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I write this, wanting all of you to know that my true love for hunting revolves around deer hunting. While I hunt many other species of game, and truely enjoy it, I want to make it clear that this post, for me, is directed towards a deer hunter... I hunt turkeys, bear, groundhogs, small game... I do it all when time permits. I trout fish, and like it alot. But my heart belongs in the deer woods. And I think everyone out there can say that they too have a favorite hunting season as well. While I love to hunt other things, and try to fish and hunt groundhogs in the spring and summer, I start getting an itch, as the fall nears...

It never ceases to amaze me that when hunting season ends, I get to thinking about it and a lot of times, can’t stop because I miss it so much. On the other hand, as much as I love hunting season, we all know we can’t do it all year, year ‘round, as the population wouldn’t handle us doing such things.

But I got to thinking of the things I like, and I lay those things out on the line quite often on this site. Just to name a few, the morning sunrise, the squirrels come out, random birds landing on branches nearby. I enjoy camp, I really enjoy bear camp when we have a big crew that gets together, some who I do not see very often anymore, have a good time and spend time in some of the most beautiful country this world has to offer. I enjoy comradery with friends, and I enjoy watching and observing the woods… something that never seems to age, although we as people seem to do so rather quickly on the same schedule. These things take the back seat to nothing; the outdoors is a beautiful place. But there is something that really gets me, overwhelms me…

I got to thinking about wasn’t necessarily the things that I like about hunting, as I can sit here all day, tell you about past hunts, or the things that gets my blood pumping as the season nears, or even the things that keep me up in my bed at night during the season, like big buck encounters or trying to plan my next scheme. I got to thinking about the things I miss dearly when the season is gone. And there is a fine line drawn here. The things I love, and the things I miss. To make it more clearly, there are things I love about hunting, but some of these things I can experience on a daily basis in the yard, or by taking a walk in the woods… you get the picture. There are things like the beauty of nature I described above that I can feel and view outside of hunting season, and although I feel I appreciate them much more in the woods in the fall, it is not the same for me. There are things that one feels, on will see or do, while hunting that you can’t do outside of the “season”… our time to shine, our time to do what we were all born to do.

The things I miss though, and crave… the things that I cannot live without and I often find it hard to do so from year to year, is what I thought about here. I sat down and thought about this, as I think this is what makes everyone on this site the same. We come here because we need to blow off this “missing” the hunting and outdoors steam that builds up… I know I do that daily, sometimes too much.

The things I thought about were branches cracking at daylight, sometimes even in the darkness. I can go out and sit in the woods by the house, possibly catch a deer at daylight making these same noises. But will it feel the same for me? It will to an extent. But not the full aroma I get in the fall. My heart won’t pound, my body won’t tremble and my blood won’t begin to race tenfold like it does when I am hunting. Weird isn’t it? I bet many never thought of it this way because I never did… but now that I thought about it, I am glad I ventured into this “unknown” to my wild side.

I watch my dog often eat his food, and as he looks up at me, I feel a connection, a best friend connection. He is calm, can do this daily, and it isn’t that big of a deal for him. Where the line is drawn though, is when I let him loose in the woods while we take our walks behind the house. If he sees a squirrel, the little furry creatures that tease him through the window, he lets his wild side out. He and I both know this is his time where I won’t get mad at him… he can let his wild side out. And he does. While those bushy tails usually get the best of him, if he does happen to catch one, lights out in Georgia. His wild side comes right out… a side that I don’t see in him any other time… and nobody will.

This is what I am referring to… I miss letting my “wild side” out… something I was born to do, yet, live in a society that only lets me do it so often.

I miss those branches cracking, because although I am tame, I still have that animal in me. The killer instinct. And I feel when I do things outside of hunting season, I am not “let loose” like I am in the fall or my dog is when I let him try to regain his revenge for all the days those squirrels teased the heck out of him. Rather, I am held back in many ways, for many days a year.

