Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Critical Equipment

The harsh staccato of the alarm blaring in the dark is an unwelcome sound no matter what your plans are for the day. This I have decided. I groggily roll out of bed hours before dawn. Beside me my wife rolls over wakes up for her morning kiss, to wish me well, ask what farm I'll be at if something goes wrong and to ask me to ping her on her blackberry when I'm safely on the ground. I stagger bleary eyed down toward the shower for my morning pre-hunt ritual.

I thoroughly cleanse myself with the special soap that is designed to make me smell dirty. A peculiarity reserved for hunters I think. Nothing more exciting than the tangy autumn smells of Eau De Dirt. I towel off with a brief stressful moment. Is fact that my towel wasn't washed in the special hunting Eau De Dirt laundry soap ruining my scent masking efforts? Then it's the anxiety of my underwear. We've already discussed that particular concern so I won't dwell on it here. Into the garage I go. Toss my gear into the back of the truck and I am away.

I've spent a great deal of time revamping my hunting equipment this year. I've read countless comparison reports on which bow is best, which blind is best, which arrow is best. I've read about scent control, cover scents, scent reducing clothes and what not to have for breakfast because it's too stinky. While I still have far more to learn than I can possibly even begin to imagine, the one thing I know for absolute certainty is that there is one thing every person needs to be successful in this endeavour. No matter what it is you hunt or how you hunt it, this critical piece is absolutely invaluable. I have the good fortune of having stumbled over it so I'm well set. This, my friends, is absolutely, unequivocally the most important part of your hunting set up you could have. A co-operative and supportive spouse.

Alissa has been great. When I dropped my deer this year she was the first person who got my text message and the one who cheered the loudest. Even though the idea of me going out and killing something was somewhat problematic for her she understood that it was something that was a part of me and didn't want to interfere with that. I certainly put that to the test this year. In my drive to get my first deer I hunted like a retired person. I missed the kids horseback riding lessons, left her to get them ready for school while I went to the bush and the odd social engagement. I would come home after being away working for a few days and sometimes hunt like I hadn't been away from my family. To top it all off, and I know some of you guys will be jealous by this, if I hadn't been able to get out for a bit she would make an extra effort to make sure I had a couple of days free of children and other responsibility and then order me out to the bush.

As the temperature dropped and I went in search of more and better underwear she helped and was always quick to point out things that had scent reduction technology. For Christmas I got a laser range finder and a big ol' Basspro gift certificate. She decided she couldn't bring herself to buy the instruments of death I wanted but that's ok. In the end the pop up blind I chose with my gift certificate was a more useful thing than the broadheads I asked her for. I can get them next year and my old thunderheads seem to work fine.

We had made a deal. When the season started and we were trying to adjust to the change in my obsessions I appealed to her more frugal nature. Pointed out that if I could get enough deer and other game every year that we could stop buying meat at the grocery store. Think of all the money we would save and how much healthier the meat would be for her. She stopped buying meat. She had more faith in me than I did. I did eventually get one but not before she had to go back to the grocery store. It's ok honey. I'll do better next year. Oh! Ummm...and turkey is only a few months away.

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