Wednesday, 9 November 2011

My November Quandary

I hate November. 
Hunting with Seamus
But I must say there was a day when I relished the month. November used to mean the exclusive domain over (or nearly so) the big flights of diving ducks that would wing their way through Minnesota’s Great Lakes: Leech, Winni and the like. 
In Minnesota, the first week of November meant deer season, a time when the cervid-crazed masses would chase Bambi and Buck through timber and corn country. Which, of course, left the ducks essentially to, well, the nine of us who didn’t hunt deer. 
Almost without fail, the deer opener coincided with the peak of the migration too. That meant I had these new, fat and unsuspecting bluebills, ringnecks and whistlers to myself. Oh, the experiences I had; alone on thousands of acres of unclaimed country to do as I pleased. 
But then I moved to North Dakota and, worse yet, I developed a fondness for venison. In the early years, my insatiable appetite was easily satisfied—I could always find folks who were willing to part with some back straps or roasts so I could continue to pursue ducks. It was a truly symbiotic relationship with no tradeoffs, no pain. But all of the folks who had enabled me as a charity case for lo those many years cut me off, declaring that I should shoot my own deer and that I may actually like it! 

So I went deer hunting, and while I enjoyed it, I had a fairly practical view of the world. It was grocery hunting with a rifle: get a doe tag, kill Bambi quickly (with little energy invested, of course) and get back to chasing ducks. That worked…for a while.

Over the last few years, I admit, I have developed a real love of deer hunting. I like sitting on stand, watching the world go by and shooting deer. Last year was a sort of “tipping point” for me—I went afield with a buck tag in hand, and each day in the stand brought me closer and closer to shooting a bona fide trophy. I got buck fever, I got nervous and I screwed up over and over again. I couldn’t sleep at night and I kept going back. Sitting in the stand, I watched thousands of mallards and snow geese and others with hardly a passing notice. Long story short: I screwed up a zillion chances on some dandy bucks and blew off the best mallard shooting of the year.
With the eve of the deer season in close view and the weather looking favorable for a big flight of ducks, I am in a quandary—will it be mallards in cornfields, bluebills in rough seas or big bucks in a stand? 


  1. I'm in the same situation in New York. I have to wake up every morning deciding whether or not I'll go shoot geese, or chase after that buck! Very nicely put.

  2. I let my sister-in-law shoot a deer for me every year. So I'm strictly duck hunting.

  3. I know how you feel. For me, I like to get 60 days, but most of the years it is so slow to start I deceide to go after the buck, as for meat, will get that later during the breaks...Happy Hunting to all, and to all a happy hunt...

  4. I know the feeling well. At least I got some Vacation time to use up. Taking a week off to chase deer and Ducks. Pick my days!