Written By Bill Howard
Do you know what time it is? No, not where the hands on the clock are located that indicates the daily travels of the sun overhead. I am referring to what time of year it is.
Yes, it is hot and feels like the Earth has bounced in its orbit towards the nuclear powered celestial orb that emits heat that is nearly unbearable. But in just a few weeks, we have a whole new season. Again, I am not necessarily referring to something based on the Earth’s position along its orbital path either.
I am referring to hunting season!
Are you ready? I am getting there. I actually am getting a late start to getting ready, but I am trying to catch up quickly.
First comes dove season. The annual celebration that is all but a national holiday. In fact, a national holiday is positioned perfectly beside opening day of dove season. Birds, birds and more birds. That is what we want to see.
It will be hot. After all, the other season is still going on, summer that is. There will be bugs. Gnats will stick to our arms, necks, legs and faces due to the amount of sweat we will be pouring as we suffer through the plague of worrisome and aggravating miniature pests and heat. Mosquitos will threaten us with Zika or some other potential disease in which we will likely just receive an itching and maybe swollen bite mark along with a quick slap of either our hand or someone else’s hand nearby.
But it will be worth it. We get to hunt. We get to shoot. We get to have our annual duty of cleaning a little over a dozen birds each in order to wrap some bacon around the breasts of something that nature provided to us for a food source that happens to be downright tasty.
If we are lucky, we get to approach it as a marriage; you know, something old, something new. Maybe we get to hunt with someone new, or with a new shotgun we have been anxious to test. Maybe we get to teach and mentor a new hunter and show them not only the techniques to hunt in a safe manner, but also the techniques to make quick and ethical shots and an enjoyment and skill that will last a lifetime.
Maybe we will get to embrace the old part as well. Taking a parent, uncle or aunt, or even a grandparent for a hunt that will always be remembered with fondness. Maybe we will bring out that old 16 gauge that hasn’t seen a hunting day for decades, or the old side-by-side 20 gauge that has been handed down in the family generation to generation.
Maybe we get to carry an old companion that may be on his or her last hunt. You know, the one that sleeps at the foot of your bed, lays with you in the recliner, and begs for you table scraps during dinner because you sneak some down in one hand when your wife turns her attention elsewhere. The one who has been faithful and loving more than any human could be. The mutt, the registered purebred, or the immaculate bloodline of field trial champions, whether they behave perfectly in the field or not, your dog will likely be even more excited than you for that one more hunt.
Yes, it is that time of year. The time of year that leads into the rest of hunting season. Deer, bear, goose, and duck all become fair game one after the other as the days march by.
It is that time of year. I am ready. Are you?
Editor’s Note: “Bill Howard Outdoors” is a new weekly series that will be published every Saturday in the new Outdoor Living feature section but is being published on Sunday this week.