I can hear that branch crack behind the house or along the stream in the spring, but the heart doesn’t drop. My wild side is contained; I need to wait until the fall. While I enjoy it, and do get excited, the emotions are bottled inside until October.

I love observing deer from a tree stand in July, August and September while having my morning or evening “scouting” sessions. But as I was thinking about this, my heart never dropped, I never lost myself at the moment and struggled to regain my composure. I loved every minute of those scouting trips, and will, for the rest of my able life, take part in completing them.

But when the season rolls around, and I have my bow on stand, paint on my face, camouflaged from head to toe, and a keen eye and ear before daylight breaks, 20 feet up in the canopy of an oak, my wild side burns deep. My senses are magnified to a greater extent I never dreamed possible. I am an animal, a hunter, a passionate lover of my surroundings.

I truely “miss” and crave letting my wild side out throughout the offseason… not necessarily killing, because I am always successful with or without drawing blood. Rather, I miss being able to do so, being able to have my body race, blood pump and heart pound, by hearing that snap of a branch, or quick flash of movement. I truly miss being able to let it all out, something that nothing in this world has yet to do to me. I miss that feeling, that heart racing, adrenaline pumping high I get when I am hunting… I know, for the rest of my life, that nothing will do this to me. And I know this for a fact.

I miss this feeling badly, through these off season months, and as the season inches closer again, I crave it more… need it more. I am helplessly addicted to this feeling and know many of you are as well…
 

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I know what you are speeking of, but I have to wonder if it would be as great if we could do it all the time.
 

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I miss the strategy of it all. I miss planning the night before as to what I think the game will be doing the next morning and where I should sit, or even walk. I guess I've always liked that sort of thing as I liked to play RISK as a kid. But it's the culmination of the scouting and homework I've done that leads me to decisions on where to sit. And I've been known to agonize for two weeks on where to sit come opening day. But I enjoy it thoroughly.
 

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I think it's the calming effect nature plays upon us of the things we see and take for granted every day. Then that all changes as the season nears and our anticipation and adrenaline begins to flow, as we expect the unexpected.

As for the feelings we crave in between, we know that patience is the key to leading us to the next anticipated season.
 

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That's why I took up trout fishing, turkey hunting, spring bear hunting in Canada, ground hog hunting, and dove hunting too!!! It never ends unless you let it!!!
 

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Nuge I think you summed up the way most of us feel here. I know the feeling you're speaking of but don't think I could have put it into words quite as well as you did. I know for me when we start to get some cool nights in August it really starts to kick in. You start looking for every little sign that fall is almost here. A few leaves turning on a tree here and there. Goldenrod coming into bloom. That 'smell' of fall. I don't know quite how to describe it but I'm sure everyone here knows what I'm talking about. But it wouldn't be the same without the hunt. Before I start rambling on I'll just say another excellent post!
 

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Nuge, Good post.
Sounds like you need to come here to Germany for a while. Here I can hunt deer from 1 May until 28 Feb. And I do
 

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I thought about this abit more. The things I miss the most is the calls to your hunting friends of either what are plans are and why, and the calls you get from friends after the hunt for updates.

It is also a good reason to get together with friends you don't see very often (sort of like Christmas).

I love the rush when that deer first pops into view. Knees shaking, shortness of breath, chest pounding. That's the real reason I love to hunt. If one day that stops I don't know if I would keep going. Best rush I ever found.

With that said. Here are a few things I don't like.
4 am wake up call.

from wife - you going hunting again? all day? Yep!

from friends the night before - Sorry man, but I'm not going to be able to make it.
 

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As much as I enjoy hunting I transition well into doing something else when my season ends.
I do not hunt coyote and never had the time to get good at muzzle loader so after rifled deer I do some late small game then hunting is done for me until spring turkey.

Until that opens I work on the houses or do a lot of reading, and spend time with the family.
My life has always had a summer and winter demarcation line. Since I was a kid I spent my summers at the Jersey shore and have a boat and summer home there to this day.
The mountains were a fall/winter place to hunt and ski and spring and summer was for salt water fishing, boating and the beach.

