What Deer Hunting And Coffee Drinking Both Have In Common

I just had a terrible cup of coffee.   At Christmas I received one of those single-brew coffee makers and it came with a variety pack of different coffees in an attempt to find just the right blend a person would want to purchase more of.

Well, sorry Starbucks fans…but that coffee sucks.   It’s bitter, leaves a bad aftertaste, it’s just not what my java-drinking palate yearns for, I guess.

I’m more a traditional coffee drinker…I like it hot and black.   Nothing added.   Just the pure taste of the roasted coffee beans and the aromatic magic it creates for all the senses.

Yet, I completely understand we all drink coffee in our own way.   Those who go to Starbucks are accustomed to somehow enhancing the flavor and making it more, shall we say, “personal.”   Take one Starbucks gourmet blend of your choosing then add a little cream, a little sugar…hell, for that matter add whatever pleases you to make the liquid your daily morning ambrosia.   It is your choice so do what makes you happy.   After all, you paid $4–5 for the experience get the most out of it.

As you can tell my personal tastes for coffee are not worthy of any fancy experience.   Oh, I’m glad there is Starbucks, Caribou Coffee, and all the other chain java stores willing to cater to the crowd who likes that sort of thing, but it’s not for me.   I’m totally happy with a different sort of coffee drinking experience.

This brings me to deer hunting.   You might ask, what does deer hunting have to do with drinking coffee?   Perhaps nothing in the literal sense, but certainly plenty in the figurative relationship.

You see, I also like my deer hunting simple without all the frills.   I don’t fret about finding this way or that way to constantly improve the experience.   Nope, I just like to enjoy the basic deer hunt experience without fancy additives.   Sort of like my coffee.   I want to consume the deer hunting experience much the same way I have always enjoyed it.   Not looking for creative new ways to improve it no matter what the motivation is behind the action.   That’s not my cup of…well, in this instance, coffee.

But that’s not how a growing number of deer hunters seem to operate.   They seem restless.   Always skeptical of their state’s game managers and the plans they have set forth for population managing the herds.   These folks have purchased their deer license and by god it’s time now to manipulate the experience in the manner best suiting their individual hunting tastes.

I call them Starbucks deer hunters.   Indeed, with that license purchase gives them the right to add a little antler point restriction, suppress methods and equipment use they don’t favor, essentially create the outdoor experience they want while all other deer hunters be damned.   This is their license and the deer resource should be enjoyed the way they choose to concoct it.

This is what troubles me about what hunting (and enjoying the outdoors in general) has become.   Lots of selfishness pushed by fringe interest groups.   Sometimes it’s done because folks think they know what is better for everyone else.   Other times it’s because they have a belief their hunting management style would be better suited to achieve personal goals and that is really all that matters.   They take this àla carte approach to deer hunting management much as they do the coffee they drink at upscale establishments.   They fine tune the taste so only they think it’s palatable, and in the process not really caring what others may think.

Seemingly gone are the days where our society all drinks out of the same coffee urn and is subsequently pleased with the product being consumed.   Today, we have become a divisive group of selfish wildlife consumers many of whom demand things be served up “their specific way” because that is what happens to appeal to them.

You may think how making a coffee and deer comparison is a rather silly approach to this topic.   Perhaps so.   Yet, I contend the analogy only serves to underscore how it’s still possible for all to enjoy the same product (deer hunting) without getting so hung up on the many various options available (restrictions, laws, regs, etc.) one might think is necessary to make it a more enjoyable experience.

As deer hunting and population management goes it should not become some trendy “flavor of the day” offering only to suit a rather small segment of the deer hunting tastes.

Oh yes, I get it when one walks around carrying a Starbucks logoed cup or carrying a fancy Mathews bow in hand this says a lot about the person.   Just realize my personal tastes for what you covet as important might be completely different and should not be shortchanged.   Not all deer hunters favor the latest trendy brand of deer management many folks want served up, nor should we be forced to drink it.

