It could have been the bone-chilling predawn of November 15, 1958, or maybe it was on the indistinguishably and equally thrilling November 15, 2013.
Due to overwhelming inner excitement and anticipation, I couldn’t sleep a wink the night before. I had dedicated as much time as I could possibly muster to sight in my long gun, laid out all my black and red plaid hunting clothes, assembled my ammo, boots, knife, thermos, heavy wool earflap hat, a fresh handkerchief, thick cotton gloves, double-checked my hunting license, and prepared a small sack for my sandwich and cookies.
CLICK HERE TO JAM WITH TED ON EARTHTONES, FROM THE ALBUM HUNT MUSIC
Our little Michigan family deercamp cabin came alive a good two hours before Opening Day shooting light. The most wonderful and stimulating olfactory aromas permeated this special world as a slab of peppered bacon sizzled in the cast iron skillet, fresh logs were stoked in the little woodburner, strong coffee percolated, the always welcome smell of gun oil wafted about, and of course various and sundry manly body noises erupted randomly as the morning moved along.
Have I mentioned “Happy Opening Day everyday” lately? Is there really anything quite like it? I say no way, and it must be celebrated and shared with as many people in as many ways as we possibly can.
I hear a lot about how deerhunting has changed in our lifetime. Sure, there are unlimited changes and variations and technologies that cannot and should not be halted, but when it comes right down to the essence of our instinct to honestly and naturally respond to our reasoning predator pulse, all the laser rangefinders, high tech clothing, refined ammo, trailcams and digital cellphone texting orgies in the world have nothing to do with why and how we hunt our majestic brother, the mighty deer of North America.
A good percentage of us still scout diligently, go longer, go deeper, try harder and reap the rewards, venison or otherwise of our gungho efforts. And yet still many of our deerhunting BloodBrothers still wait for opening day to put forth much effort at all, and that is A-ok, for the personal choices made in life should be as diverse as there are people, and the inner glow that is deercamp should be pursued to each individuals own calling and satisfaction.
And like so many Opening Days of yore, the Nugent BuckPole of 2013 was bare, but know definitively that the BuckPole of our spirit sagged nearly to the breaking point with happiness and joy, as some of the most powerful memories of our lives grew exponentially each day in the deerwoods.
Deer have indeed found their way to the BuckPole this season, and it throttles on with increasing fun and adventure for me daily. Dad is gone, Uncle John is gone, but brother Jeff and sister Kathy were here. Brother John had to unfortunately backout at the last minute, but son Toby and wife Shemane are still here, stoking the fireplace, doing the deercabin boogie, and even though I have filled both my Michigan bucktags, I am still hard at it with my Mathews bow and a pocket full of SwampDonkey tags.
Happy Opening Day everyday to those who choose so. Hunt hard, aim small miss small, and keep your predator spirit pure. It is eternal if you want it to be. Godspeed,
Dr. Backstrap, Ted Nugent & family
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