If you deer hunt you know what it means.
It is like a religion, it is like a rite of passage and it is almost demands a certain reverence.
About 8 years ago I started going to LBL with my friends from www.tndeer.com on opening weekend.
I would have never believed I would "give up" opening day, hunting at home where I "know" the deer and have a better than average to kill a deer on opening day, or opening weekend.
Since I have given that up I have enjoyed opening day and opening weekend just as much, if not more than before.
It may be because I am getting older but more and more I enjoy the social aspect of deer hunting every year.
This year I arrived at LBL on Friday morning, set up camp and headed to the woods with my buddy stretch.
We "scouted" from 11:00 a.m. until around 7:30 p.m. and according to my GPS we walked a total of just over 8 and a half miles.
I say we scouted, but we moreso looked at areas that stretch wanted to look at and areas that he wanted to show to and share with me.
I would have never seen / found some awful beautiful spots without him.
We walked (alot), we talked, we laughed and we just enjoyed the day.
After that we came back to camp and then shared a great meal with more friends.
Tried out a new steakhouse in Dover that was EXCELLENT and then built us a fire and shared drinks, stories, laughter and friendship.
I'm not really sure when we came to the realization that we weren't hunting this weekend, it just kind of happened.
It was kinda funny because we never really talked about it but we both knew the actual trek into the woods in the morning and the subsequent sitting and enjoying just being there couldn't add alot of enjoyment to this particular weekend.
I even got a "check" of my own mortality this weekend as I heard news of a brother deer hunter getting himself and his stand knocked down from about 30 feet up as a tree fell and it chose a path to the ground that he was directly in the center of. As I type this I don't know how he is doing, but I do know the helicopter was flying him to Vanderbilt while I slept comfortably through the early hours of the morning.
When you hear of something like this it definately makes you think, I assure you of that.
There ended up being three of us that never climbed a tree this opening weekend but I will be totally honest with you, it was one of the best I have ever had.
Make no mistake, the fire is there and I plan on returning to the spots marked on my GPS very soon but I guess this weekend was just a "smolder" that will build into the raging fire very soon.
God bless and good hunting always,