Deer season for many is simply a holiday that doesn’t land on a typical calendar or give you a free day off away from work. Hunters anticipate this time of year so much that we plan for it throughout the summer, buying gear and prepping for when the season is finally upon us.

We use our vacation time at work to head out in the woods. We leave our significant others behind, making “deer hunter widows” as we head to camp or make our daily commute to our hunting grounds.

Some of us end the year with luck and venison in the freezer. Others are not so fortunate. But no matter what category it is that we fall into, we are back at it again the very next year, like kids waiting for Santa to come along and bring us the gifts we asked for.

For some, hunting involves more than just a single season. We have archery season to kick the year off, followed by rifle season and, in some locales, comes muzzleloading season. The year, for deer hunters, presents itself with multiple chances and challenges and each season has its own highs and lows and pros and cons.

For some, it’s the challenge of archery that gets their attention. The draw of the bow and the thump of the arrow as it strikes home. The deer are so close you can almost hear them breathing.

Rifle season is about skill and patience. The rut is usually in full swing and those bucks have much more on their mind than simply going out for a stroll. Mating is what is driving them. They will go without eating in search of their mates. They will forgo even the most essential aspects of life to pursue their does. Hunters have to be knowledgeable and skilled to beat a buck at that game.

And black powder muzzleloading season is a beast all its own. The modern muzzleloader is an impressive device, able to easily make a kill shot at ranges once reserved for the most proficient marksmen. These devices are easy to use, but often put the hunter out in the brisk and chilling northeast winter, a daunting task all its own at times. The deer are more apt to be predictable as the rut slows down, but it takes an avid and dedicated hunter to brave the elements to stalk them.

But the ultimate goal, no matter which is your favorite season, is what ties us all together. Deer season. Bucks. Venison. Fun.

Sometimes, it’s just great to be a hunter.

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