By GLYNN HARRIS
For the people who live for the chance to grab a gun or a bow and head into the woods, that moment is upon us. In fact, it’s already kicked off with pigeon season kicking off Labor Day weekend.
I had the privilege of sitting in a field of pigeons on opening weekend. As I did? More on that later.
In just a few short weeks, on October 1st, squirrel season begins. I am of the opinion that the opening of squirrel season has lost some of its appeal to many hunters. It used to be that the Saturday when squirrel season opened was almost like a national holiday. In fact, some areas had a reputation for scheduling Friday night football games for Thursday to give squirrel hunters a chance to head to camp on Friday night in anticipation of daylight at night. next morning when squirrel season kicked off.
For me, the opening day of squirrel season was always like Sunday mornings growing up. If it was Sunday, there was no doubt that he was on his way to Sunday school and church. You didn’t have to think about it; you were going to church. Same thing for the opening day of squirrel season; you didn’t think so None of the kids I grew up with considered missing out.
When I was too young to do it by myself, my dad took me by myself to see how I did it. I still get a bit of a chill as I remember sitting next to him on a mossy log in the woods near a group of hickory trees that were producing hickory nuts.
Even though it was dark, I felt safe and secure because I was sitting next to my dad.
A few years later, my dad felt I had done my apprenticeship well enough and they let me pack up my little .22 single shot rifle. Still later, the two of us would go into the woods and I would be allowed to hunt alone; Dad whispered instructions on which trees to watch as he walked silently into the next patch of woods.
I can remember, especially on an afternoon hunt, the hour was getting late, Dad was out somewhere, and I began to worry that he had forgotten about me and was heading home without me. I heard leaves rustling and was sure a bear or wolf was about to attack when I saw the source of the sound and breathed a sigh of relief; it was dad coming back for me.
Deer season for Area 2 archery hunters begins on the same day as squirrel season, October 1. I’ve never bowhunted, but always looked forward to the opening of deer gun season, which begins Oct. 22 for hunters using primitive firearms and Oct. 19 in Area 2 for gun hunters.
I have vivid memories of my introduction to deer hunting. I lived in Homer at the time. It was a cold November day in 1967 when I joined a friend, James White, his children, and a group of other hunters to meet up in Summerfield and hook up with Bill Bailey, who had an excellent pack of beagle hounds.
James positioned me along a narrow pipe to wait and see if Bailey’s bloodhounds would send me a deer. They did and I was able to draw a bill on a nice 10 point dollar that the beagles chased my way.
Today it is not unusual to hear stories of young people drinking good dollars from the comfort of teller booths. While I’m proud for them, a lot of those same kids don’t know how to sneak up on a squirrel, and I recommend that dads spend time in the woods like my dad did with me to teach them the basics of squirrel hunting than to make them better hunters for other games.
Now about my pigeon hunt on opening day. I sat with some friends on a plot of land that had been expertly prepared for pigeons. There were sunflower and millet seeds growing there that had been hoarded to give the pigeons a food source. Their appetite must have been for something else because no pigeons appeared at the buffet prepared for them. We never fired a shot.
That’s the way it works sometimes, but just being there provides a nice reward in itself.
— Contact Glynn Harris at email@example.com.