I'm an adventurer and I love going new places and seeing new things. I like hunting new spots and putting the pieces of the puzzle together to find the game I'm pursuing. I like wading new streams and finding out what makes the fish there tick. But there's something about going back to old hunting grounds that is good for the soul.
Growing up hunting with my dad, we returned to the same general hunting areas every season. Not because of our unbelievable success, because honestly we ate some tags. It was more about familiarity with the game and land. Taking in the same scenic views painted by God's paintbrush, walking the same trails through dark timber that we had seen game use in the past, going back to the "sucker blind" one more time, just to see if there were any deer there. As the years go by, clearings fill in with new growth pines, game patterns change and ice moved away. But even now, I spend a lot of time in my mind in those old hunting spots.
On a recent hog hunt in the Cohutta Wilderness of north Georgia, I walked through the same clearing where I killed my first turkey a few years ago. I relived the the hunt like it was yesterday, down to the last detail. I had spent a couple days camping there, without much luck, and one night sitting by my campfire I read an article in a magazine about bowhunting turkeys without a blind. Thinking to myself "why not?" I set up the next morning with a plan to make it work. About 8:30, I called in a Jake who cooperated almost perfectly with my plan, save for making me hold at full draw for a minute that seemed like ten.
The general idea was to set up your decoys so that a gobbler coming in would pass behind a tree or other cover giving you the chance to draw without him seeing you. I set up where trees would give me that window of opportunity from several directions. When he paused behind a tree I drew. He probably stayed out of sight for less than a minute, strutting a little bit, but holding my bow at full draw made it seem like a lot more. After he finally cleared, I was able to make a good shot at about 30 yards.
I can remember every minute of that morning. Making me wonder sometimes I forget what I did yesterday. Or forget to put black socks for work in the laundry. But my point is, going back to those old hunting spots floods your mind with a lot of memories that bring you closer to good times past, family and friends, and to nature. If you're not careful, you'll find yourself standing there daydreaming instead of hunting. It doesn't matter though, because sometimes it's about reconnecting.
Do you have old hunting or fishing spots you love to return to year after year? I'd love to hear about them. Comment here or message me on my social media accounts.