The bringing of a new year gives one pause to not only look ahead, but to reflect. Last year, I promised to do more rabbit hunting and less deer hunting, I have not done that.
My private property deer hunting has been dismal, but the crowds and uncertainty of public land created an unjust bias that kept me from traveling there.
This season, I received permission to hunt 66 acres surrounded by Hoosier National Forrest. I saw a lot of deer on the private and the forest land. The deer could not tell the difference and neither could I.
My last day, I could imagine what Daniel Boone felt like when he walked some of these same hills. I wanted to see what was around the next bend or find where three ravines joined. I took off walking.
I saw well-worn trails, new scrapes and old rubs. Further and further, I walked away from where I began never losing track of the ridge top that would lead me back. My heavy clothing was becoming a burden. Time and distance were lost as I became a part of nature.
The snort of a deer and the sight of a buck jumping a deadfall brought me to focus. I looked back to see my persimmon ridge far in the distance. From this point on my trek would be uphill.
A straight line is the shortest distance between two points, but not the way to climb a hill. My ascent took me in a zig-zag. In no hurry, I took my time and often paused to catch my breath. The last 50 yards were the steepest.
A ham sandwich and bottle of water were waiting for me at the truck. Being tired felt good; I wondered how many more years God would allow me to do this and prayed it would be several. I turn 70 next month.