Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's the Best Time of the Year!

I listened to the radio intently last Friday evening on the drive home from work.  My university of choice was partaking in their first official basketball game of the season under a new leader.  It was an exciting time.  Here this team was, playing much more like a team than they have in some time, with a brand new coach that seems to have changed the mentality overnight.  And this was coming off a not-so-exciting victory in football over the arch rivals the previous weekend!  (Before I get hate mail from this, I was a UNC fan prior to college, and even applied for journalism at Carolina.  However, NC State took me first, and I quickly converted over to the red and white.)  As the saying goes, this is one of the best times of year for sports.  Football is nearing its championships and basketball is just beginning.

Well, this is an outdoors column, and other than football being played outdoors (and basketball outdoors when played on an aircraft carrier), there is not much in common between the outdoors life and the sports life.  However, the fall does bring an excitement to the outdoors just as it does to sports.
Based on the sports and outdoors analogy, I would have to compare football season and deer season together.  Deer season is in the final run.  This is when the big boys step up.  Yes, the rut is on.  The championship caliber deer are showing themselves.  While I am usually happy to take a doe early in the season, I have to hold back the temptation at this point, just to see if one of those big bruisers with his crown of brown is on the same course.
Then you have basketball and waterfowl.  Coming in to the weekend, I had to constantly battle my inner voices to decide; bucks or ducks?  I have waited all year for duck season to come around once again, yet it is like trying to decide whether to watch LSU and Alabama in football or UNC and Michigan State in basketball.  You know both are going to entertain you.  Yes, you could ‘flip back and forth between the channels’.  But if you are like me, I just do not want to miss that score!
Then you have squirrels, raccoons, and opossums, oh my!  It compares to hockey in my book.  They are there, and if you get a chance you will go take it, but it is not the top choice, or even second for that matter.  It does not mean you will not make a mental note to come back later though.
So where does the bear fit in?  Pretty much any where it wants to!  Have you ever told a bear that it is just not welcome?  Bears make themselves welcome even if I cannot come up with a good sports tie in.  So Mr. Black Bear, you are in a class all your own!  Now when you get done browsing through my backpack for honey and peanut butter, would you mind passing the chips?  We have some game to hunt.
Bill Howard writes a weekly outdoors column for the Wilson Times and Yancey County News and the bowhunting blog site He is a Hunter Education and International Bowhunter Education instructor, lifetime member of the North Carolina Bowhunters Association, Bowhunter Certification Referral Service Chairman, member and official measurer of Pope and Young, and a regular contributor to North Carolina Bowhunter Magazine.

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