November 28, 2002

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I think the conservation department made the shift to a 10-day firearms deer season a few years ago simply to torment guys like me. We go both weekends without getting a deer and then have to go to work on Monday and Tuesday, the final two days of the season.

Of course, like I said last week, I get so frustrated with deer hunting that I typically swear it off by that point in the season anyway. This year was no different. When I trudged into the house after my final Sunday hunt, I didn't even once consider maybe trying to sneak away from work Monday or Tuesday for one last chance at a big buck. I just moped my way through the house up the stairs and put away all my gear - which is no small task anymore as the load seems to grow larger and larger each season with more and more junk.

It's getting so bad that while I'm sitting in the stand I'm thinking up Top 10 lists why I like my other hobbies better than deer hunting. Last week it was spring turkey season, which easily is my favorite hunting time of the year.

But as I drove back across the field toward my stand on Saturday afternoon I could not keep my thoughts on the task at hand. Instead my attention was drawn to the two ponds that I passed, as the water was quite calm. The temperature was in the 50s so why not think about fishing?

I don't own any blaze orange waders, So I decided against the move. However after having my hunt disrupted by a trio of hunters oblivious of fences and property lines, I was wishing I had picked up a fishing pole instead of my rifle. Why is it that after you confront someone for trespassing, you are the one that feels bad? I sat at home for an hour after the conversation, stewing and fretting about the little incident. Why should I get stressed out? I did nothing wrong? Sure I may have used a few words that would require bleeping, but its pretty frustrating when you put in all the work to build the stands, scouting for the big deer and braving the weather. Then all that goes up in smoke in 10 minutes when someone hops a fence, trudges through your hunting ground and shoots a deer out from under you.

Maybe that's why I like fishing better. You catch someone fishing in your pond and you can ask them to put the fish back. Plus you know the 20 trucks that drive by that evening aren't road fishing and probably won't scare your fish away. Besides fishing offers many more options. If the bass aren't biting you can try for bluegill or crappie. While it's awful tempting sometimes, we can't switch to turkey, squirrels or other game that seem to parade past you while sitting in the deer stand.

When I talk to my therapist about my outdoor issues, he seems to believe that I am more confident in my fishing skills. (Just joking - while most of you may think I need a shrink, I spend too much money on my hunting and fishing supplies to be able to afford therapy). While I have bagged a couple big turkeys that trophy buck has always eluded me. I have a monster bass on my wall at home so I don't have a fish complex. Maybe the pressure is getting to me.

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