October flew by way too fast; it always does.
But this year illness – Fischer first and me next – robbed me of two weekends (with gorgeous weather I might add).
And with a promise to "guide" my brother’s archery hunt the following weekend and Old Man Winter arriving for the last one, I found myself in the field hunting just four times.
It wasn’t that long ago that I boasted about spending 21 days afield in October.
And with Scott drawing a mule deer buck tag in the badlands, the focus of the upcoming deer season is understandably and happily on him.
I spent a lot of October bummed about this.
Some of it admittedly coming from a place of self-pity, but much of it also coming from feeling lost again.
Motherhood has come with many highs and lows, and I thought I was through the thick of the latter, but now that hunting season is in full swing I’m forced to accept the realities of this "season" of life and make the sacrifices I knew were coming.
Hardest of all, is just learning who this new version of me is and how to find joy, pride and gratitude in different ways.
To be honest, I know a part of me will always reminisce on the freedom that existed pre-Fisch.
If only I appreciated it more at the time.
But as I scroll through my photos in search of what to write about this month, there is plenty.
And I will try to be prouder of simply being a mom and raising Fischer to embrace the outdoor lifestyle, even if that doesn’t always equate to me harvesting game.
I cooked venison shanks, potatoes, onions and carrots in the crockpot all day.
Per usual, I rushed around the kitchen trying to put dishes away, prepare dinner and feed Fischer intermittently between tasks.
My brother drew his second nonresident any deer bow tag and after missing more work than I’d like, all I could offer him was the Saturday afternoon he arrived and the following Sunday while grandma babysat.
We started in the area he was successful last time, but our glassing proved fruitless, aside from a bull elk, which was neat.
Despite my sickness still lingering, it felt good to be out west again and sleep in the Kelty, which reminded me we needed to make more time for this in the future.
I’m usually not one to complain about snow for improving pheasant hunting conditions and scaring off those unwilling to plow through the drifts.
But with the October we’d been dealt, little Fischer hadn’t even gotten to enjoy a nice weather pheasant hunt, but while we’re adamant about bringing him, we aren’t entirely sure at what temperature is no longer safe.
But if he’s going to grow up in North Dakota, he can’t shy away from the 20s or he’ll be inside half the year at this rate.
So, we bundled him up, much like Randy Parker in a "Christmas Story," and stuffed him in his pack, willing to call it quits if things headed south.
And to our surprise, after the initial bundling and pack stuffing, he was a trooper all day.
Me? Not so much.
Scott can attest that I was one to complain that day, I just couldn’t believe the conditions were already this bad in October, especially after a season like last year.
And even more disappointing, for all our effort, we really didn’t see many birds.
On a pouty plow back to the truck, Finley went on point in some bushes.
In a mood, I drug my feet up the hill assuming the bird would likely flush before I got up there, flying out the wrong side, or I’d miss.
But we approached and Scott said, "I can see its tail, I think Fins is going to get it," but just then it flushed and started to fly over the bushes when my shot crumpled it.
Pretty much the quickest way to turn my mood around.
Fisch obliged to a few photos before warming back up in the truck.