Well, things worked out very well for my Maine bear hunt – but I have some other issues that just will not be easily solved at this point, and thinking through the issues has brought me to the logical conclusion of ‘skip the 2015 deer season.’
The first issue, as always, is budget. The bear hunt was paid for in advance, so that shouldn’t have been an issue, but I really never considered that I would get a bear that has a (small) chance of making Boone & Crockett, so that adds the cost of a trip to Ohio (where my taxidermist lives – I would have used a local one, but the logistics of my bear hunt worked out the same as last time: I flew, my hunting buddy drove, so it was more economical and practical for him to drive the hide and meat back to Ohio. I absolutely love the last bear I had mounted, and trust the taxidermist to do this one justice as well.), and the cost of getting a mount.
I gave up a hunting lease in Rome, GA, earlier this year – It was a nice piece of property just under 300 acres, but it was about a three hour round trip, and I just do not have the spare time or patience to get up at 3am, drive to the property, hike in to a stand, spend the day, hike out, and drive another hour and a half. If I had a good place to camp up there, I could have made weekends of it, but one of the best places to hunt is about the only place to set up a tent, so that was a non-starter.
I used to hunt an 875 acre parcel near Butler, GA, but the owner (a friend’s uncle) has created a feud with the rest of his family, and an offshoot of that was kicking everybody off of the property, so that’s out.
Which leaves public land.
I’ve written before about Georgia’s complex wildlife management area regulations – for any individual piece of property, they aren’t too bad, but every piece of property has a different set. Add that to the fact that the last three or four times I tried to hunt Paulding Forest WMA or Sheffield WMA, there was a vehicle parked every single place I wanted to park. (We spent three HOURS last year during turkey season just trying to find someplace to park. Not fun.)
So, my budget is thin as well as my patience, and I hate hunting on a ‘lets rush over here (where we’ve never been) and just walk in the woods!’ basis. To me, that’s not hunting. That’s hiking while carrying hunting gear.
I can hike all year long.
So, I’ll relax this season, regroup, work my finances a bit, and start planning for 2016. Because planning a season is half the fun.
As a side note, I had originally told my wife ‘unless I get drawn for Joe Kurz WMA’s quota hunt, I was skipping this year.’ Well, I didn’t get drawn, which is OK, that adds another point to my growing tally. If something comes up that’s too good to pass up, like an invitation to some really nice property, I may change my mind, but at this point, I’m battening down the budgetary hatches for Christmas.