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One cool day
Marsh Musings

It was cold. Not bone-breaking, skin-peeling, freeze-your-beard cold, but crisp and bright. About 15 degrees by my weather app. It occurred to me that we really do rely on these phones and applications to determine our activity a lot more than we realize. My phone tells me how much time I spend each day on that beast — a lot more than I suspected. I can get the temperature, wind speed and direction, and sunrise/sunset to coordinate with the hunting regulations. I can take a picture of my success and share it on Facebook, text and email. I can edit the picture to make me look really good (it is a test of technology to pull that off) and make my critter look bigger than it is. Lightroom and Photoshop are stunning in the field of editing images.

I was focused on harvesting another deer. I was fortunate enough to take a cow elk in New Mexico with Dr. Durrett, and a doe whitetail with my longbow here in Kansas. One of my friends has purchased a crossbow. An expensive crossbow. I have never shot a crossbow. He spent a good portion of the morning giving me lessons on that amazing machine. He is going on a cruise for Christmas and I am in charge of this beast during that period of time. It resides in the trunk of my vehicle — I just feel funny with the ability to hit the mark at 40-100 yards. My stick bow and wooden arrows are good up to about 30 yards (if I am feeling brave) and are most effective at 10-15 yards. I may be too traditional to use a device that feels like a gun but is classified as archery. It is a huge gift to handicapped and geriatric hunters that would not be able to hunt without that weapon and it does my heart good to celebrate their continued ability to hunt and put meat on the table. A proud successful hunter being able to sustain his family with wild game is a tribute to the American spirit and history.

Ted Nugent has his place and honors his animals in a serious humble grateful way. He has a pretty terrific cookbook also.

There are new weapons that use compressed air and such to push an arrow or broadhead. My sympathy to the game and fish people that are required to generate definitions and rules/regulations for using these devices. I suspect it drives game wardens crazy.  

I went to my popup blind at 3:30 and set up to hunt. I’m on a busy trail and generally have an opportunity for some sort of a shot. The wind is in my face, and the sun is at an angle that doesn’t blind me. Life in a deer blind is a lot of boring and a little bit of anxiety. I usually take a book to pass the first hour or so which involves waiting for “magic time” (when the sun is setting and the deer venture out of their beds to start visiting and feeding). The moon has been full and beautiful in this cycle — I have elected to just sit and let the dark spread its blanket over me on several occasions — the cold silence and the emerging moon make for a special time and make you appreciate your life and blessings. It gives your mind peace and puts hope and joy into your life. This day I never pulled my bow. I revered the moon and the dark and the peace of Christmas. A lot happens in the deer blind and most of it is good. I wish all of you the joy of my deer blind — whether you hunt or not! Merry Christmas!!!!


Doctor Dan Witt is a retired physician and nature enthusiast.