The best hunting and fishing times are debatable. Years ago, my friend Keith Albright said that there were 3 rules when hunting deer.
Rule 1 Find the deer.
Rule 2 Shoot the deer.
Rule 3 Go back to Rule 1
Like it or not, these rules generally apply to all hunting. Modern day sportsmen hunt and fish when and if they can. Back in the day, hunting and gathering were rituals, like going shopping today. If you didn’t catch and store food, you would starve when there was little to be found.
Today hunters and fishermen tackle the challenge between work, dating, family, life, and chores. If they fail to get a limit or fill a tag, they can always shop at the grocery later. Early hunters and gatherers did not have this luxury. Time is a limitation to how much and when we can pursue wild meat and fish.
The rewards of hunting and fishing have changed. Many hunters give away their meat to food shelters. They are just interested in the Antlers. My Dad told me, “You can’t eat horns”. Many modern hunters feast their eyes on their accumulated trophy racks. Modern fishermen are into “Catch and Release!” Keeping or killing a fish for food is a major SIN!
There are still outdoorsmen and women that enjoy wild game and fresh fish. These healthy, and chemical free meals do not come cheaply. Once we add in the cost of license, fees, gear, travel, lodging, and time off work, the harvest is way more expensive than going to the grocer.
Somehow, this wild harvest tastes better and is more rewarding. Along with the meat, comes the stories, memories, friendships, and confidence that being a hunter and gatherer provides. Each season is a new challenge and adventure. Survival and success are hand in hand. Each season is also one less season in our lives.
There are better times to hunt. If the deer are in rut, if geese are migrating, if turkeys are gobbling, when elk are bugling… Fishing is better when there is water, migrations occur for spawning, when the water is flowing and is cold, or the stocking truck just went down the road. These times often prove to be better opportunities to hook up.
Luck also plays an important role in hunting and fishing success. Being in the right place at the right time when the storm front is passing, or the barometric pressure is falling, the hatch is exploding, or the ice is just strong enough to stand on. When everything aligns just right, the harvest can be great.
The best time to fish or hunt is when you can. If you are waiting for things to be just right, you will waste most of the best times to head out. What is best about hunting and fishing is not always catching and tagging. The experience is therapy. Being afield hunting and fishing makes us healthier and happier.
What is better than that?