The spring striper run and the arrival of the bluefish are my warm weather fall turkey season and I look forward to June, July, August and September like I do to small game, fall turkey and rifled deer season.
February, March and the first half of April I just walk around the woods, taking pictures, enjoying the sights and think back on the season that just passed.
As long as I am still working I have no plans to change my habits since how things are now works for me.

The one thing I can say that I do miss is when we had a separate doe season. Those 2 or 3 days gave me the chance to again spend time with people I would not normally see if it wasn’t for going back up hunting again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replies guys... thought it would be something to get people thinking a little, see what one misses most about the season gone until next year.
 

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SpiritNugent, I have read and reread this post and it made me think.

I miss hunting with my Dad.

Back in 1983 I got my first deer, a spike, and on that same day my Dad got a 3-point.

We got them out of the same stand (his) about 2 hours apart.

That was the one and only time that Me and Dad got a deer on the same day.

So that's what I miss....My old man in the woods. It was a beautiful thing.

BTW He passed away in '89.... He was 53.
 

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All good stuff. I haven't been living in Pennsylvania since 1988, but I well remember the times I spent in the woods, first with my Dad and Uncle, then my own son...I hunted deer, squirrels, rabbits groundhogs, (I really like that) coon at night walking through the dark woods with only a carbide light for comfort..Backpack on my back, with sawed off 22 rifle and scope carried over my shoulder..My black and tan running joyously back to me, paws thumping on the leave carpeted ground. He jumps up on my chest and I pound him on his ribs, then hug him and say, "Go get him Jim, go get the coon." He takes off and in a second is lost in the night. I walk a hundred yards or so after him then kick the leaves from under a large pine and set everything beside me, turn down the carbide light and sit and listen.

In fifteen or twenty minutes i hear one long drawn out bawl that startles the dark woods for a minute..Then he is quiet again. I don't worry. I know he is checking the tree to insure the coon is really up there and hadn't climbed up a ways then jumped out as far as he could and run to his den..
Soon though the darkness is slammed by his sharp, loud chop. He is telling me the coon is there but more importantly he is calling me.
I stand up and shrug the pack back on, shake the carbide light a little and open the valve some and soon it is hissing and bright once again sending flickering shadows ahead of me while my frozen breath trickles upwards to mingle with the hot light..
As I get closer and my Jim dog sees my light coming out of the darkness his voice takes on a more personal note and becomes more insistent and louder. he knows what comes next.. I get close and he runs to me and jumps up on my chest. I pat his sides and ask, "where is he Jim, where's the coon."
He turns and runs back into the darkness and soon his chop rings out and yodels down the deep, dark hollow..
I reach down and turn on my battery powered headlamp, red lens over the bulb. The coon can't see my light but i can see him looking curiously down at my dog...I take my .22 of my shoulder, load it and soon I can see his eyes in the 3x9 bushnell.The little rifle cracks and Jim has already seen teh coon in the red glow of the light, baying furiously..The big boar coon comes tumbling down through the branches and bounces off the forest floor. Jim stands back and watches the coon carefully for a couple seconds. He has been bitten before by running in too fast and grabbing a mouthful of really upset coon. When he sees the coon on its back, feet running a race it will never finish, Jim rushes in and grabs the coon between the front legs and crushes its chest, it dies quickly..

I tie a rope around one back leg, slit both back legs around the backside and tie it by one leg on a strong limb.. In less than two minutes I have the hide off, being careful around the ears and eyes, cut the hide off the noes, roll the coon tightly, then put it in a bread bag, tie it closed and stash it in my pack...
I sit down and my dog lies down beside me and we stay there awhile until the woods forget we were there, then with a sigh I get up, with a little groan Jim stretches to his feet and after shouldering my pack, we are off again.. Wallace Run holds many coon, a beautiful trout stream in the bottom and a myriad of other creatures we are always gifted to see..

