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The best day of the year

November 20, 2010 at 09:21 PM

The State Journal-Register

This weekend is a good time to be careful in the woods, and watch out for the other guy. There will be more hunters in the field than at any other time of the year. Coolers and the cupboards in deer cabins from Galena to Golconda are fully stocked. If this isn’t the top three days of the year for chili consumption, there can’t be many ahead of it. Some of that chili will be a cold breakfast for a hunter in a hurry to get into his stand. He will regret his haste by mid morning, if not sooner.

Blaze orange is the fashion statement of the day. Small town cafes will look a lot brighter this weekend. Take a ride out in the country today and you will see splashes of orange everywhere.

The first firearm deer-hunting season started yesterday. Several young hunters that have been chasing deer in their sleep for weeks will harvest their first deer this weekend. The excitement won’t wear off for several days. That’s the way it should be. A hunter’s first deer is the one they will never forget.

All the debates about hunting strategies are on the back burner today - along with that scorched chili pot. After the opening day assault, the deer have already laid waste to several well-conceived plans. Deer are less predictable once they escape an opening day ambush. Today, the deer are going to be where you find them. This is my favorite day of the deer season because there’s nothing left to do but go hunting.

This is also the biggest weekend of the year for buck fever. Several big bucks will be tagged, but many more will be missed by shooters who can’t see past the horns. The timeliness of the rut will be credited for success and blamed for failure. The big buck that has slipped into the same bean field every night for the past two weeks will vanish. Nobody will see him again until next summer. That guy knows his home country like you knew which stair squeaked when you snuck in past curfew. Anything out of the ordinary throws up a flag. Most times that flag is a big white tail. Many mature bucks already have already holed up deep in the pucker brush. They will lay low until things quiet down.

I look forward to deer season but time has shifted my deer hunting focus. For me, deer hunting has less to do with actually hunting deer and everything to do with seeing old friends. Time stands still out there by the barn where Lloyd, Curt and I park the trucks. As long as we meet up for deer season, nobody gets any older. We’ve hunted the same places hundreds of times, but each time is brand new. That’s the way it should be. If everything’s not new again the first day of deer season, you just as well stay home.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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