Thanksgiving is over and our long stretch of warm weather seems to have been replaced with frost and ice. As I write this, I’m sitting next to our woodstove, staying warm against the gloom of one of our first real wintery days here in Vermont, my back growing warm against the flickering orange and yellow flames. And yet, I was waiting for the last few weeks to pass by because now our second archery season opens Saturday and I’m eager to get back in my tree stand.
For the past few weeks, I’ve donned a blaze orange scarf to walk my dog down the dirt roads surrounding our property, listening to distant gunfire pepper the air. I’ve been asked why I don’t pick up a rifle and head into the woods where the odds may be more in my favor due to the distance a rifle can shoot versus a bow. After listening to the scattered symphony as hunters dispersed around bordering properties and my own brief foray into target shooting this past summer, I still don’t have an interest in anything other than archery – and bowhunting.
There is so much more I gain from sitting up in the trees as close to nature as I can be, absorbing the sounds and enjoying the time spent away from all the daily distractions to actually think. I don’t like the idea of breaking that meditative reverie with the bang of a gun. The silence of a well-tuned bow even during the shot creates the type of experience that I’m after – that really embodies what I think of when I think of hunting. It brings together the traditional, the prehistoric and the ancestral into one activity.
I do, however, often wish I’d decided to pursue this interest back when I lived in Michigan or Ohio – a Midwestern plethora of deer. Maybe I’ll head back someday to hunt Midwestern whitetails; perhaps it will take years for me to kill an elusive Vermont deer. Regardless, I enjoy the experience, the idea, the anticipation – and all of the camaraderie and hunt stories people share with me. I know I wrote about the importance of building a bowhunting community and I really think that may be one of the best parts of this entire activity.
So I’ll be out there this weekend, dressed in layers, trying to stay warm among the bare treetops. I’m hoping for some luck. Maybe it will be on my side.
New to bowhunting? Check out my “Beginner’s Guide to Archery: For Women” DVD available HERE.