Maybe it’s because I usually end up coming home empty-handed, and it’s pretty rare that I get to experience the feeling that comes at the end of a successful hunt, but my favorite part of going hunting is stepping outside on that first morning of the season. Or maybe it’s because I’ve had enough of the heat of the summer, and the cool morning is just a welcome change. But most likely, it’s the anticipation of the hunt ahead that energizes me, and it has nothing at all to do with the weather.
That’s probably what it is, because I don’t get that same feeling when I have to leave for work early on an unexpectedly chilly fall morning. In fact, that actually kind of annoys me. But when I’m going hunting, even though I know I’m going to be out in that cold all day long, I find the chill in the air invigorating.
In fact, the colder it is on a hunting morning, the better. I think there’s something about the cold that makes it seem more likely that I’ll find the animals I’m after. It seldom turns out that way, but that’s what I always feel on mornings like that.
The last several years, I’ve experienced that first-hunt-morning chill stepping out of the house. That’s a great feeling, but it’s even better when you’re crawling out of a tent deep in the backcountry. To get the full effect of the first-hunt-morning feeling, you need to have to use a flashlight to find your hiking boots.
For now, I’ll make do with leaving for the first hunt from the house. But when my boys get a little older, I plan to introduce them to the wilderness, tent-dwelling, flashlight-wielding first-hunt-morning feeling. I’m certain they’ll love it as much as I do.