Another fall…another hunting season…and again a moment of reflection as I sit in my stand waiting on a big buck to come my way. A chilly heavy fog this morning and the wet heavy leaves come down on me and blanket the ground below me. Sometimes they flutter and tumble straight down and sometimes one flies through the trees like a jet fighter. I find myself drawn to their final resting place.

A big fox squirrel makes his way up the tree next to me and begins his morning ritual unaware I’m only a few feet away. Geese and turkeys have already eaten in the cut corn off to my right and I make a mental note to come back soon for both. Movement below catches my attention as the squirrel chases off a rival. Too bad I’m not squirrel hunting.

I’m sure others like myself find their thoughts drifting back to past hunts with friends and family in these quiet moments and realize that your memory isn’t as good as it once was. My photo album would be handy during these reflective periods. I find it strange that these periods only come about during hunting when alone in the stillness of the woods or in the quietness of a glowing campfire. Other hunting adventures may be too fast paced for such reflection. Maybe that is why I love bow hunting so much. I’m sure you know the feeling.

As I think about past hunts it hits me that I have far fewer hunts ahead of me than past ones. For some reason I don’t find that too upsetting and don’t dwell on it. The memories of past hunts with my son and friends have been the best of times. I found that regardless of any problems that came about in one’s personal relationships with family and friends they were put aside at deer camp. As time passed and those issues forgotten only the great hunting memories remained. I feel sorry for those that have not experienced the fellowship of hunting and hunting camp.

Which brings me back to the falling leaves? It’s now mid-morning and the leaves are just a trickle now. Tomorrow morning they will begin the cycle again just as we do. Another day to reflect on how much we are like those leaves. Starting out as a bud with the entire world ahead of us. Growing and providing a canopy of comfort to those around us and finally returning to the earth in a final act of regeneration.

Who knows where the stillness of the woods will take me tomorrow. Will I be reflecting on all the problems of the world or more likely smiling and silently laughing at my hunting buddies and the funny events that happened over the years? I can’t wait.

Of Hares and Turkeys
34th Wild Turkey Hunters Rendezvous