Along The Trail 9-8-16


The cool front parked above us and ushered in autumn-like weather for a few days.

Blue skies and wispy white clouds backed by a pleasant breeze. A welcome resbit from late summer’s humid, swampy weather. Most folks spent the last weekend planning their cookouts and picnics and deciding how to spend the holiday, but for the bow hunters among us, our minds were elsewhere.

As if over night, the soybeans have began to yellow and the corn is beginning to shake with that dry rattle in the wind that signals fall’s arrival. The cottonwoods are already dropping their leaves and the sycamores and poplars will soon follow. Some of the brush along the fence rows and treelines are already starting to show their autumn colors with traces of oranges and yellow and before long, the maples will put on a show. The daylight hours are beginning to shorten, bit by bit, minute by minute with the oncoming change of the season.

Some hunters are tending to their food plots, hoping to lure in that buck they’ve been watching all summer. Others of us are hanging treestands and placing ground blinds in likely looking spots. Maybe along a natural funnel or the corner of a bean field that the deer travel. Maybe along a narrow ridge full of white oaks….

It’s a time of preparation for the deer hunter.

Evenings are spent in the backyard shooting arrows, over and over, working on our form. Focus, draw, anchor, release and repeat as the arrow sinks into the target. We wear a path in the yard from our shooting spot to the target, the grass beat down by hundreds of foot steps marching back and forth as we shoot and pull the arrows. The tease of the cool air only intensifies our practices sessions.

Broadheads are sharpened and honed to a keen edge. Shaving sharp as the bare spot above my wrist can attest too. For years now, that same spot on my arm has gone hairless this time of year as it has been my test spot for the sharpness of my arrowheads. There is something gratifying about seeing those hairs popped clean from the back of my wrist on a freshly sharpened broadhead for I know that when the time comes, that arrow will do it’s job on a deer. The knives are touched up as well and equally capable. A few strokes across my sharpener and cleaned up with an old leather belt has my hunting knife able to cut clean through a stiff piece of paper.

Trail cameras are checked with more frequency and anticipation. It’s tougher to let them sit and soak in the woods more than a few days at a time. The pull to check them more often is greater with the season just around the corner. With each time they’re viewed, it’s like unwrapping a Christmas morning gift. Will there be a new deer? Will a mature buck show up, one that’s never been on the camera before? The photos that the hidden cameras capture build the hunter’s excitement for opening day and add to the experience.

Yes, the tease of the cool weather has the hunter’s heart pounding and his thoughts turned towards the woods. We know that it will turn back to late summer and hot weather before we’re sitting among the trees with our bows in hand, but until then we’ll continue to count the days and wish for autumn.

-David Hewitt