The Cobwebs of October

Maybe it’s because Halloween is so close, but I’ve been dealing with cobwebs. Not just the ones I’ll string across our doorway October 31st, but the kind in my head and on my habits.

It took longer than usual to pack for the first hunt of the waterfowling season, a quick trip up to Kern National Wildlife Refuge. The bags were zipped and unzipped many times, as things from last year’s hunting gear list were remembered, located (or not, in the case of my game strap), and packed. I know that by the end of the season, I’ll be packing with my eyes closed, on autopilot. But right now, the rituals are a bit rusty.

Rust. And cobwebs.

They were all over my shooting, too. Many shells were expended to get the shoveler, green-wing teal, and gadwall I eventually brought home. But that’s what first trips of the season are for, to get us to remember how to pack, how to shoot. And maybe, to remind us how to have a good time.

It’s not easy for some of us. We worry that some small thing will get left behind (some gear or gadget that hunters didn’t even have twenty years ago). We worry about the weather, the wind. We’re up at 2am in the freezing cold, studying the previous week’s hunt results tacked to the wall of the check station, as if the ducks are somehow going to be in the same place and do the same thing. This is impossible for several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that all the ducks on that list, that flew by the places we hope they’ll fly by again, are DEAD. We make our secret plans anyway, based on these sheets, on rumors, on overheard conversations, on advice from insiders. Then we worry that we made the right choice.

And I’m kind of tired of it. I worry enough about work. I’m not going to worry about hunting.

So this season, I’m going to hunt like this first hunt at Kern. Because the rust and the cobwebs somehow forced me to expect a little less and be more forgiving of myself. I took it easy. I didn’t worry too much. I think my partner and his kids had a good time. The pond was beautiful. It was good to be standing in water next to cattails again. I got enough ducks for dinner. I don’t need more than that.

I’m always going to do my best to make a good hunt happen, but this season I’m not going to get caught up in things that don’t matter. And I’m going to avoid hunters that aren’t also learning to let go, relax, have a good time.

This is the season I set my hunting free. And see where it leads.

~ by SpeakingZenaphorically on October 15, 2007.

One Response to “The Cobwebs of October”

  1. Well written. Many do not understand the true reason most of us hunt, its not the kill that makes us keep coming back its the unkilled and knowing that we are only a small part of the true wild. When I say “many” I do want to clarify I am referring to wives. Nice website I will keep checking back to see new post. Good Luck with your season.

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