Each year hunters set out to the field of their choosing; many to a local spot near them.
And each year many of them have visions of the ‘big one’ dancing through their heads. Knowing full well, they will be fortunate if they are able to ‘bag’ a ‘descent buck’. But, still the notion that somewhere out there roams that illusive big buck of their dreams.
For a few hunters who venture to their chosen woodlots, swamps, brush cover, prairie or evergreen thickets, after the season, a site of encouragement and… yes, even heart stopping, adrenalin pumping excitement awaits. They are afforded the briefest of moments – a momentary glimpse – of what - might have been, what yet could be. They see ‘their deer’. The ‘big one’. And for the next 11 months they look forward to, The Next Season.
This is the name of a new series I’m working on that will cover this thematic: The Next Season.
I am a hunter. Though I do not get to the field each year to track, trail or seek-to-harvest a kill, I go each season in my mind to my favorite hunts of years past.
Each year I picture the past ventures afield and live again the drama of the near miss; the thrill of the unexpected; the double-edged sword of kill and painful acceptance of the necessary cycle-of-life: predators kill to survive. I deeply treasure each memory; each experience; and treasure of the knowledge each venture afield builds.
This – the feeling of closeness to the natural world; to ones self; to the life cycle; this is what I hope to convey through the images in this new series.
My goal is to conjure the memories from every hunter’s past – whether with gun, bow, camera or brush … yes, the barer of each of these tools is a hunter or huntress … to put you – the hunter – back into those memories.
To tilt your mind as you bask in them and build within you the inescapable desire to ‘taste them once again’. For when we are close to the essence of life, we value it deeply. We value it enough to insure it will not pass away, silently into the wastefulness of modern society. Instead our Heritage past rushes to the fore and we work hard, without stopping until we know it is safe, secure and again guaranteed a place in future generations.
This is the only way our Outdoor Heritage will be preserved, as an integrated element of our social fabric and as a literal existence, filled with wild places, wild life and wild imaginations.
The Next Season series will cover all major North American species that are pursued in a ‘hunting’ manner. As stated above, the tools that accompany the ‘hunter’ are not always lethal weaponry. But the person who enters the field with the intent to stalk, track, pursue-to-close-proximity, wild animals, is a hunter, none-the-less.
The current species on my list are:
- Large ungulates of the deer family:
- moose, caribou, whitetail deer, mule deer, blacktail and keys deer
- North America’s only member of the antelope group:
- Gamebirds of North America:
- turkey, grouse, partridge, woodcock, pheasant, quail, ducks and geese.
Next Season: Swamp Whitetail
- SIZE: Image: 30″x21″ | Paper: 38″x29″
Read the short story, Next Season
on the Akilologos blog