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Whitetail deer saved my life.
It was the 80’s and my life was a train wreck. I was a teenager who was struggling with a serious alcohol and drug problem, and if not for whitetail hunting and the outdoor experience, I might not be here today to speak of it. I realize this might seem to be a strange topic, especially on a hunting website. But to those who have tracked, stalked, hunted and admired these amazing animals, the effect of the hunting lifestyle can be dramatic and in some cases like mine, even life saving. There is something deep inside, primordial even, that gets stirred if you spend enough time hunting and becoming connected to the woods.
It was the morning of the last day of the regular firearms season here in Maine. There was 2”-5” of snow on the ground and the temperature had risen to slightly just above freezing in the night. The thermometer in my truck said 32 degrees when I headed out, but the snow soft and melting a little. The air was thick and kind of foggy, one of days you could just feel that the deer were going to be up and moving. I climbed into my truck before daylight and struck out from camp in search of a big buck track.
Not every tracker begins his whitetail tracking career the conventional way. I didn’t have a dad or a hunting mentor that was willing to spend the time to teach me the outdoor skills necessary to become a proper woodsman. Consequently, my outdoor activities tended to be less organized than the average kid who spent his days in the wilds. My outdoor antics almost always included my partner in crime, best friend and schoolmate, Bob. We honed our hunting skills on cheap hand-me-down fiberglass bows and bb guns. And when they fell apart from relentless use we had no trouble resorting back to more primitive means if necessary.
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