So according to Eric, my friend and the guy who lets me hunt on his property, I am the worst hunter. This wasn’t the first time I have received such a title. Yesterday it was because i allowed Eric’s dog, Gretchen, to accompany me to the tree stand I was going to be sitting in.
I figure she would just walk a little distance with me and then head back to the house. I continued to think this until I was about a tenth of a mile away from the tree stand. That is when Gretchen scared up a deer and I figured i wasn’t going to be able to get rid of her. I walked to the tree stand and sat while she ran through the woods. I kind of hoped that she might scare something over to me, instead of away from me. Nope that wasn’t going to happen.
After she ran around for awhile she then came, grabbed a stick, and sat down around 15 yards away from my stand to chew on the stick. Eric drove his four-wheeler out to get her after I sent him a photo of her sitting by me, but he didn’t have to. I was fine with Gretchen being there. The good news was that I had C.S. Lewis’s “Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer“with me and I like dogs, including Gretchen. All together it was a pretty enjoyable afternoon sitting in the woods reading and watching a dog run around.
I can’t always control my circumstances but I can control my response to them. Viktor Frankl writes about this in his classic book “Man’s Search for Meaning“. Frankl writes the following:
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Frankl was dealing with the horror of the Holocaust and I am definitely not comparing dealing with Gretchen to the Holocaust. She can be a pain but she’s still a sweet dog. I just like to quote Frankl whenever possible. If you haven’t read “Man’s Search for Meaning”, you should. Like right now.
Anyhow, while I do enjoy actually getting to harvest a deer every now and then (right now I average 1 every other year, which is better than the Wisconsin average. Last I heard 1 in 3 Wisconsin hunters get a deer each year. I’m ahead of that ratio.) the real reason that I hunt deer, especially bow hunt, is how loud the forest becomes when you deer hunt. The forest seems real quite till you sit in it for a while. Then you notice how noisy it is.
Squirrels and mice are the ADHD teens of the woods. These little creatures are constantly making noise. I can hear them all around me when I am sitting in a tree stand. Chatter, chatter. Rustle, rustle. Hide a nut here. Nope let’s move it over here. I believe my favorite thing is hearing geese fly over me, just above the forest canopy. I’m not talking about their honking, though I like that too. Nope I love the sound of their wings cutting through the air. When you sit in a tree stand long enough for them not to know you are there you can hear the act of them flying. It is very cool. Then, of course, every now and then you get to hear a deer come close … though it usually turns out to be a squirrel instead. Those stupid, little rodents are really loud.
I’m sure there is some greater point to sitting quietly enough to loudly hear all the small noises, but I’ll leave the development of that point up to you.
SIDE NOTE – if you are looking for something that will contribute to your love of dogs I would recommend two items: 1) a book I just finished “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain“, and 2) this Facebook Page of dogs that UPS drivers meet along their routes. The UPS Dogs FB page is really making me smile today.