Along The Trail 2-12-15

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Editor’s Note: This is a column written by Switzerland County’s David Hewitt. The articles center on all things ‘outdoors’, from hunting and fishing to woodsmanship.

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A couple of near 60 degree days, a tease of spring, has me longing for warm weather and green grass and blooms on the trees.

This winter has been damp, long and gray.

Archery competitions, trade shows, and hunting cast antlers have helped fill the void between seasons, but there’s no real substitute for hunting with my longbow. I could chase rabbits with some arrows and do a little roving and stump shooting, but it’s just not the same as getting close to a deer, to big game: that heart pounding, dry throat, sweaty palm feeling of being up close and personal to a wild animal and knowing that you’ve matched wits with him in his environment.

Cabin fever, winter time blues, call it what you like, we all tend to get a little punchy this time of year. A guy can only watch so much television and I’ve exhausted my stock of old hunting magazines, read and re-read.

I’ve caught up with a couple of good books, tuned up my hunting bow, honed a knife or two and made a plans for an upcoming trip to Texas to chase some wild hogs, but there’s still a lot of long, dark, molasses slow evenings ’til spring makes her arrival.

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t do well being idle, being bored. I need a project, a goal, something to occupy my mind. Most of my time spent outside of work is spoken for, but those moments that I get to myself, I try to connect them with my passion for hunting and the outdoors.

Fletching some arrows, sharpening broadheads or if the weather allows, post-season scouting or just a simple walk through the woods.

Lately, I’ve re-kindled an old hobby of mine, drawing wildlife. I’m not an artist, I’m just someone who enjoys drawing and sketching. I’ve never had any real formal training and any success that I’ve had with art, much like deer hunting, has came from trial and error. Most the time, there are a lot more failures than successes, again much like hunting with a traditional bow.

But my drawing and hunting, with it’s challenges and ups and downs, hits and misses, each one teaches me something new for the next hunt or the next piece of artwork. Both pastimes give me a sense of relaxation, they magically eliminate stress, they take me to another place far from phones, from work, from problems.

Both have some unknown way of making me lose all sense of time and getting caught up in the moment.

I “draw” my inspiration for art from hunts, from things I’ve seen. From deer that have crossed my path or a tufted titmouse that lit on the limb next to me last fall, inches from my face. I try and recreate a picture from my memory or from my buddy’s stories and photos of their hunts, their experiences.

Before I know it, I’m still at the dining room table, the TV now just background noise, way past bedtime working on a drawing - trying to capture the deer just as I remember or how it looks from the photo of a hunting magazine.

Pencils shavings and dust litter the table, it’s finally time to put the pencil down, call it and night and call it done and dream of hunting seasons to come.

– David Hewitt