Shed hunting began ahead of schedule this year, starting in January as opposed to March, when the bucks have certainly dropped their horns and hunters get the itch to start looking …
Oh, the madness.
The previous years I had time to prepare myself for seeing Country Man less and less as the sun stayed out later, snow began melting, and County-Wide Directories were left out, opened and marked on the table – all signs indicating the shift to take place in our regular life programming.
So yesterday, as I listened to the sound of his hunting sidekick hammer up the driveway with a four-wheeler in tow, anxious to take advantage of Sunday afternoon freedoms, I knew it was time to say goodbye to our own Sunday traditions for a little while.
I accompanied him shed hunting last Thursday night, excited to take advantage of the warm weather and exercise my lungs. And look for horns, of course.
First sighting out, evidence of deer. I thought you’d appreciate the visual. Yes?
We began our trek on four-wheeler, crossing the fields of last year’s corn over toward the hills, where the deer and the coyotes roam.
We started on foot, while I walked and he rolled the four-wheeler down through the deep snow, to avoid it becoming stuck.
You go that way, he points and circles, and I will go this way.
Alrighty! I thought. Oh, it’s so pretty today! The horn thing can wait; I’m going to take some photos!
And remember to LOOK for horns, he yelled to me across the meadow.
Of course! Planned on it! That’s why I’m here!
He knows me too well.
While my purpose-driven man slowly moved out of sight, I wandered aimlessly and alone in the vast 6500 acres, looking at the trees above for signs of wildlife …
… only to walk over carcasses from turkeys and the bones of cattle. Coyotes, I convince myself.
Sporadic shouts over yonder told me he had found three, while I had yet to find even one.
If I believed in luck, I would say I wasn’t much of it for him. Three is a low number in his experience.
So, for the fourth season in a row, I helped welcome the season in the best way I know how … by visual appreciation of the places he will spend much of his time.
And when I find myself jealous of his time, I can come back to this post and be thankful I live in such a place as this. A place where I can leave anytime I fancy and wander outside alone and free, doing what I love.
Just like him.