Trust your gut to get through hunting season

Cisterns like this one on the Whiteface Inn property were historically used to store and supply water to camps and homes. (Provided photo — Joe Hackett)

At this time of year, the ever-diminishing length of daylight hours triggers a natural hormonal responses in all wild creatures. These range from whitetail deer to brook trout, wild turkey and the always entertaining woodcock, which is an odd-shaped bird that can be found dropping out of the sky as part of an annual mating ritual known as the “dance of the timberdoodle.

The steadily diminishing temperatures will also prompt whitetails to fatten up as they put on thick winter coats and start chasing the does. At the same time, the season serves to bring out a bit of the wild in all creatures, especially humans.

Autumn has traditionally been considered the season of the sportsman, as it always ushers in a wide variety of outdoor pursuits that may include hunting and fishing, climbing and paddling and on occasion, the possibility of some early season ski touring.

While these common activities have long had a masculine bent, they have increasingly embraced the presence of females afield in recent years.

It should come as no surprise, as it’s only natural. In the wild, nearly all creatures hunt and scavenge, regardless of their gender. Why should it be any different with humans, the planet’s apex predator?

Although the grand old Adirondack tradition of tromping off to hunting camp remains securely rooted in the historic bedrock of the North Country, there has been a slow but steadily increasing number of women who are taking to the forest and field every year; and fortunately, my daughter happens to be among them.

When we participate in the hunt, there is an undeniable natural bond that links us to each other. It is a natural process, an indescribable notion that is palatable only among those who have shared it. I suppose it has something to do with the natural dynamics of sharing an activity that presents us with authentic life and death decisions. It is the reason “safety first” remains the primary tenet of taking afield.

Although hunting is no longer considered necessary for subsistence in most camps, there’s evidence that you’ll hunt harder, longer and remain more focused when you’re hunting on an empty stomach.

“Trust your gut,” is an old saying that illustrates the efficiency of the human hunting instinct. It has more nerve endings than any other organ in the body, which is why it can sense danger sooner than any other organ.

Your stomach will rumble before goose bumps appear on the back of your neck. It is most commonly relied upon to signal the basic necessities of hunger, food and even sex.

Hunting comes to us naturally, but it is a skill that requires practice, preparation, endurance and patience, which are just a few of the skills that makes females more effective. Even though it is considered an instinctive behavior, it must be honed. And that is only achieved with practice and patience.


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