Some of you may be oblivious to it. Others have been patiently waiting. But for a kid with a buck tag, the anticipation has been almost unbearable. Deer season opened Friday.
All around the state, friends and family are gathering in hunting shacks, homes, cabins, and motels. They’ll spend days afield and nights around the table. It’s one of North Dakotans’ most treasured annual events.
I suppose the main plot or storyline centers around filling tags, but there are many subplots to this story. And they are as extensive as they are varied. Old stories will be retold and this year’s events may morph into future tall tales. Not only is there a strong social side to all this, but there are also acquaintances to be renewed on the prairie, woodland and marshes with buckbrush, buffaloberry, magpies, chickadees, and lots of other plants and animals. That is because deer season is also a time to commune with nature.
Some hunters may be after a trophy or the meat. But for many of them, deer season provides the interest and motivation to get out and enjoy nature. Sometimes it’s all of the above. Whatever the reason, hunters generally have a healthy respect for the land and appreciation for the natural world.
Most hunters connect with nature through the hunting experiences. They’ll notice the earthy odors of fall. They’ll stop and watch as an eagle soars overhead. Sometimes they will be compelled to just sit down and soak it all in for a bit.
The method of hunting may be quite variable, and each hunter has their preferences. Each provides slightly different experiences such as sitting quietly for a deer to pass and having a chickadee land on them, or surprising a porcupine while walking through a patch of buckbrush. Then of course there are the times when a hunter has drawn a doe tag and had to just watch as a buck of a lifetime passed within easy range. These are all rich experiences, but sometimes downright frustrating.
Whether you are hunting or not, odds are that someone in your family or a close friend is. So let’s hope this season a safe one, and one that brings us a little closer to the land.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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