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- My Turn -

Hunting Season

By Kevin Harper
Winnsboro, La.

I spent a couple of hours last Saturday cleaning mine and my sons’ guns. Hunting season is finally over. Thank goodness.

It’s a weird mindset; we wait all year for hunting season, then we can’t wait for it to end. I hear it regularly. “Boy, I’ll be glad when the season is over.” Or “Thank God, the season is over. I was getting tired of hunting.” And I have said the same things, too.

I have two boys, Noah, age 9, Kade, age 7, and a daughter, Indya, age 16. Indya was interested in hunting until she was about 15, then she got interested in boys. I liked it better when she hunted, but there are some things out of your control. My wife, Amy, enjoys going hunting, although I think it’s an escape from the washing machine and telephone.

The main hunting my kids and I partake in is deer hunting. We occasionally go on a squirrel hunt, and, less often than that, go duck hunting.

We get up in the morning and leave before daylight or get out at 3:00 for the afternoon hunt. We go sit in a stand, usually a boxstand when one or both of the boys are with me. At least we call it a boxstand. I hunted in Mississippi for a few years, and they call it a “shooting house.” I guess it all depends on where you were raised.

But, anyway, we crawl into our boxstand, turn on the heater (wouldn’t want to get cold), eat our snacks (don’t want to get hungry) and open our Cokes, (gotta have something to wash down the snacks). Now we are ready to hunt. Which is more like sitting and waiting. And waiting.

“Shh, be quiet! You gonna scare off the deer. Sit down. Yes, you can look through the binoculars. Wake up. Quit talking. Yes, you can play solitaire on my phone. Yes, you can send a text message to Uncle Keith. No, we are not going to call Papaw Ronnie and ask him what he is seeing. No, you will have to hold it. Dark. That’s when we are leaving.”

One thing that is truly astounding is the amount of “stuff” that is needed to deer hunt. Of course, you need to have guns and ammo. A bow, so you can take advantage of the earlier opening date and the later closing date. And arrows. A good quiver. A good trigger release.

A muzzle-loader, which brings on a whole slew of products, such as percussion caps, bullets, powder and a sackful of cleaning supplies. You also need a place to hunt. And a stand, or several stands. Safety harness. And hunting licenses – basic, big game, muzzle-loader, bow hunter, turkey stamp, duck stamp, (state and Federal).

A GPS unit as well as a compass, in case the batteries die in the GPS. A full camo outfit for bowhunting when it’s warm. A good heavy set of camo clothing for when it’s cold. A range finder. Binoculars. A grunt call. A snort-wheeze call. (I still haven’t figured that one out.) Bottled “doe in heat” scent. Aerosol “doe in heat” scent. Cover scent.

Food plot seeds – wheat, oats, rye grass, turnips, clovers and all sorts of other interesting things. Fertilizer for the food plots. Feeders. Corn for the feeders. Extra batteries for the feeders. Rice bran in case the deer get tired of the food plots or the corn.

Good skinning knives. A backpack to tote all of the aforementioned stuff. A four-wheeler. Four- wheeler racks to load the ATV in your truck or a trailer to tow your ATV behind your truck.

Hunting sure can be a lot of work, but lots of fun. I cherish the many memories of hunting as a child with my father and grandfather, and hope I am giving my own children similar ones. One day, they will be grown and gone. If you have children of your own, take them hunting. Sure, it can try your patience, but it’s worth every minute of it.

– Kevin Harper, Winnsboro, La.

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