Observations on Hunting by TRG’S Nick Esposito
This coming weekend will mark the beginning of this year’s deer/elk hunting season in Montana. Unless you possess the prowess to wield the mighty Bow and Arrow, in which case you will have already gotten a leg up on the season. Unfortunately for me, I am at best a mediocre archer, as I have distinct trouble hitting fairly large stationary targets at close distances, let alone smaller moving targets at further distances. Before I can confidently stalk through the woods in search of prey I have much ground that I must cover. I mean this quite literally, as it seems that mother-nature is rather fond of stealing half my quiver of arrows each time I commit to “practicing”. With rifle season days away it seems that I will yet again be shelving this year’s quest to be Robin Hood.
Growing up in Vermont I was exposed to hunting various forms of woodland wildlife. Wildlife that ranged from various birds, to elusive whitetail, even the occasional patch of soft moss from which I could hunker down and deduce great wisdom from the insides of my eyelids(or as my dad refers to as napping). Yet, it wasn’t until three years ago that I set out on my first expedition into the rugged hunting lands of Montana. It couldn’t have gone much better (which was both a curse and a blessing), as a dear friend granted me access to a stellar stretch of land, from which my household of college cohorts was able to reap generous rewards. I wouldn’t be so lucky in the following years… No in fact, I was skunked the next two years, which is partially to blame on my final charge through my college career, and everything that entails. Ideally, it would have been great to have a freezer swollen with meaty delights for those last years of malnutrition (or college as some call it), but alas it wasn’t to be. Honestly though, I can’t say I am that disappointed, as the true trophies from hunting season are of the stories of horror, humor, and companionship. Be it a man-eating-beaver (or so my dad would have us believe), a snoozing bear, or the simplicity of spending a day in the woods with great company. It’s always these hunting memories that will be remembered and recounted at family gatherings years down the road, especially the man-eating-beaver.
Moving forward, with only a handful of days left before the hunting season starts, I realize that I still haven’t purchased my tags, my hunting gear is in disarray, and more importantly the absence of properly vetted out wildlife encampments. Yup, sounds about right. I also find myself wondering if this late season heatwave can hold much longer (mostly hoping that it won’t). The last four or five days have been hovering around the seventies, typically at this time of year I would expect at bare minimum a dusting of snow on the ground. Heat of this nature isn’t particularly good for anyone, especially the wool-clad man trudging around the back-country in the sweltering heat. Granted the flip-side of the coin is that it could be twenty below and windy enough to freeze even the most monumentally mountainous of men. However the end result is always the same that no matter the conditions, it’s game time, pun intended!