Thursday, October 9, 2008

Opening Morning on the Annual Deer Hunt

Opening day for the general rifle deer hunt is coming real soon to Utah. It opens on Saturday morning October 18th. This is a very exciting time for many Utah hunters. There are thousands of men, women, and children who go camping over this weekend and hunt for the many deer that are found throughout the Utah mountains.

I recall as a child and later as a young man, going on many deer hunts. It was a fun time to go out with the “guys” and camp together and hunt together. During my elementary school years the deer hunt was so popular that the schools would adjourn school at noon on the Friday before the opening day of the deer hunt. I remember being very excited in my classes thinking about how at noon my dad would take me and my brothers to the store to buy all the groceries and food needed for the weekend camping excursion. We would buy all the good stuff: bacon, sausage, eggs, pancake mix, licorice, nuts, candy, beef jerky, and other goodies to bring while we were hunting; and a lot of other food to enjoy over our campfire the night before the hunt.

After buying all the food and treats that we could fit into our car, we would then go home to finish packing the trailer and get everything prepared. I think this must have been my Dad’s favorite time because he was always pretty excited and happy during this time of year and especially when we were all ready to drive up into the mountains for the weekend. We would make the annual, customary stop at the gas station to fill up the tank and us kids would run into the station to get treats and drinks for the drive to our favorite deer hunting spot- Eureka.

After all the stops, we were finally on our way to the mountain area in Eureka that we went to every year that I can remember. We camped in the same spot and hunted in the same big hills. These things never changed growing up and to this day I still think of those times when we were riding to Eureka in my Dad’s old forest green International Scout pulling our old camper/trailer behind us. We would make our way to our camping spot and set up camp and make dinner, tell stories and laugh together and watch as the campfire burned out before climbing into our warm sleeping bags thinking of the morning that awaited us.

6am rolls around really fast when you have been up late on a campout and have been sleeping in a sleeping bag in a camper/trailer. I remember waking up and eating a quick breakfast before pulling on the orange vest and orange hat, then stuffing beef jerky, candy bars, drinks, and more food than you can imagine into my pants. We then drove off to our hunting spot in the darkness of early morning. We trudged up the mountainside trying to get to the top before the sun came up. It felt like the climb took forever as a young boy. We finally made it to the top and the hunt would begin.

In probably 15 deer hunts I remember going on, I think I saw about 5,000 doe and maybe 10 buck. Needless to say, I don’t remember seeing my Dad or brothers get many deer, but the preparation and camping memories will be with me forever. I am no longer a deer hunter, but I still see an occasional doe while in the mountains on campouts and they trigger great memories.
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