It is such an amazing feeling to look at a deer and be able to just close your eyes and remember the day you harvested that deer and the excitement within your heart, the shaking and heavy breathing. That moment when you have to just stop, take a deep breath and regain yourself so that you can steady the cross hairs and not blow the shot. I don't know exactly how many deer I have harvested in my life but I am sure that it is somewhere in the 60-80 range. With that number in mind, let me tell you that even now, if a small yearling deer that I have no intentions of shooting walks out in front of me, I still get the same jitters that I did the very first time I ever seen a deer in the woods. The excitement of the hunt never goes away and it never lessens in my heart. I have always said that if that joy ever leaves my soul, I will hang up my boots and gun and stop hunting.
Some of my best moments in the woods and my most enjoyable hunts didn't even include a deer, in fact it didn't include any animals that I harvested. Hunting to me is not about killing, it is about my time with nature. The time that I get to spend in the woods that still stand, undisturbed by man. That moment when I was sitting as still and patient as was humanly possible and I had a squirrel come running down the tree where I was resting my back and he mistook me for part of the environment. And then, after bouncing off my head or jumping onto my boot he realized that I wasn't a tree. Now it's on! He freezes up, starts chattering and twitching at me, an occasional bark or bounce - me, I am challenged to see how still I can be. Can I not blink or breathe without my stomach moving? Of course, this is the only time today that my nose will itch or my eyes will burn but I will not lose this stare off with this squirrel, for I am hunter and I am in camouflaged and I am part of this tree! This my friends is a memorable hunt!This was an ultimate challenge between me and on of natures most alert and curious creatures. This was a close encounter that very few people will ever experience and in my eyes, an irreplaceable moment. This is hunting!