Usually the end of november I find myself in a bit of a rut (and not the exciting kind). Thanksgiving for me is spent in the suburbs of Atlanta, away from the field. The last few years I have come back with an anxiety about the next two months. Whitetail season in both Mississippi and Alabama ends January 31, so there is still plenty of time remaining to fill the freezer and hopefully take that special buck. However, the proverbial half-way point of December 1 does little except aid in remembering missed shots and blown opportunities. The cool part of the hunt is growing and learning, with an ever increasing respect for both the game and success. This is hard stuff (The road is supposed to represent something...can't really figure out what).
Most of those that I hunt with and around have already accomplished their season goals by now, whether that is that first whitetail bow-kill or that yearly buck. That is very nice to see, but it sure doesn't help in decreasing my own frustration. Luckily, there is some venison in the freezer from the roommate that I have access to, so that can hold me over until the arrow connects. Not that I haven't been in a good position. I have recorded seeing 31 deer in fifteen hunts, which is a rate just over 2 deer seen per hunt. At least I'm in the ballpark, even if its the nosebleeds.
I'm searching for some profound thoughts for the digest, but sometimes they just don't come. The season makes you tired, as it should. There are no secret for success, just hard work, knowledge, and skill. By now, you all should be tired, especially if your rut is coming to a close. We're just getting into it down south, so I can imagine that I won't be doing much of anything else in the coming weeks, which is sure to take a toll on mind and body.
When I started to hunt four seasons ago, I remember driving home in the truck after a weekend in the woods and realizing that my shoulders were as relaxed as I could ever remember them. It was as if all of that physical anxiety from living day to day had just left my body. That was the day that I decided that this would be something that I would do, something that I would become. Well, now I sit four years later and I have mixed emotions. The more I learn, the worse I feel at this, even though I am finally putting myself on deer that I have scouted by myself for the first time in my life. I think I will just be relieved when success finally does come. I really am ready to have that anxious spirit lifted from my shoulders.
So, whether or not you have filled the tag and the freezer, just be encouraged to stick with it. Its a long season (for some), and it isn't supposed to be easy. Upcoming at the digest we will have a few guest posts from hunters far more successful and experienced than me, including a report from the South Dakota pheasant opener (the photos here are taken by Clay McInnis and are a look forward into that post) and the Mississippi duck opener. Carson will be weighing in on the fishing front, and hopefully I will have some good news to report in the coming weeks.