There are three times of year I utterly despise:
1. March. March in Minnesota is worthless. Period.
2. Early April. After a long winter, and a March that generally lasts as long as the other 4 months of winter, early April is about as comforting as a black bear swat across the arse. I’m a huge fan of hunting turkeys during the late season; if you’ve seen a horny tom come running to a seductive purr after all the hens are bred and nesting, you know exactly why I wait. And, to top that off, I generally have a bear hunt lingering around the late-May timeframe. So, sitting around early April waiting for my chance to hunt … while listening to up-to-date stories of others from the field … is hell.
3. Right now.
So far this week, I’ve had to suffer through a picture show of guys limiting on Canada geese in South Dakota and scouting cam photos of bears aggressively working northern Minnesota baits. Heck, I’m supposed to be teaching NAHC Web Editor Josh “Slim” Dahlke how to shoot an arrow straight out of a bow and he’s leaving me for a Maine black bear hunt in a few days.
Meanwhile, I’ll be rocking the khakis back in the office, getting Slim’s boastful texts, daydreaming of hunts to come while I monotonously “X” days off the calendar. This time of year is indeed brutal.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I try to cope and do more than just pout. I’ve got all my bowhunting stands de-brushed and ready to rock more than a month in advance. Scouting cams are putting in long hours over trails and mineral sites. And my trigger finger is finally getting its annual callous from long hours at the archery range.
But it’s not the same, is it?
There’s something special about being afield with the intent to kill. Sure, I dig spending time in the woods prepping for the season, but it’s not the same as participating in the season. I don’t need to kill, but I need to at least be in the game with that intent to kill. And damnit, this game can’t get started soon enough.
So here’s where this whole group therapy issue comes into play. I crack my knuckles and pick my nose at least twice an hour, and still the clock doesn’t spin fast enough.
How do you cope? I know I’m not alone in this hunting purgatory, so if you’ve got a tip to help me cope, come forth!
And, as always, keep your nose to the wind.