About this blog

8 Dec

One of the great treasures of spending time “out there” is witnessing the break of day from a duck blind or on a deer stand.

Every one is different. The variations depend on the season, the current weather and your level of involvement in the proceedings.

My friend David Schwarz once described a spectacular display of dawn from our boat blind as, “…colors not found in nature.” In fact, the most amazing dawn displays are to be found in a cattail marsh when the bluebird weather is in full flight.

The deer woods, on the other hand, with the cold November wind chasing brooding clouds across the dark sky, is more of an enlightening than a day break. The autumn nude trees are just part of the inky dark as the light of day seeps into your consciousness. Then there is a distinct bole of a tree, a definition of shape and form that emerges. The eyes strain to make out the next shape, further into the undergrowth.

Then, in what appears to be a flash of awareness, you can see the details of the landscape, and you would make out a deer shape if one happened to be near by.

Summer dawns on sheet-flat water with mist slowly rising are a great time to be out and about, but they lack the spice of anticipation that makes the moment so special to a hunter.

For more than 50 years, the lure of fish and game have dragged me out of bed to witness the changing of night to day in places as far flung as Newfoundland and Southern California and many spots in between.

Sure, we get up early to fish, and my best fishing partner – Susie – once surmised that we did that because we could catch the fish when they opened their mouths to yawn.

This year, opening of the firstIowagun-deer season was greeted by low, overcast clouds and a chilly, day-long rain. The first day gave us a look at three squirrels, a song bird of undetermined specie and one crow.  Deer were much too smart to move around in such conditions.

Day two opened as clouds interrupted a spectacular star show and kept the sunrise a secret, letting light tip toe into the woods. That morning a young doe walked away; that afternoon, another, larger doe, didn’t.

We’d been watching that barren doe all summer, and I had long decided that given the opportunity to harvest that animal, I would. I love the hunt, and the harvest. But most of all I love venison.

Deer hunting for some is about horns. For me it’s about the entire process from scouting, to waiting, to shooting, to preparing the animal for the kitchen, and, finally, the dining.

On Sunday, it had been just two weeks shy of 35 years since I’d last taken a doe from the woods. It’s easy to mark that date in my memory because the hunt took place just after I’d delivered my mother-in-law to theHarrisburg,PAairport. Ruth had been visiting for two weeks following the birth of our daughter, Molly.

The following year, on opening day, I shot a 5-point buck. It was a turning point in my outdoor life. I had the deer home and hanging when Susie came out of the bedroom to wonder what I was doing.

“I’m wondering what I’m going to do for excitement now that I no longer hunt deer.” She was curious why I wouldn’t be hunting deer in the future, and the answer was simple: I had just shot a buck and my pulse never changed. I had merely gone to nature’s meat market, and while I valued the experience, I had stolen someone else’s thrill. If I had passed on that buck, and it had wandered further down the ridge to another, less jaded hunter, it would have fed both his ego and his family.

I vowed that morning that when it came to venison, I’d forever be satisfied with feeding the family. That year I found that decoyed waterfowl could thrill me more than any deer with horns ever had. So, now I hunt my own little stand of woods inIowa, and collect a doe for the food value and chase ducks and geese for the thrills.

These are the kinds of decisions we all make in our lives, but to make them about the outdoor world, you have to be out there.

That’s what this enterprise is all about: Sharing the thoughts and stories from a lifetime of “being out there.” Some of those stories will boggle your mind just as the events boggled ours when they occurred. Some of the thoughts and insights that were born in that still, dim light as we waited for the first flight of birds or the first glimpse of a deer we hope will make you smile or shake your head, and some will actually make you think, “boy is he out there.”

 

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2 Responses to “About this blog”

  1. dear deer eater December 9, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    What a wonderful, beautiful, exciting opening to your blog!! I am left with only three words:

    more, more, MORE!!!!

    Can’t wait to read more from out there and vicariously experience the dawn and other natural wonders. 😉

  2. lampelaison@yahoo.com October 19, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Hello, I am your dad’s great niece. I have enjoyed reading your blog and learning about your family. I would love to ask lots of questions! My email is lampelaison@yahoo.com if you would like to share stories.

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