I’m really not a morning person. So, on Sunday night around 9:30 I made a pile of clothes — base layers, sweatshirts, wool socks, gloves, my Carhartt coat, and of course a blaze-orange knit cap and a blaze-orange vest — and set them on the floor right next to my bed.
When my alarm blared at 5:30 the next morning, I was ready to get dressed, pour some coffee and head to the woods when my dad knocked on my door at 6.
I only started going hunting with my dad in 2017. I never really had interest as a child or teen. In college, when I was interested in going, I was always busy studying for finals and practicing with the Penn State Blue Band to be ready for whatever Bowl Game the football team went to that year.
So finally, as a college grad, I was able to hunt with my dad.
Monday marked my fifth hunting season, and at this point I feel like I’ve perfected my early morning routine.
My dad, unlike me, is definitely a morning person. He chatted all the way from my house to the Kittatinny Hunting and Fishing Club where we’re members. As he chatted, I clung to my travel mug full of coffee, muttered a few words in response and willed myself to be awake.
But nothing wakes you up quite like the chill of late November air hitting your face as you climb out of a warm truck.
My dad is a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to hunting. He does things the old-fashioned way, and isn’t afraid to say “back in my day” when he sees people using modern things.
So, instead of tree stands or hunting blinds, we find logs, stumps or rocks to serve as our seats for the day. At least we have cushions, thankfully, which I don’t think he used “back in his day,” so he did modernize a little bit.
As I sat on a log, bright and early Monday morning, I had hopes of this being my year — the year I finally get my first buck.
My senses are heightened when I’m sitting in the woods during hunting season. I catch every flit of movement out of the corner of my eyes (usually a squirrel) and hear every tiny rustle of leaves (again, usually a squirrel).
My mind never really slows down, even when sitting quietly still for hours.
Here’s a peek into the random thoughts that raced through my head on Monday, all before 8 in the morning.
“This log is really uncomfortable.”
“Wow, that breeze was cold.”
“Is it too early to eat my sandwich?”
“Wait, what was that sound?”
“I need to stretch my legs.”
“Oh look, it’s snowing.”
“There’s that sound again! What is it?”
Luckily for me, my dad took pity on my shivering, so we took our lunch break inside the clubhouse, where there was a toasty warm wood stove crackling in the background.
My good luck continued, as the spot where we sat for the afternoon portion of our hunt was a stump that was significantly more comfortable than the log.
Unfortunately, we hiked down the mountain trail empty handed on Monday. But really, as much as I want to get my first buck, I go hunting to spend time with my dad.
I’ve never experienced a boring day of hunting. Every time brings its own memories and stories, even if those stories don’t include seeing a single deer.
But I’ll be back in the woods bright and early this Monday with my dad, so who knows, this year could still be my year.
Did you get your buck?
December 4, 2021