Friday, Oct. 23, 2020

Today didn’t go as well as I had planned. It was 76 degrees when I got out of my truck. I basically wanted to check something out for tomorrow, the opening day of rifle season.

I covered a lot of ground quickly, but the sweat poured off my forehead. Surprisingly, the leaf cover was gone. In a few days, the leaves had fallen from the lower trees and added to the leaf-covered forest floor. Once again, I felt at home when I sat back and looked at everything in front of me.

I got to the area where I wanted to sit in about 45 minutes. Although it was steamy, I still expected to see a deer. Something in my gut told me I would get an opportunity, and that is the reason why I headed into the woods after I got out of work.

I sat in a place where my father has shot a few deer in the past. We have both seen a lot of bucks while sitting in the area, and I know it’s good at all times during hunting season. I never feel at a disadvantage when I go there.

Today, I felt lonely when I was sitting there. I’m unsure if my dad will ever be able to hunt in that place again, and I never imagined I would be saying something like that this year. I won’t try to be a tough guy and tell all of you that it doesn’t bother me. My father is and has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I could never ask for a better friend or father.

Before I headed into the woods, I was lucky enough to see two of the best hunters I’ve ever been around sitting on the porch talking about old times. Dad and Rob Miner are realizing they are the old guys who they once hunted with when they were younger. They are the men who people look up to and want to model their deer hunting adventures after. Luckily, I’ve been a part of many of those adventures they’ve shared. It seems like it was yesterday when Rob told his son Chris to avoid walking on an ice-covered rock during our walk into the woods in the pitch black. His son ignored him and fell on his face. Heck, we were just kids then, and it seems like was only a few weeks ago.

It seems like five seasons ago when I spotted a small buck appear in the fog in front of me. I slowly pulled the hammer back on my Uncle Claude’s, who had died years earlier, .35 and began squeezing the trigger. When the thunder rang through the fog, my father’s voice touched my ears.

“Did you get him?”

Sure enough, I had gotten him. It was my first buck, a 4-pointer (5 by Vermont standards). Damn, I wish I could go back in time and enjoy it again, but I’ve learned to live every day and enjoy every minute. We’ve shared so many more experiences since that day I had to get out of the woods to get to work at McDonald’s for the night shift.

Today was a day of reflection. I enjoyed my day out, even if it was 76 degrees.

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