If there’s one thing that could make me happier in the deer woods this fall it would be a complete off- the-grid experience. Not asking for much here; just a few days during the rut — perhaps a few 10-hour vigils where I’m completely unplugged from the stressors and distractions of this so-called modern life.
Yes, the cell phone is still coming along for the climb to that treestand, but it’s being placed in silent mode and tucked into my pants’ cargo pocket … only to be retrieved in case of emergency.
I’m not sure about you, but unplugged is the best way to recharge my inner battery. There are so many sights, sounds and smells that are missed when we’re not fully engaged in the deer woods experience.
I want to watch a buck work a lick- ing branch on the edge of that field. He doesn’t need to be huge, he just needs to take his time and display all of that classic whitetail behavior. He can put the tip of his nose to the branch and smell it before pursing his lips to chew the end of the branch. He can work his way toward rubbing that stubbed- off branch into his forehead and tear ducts to deposit scent before he paws the earth.
I want to hear him grunt softly as he methodically paces along the field edge, oak leaves crunching under hoof. If it’s not asking too much, a crow can flap overhead and croak its raspy call. Or a blue jay can land abruptly in that sprawling white pine and screech its jeers at this camouflaged blob.
I want to smell autumn in the only way that tells me it’s hunting season. That can be achieved by walking through the nearby creek-bottom and letting my boots sink in the muck. I’ll then pause to savor the aroma … rich and strong, dank and earthy. It’s not a bad smell, just distinct. The ferns will add to the bouquet, as will the golden- rods at field’s edge. It will be a lung- filling cocktail that conjures nothing but thoughts of hunting seasons past, present and future.
I guess what I’m saying is I want to experience hunting season the way it’s supposed to be experienced: Pure and raw. And beautifully simple.