The Night Before the Opening Hunt
Contributed by Field Staff Writer C. Duff.
The day before a hunt is one of the great joys left in the world. Sometimes the anticipation can be more important to the experience than the hunt itself. As I pack my bag and prep my rifle for this yearâ€™s season, Iâ€™m reminded of all my childhood years spent in suspense. I grew up hearing stories of deer camp and of limits of quail and duck. Every year I looked forward to watching my dad heave a big-bodied buck onto a blue tarp in the garage.
When I was finally big enough to carry my own gun, I got to tag along on most hunts. During my first day afield that primordial itch we all have went from a nagging need to a full-blown passion for the outdoors. Cleaning and re-cleaning my chosen firearm for the coming hunt and sharpening and re-sharpening my favorite buck knife eased the lull between seasons. I was constantly nagging my dad about going out soon, something that he saw as a blessing and a curse (I was his only child who had the â€œitchâ€). Between work and overtime he would find time to grab his rifle and hit the trail with me in tow.
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Even back then I still had the eager â€œweâ€™re going to Disneylandâ€ feel as I do today. Iâ€™ve found better ways to spend the off season than grinding down my knives to nothing and dissolving the bluing off my old Ruger but every year before the first hunt I still find my self counting out every round of .25-06 and trying to strop out that stubborn keen edge on my knife until the middle of the night. Either way the whole year is in anticipation of this one night. A whole year of hard work and planning, time spent studying topo maps, scouting, exercising and developing a better load comes down to this day.
Its been said a thousand times but opening morning for hunters is just like Christmas Morning. If you donâ€™t believe it, videotape yourself and compare it to the your childhood Christmas home video and I guarantee youâ€™ll have the same goofy smile on your face as you did back then. This subject has been beaten to death by thousands of writers but what can I say, Iâ€™m excited. To me the anticipation is half the fun. Now if youâ€™ll excuse me Iâ€™ve got to go make sure I put out my lucky socks.