Tomorrow is the Minnesota archery deer season opener. Naturally, I’m excited….but not for the reasons you might suspect. Sure I want to get a deer, and I hope I do. But I have 100 days to pull that off, so I’m in no hurry. I also realized long ago that tagging a buck is only a tiny part of why I adore bowhunting.

Mostly, I love the process and the pursuit. Reading deer sign and hanging stands. Interpreting dozens of little clues that lead—I hope—to the perfect spot to ambush a buck. I used to do a lot of trapping, and I’ve come to realize that there’s little difference between a great stand site and a perfect trap setup. Trappers have to know their animals well enough to guess where a fox (or coon, or mink, or..) will place his foot in order to be successful. Bowhunters need similar precision, given the larger range of their quarry. If a buck’s home range is a square mile, which 25-yard circle do you choose to wait for him? It’s a chess match that can take 100 days to win…or not.

The other thing I love is the phone call. I’ll start getting it now. From a friend who’s had an awesome hunt and wants to share with me. He might need help tracking or dragging. May simply want to share a tale of a buck sighting, or that he saw a coyote, or watched a hawk strafe a flock of turkeys. I don’t care when these calls come, or how long it takes to hear them out. I’ve got enthusiasm to last 100 days…and it all starts tomorrow!