What is your favorite time of day to be in the deer stand?
The early stand is ripe with wonder as morning breaks, and chases the darkness into light. Temperatures momentarily drop while the sun begins its daytime arch and the warm blanket of air which clung to the frosty forest dissipates. Songbirds awaken with busy, melodious chirps, and then, everything stops… out of the corner of your eye you noticed a Whitetail moving to its bedding ground and all of your senses are captured at once.
The evening stand is a welcome friend after a long hunt. The magical transition from day to dusk evokes images of big bucks that could materialize from the brush at any moment. As night drops, the forest becomes wild again. The uncanny quiet is interrupted by a distant Hoot Owl. Suddenly, out of nowhere… cht, cht, cht, the sound of hooves, and your heart begins to race.
As a young hunter, I shot and field dressed my first buck in the last moments of shooting light as a harvest moon peered through a stand of Spruce. My biggest buck, as a seasoned veteran, was taken off a still-hunt from a back-woods oak point, my buddies helped float it out on a sprawling slough as another full moons reflection glimmered across the water.
I love the transition from day to the long shadows which invite nocturnal creatures back to life.
I love the primal feel, with weapon in hand, as I walk out of a black forest unto a logging trail that holds the last remnant of light.
I love the feel of a successful hunt as I watch friends quietly emerge out of a darkened wood.
I love the sunset… what do you love?
Sunrise Photo: Joas Miller