Into the Outdoors: First Day of Buck Season - Memories


It’s hard to believe that Thursday is Thanksgiving already.  The regular deer season opens on Saturday.  Time certainly flies, and the older you get, the faster it goes.

Anyway, the opening of the season each year always makes me think of those with whom I once hunted who are no longer with us.  First and foremost, of course, is my dad.  The first four years of my deer hunting career took place in his company. The first day of buck season was like a holiday for me. I barely slept the night before. We would get up, and Dad would cook breakfast. It was always the same; bacon and eggs. The bacon was sometimes a little bit too well done, but I loved it. That was about the only time Dad ever cooked. My mother would have made breakfast, but, for some reason, Dad wanted to do it. After breakfast, Dad would have a smoke. Then, we would head out. In retrospect, I don’t think that Dad had as much fun as I did during those years. After all, he was fifty-two when I became old enough to hunt. Having been that old twenty one years ago, I know that the cold even then, was pretty hard on my old bones. I’m sure they were hard on his as well. While I know he enjoyed being with me, I can’t help but think that he might have been happier home in bed. Once I turned sixteen, and could hunt without him, he hung it up. We only hunted together once after that, a week after my mother died. I got a buck, and he was there to see it. That buck would not be legal today, but it is still the stuff of memories that I will never forget. I still have the little antlers.

Then comes Gerald Wetzel; Gerald was one of the best hunters I have ever met. As kids, we would load up Gerald’s old ‘52 Ford and head up north in search of the wily whitetail. Gerald passed away in his early fifties. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, but I still miss him. We always hunted around Marienville. We would always eat breakfast at a little diner called Jerry’s. Those were great days.  

Then, of course, there was Joe (Doc) Scisly. A dentist by profession, he was, without a doubt, the most enthusiastic outdoorsman I ever met. No matter how miserable the weather was, or how grim the hunting prospects looked, Doc was always “up.” He loved the outdoor sports so much that he just wouldn’t let anything dampen his enthusiasm. He was not an especially successful hunter, but it was never for lack of effort on his part. He loved success, but he dealt with failure with a lot of class. Even after over twenty years, it’s still hard to believe that he’s gone. We should never take our friends for granted, as we never know when we might lose them.

Sadly, since last deer season, another of my dear old hunting buddies has passed. That would be Paul {Punka} Lucas. We had a lot of good times together.

Well, enough of Memory Lane. This is the present, and it seems that there are a lot of nice bucks around, although cars have taken out a fair number. Deer hunting is not the same anymore. For me, at least, antler restrictions have taken a lot of the joy out of it. I am also much more sensitive to cold than I once was. Even worse, after the Covid, I don’t trust my balance as I once did. I still hope to be out there, though. Woolrich to the rescue!


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