Open Season

Melissa Stagnaro

Hunting season this year just doesn’t feel the same. In the days of yore, opening day was always the Monday before Thanksgiving, effectively heralding in the biggest holiday of the year for my family.

Everyone took the day off from work or school. Scores of out-of-towners made the trek, cars loaded with blaze orange cold weather gear. Our house was always packed with relatives itching to spend some quality time in the woods.

This year is the first I’ve been here for hunting season in quite a while, and I must admit that I was a little disappointed. Opening day should be crisp and cold with a layer of snow on the ground. Not 50-ish and miserably rainy. I’m glad I wasn’t out there. None of the family was up this year. They are either waiting for next week or forgoing the trip altogether.

My father went out to sit in the woods for a couple of hours in Saturday morning’s pouring rain. I think it was more out of a sense of obligation than anything else, but I admire his dedication.

Getting up before dawn to tramp around in the cold, sitting in one place trying to be absolutely still? Definitely not for me. Staying snug in my bed and waking up to the smell of fresh venison and eggs? That’s just my speed.

My Dad will get some company out in the woods this coming weekend. I hope they are more successful. After all, last year’s stores of venison are depleted and I have a craving for venison chili.

If they do get a deer or two, I’ll no doubt be dragged into the process. My place is at the kitchen table with cutting board, freezer paper and masking tape close at hand. Yep. They have all the fun and I get to cut it up.