When I first started deer hunting in my mid-teens one of the toughest things about the hunt was dealing with the gnawing boredom which often can set in. I was young and, of course, I wanted something to happen NOW! As the minutes ticked off my watch the tedium of sitting still along with my growing discomfort would often overtake my decreasing desire to be patient and wait things out in the stand.
Some might say how can you be bored in the woods? If you observe closely there is always something going on around you. Maybe it’s a squirrel at 10 o’clock. Perhaps it’s a downy woodpecker scampering up and down the tree next to you. Possibly it’s a large flight of loud swans barely detectable high in the bright sky. Indeed, the woods is full of observable life even if ol’ Mr. Whitetail doesn’t happen to be occupying your time at a given moment.
It seems the older I get the more I value just sitting out in the woods enjoying the experience. Rarely if ever do I get bored these days. In fact, quite the contrary. My life, like most of yours, probably, is filled with so much daily activity that now in my adulthood I wait all year long just to sit out in the woods and do absolutely nothing. Call it boredom, if you will.
Of course, when I was a youth I would be out deer hunting at the opportunity expense of doing other fun things in life. If the deer weren’t cooperating, I was then sitting there in stand wondering what my friends were doing. Maybe I was missing out on some excitement. Who knows, the point is when you are young and inexperienced it can be hard to focus solely on the task of hunting and that’s usually when the boredom sets in.
Back 30 years ago when I was a youth we didn’t expect immediate gratification as youngsters seem to do today. Today’s kids have discovered if they are doing something that’s not fun at the moment…then it’s time to do something completely different. It’s in our culture…whether it’s fast food, getting tickets for a concert on the Internet, whatever the case may be…most kids simply lack the patience to wait for what they want.
When I take my 11–year old stepson out in the woods with me he fights the same battles most kids do. When the action is slow, in his young mind he’s probably thinking he could be home watching TV, playing video games or even surfing on the Internet. Today’s kids have too many activity options and distractions that if they lose focus on the hunting part…boredom sets in very quickly.
The other day I thought about this aspect of the hunt quite a bit. How can we reduce the amount of boredom anyone experiences while in the woods? If children aren’t properly inspired to participate in the hunt, they may never acquire the life-long desire to spend their fall days sitting quietly in the woods just watching and waiting like a good deer hunter. Truth is, few hunters take up the sport for the first time when they become adults. The formative years for a youth developing the core interests for the hunt cannot be underestimated.
Yea, it would be easy if deer stand boredom could be vanquished as easily as popping a pill. Problem is, no such pill or solution will ever exist. The only prescription I know of to absolutely kill deer hunting boredom is a sudden case of “buck fever.”
Describe to me another sport where your mind can be slipping off into a daydream state with a slow, methodic pulse rate. Then suddenly…with the snap of a twig over your left shoulder, your body stiffens, your heart rate bounds so forcefully you can hear it beating, and your breathing becomes heightened as you attempt to regain your composure. The excitement of what is seemingly only yards behind you crescendos as you slowly turn your head for a sneak peak at what possibly will be the trophy for which you’ve waited a lifetime.
C’mon…whoever said deer hunting gets boring?
2008 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.