by Eric Hall
The end of September will mark eight months since I last strolled through the whitetail world, bow in hand, pursuing these majestic creatures. Eight months to re-live the moments from 2017. Eight months to consider how to make success a repeatable feat. Eight months to dissect my mistakes; hoping to avoid them in the future. Eight months of dreaming, thinking, and planning. After eight long months, the four months that we look forward to every year are almost upon us.
My analytical side gnaws at the back of my brain. The “Jiminy Cricket” on my shoulder asking me over and over: “Have I done enough?” “What else can I do?” “Am I ready?” I consider all that I haven’t done. That tree stand on my one farm that I was so committed to moving still sits in the same location. The ground blinds are not set up. My bowstring broke over the weekend and now I need to replace it. The clothes need to be washed, dried and stored. Knives need to be sharpened, gear sorted. Wow, what have I done for the last eight months?
My optimist side pats me on the back. My bow was shooing great until the string broke. But even then, I can now install the string silencers I had been meaning to add. My 30.06 is sighted in at 200 yards for my PA and Arkansas hunts. I have my hunting vacation days approved and planned. My food plot is growing well and the plot screen is working like I planned. My nine-year-old son is shooting darts with the crossbow at 20 yards and is looking forward to his first hunting season. I have trees picked for hang and hunts. I am ready for 2018.
If you are like me, the final weeks leading into the season bring out a range of emotions from elation to despair. It is part of the journey. The passion and obsession to improve and succeed is elevated as the season nears. It is only natural when we invest so much of ourselves to the chase. After all, we have had eight months to think about this fresh start.
Through the anxiety, the excitement of opening day cannot be denied. The hope and promise from eight months of work and planning come to fruition. Through our preparation and dedication, hope can transform into promise once the bow is in hand, and we are sitting in the timber. The chess game is on and we are excited to play.
Good luck everyone whose seasons are already open and/or are opening soon. This is OUR time of the year.