Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021

  Looking at the thermometer when I got out of bed, I didn’t know what to think when the mercury was settled in at the 7-degree mark.  Call me strange, but I’ve been waiting for a day like today for a while. I tend to like cold and crunchy days, and I knew that was what I was going to get. 

  As I got out of the truck and began my journey into the darkness, my eyes lost focus numerous times. Glistening sparkles lit up the woods in front of me as my headlamp danced along the trail ahead of me. At times, the brightness made me dizzy, and I had to pause to take in the magnificent sight.  I’m pretty sure I have never experiences anything quite like it, so I tried to take it in and enjoy the show. 

  An hour and fifteen minutes later, I found myself at the base of a huge hemlock tree where I wanted to sit. I felt confident that my season would be over within a few hours. 

  As one hour led into the next, I realized it probably wasn’t going to happen today. Then, at 11:15, I could hear a deer crunching through the leaves. Looking to my right, I couldn’t locate the origin of the noise.  Finally, I saw a doe flick her tail on top of the ridge in front of me. Then, I watched three does and three fawns feed for the next hour and a half.  I couldn’t believe a buck didn’t sniff his way through their feeding frenzy. 

  After they wandered away, I got up and went to a place closer to the road to sit until dark.  When I got to the place, I realized I had made a mistake. I should’ve stayed where the does were and waited it out.  Disappointed, I settled in and my confidence returned. 

  When I packed my stuff up and headed back to the truck, I knew a great day had passed, and I came up empty-handed once again. I’ll have to get back at it tomorrow for a few hours before Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s house. 

  While sitting in the woods today, I thought back to this day in 1991. I killed a 10-pointer that still stands as the biggest Adirondack buck I have ever killed. It was 30 years ago today. As one of my friends said the other day, “It seems like the days drag by, but the years fly by faster and faster.”

  I still cherish that day 30 years ago. I remember telling my father that day that I didn’t think I’d ever shoot a buck that could top that one.  To this day, I haven’t shot one in New York that outdoes that one, and it’s not for lack of trying. That’s why we should always try to cherish every moment in the woods and enjoy our failures as much as our victories. 

  I feel like I’m on the edge right now, but I seem to be just out of range. Hopefully, I get to experience those few seconds that change a hunter’s season. When things seem dismal, I always remind myself that it only takes a matter of seconds for everything to change. I’m in that frame of mind right now. I’m sitting on a fastball, but I’m still sure I can smash a changeup out of the ballpark. I’ll be ready no matter what pitch gets thrown.

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