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Bow Hunting in South Dakota

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So, why would someone subject themselves to this “torture”.  That’s what I was asking myself last year when I started my yearly pilgrimage to the tree stand.

Bow hunting has been a big part of my life for the past 15 years.  If you bow hunt, or know someone who does, you know how obsessed they can get with getting out and getting up.

If you bow hunt, you know what I’m talking about.  From the walk to the stand on a dark cloudy morning, accidentally bumping deer, getting blown at, to the tedious minutes  that can seem like hours. For all it’s frustrations, bow hunting, for some reason makes everything right for me.

Every year I tell myself I’m going to do a complete day in the stand.  Up in the dark, down in the dark.  All day in about 2 1/2 square feet.   You don’t get down for anything.  By anything, I mean you better have that taken care of for the day before you get there.

That first day, all day sit can be a sort of torture.  Questions swirl in your mind. Is the stand in the right spot?  Are there deer in the zip code of where I’m hunting?  Where are they feeding?  Your mind can go 100.5 miles per hour when your up in the stand, especially the first day back in the woods. You’re mind is a freaky whirring machine your first day in the stand.

Then there’s the whole “off grid” part of the deal.  We get so used to carrying technology with us that not being able to text and surf can cause some withdrawal.  That’s right:

Where I was hunting was down enough in a hole and out of cell phone range that you can’t call, text or surf.   If you didn’t bring it in you don’t have it and you can’t go get it.  It’s you and the deer and the squirrels and the coyotes and the ducks in the creek and the beaver who comes out for breakfast just after the break of dawn. It’s watching loads of turkeys fly down in the morning and back to bed in the evening.  Oh, and did I say no radio? No twitter? No Facebook? The whole world comes to a screeching halt.  But really, that’s why I do it.

Someone once said the only time we can truly find out something new about ourselves is when we enter into the classroom of silence.  Believe me, when you go bow hunting you get to experience the real classroom!

I’ve harvested a BIG deer.  In 2009 I was able to shoot a buck that scores 174.4.  In non hunting terms, that’s a BIG deer. I know you don’t get to shoot, let alone see a buck of a lifetime every time you sit in a stand.  I’ve hung enough stands to know that opportunities like that are few and far between.

So why do I sit there?  Why do other people who bow hunt do this?

The world is a crazy place.  When you’re out and  when you’re up in a tree after a day or so the world slows down and the world starts to make sense again.

I shot an awesome deer last year.  I might get lucky and get another one this year and  I might not. I’m OK with the world if it happens that way.

But I will be OK with the world, cause I got out.  I got up.  I got quiet.

Bow hunting season is open starting this weekend in South Dakota!





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