't wait for the last Michigan frost to be gone so that the foodplot can go in, and I have already begun to convince myself about why I need another piece of camo, piece of gear for my bow, and the next new hunting video.
What is wrong with being this way?
I see nothing possibly wrong. It doesn't hurt anybody. I live, as many of you do, in a mental world where I imagine only good things. Opening day, the first frosty sunlit morning, and my hand on the warm body of the beast that has given in to my bow.
It is certain that we will not all agree on how we manage the deer herd. Whether or not baiting is good or bad and what motivates us to hunt the way we do, but that's okay. We are all out there living it. Some may need to adjust their thinking a little so that we can maintain the sport that we love, but we are all out there.
If hunting can give this much personal serenity, friendly conversation between buddies, and out and out debate amongst the believers in the purity of the sport, I say that it is worth the argument.
See you in the Wilderness.
Ted Rickabus is addicted to hunting whitetails. He loves talking about the hunting experience and spending time with those who are equally into the outdoors. Visit his website at www.deerhuntingaddicts.com or email him at
By Ted Rickabus
June 01, 2011