The race is not against the clock; rather, it is against the calendar.
And that chase is a game where I am not only in second place but seriously falling behind.
In two-weeks-plus-one-day the entire book on this current hunting session will culminate in its ending, too.
Knee replacement surgery - elective perhaps, but necessary just the same - will take the scalpel to further hunting opportunities this season.
No more tries to arrow a deer nor a chance to step aside and let a beagle whip a rabbit past my post.
Of course, the waterfowl season will end a short calendar throw before the surgery. That leg of the race was something of a dead heat.
Up until Thanksgiving the skies were ruled by Canada geese willing to buzz the assortment of decoys laid out on the farm pond.
Those decoys are now frozen in place, locked there because I hoped that December would remain warm enough to keep the pond from freezing over, thereby staying an attractive place for the geese to land.
For the most part December fulfilled expectations. Except for the stinging nettle prickliness of uncooperative Canada geese. Including an effort Monday morning over a friend’s plucked soybean field.
So with a sense of anxious urgency I am viewing the calendar’s countdown.
Every day that has even a crumb of archery deer-hunting opportunity I weigh whether or not to head to one of two ground blinds. These fabric cocoons stand with their respective game feeders, each filled with shelled corn for the last of what remains of my hunting season.
Yeah, it’s discouraging. Oh, not to the point of shouting to the wind with fists clenched in anger. I’m disappointed, not distraught.
Enough so I’m in a rush, chasing the calendar.
People (friends, family, coworkers) ask why I push myself, shackled by a year’s worth of dealing with treatments for prostate cancer, neck fusion surgery and a host of other aliments requiring a physician’s attention.
I guess my only answer to their inquiries goes something like this: I’ll always chase the calendar, and though I may never catch up, it won’t be from a lack of trying.
Saturday marks the start of Ohio’s four-day statewide muzzle-loading season.
Current weather reports indicate the opener will be cold - perhaps bitterly cold - along with possibility of snow showers.
Last year’s season saw a kill of 19,459 deer. The same season in 2010 saw 17,887 deer killed, the four-day period experiencing much the same weather forecast for this year’s season.
Ohio’s muzzle-loading deer hunters must possess the proper permits. Regardless of zone, method of taking or season, hunters may take only one antlered deer during the 2012-2013 deer hunting season.
Legal hunting hours for the muzzle-loader season are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Deer must be checked in by noon the day after the harvest, except on the last day of the muzzle-loader season when a deer must be checked in by 11:30 p.m. that day.
Ohio’s small game, furbearer and waterfowl seasons are also open during the muzzle-loader season.
All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) must wear a visible solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange coat, jacket, vest or coveralls during the muzzle-loader season.
Locally, the deer kill during last year’s statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season was (with the respective 2010 muzzle-loading season figures in parentheses) were: Ashland County - 295 (255); Erie County - 43 (30); Huron County - 173 (156); Lake County - 42 (26); Geauga County - 160 (149); Lorain County - 169 (157); Media County - 146 (111); Sandusky County - 73 (60); Cuyahoga County - 5 (also 5); Ashtabula County - 380 (290); Trumbull County - 238 (251).
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn