This Really Is The Best Time of the Year

Ah, you can smell it and feel it in the air.   We’ve finally turned the corner on summer and it’s giving way to a season that many of us truly thrive on.   Indeed, the fall season is soon upon us and waking up now to the cooler, crisp morning air is only a harbinger of better times soon to arrive.

I’m not really sure what it is but this time of the year seems to stir my passions for the outdoors unlike any other season.   Perhaps its because deep down at heart I am a hunter mostly.   Oh, sure, I enjoy my time on the water fishing, but if you were to rate the two passions my angling pursuits would not register quite as high on the interest meter as say going out pheasant hunting.   The fall season is magical with the foliage turning its brilliant colors and nature just beginning to prepare for a big change soon to come.

This fall I am excited to be trying something new.   On a whim I put in for a fall turkey hunting license with my buddy, Mike, and lo and behold we got selected for the mid-October hunt.   Having never turkey hunted in the fall the challenge will be completely new for me and surely will be something enjoyed.

Perhaps that’s one of the neat things about the fall season is there are so many opportunities to enjoy about the outdoors.   Unlike during the spring when few of the outdoor activities overlap…I mean, let’s face it…if you hunt for morel mushrooms you must do it when they are available.   But in the fall the seasons all seem to happen at once, or at least it seems so.   The calendar tells us that fall lasts for several months, but that’s not how it seems when you’re out experiencing it.   Everything happens way too fast and before you know it the season is behind us and only a fond memory.

This fall I plan to take up muzzle-loading for deer once again.   That’s sort of new…in that it’s been about 10 years since I last hunted any game with a muzzle-loader.   I’ve also been toying with the idea of putting out a small trapline this year.   And of all things I plan to trap, you would probably not guess what critter I am seeking to score on.   This fall my traps will likely be set for weasel.   Surprised?   I’m not doing it because I anticipate any great influx in the fur market for ermine, nope…I have never trapped a weasel before and I relish the opportunity to say I have done so.   That’s my motivation…experiencing activities outdoors that are new and unique.

In some areas the hunting season is already underway.   Here in Minnesota, for instance, the seasons for early goose, mourning dove and certain other migratory birds as well as bear have already begun.   The other more popular hunting seasons will begin over the next 45 days or so.

I’m sure I’m not alone in comparing this time of the year to when I was a kid anticipating the arrival of Christmas.   The excitement gradually comes to a crescendo and peaks as the days get closer and closer.   Much like those presents under the Christmas tree…as sportsmen we never really know for sure how the seasons will play out.   Maybe this will finally be the year when a trophy buck plans to walk within range.   Maybe this will be the year when the pheasant hunting is so good that we have our limit by noon on opening day.   Who knows, perhaps this will be the season I’ll witness my stepson shoot his first squirrel.

To me…that’s what’s exciting about this time of the year.   It’s a combination of all the special moments we share afield with family and with close friends.   We make memories and the outdoors is where it all happens.   Traditions that have been carried on long before us are continued by our participation and hopefully cherished dearly.

This fall, as always, I look to the season fast approaching to recharge my batteries.   Sometimes the hustle and bustle of life can wear you down and sometimes wear you completely out.   Over the years I’ve discovered that there is no better place to recharge those batteries than sitting on a deer stand or laying low waiting in a duck blind.   These activities have an uncanny way to cleanse your spirit of everything that is toxic and bad…while at the same time they help to rejuvenate your life by allowing you vital contemplative time to put life in its proper perspective.

When I think back I recall that some of life’s most important decisions have been made during the fall season.   Decisions to get married, to quit a job, or to end a destructive friendship…these were all made during this time of the year when my mind is both having fun but also preparing for what lies ahead in life.

To me, enjoying the outdoors is that special gift I hope I never get bored with or become physically unable to participate in.   It’s a cherished time of the year when I can renew bonds with old friends as well as build pleasant memories with new individuals in my life.   I know I’m sure looking forward to fall of 2006 and making it one of the best times ever in my life.   There’s lots of excitement happening just around the corner and I’m glad you can be part of that journey by tagging along with—on this blog.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.  No Reproduction Without Prior Permission.