By John Gibble
Some folks clamor about getting out on the opening day of the season. For sure, when it comes to deer hunting, that first day represents about your best chance of connecting on some venison when everyone else seems to be in the woods pushing them around for you. I remember when the first day of trout season and the first day of small game season were big deals, too. For the fish, folks would be lined up, elbow to elbow on any stocked and fishable piece of water. Often crossed lines and assumed possession of a special hole, or accusations of starting early resulted in altercations, some of them physical. My fly-fishing friend says neither the fish nor the angler are worthy of each other. We called it “combat fishing”. The first day of small game season was a big deal when I was a kid. Fire halls and churches would put on big breakfasts. They had to be early because hunters wanted to be at the edge of their chosen field before the 8:00 a.m. shooting time started (or was it 9:00?). Rows of hunters would march across the same fields, back and forth, hollering for dogs or kids, and hunters would be trying to figure out how to get their 2-wheel drive station wagon out of the roadside ditch without paying the farmer $5 to help with his tractor. On the first day of deer season, we would sit on the mountain and count the number of shots heard: 100, 200, or 300 by lunch time was not uncommon. Usually one stopped counting around 8:30 and noted his count and the time.
Of late, I’ve become more enamored with the last day of the season. It seems that throughout our small game season I allow too many other things to take up my time. For several years, it was high school football games; after which came holidays and shopping; then would come the cold snaps with 20 degree highs and biting winds when one hated to leave the house let alone spend all day outside. So by the end of rabbit hunting season, it seems quite imperative to me that I must partake, sometimes not just the last day but the last few days if weather and work allow.
Last year was consumed with plans to build a new house, meeting with contractors and subcontractors and excavators. It was also eaten away by trying to sell the old house with potential buyers coming through on odd days, especially weekends, requiring quick cleaning and rearranging for the optimum show. There were also the PBGA meeting, meetings with the Game Commission, discussions on pending regulations and laws. Several birthday parties fell in along the way. As I watched my rabbit hunting opportunities dwindle, I took a firm stand and circled the last day of the season on the calendar and marked it inviolable.
Be sure the check out the rest of this article in our January issue.