One thing about old George is that I am full of advice, even if I fail to follow it myself.
I have no idea what tomorrow’s weather will be as I write this. Even the weathermen are lucky if they predict it right half the time over the coming 24 hours. With that in mind, I feel one should be prepared for the worst hunting conditions of all: rain. It seemed that years ago, deer season always began with snow on the ground and temperatures dipping below 30 degrees. Today, snow is seldom in the forecast. I hate to hunt in the rain but rainy days the first week of the season is common.
If it rains, there are a few things a hunter might need to be successful and, if possible, comfortable. Lens caps are a no-brainer because it’s hard to see through a water-spotted scope sight. Even if the forecast is favorable, the lens cap does little good if left at home. They need to be with the hunters.
An orange raincoat or poncho is also needed. But if the poncho is cammo or some other color, an orange vest worn over it works well.
A hat that not only keeps the head and ears warm but keeps the water from dripping down one’s neck helps. A lot of tissue will be necessary so you can clean various glass lenses often, but they need to be kept dry. So carry them in plastic sandwich bags.
Much the same can be said about sandwiches and candy.
Another thing you want to avoid is water running down the bore of the rifle. It can come from snow or rain and can be kept out be using a piece of plastic wrap secured by a rubber band. Don’t forget to carry a spare rubber band and piece of wrap.
Maybe it won’t rain. If the warm dew is kissing the morning grass, there are items that can be needed during the course of the first day. If you are leaving for the mountains today, better take a compass or Global Positioning System. Nothing ruins a hunt like being lost or confused.
Knife and drag rope are necessities, unless you are a total pessimist. If a hunter intends to stay in a stand, lunch and the thermos help. Today’s regulation binoculars are not a luxury but a necessity. I don’t know how one can count points without them. Waving a loaded rifle around to check things out hardly seems appropriate and that’s what happens when you depend on the sight for viewing.
Long ago, I wrote a column for a magazine, “Patience, Confidence, Perseverance.” I still believe all three are required for a successful hunt.
With perseverance, the hunter will be in the woods. No deer are taken when the hunter is sitting in the living room. The person who spends 10 hours in the outdoors has a better chance of scoring than the one who spends four or five.
A hunter who fidgets has less chance than a patient hunter. It is confidence that leads to the two ‘Ps’.
I don’t ask myself before picking up my rifle and ammo whether I will see a buck but where and under what conditions I will see a buck. I might not get a shot or I might miss, but I know I will see one. That is what keeps me in the field under any conditions.
My age might slow me down a bit but I used to say that even if cow manure would fall from the sky, I would still be out hunting on the first day of buck season.
Regardless of the weather, I look forward to a better-than-average deer season. I have seen many good bucks in my travels and an even more impressive number of deer in general. On the downside, development has cut into the amount of huntable land. Whether it’s for stores or housing, a boon like that is a detriment to deer hunters. That can’t be changed, and it can only get worse in the future.
So enjoy the hunting we have while you can. I intend to do the same.
George H. Block write a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.