Dealing with PHD

I’m not much of a sensitive guy. Hell my wife knows that more than anybody. But this heartache that’s left in my craw this time of year is something that nearly brings me to tears – almost fills any incremental daily thoughts with the what coulda beens, what shoulda beens and the almost wases.

What is it?

It’s Post-Hunting (season) Depression – or what we refer to around our house as PHD.

My fellow hunting brotheron knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s what’s left of the four-month chase for some of North America’s finer game animals. It’s the internal commencement ceremony for the long, grueling wait until the next chase begins.

The true opening of a hunting season is a good southern dove hunt. Kenny, Sage and I on opening day 2009.

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy chasing Spring gobblers – and North Carolina is swiftly becoming a state worth chasing thunder chickens – but few things compare to Autumn’s evolution into Winter and the concurrent pursuit of whitetails with bow and arrow, and ducks alongside pooches and pals.

Tomorrow is the last day of duck and deer season. And I’m going to share this final day being a dad to my little girl. I’m OK with that, if it means not stepping the first foot into the deer woods or into the water. It’s been a down year for many of my personal metrics, but I wouldn’t trade a single day that I shared in the woods for anything.

There was the:
– Interrupted-by-work trip to Kansas with the smoke pole in mid-September
– The start of this very blog in October
– Being able to hunt 2 of 3 days in the first duck split – alongside great friends
– The annual pilgrimage north with Kenny (and his subsequent fall down the stairs in the wee hours of the morning!)
– Finally connecting on venison after the longest wait of my hunting career

One of my favorite shots from this hunting season ... Sage and I admiring the fog in the Piedmont

– The season that wasn’t in Ohio – and the gut-wrenching feeling of watching a 150″ 10 point knowing there’s nothing I could do about it
– Sage and my annual hunt on the Coast of Carolina with several friends

My little girl has been a key part of knocking my time in the woods down quite a bit this year, but I wouldn’t trade that for the world. That doesn’t change the fact that Feb. 1 will once again bring with it a serious element of PHD. Here’s hoping that in a dozen years or so, she too will share in her own bout with this terrible, terrible affliction!

Cat Tales:
How was your hunting season? Let’s hear about it – feel free to leave a comment!

I am a faithful subscriber to New York Outdoor News. Proximity to the Empire State makes it difficult to get the publication the same week it’s issued, but when my copy arrived this week, it was interesting to see the story (with quotes!) about Corey Wiktor’s suspicious shed finds. The story, which clearly was written prior to questions about the “find” coming to bear, goes to great detail highlighting Wiktor’s search for the sheds – noting he had once-before caught a glimpse of the antlers on the live deer in Cattaraugus County. The one point in the story I had not heard is Wiktor’s participation in leasing large tracts of land to essentially guide hunters. Reading that shines light on a clear potential motive for him going to such ridiculous lengths with the sheds.

3 responses to “Dealing with PHD

  • Nick

    It’s a mixed bag of emotions for me. Although I miss not being able to get out there, I haven’t touched my treestand gear since I brought it in a couple of weeks ago, and my hunting room is a disaster. I know my body is glad it’s over. It’s amazing how many little aches and pains you get over the course of a long season, especially as you get older.

  • Kelly

    I just want to say that Corey does not lease large tracts of land. He and his father and a few of their hunter friends lease land and they are the only ones that use it. This just goes to show that most of what you read isn’t true. I’m his sister in law and Corey has such a great passion for the sport. I frequently get frustrated with him as he chooses to spend his time either hunting or tracking deer instead of going out with his friends.

  • John

    Check out the powderhorn hunting preserve, in pennsylvania, website. Under the archived pics you will see a pic that is most defintely the 22 point archery buck that Corey Wiktor claimed to have shot near ellicottville, when the deer was still alive and penned behind the high fences.

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