The best season is finally here

I’m told there are four seasons in every year. That may be true, but there’s only one that really gets me going.

Some people live for the winter, when they can strap a pair of planks to their feet and rocket down a snow-covered slope at break-neck speed. Others look forward to the spring. These are the people who are most likely to utter the phrase, “Spring is a season of rebirth and renewal.” Crikey, turn down the gain on the sap amplifier. And another group is never as happy as they are in the summer, broiling their skin until it’s a nice golden-brown.

There are parts of all these seasons I enjoy. But if I had to pick a favorite season, it would have to be the fall. Fall in Wyoming has a little bit of all the seasons. We have ninety-degree temperatures one day, followed by eighteen-inch dumps of snow and near-zero thermometer readings the next. We get rain and the green grass that comes with it, and we get the vibrant colors of the changing leaves.

But best of all, we get hunting season.

I’m not a blood-thirsty killer. In fact, I hardly ever come home with meat. I just like to be out in the wilderness with everything I need for survival on my back.

I’ve had people tell me I don’t need to hunt to get that feeling. They say all I’m doing is hiking in the woods, so why not just go on a hike in the woods?

It’s not that simple. First of all, if I ever get the opportunity to take a shot, I’d like to be carrying the equipment required to get the job done.

There’s also the feeling of being on a hunt. You can’t duplicate it doing anything other than hunting. It’s a sensation that comes only from knowing you’re stalking your quarry the way an alpha predator should, or from knowing at any moment, you could trip on a rock and impale yourself with a three-bladed Muzzy broadhead. All those things add up to a delicious mixture of adrenaline, excitement, anticipation, and a little bit of fear.

There’s also the camaraderie of camp. Whether your companions are friends or family, you can’t match the interactions anywhere. There are stories shared around campfires; friendly arguments about where to hunt; pack-horse rodeos; and accidental, self-induced knife slashes on hands incurred when members of the hunting party decide to remove the string silencers from their bows. No football game or poker night can compare. After all, how many times have you had to stitch up a knife wound at a tailgate party? I’ve had to do it twice in camp.