Do you still get opening day jitters every November?

Last Saturday, here in the State of Maine was ‘Youth Day’ for kids under 16 to hunt for deer.

My 12 year-old son Will, said he was excited to go.

I made arrangements for him to hunt at a local beef farmer’s land. He has over 1,500 acres of corn fields, hay fields, pastures, woodlots, and apples. The perfect location for deer. And the best part is, for the most part he only allows Jr. hunters.

We were invited to a hunter’s breakfast in the farm house, and just before dawn we would head out to the stands that have been successfully used by Jr. hunters for decades!

Friday night, I got lunches ready for me and the boy, I made sure hunting clothes were laid out, and had everything packed in the van. The only thing left to do was get a good night’s sleep!

HA! THAT is one of the funniest jokes out there! Sleep? ME? The night before deer hunting? When it comes to opening day, I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Sleep for me never came! I went to bed around 10PM, and I tossed and turned till about 3:45. At that point, if I went to sleep, the 4:30 alarm would simply leave me exhausted.

My son? He was sound asleep! In fact, I had to fight to get him out of bed! He was ready to cancel the entire trip!

We were in our stand about 20 minutes before legal shooting. We stayed put until some time around 10:30. William snoozed a bit, but I was wide awake.

We didn’t see any deer, but that was kinda OK for me! I was hunting in a beautiful spot with mixed pines, beeches, and cedars. We were comfortably seated in an old camper, and the best part was I was with my boy!

My excitement carried me over well into the evening, and at 10PM I was still wide awake. I never really got a good rest until Sunday afternoon.

Opening day for me, it this coming Saturday. My son was invited more than a month ago to a Halloween themed sleep over for Friday. We won’t be hunting together over at the farm.

But no matter! I have a couple spots picked out, and I know for sure there will be no sleep for me as I run through all the possible stand locations I have to choose from.

I will have visions in my head of blowing leaves, filtered sunlight, squirrels that do their best to sound like a herd of deer, and fat sleek deer silently poking their head out of the thick pines to check the wind before emerging onto a trail and offering me a shot!

It’s the same glorious feeling, I had the night before my first hunt some thirty eight years ago, and I hope it never fades!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.