Sunday, September 15, 2013

What Does Opening Weekend Mean to You?

The view from our Elk Hunting Spot
Opening weekend...

Those two words alone have carry a lot of meaning and excitement for many different people.  Those words also bring a flood of memories and emotions to many of us who have spent that time with friends and/or family in the outdoors. To me those words take me back to when I was a kid hunting with my dad and brothers.

Before I go much further I do want to give credit to Sole Adventure's blog for sparking my interest in this topic for a blog post. His post a while back gave tips on how to have the right focus concerning hunting and responding to other hunter's success. One point he made in his post was a bold statement which emphasized, "HUNTING DOES NOT MATTER"... To some, those words may be offensive but in the grand scheme of things the act of hunting is very close to zero on the list of important events in life.  If that statement doesn't sit well with you it may be time to sit down and evaluate your life.  I am not, nor was the original blog post, indicating that hunting is not fun or enjoyable but rather just that the act of hunting itself is simply not a life or death priority even if it may seem like it to some people.  His post shared a lot of great tips to make sure your priorities are where they need to be if you are a hunter this hunting season so be sure to check it out! ( So back to my thoughts...

Some families go on big vacations, some go on trips through out the summer, and some families have other traditions such as a family get together on holidays.  Part of my families tradition growing up was hunting together on opening weekend as well as throughout the hunting season.  One of my favorite hunting memories was when we were all pushing through the river bottoms looking for white tail deer as a family.  When we hunted this way we were always safe to keep track of where everyone was that where we never shot in the direction of another person.  While we were pushing through the thick river bottom brush, I suddenly heard my brother Dustin holler out, "DEER!!!".  When my brother hollered out that he had just spooked up a deer I knew there was a good chance that deer would be heading in my direction so I had to get ready.  I pushed through the little brush pile I was in and stepped out onto a small trail I hadn't seen until the moment I stepped foot on it. Just at that time I saw a flash of tan from my left... The next few seconds of my life moved slower than ever as I watched a white tail doe come around a small tree, leap into the air about 3 feet away heading straight toward me!  The deer didn't realize I was there until the same moment I notice her. The deer's reaction was a lot like mine as we both curled up into a ball turning our shoulders to preparing ourselves for the impact.

That deer could have played on any NFL football team delivering hits like she did on me.  She flat out knocked me off my feet and threw me onto my back while knocking my gun out of my hand.  We both scrambled to get back on our feet and do what we had both come there to do.  As the deer hurried to her feet, I was looking around desperately to find where my gun had landed after the collision.  By the time I got myself together, the deer was nowhere to be found... Shortly after I got to my feet, I was met by my brother Dustin who was asked me if I had seen the doe he scared up... I used to think it was hard to convince someone of a big buck you saw without someone else there to verify it, but trying to get my brother to believe me that I was knocked down and ran over by a white tail doe was difficult.

My dad and brother Travis hiking
Elk Wallow
An elk wallow we found on our trip

Memories like this one are one of the most important reasons I hunt.  Yes I love the sport and man do I love a fresh back-strap dinner, but none of it would mean half as much if I didn't have my family right there with me.  This year on opening weekend I was lucky enough to go out with my brother Travis and my Dad on an over-night elk hunt which didn't turn out to be very successful in regards to filling the freezer, but this was the first over-night hunting trip the three of us had been on together.  On this hunt we didn't have much go our way to help us on hunting but we still had a blast hiking around, talking, and spending time together in the outdoors. 

Bear Tracks
Bear tracks by our tree stands
Dead Moose
Winter moose kill... had all the elk scared away

This archery season will be closing up soon and for me that is a little hard to cope with.  I haven't gotten out much and to me, like I said earlier, its not the hunting I will be missing but the excuse to get outdoors with my family and friends is what I am not looking forward to letting go of.  I am not saying we don't spend time together other than the time we are hunting, it is just the type of bonds that we build while hunting are a kind like no other.  These things may sound odd to those who don't share the same passion yet everyone knows what it takes to create a lasting memory! So get out there and make some memories with those you care about this fall!
Shout out to my brother Travis! You are a stud!