My oldest boy is off to college now, but he used to be my alarm clock on hunting mornings. He was always up and around, banging cabinets, slamming drawers, and looking for breakfast at 4:30 every morning. His younger brother wasn’t far behind for many years. Until Logan was about a freshman in high school, he was an early riser, too. Now that he’s in high school and needs to be up early, he isn’t. I find myself dragging him out of his bed about every other morning.
My wife also used to be an early bird, but as she has changed jobs several times, she got out of the early-to-rise habit. She still does get up early quite often, but she’s not nearly as cheeful about it as she used to be. As long as I remember to set the coffee maker to auto-brew before she gets up, all is good. But if I forget, it’s going to be a long day.
And then there’s me. I am a night owl. Always have been. I tend to stay up way too late watching TV, working on photos, reading, or just dinking around. That tends to make it harder for me to get out of bed at the first peep of the alarm clock. It normally takes 90 to 100 peeps from that clock, and that could explain some of my wife’s irritation in the mornings.
But hunting mornings are different. Even if I stay up too late the night before, I’m usually wide-awake before the first beep of the six or seven alarms I set the night before. And it doesn’t matter if it’s the first hunt of the season or the 40th. On hunting mornings, I’m definitely an early riser.
Granted, I can’t always keep that early-morning energy going all day. I often take a nap out in the woods around lunchtime, and I have been told on more than one occasion that I had deer or elk wandering around me while I slept. I’ve seen the tracks that weren’t there when I stopped for lunch, but appeared magically before I got back to my feet to continue hunting.
But that’s OK. I think I wake up early on hunting mornings not because I expect to get something, but because I get to get outside. And having to pack out an animal would just ruin a perfectly good nap.