February 1, 2023

When Deer Hunting Season Was a Much Welcomed Event

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Once upon a time, deer hunting season was the ultimate in getting away from the everyday hustles and bustles, finding some solitude in the woods, and stalking a whitetail deer in my favorite hunting grounds.

I suppose that with age the excitement of the event has been tempered but there’s something more to it than what it once was. Maybe I can point out some obvious differences.

Deer hunting in Maine was once an all or nothing, statewide event. Even if your neighbor didn’t pick up a rifle and head into the woods, he was with you in spirit. It seemed everyone wanted to know “Did ya git ya deeyah yet?” Today there are more and more people who feel compelled to end that long-time heritage mostly due to the wants of protecting the animals that are pursued. Surely participating in an activity that fewer people approve of takes some of the wind out of your sail.

A second issue is fewer places to hunt. A growing epidemic in this country is the escape of many from the urban jungles of which they have come to despise, moving to the smaller communities in more rural settings and immediately setting their sites on making their new home just exactly like where they escaped from. Along with this senseless action, and a dislike of the traditions of rural Mainers, these selfish, greedy people immediately post their land. Surely knowing there are fewer places to hunt now and the attitudes that go along with the reasons for posting lands, takes some of the wind out of your sail to get out in the woods at daybreak to meet that buck attempting to sneak back to his hiding place.

Another truth that takes the wind further from my sail is the fact that there are fewer and fewer deer. Where once the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) openly and proudly attempted to manage deer in numbers that would give as many hunters as possible a respectable chance at harvesting a deer, today the deliberate action is to manage for as few deer as possible, while using the excuse that a few “healthy” deer are better than higher numbers to keep the hunters happy. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t make a lick of sense to me either.

Instead of “Did ya git ya deeyah yet?”, the more common comment of today might be, “Have ya seen one yet?” You can’t argue that fewer deer to hunt on less land makes you question the need to even raise your sails.

So, here we are but just two days away from the first day of deer hunting season in Maine (for residents only). The weather has been cold and snowy for the past few days – an uncommon event even for Maine (must be the global warming).

Add to all of this the fact that last Saturday morning I awoke to the sound of my water pump running only to discover that due to a prolonged drought that began in this portion of Maine in the Spring, my well had gone dry. Now I’m carrying containers of water from the town’s public water hose, flushing the toilet with a bucket of water and taking sponge baths instead of a nice hot shower. The idea of leaving for hunting camp for a week and leaving my wife here to take care of the water issue, makes me even wonder if I ought to go.

What’s going on? Things certainly are not the way they used to be and with age, those changes come harder and harder. Where once NOTHING could keep me from hunting camp, now I’m searching for reasons to go.