These are the things, good and bad, that you will totally miss out on during hunting season this year.
Hunting seasons the fall coinciding is both a blessing and a curse to many hunters. The fall is the busiest time of the year for many people both for work and life events. In most cases, life takes a back seat to hunting because let's face it, the best seasons only come once a year.
Some things are easy to blow off or miss and others can present quite the conundrum when you see them on the schedule at the same time as a prime rut date.
Today we are ranking from worst to best, six things you'll probably at least TRY to miss during hunting season this year. Our criteria are quite simple, we will start with what is hardest to skip out on during the season and work our way up to the easiest one to blow off.
6. Weddings and other family events.
If you are like us, your heart skips a few beats every time a wedding invitation arrives in the mail. Sweat drips from your brow as you open the envelope, completely ignoring the photo and whatever whimsical message the couple has written there about "happily ever after." Whatever. You are looking for one thing and one thing only, the day, time and location. Once you find it, you either breathe a huge sigh of relief for a date that falls in the off-season or fall to the floor weeping once you see an early November date being held four states away. Why? Why would your family members who know you love hunting do this to you? This is one of the hardest things to get out of when you just want to go hunting.
You feel a similar form of dread when a family member is graduating college in the fall and invites you to the commencement ceremony. You audibly groan when you get a call from a family member asking if you can use your truck to help them move to their new house this weekend. Why? Why couldn't you buy a new house back in July or August? Unfortunately, family stuff like this is often the hardest to skip without a really good excuse. Let's hope they understand your obsession!
5. Parental obligations.
For parents with children active in after-school activities, the hunting seasons can be a nightmare at times. Plays, dance recitals, parent-teacher conferences and more can wreak havoc on your precious and limited treestand time. If you have an understanding significant other, you may be able to get away with not attending a conference, athletic booster event, or the monthly PTA meeting. Come on, they can run those things without you for just one month right? However, a band concert or your daughter's big soccer game is a whole other matter. Especially if they're playing for the championship!
Skipping many of these events simply isn't an option, not unless you also want to start looking for divorce lawyers! So, you cross your fingers every year and hope that the dates for these can't-miss events do not fall on a prime rut day.
4. Holiday gatherings.
We hope that your family is also full of hunters, because it makes excusing absences from gatherings like Thanksgiving and Christmas much easier. Some people are fortunate enough to have families who participate in things like a traditional Thanksgiving morning deer hunt before a feast and a little football in the afternoon. If you are in that group, count yourself as one of the lucky ones. Because there are others who must humor family with small talk while staring longingly out the window on Thanksgiving at a perfect, cool and crisp morning perfect for deer movement. Ugh.
The only thing that makes this easy to deal with is when you have already tagged out early for the season. That is the only time we are happy to assist in the Thanksgiving meal preparation, especially if we are incorporating our own wild game harvests into the feast. Sadly, tagging out completely early does not always happen, and we are usually left sitting there wishing we were in the woods instead, but you know, family comes first, resulting in this being high on the list of things that are hard to miss.
3. Informal get-togethers and dinners.
Now we are starting to get into stuff that is a little bit easier to skip out on simply because of the importance factor. Do you really need to go to your neighbor's annual "end of summer party?" We'd say no, because early bow season just started, and that big buck is still moving during the daylight hours according to trail camera videos. You were there for the 4th of July, they can give you a pass on this one. Lunch with the in-laws next Sunday? Yeah, that can wait until January, or February, or never. Good luck with the latter, but you can probably get away with the former re-scheduling if you play your cards right.
How about your wife's book club meeting? Or volunteering at the local farmer's market the last few days of the season? A late season golf outing with the boys from work? Yeah, you can probably wrangle your way out of those too. Simply put, there are tons of little obligations this time of year that are in fact, totally expendable. Let's face it, your mind isn't going to be on the task at hand if you're present at these things anyway. So, they're probably not going to notice if you aren't there, and that makes it easier to get away with missing these events.
2. Football (Prep, pro, college or otherwise).
This is the season for flinging the old pigskin around. The ease of missing football for hunting depends entirely upon the scenario. My pro team is the Chicago Bears, and last November there was only so much I could take of Mitch Trubisky rocketing the ball 20 yards past his bewildered wide receiver's heads every week. Don't even get me started on how management passed on drafting Deshaun Watson or Patrick Mahomes. On one Sunday last November, Trubisky was even more inaccurate than normal, and it made it extremely easy for me to skip out before the game was over and follow the rest of it via Twitter on my phone while sitting on a quiet food plot. Hey, it worked out. I ended up shooting a big 7-point with an 18-inch spread that evening!
Depending on your level of fandom and dedication to the team, sometimes it's easy to skip out on your alma mater's games, especially in a rebuilding year. The only time things become difficult is for parents of athletes. You may find yourself having to skip out on a few hunts because it's time for Friday night lights. Other than that, we really have no problems with missing football to hunt for the most part. Hey, catching up later is what Sportscenter and the Internet were designed for right?
Let's face it, you knew this one was going to be the number one easiest thing to skip out on. The only thing that stinks about missing work to go hunting is coming back after your vacation days run out. It's worse if you have non-hunting co-workers who ask that dreaded question: "Did you catch one?" Still, we wouldn't trade missing work for hunting for anything. It's a chance to get in the stand and forget about production numbers, forget about meetings and to ignore all the emails and phone calls and de-stress from the worries of everyday life.
There are many obligations to life that we may feel bad about missing during hunting season, but work is never one of them. Sorry to all the bosses out there (looking at my editor Eric here), but you guys know it is the truth. Let us have our "me" time once a year and we promise we'll come back refreshed and raring to go once we've got a big buck or bull on the ground!