The Deer Stand Is Where We Learn About Ourselves

Non-hunters often have great difficulty understanding what would possess an otherwise normal individual to sit in a tree stand for hours on end waiting patiently for a deer to pass.   To be perfectly honest, everyone has their own reasons for doing it.   Early in one’s career the motivation to score on a trophy animal can be so compelling it becomes reason alone.   Later, however, after hundreds if not thousands of hours waiting silently, I do believe many hunters just “feel” it is the right place to be when the autumnal winds start blowing.

Yesterday I saw this little inset picture (wisdom) and found it to be so utterly perfect.   Indeed, in silence is when we learn so much about ourselves.   Deer hunting (as well as many other forms) is an exercise about waiting.   It’s takes determination to rise hours before most other folks on a weekend to pursue the passion.   It takes a desire to accomplish something that takes both skill and luck without ever a guarantee of success.

Oh yeah, hunters learn a lot about themselves.   The time for introspection can have a profound impact on one’s life.   I know.   For it was in the deer stand twice in my life I mustered the courage to tell an employer I was moving on.   Time for greener pastures.   Time to make a change and let go of what had become comfortable in life to seek new opportunities and adventure.

The deer stand will do that to you.

I think the deer stand will also help “reset” your life or put things back into proper perspective.   In today’s fast-paced world this is more important than ever before.   I know from personal experience that far too often life has you running seemingly nonstop almost to the point of exhaustion.   A little “me time” is often the cure for this ailment.

So, when you are in the tree stand considering life, weighing lofty decisions, reminiscing on friendships, contemplating that new truck purchase, taking a mental health break from the kids, putting the stress of work behind you, and simply unwinding with some peace and quiet, consider this.   Time spent in the deer stand helps to recharge your life’s batteries.

When your phone is running on empty, you never quite know if you’ll have enough “juice” left to get you by until the next recharge.   For me, hunting season is my life re-charge.   It affords me the opportunity to step back, slow down life just a bit, and do plenty of evaluating on both where I’ve been, but more importantly on where I am going if I so choose to walk that path.

Speaking of walking that path.   Did you know that yesterday was my official 10th anniversary for this blog.   Yes, indeed, I didn’t care to make a big deal of it…but with this blog post I am now officially starting a new decade of blogging.

You can be sure that when I am out in the deer woods this fall contemplating all there is about my life, part of that learning about myself will involve what I am doing with this blog.   Ten years…can you believe it!   In case you’re wondering, HERE was my very first post.

It’s fair to say the act of blogging also forces a person to learn a lot about themselves.   Yet, the genesis for nearly all of these efforts begins with precious time spent in the woods learning about who you really are.   For once you discover and understand you, the rest of the world comes into much clearer focus.

Tell me about your time spent in the woods discovering about yourself.

Yeah, I Ate Breakfast In The Deer Stand

To some folks they might think this is silly.

Other folks might even go so far as to say any serious deer hunter would never do this.

Yet, after spending 35 years of deer hunting your mind gets to do a lot of thinking over that time.   Indeed, I’ve often said to myself all this deer stand needs is another creature comfort from home.   In fact, I’ve always thought how neat would it be to sit in the deer stand hunting while also cooking up a hearty breakfast.

Well,….

Yeah, I did it.   The peak morning hunting hours had already come and gone…so, I wasn’t worried about that.   Even so, I was still technically deer hunting and I’ve learned stranger things have happened in the deer woods.

Back in 1994 I was the camp cook for a large group of hunters up near Perham, Minnesota.   I was the last to leave the camp after cleaning up the breakfast mess.   I was also the ONLY hunter that year to tag a deer from our camp.   How did it happen?   Less than 30 minutes after cleaning dishes and sitting in a stand 75 yards from where I cooked.   BINGO!

So, don’t tell me how doing a little cooking while out deer hunting is silly or a foolish activity if you’re a serious deer hunter.   You just don’t fully comprehend the power of bacon cooking—at times even for the deer.   Ha!

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.