There is a song that talks about Christmas being the most wonderful time of the year.
While that may be extremely difficult to argue with, many hunters will probably argue that fall is the most wonderful time of year.
Just think, several hunting seasons start early, like the first days of September.
Additionally, Canada’s early goose season is well under way, having kicked off on August 15.
For the archery hunter crowd, deer bow season begins on September 2 of this year.
For the lucky number of hunters who receive pronghorn, elk and elk licenses, those who opt for a bow as their method of hunting can also hit the field beginning September 2.
And for those looking for a big wild cat, there’s mountain lion season.
You guessed it; that season also begins on September 2 this year.
It’s a North Dakota tradition that those hunting opportunities open on the first Friday closest to September 1 of each year, which is why September 2 is the magic date in 2022.
And don’t forget pigeon season, which opens Sept. 1 for mourning doves, as well as the non-native Eurasian collared dove, whose population has swelled to huntable numbers in parts of North Dakota.
That season date is established through parameters determined by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency in charge of the framework for managing migratory birds and their hunting seasons.
The following week, the grouse, partridge and tree squirrel seasons open on September 10.
Come mid-September and beyond, the hunt gets underway with youth-specific opportunities for species like deer, pheasant and waterfowl.
Mix in swans, turkeys, deer, moose, elk and pronghorn, for those lucky enough to get licenses, plus waterfowl and pheasant seasons, and it’s shaping up to be a busy fall.
In the whirlwind of activity that always seems to accompany the series of hunting seasons, several things must not be forgotten. For starters, licenses.
For those hunters who hide licenses and tags in a “safe” place, the burning question is whether or not they can remember where that “safe” place was.
Archery deer hunters should remember to ask for their license and tags before they go hunting because the tag must be in their possession. Turkey hunters also need their tag in possession.
The ND Fish and Game Department mails out a physical tag, so be sure to purchase it early enough so the US Postal Service has time to pocket it before you leave. In other words, don’t order a bow tag on Thursday night and expect to hunt on Friday.
On the immediate horizon there is also the issue of climate. Typically, seasons that open in early to mid-September tend to be warm. It doesn’t hurt to be aware of the potential fire hazard.
Be careful, stay on the trails, which hunters should do anyway, be aware of local fire restrictions, the current fire danger index where one is hunting, and have a fire extinguisher in a vehicle in case that mother nature tends toward a hot, dry fall.
Even though toxic blue-green algae concerns were less prevalent in 2022 compared to some years, it’s still a good idea to keep that favorite four-legged hunter maniac out of wetlands and lakes that can appear on the “disgusting” side. “With algae like highlands and waterfowl seasons approaching. Avoid discolored water, too.
Hunting dogs are going to want to go to the water to cool off and drink because they are the ones that work countless times more than the hunter. Be sure to bring water with you, stop and rest your dog frequently, and keep your dog away from any potentially dangerous water. Avoid hunting in the heat of the day, too.
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are not unique to humans; they also occur in canines, including hard-working hunting dogs.
Hunting seasons are soon upon us. While some may debate it, for many it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Enjoy. Be smart. Do the right thing. Remember all those hunting safety rules you learned in Hunter Education.
And finally, it’s worth pondering a quote from the late Fred Bear, whose legacy in the art of the bow and bowhunting is recognized among generations of archery enthusiasts, as each hunting season approaches: “I come home with honestly earned feeling. that something good has happened. It doesn’t matter if I got something; It has to do with how the day was spent.”