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Hunting Withdrawal Syndrome

“A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph, or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized and I for one do not know how to deal with him.”  – Aldo Leopold.

It’s mid-June and I’m grumpy. There’s yard work to be done, household projects to be completed, weekly errands to be ran, and a variety 0f other tasks that need to be accomplished. Ugh, the rat race gets old! Sure, in the great outdoors there are fish to be caught, camping tents to be pitched, state park trails to be hiked and a water trail or two that needs to be kayaked, but, my hunting guns are silent. It has been a little more than a couple of weeks since Nebraska’s Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season closed.

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Even when I am fishing, camping, hiking or kayaking, I often see deer and turkey activity and my thoughts advance toward the opening days of those fall hunting seasons here in the Cornhusker State.

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Photo Courtesy of Mahoney State Park.

I am suffering from a classic case of hunting withdrawal syndrome. I am sure many of you hunters know exactly what it is. Oh, like you, I’ll get through it alright (until I open Nebraska’s dove hunting season on September 1). But, it’ll be tough! I need to keep busy though. Trail camera installation and monitoring, summer season scouting and an equipment check/inventory should all help pass the time. On the other hand,  you can only shoot your firearms, sharpen your knives and re-organize your gear so many times before it qualifies as a certifiable, clinical complex.

For many of us hunting defines who we are in ways that cannot be explained. Hunting is something that is hard-wired within me  and directly connects me to the land. I come from a long-line of hunters — from prairie pioneers who hunted to live to my late-father “Big Eddie” who lived to deer hunt. My dad used to say something like this:  “You’re not gonna remember that first kiss, or the first time you rode a bike or drove a car, or even caught a touchdown pass, but if you hunt you’ll remember the first time you squeezed the trigger of your rifle on a that buck of a lifetime, or raised your shotgun on the biggest gobbler you had ever seen, or watched anxiously as honking Canada geese landed right into your decoy spread.”

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Photo by Hunting Partner Tanner Podraza.

Hunting is shaped by stories in the forms of people with whom a tight bond.

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Hunting is shaped by being in wild places.

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Hunting is shaped by watching wild things.

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I really miss those three aspects of the hunt in the summertime. I also miss the pursuit itself, which is often called “the sinew that ties us to the land.”

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In my mind, there is nothing more American than an individual hunting permit holder going afield with a firearm or bow during an established hunting season setting up on or freely roaming a defined tract of land with permission to take life in order to sustain life. It is a celebration of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation which is the absolute best model of conservation in the entire world!

I cannot wait until fall!

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Time to wet a line …

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About Greg Wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Public Information Officer and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media sites, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

One comment

  1. Very nice Photos Greg….exspecially the Buck!….

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