As dawn nears we stand at the bottom and consider the 45 minute walk back out, all uphill. Soon though the car is visible in the carbide light and we wearily climb in..
I walk Jim down to his box, filled with hay and put him on his leash. he licks my hand and crawls into his warm nest.
I walk into the house dropping gear as I go, knowing the wife will pick it up and stow it in the closet for me. In a minute I am in bed, she rolls over and kisses me on the cheek, ruefully shakes her head and in seconds we are both gone..
Dreams of my night in the deep dark woods lulls me into a deep, restful sleep, somehow knowing we will be back there tomorrow night again, walking farther and deeper into the night than we did before...

Leep:
 

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What do I miss?

I miss calling my Dad to remind him to send his doe permit in.

I miss visiting my Dad and seeing all his hunting bags packed and sitting in the basement ready to leave a month ahead of time.

I miss being the first one at hunting camp turning the electric and water on while I wait for the next person to get there.

I miss hearing my Dads spoon rattling around his cofee cup at about 5:00 am on Sunday before first day. (He used to make subtle noises so someone else would wake up and keep him company)

I miss making that big batch of pancakes Sunday morning.

I miss us all sitting around the table sharing stories Sunday night before first day.

Im miss getting the call on the radio to go help either my Dad, Paul, or Frankie with the deer they just shot. They usually got deer and since they were elderly I would always field dress and drag their deer for them.

I miss the whole experience but it can never be duplicated. My Dad passed away January of 2007. It still feels like it was just yesterday. Paul passed away about 3 months prior to my Dad. Frankie passed away the summer of 2007.

They were the ones that made hunting camp so special. I have since built a house on the property adjacent to hunting camp and relocated there. There are 2 guys that used the camp this past year. The year prior to that it sat empty. Just looking off of my deck over to the cabin brings back the memories. Memories may be all I have left of those days but that is something no one can take from me.
 

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I miss my Dad saying....
"Hey can ya get me a cup of coffee"

"Hey where is my gun"

"Hey did you take my tools and not bring them back"

"Hey your not to old I'll still kick your A**"

Funny this post came up,I had a dream about him last week,he woke me up and I ask him what it was like
"up there'...all he said was.. "really nice"
That was the end of the dream..strange huh??
He passed away Jan.2004
 

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There hasn't been a day gone by since 28 May 2001 that I haven't thought about him.
Life in general hasn't been the same since Dad died, but how much I miss him really hits home when I'm hunting, especially on a certain mountain back home.
Thanks for giving me this life, and lifestyle, Dad!
 

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Its comforting to know that I am not alone in my feelings since my Dad passed away. We were as close as a father and son could possibly be. He was also my best friend. I think of him every day and I probably will for as long as I live.

It is without doubt the hardest thing that I have ever had to deal with. He was ill for over a year and was 84 when he died. I had plenty of time to prepare myself for his passing. I was actually foolish enough to think that I was mentally prepared. The day it happened, I felt like I had been hit in the chest with a sledge hammer.

I guess this is all normal.
 

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Its hard for me to here some of these posts my dad had a heartattack on sunday mourning and had some internal bleeding ive been at the hospital everyday this week and will be leaving soon to go back in,It has been a real hard week for me and my family ive done nothing but worrie all week and trying not to think about what could happen I just refuse to let that enter my mind,My first real hunting trip was with my dad it was 1980 I was 10 years old and I just sat with my dad on the first day of rifle,Well about 10 here comes 2 buck and four doe he shot the biggest it was a real nice 7-pointer well lets just say that was it for me the red gods shot me right in the heart ive been hooked ever since,But on a side note the knife my dad gutted that deer with he gave it to me when I was 15 iive used it ever since ive had it in montana colorado and every deer I shot in pa including last years deer im just really scared right now I really love my dad,its like a real bad dream but im awake
 

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Sorry to hear about your dad, Bedford Man. Keep strong and keep the faith. Hopefully all will work out for the best. The fact that he survived the attack and is still fighting is a positive sign.
Best of luck, my thoughts and prayers go out for his recovery.
 
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