It’s the opening day of deer gun season. This, to big boys, is what Christmas Day is to little boys.
It’s so revered and anticipated that we can’t sleep the night before. This is about my 35th deer season opening day.
The anticipation never changes, but other things do. It used to be with my dad, then with friends or by myself.
Now the highlight of opening day is hunting with both sons Benji and Jon. Opening day is a legacy of the past, present and future and it’s best with family.
I remember my first opening days were always travel days to Jackson or Adams Counties. They had deer herds way before we did here in Scioto County.
My first three opening days yielded a deer on the ground within the first hour each day. This was done with a 20-gauge double-barrel with a bead sight. Yes, things have changed.
Today, we have rifled barrels, saboted slugs, range finders, scents, scent cover-ups, Cadillac four-wheelers, GPS and every imaginable device the outfitters can market. Yes, unfortunately, it’s way too much about money now. Personally, I can’t put a price tag on hunting.
I’ve been hunting Scioto County now for the last fifteen years and it’s for several reasons – first, we have a significant deer herd; second, I know a lot of farmers; and third, the habitat is good. I’ve been hunting enough different herds to see several genetic issues.
One area might produce wide racks and one might produce tall racks. Adams County Plum Run will have limestone-rich heavy thick racks. Urban herds will stunt.
I’m hunting today on the property of a lifelong friend. It’s 200 acres of woods and deer. As the season progresses, we will hunt on four or five similar situations.
It’s very rewarding to have friends that allow hunting permission to friends for the sport of hunting. Unfortunately, this is another change in our sport.
The property where we spent the last five opening days is leased this year. This is not about the values or legacy of hunting in this country, it’s about the almighty dollar.
The day I lease land to hunt, I will forsake all values of fair chase and hunt with a heat-seeking missile.
Let’s give thanks today, for good health, the freedom to have guns and to hunt, the deer herd, good weather, two sons to hunt with and the opportunity and permission granted by stewards of the land — the land owners. This is written about eight a.m. and I should now refrain from reflection on the past and move some deer.
I’m not getting old, but it did take me till 8:30 to get my deer today. Now I’ll be trying to move deer for my hunting buddies, good luck to all.