We are in the midst of deer hunting season. Not only does the season contribute around a billion dollars to the Missouri economy, it helps control disease in the deer population and lessens the number of car/deer collisions.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of the deer season is what it provides for the hunter. For those who have not experienced it, there is something special about creeping into the woods before sunrise.
Sitting silently, you’ll quickly realize the woods are not a silent place. There are always tiny creatures rummaging about in the leaf litter, a variety of mice, including the graceful deer mouse. Perhaps one will hear an owl call, or a wild turkey greeting the day.
The woods are pretty this time of year, and colors slowly come into view with the rising sun. A quiet hunter can watch squirrels timidly come out from hiding, and night creatures returning to their home.
Songbirds begin to greet the day with their songs and the fluttering of wings. There are always woodpeckers, blue jays, crows, and sometimes the melancholy calls of migrating geese.
The deer can appear quite suddenly. The hunter sits in anticipation while enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the woodland without a deer in sight. Suddenly they are there, moving slowly and warily toward their bedding area. More than one hunter simply sits and watches.
There is no crime in the taking of a deer. It serves a useful service in woods where large predators are mostly absent. African tribesmen claim that killing an animal grants it eternal life as it lives on the mind of the hunter. There is truth in that. The moment is forever etched in the mind of the hunter.