I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about our attitudes and perceptions. The back-and-forth went from complaining about the weather to a fear of flying, and it got me to thinking about hunting.
A bright sunny day with no wind is usually not very good for duck hunting in October, but such a day is picture perfect for the hunter who is after grouse or pheasants, as long as it’s not 80 degrees. It’s a matter of seeing the day for what it is, not for what you want it to be.
We talked about little kids flying for the first time and if the parent spends weeks building up to how scary it’s going to be. There’s a pretty good chance the toddlers memories of a first plane ride will include crying and tears, instead of smiles and eyes the size of a 747 enjoying the view from 30,000 feet.
Our preparation and attitude goes a long way to our final assessment. It’s the same for hunting this fall, as it’s pretty easy to focus on the reduced availability of deer licenses, continued loss of habitat, and pheasant numbers well below where they were a decade ago.
While those are valid issues, they needn’t spoil the promise of fall. There’s still good prospects ahead for deer, ducks and pheasants, and we’ll still create memories of sunsets, good times with friends and families, and wild game in the freezer.
I’ve spent every autumn in the field since I was old enough to walk. Even before I was ready to handle a firearm, I had my BB gun at my side as dad and his crew walked the prairies chasing sharp-tailed grouse in September.
As a 3-foot-tall grade school kid I struggled through dense forests of cattails, and I’ve kicked my boots together in a feeble attempt to keep my feet warm during early morning deer hunts.
As an adult hunter I’ve forgotten maps, misplaced directions and gotten lost. I’ve been rained on more times than a June wedding day, had the wind blow our camp across a field, ran out of food and not packed warm enough socks.
Just a couple years ago after reaching my destination for a turkey hunt, I discovered I forgot my gun. But I’ve loved every minute of it – except for running low on snacks.
Remember all of this as we’re in the thick of hunting season 2015. It’s expectations and attitudes that determines the success of each hunt, and the entire fall as a whole.
If you’ve spent nary a minute scouting or prepping for a waterfowl hunt, don’t expect to shoot a limit of ducks.
If the week before deer season you find your rifle in the exact same place you put it after last deer season, don’t be surprised if the rifle is not the only rusty component of the hunt.
Practice and preparation are just two of the factors within our control that help make outdoor experiences more enjoyable. You can’t do anything about the weather, but you can make sure to have rain gear along.