Never enough days in November

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A bald eagle soars down a corridor of Current River on a beautiful November day.

A bald eagle soars down a corridor of Current River on a beautiful November day.

Sitting next to the enormous rock fireplace at Echo Bluff State Park, reflecting on my past week spent in isolation from the chaos gripping much of the world, I am thankful true wilderness exists in Missouri. Every opportunity for escape to the refreshments of nature is cherished. I only wish for more days in the month of November.

Opening weekend of firearms season for deer has come and gone. Since I can remember, this has been one of the most important events of the year.

This season was extra special for me as it was the first on my own land. I was fortunate to kill a nice buck that I donated to Share the Harvest at Stein’s Meat Processing in Low Wassie.

Now it seems no matter who you talk to, they are quick to say Share the Harvest is a great program. And it is. It’s a very important program to many people across the state.

But, I can hear some of my super serious deer hunting friends saying why would you kill a young buck off your own land, especially if you aren’t going to eat it yourself. If you figure 60 pounds of meat from the buck and 1/4 pound per meal, that buck will put 240 meals on plates in homes. To me, that is more important than antlers.

After punching my tag on the third morning, I focused on taking down the old cabin, and working on clearing areas for future food plots and native grasses.

With a few days of hard work behind me, I was excited by the invitation of friend to spend a few hours cruising the Current River in his jet boat.

With sunny skies and temperatures pushing into the high 70s in the middle of November, it was an absolute wonderful day to be on the river. We saw many hunting camps along the shore. A lot of the camps were in places only accessible by boat.

When you hear folks say they have nowhere to hunt, they simply aren’t being as creative as these river hunters.

We ran from Two Rivers Access, the confluence of Current River and Jacks Fork, up to Big Creek. Winds had picked up a bit and leaves were falling from the sky in a constant shower. About halfway up, we came upon a pair of bald eagles. After downloading my photographs, it was easy to tell one was a juvenile. I never tire of seeing eagles.

Tomorrow, it is back to the real world after spending seven days without cell phone service. Without hearing one politically charged correspondent on television or the radio. Without worrying about what the next email is going to say.

And you know what it’s like when you get back — everything is stacked up like punishment for leaving.

But as I dig through the pile, my mind will drift back to Current River. I’ll see the eagle soaring down the river. I’ll hear the crunch of the leaves giving the buck away before he ever crested the ridge. I’ll smell the wood fire, and hear the wind whistling down the holler.

For so many people, deer season is about so much more than shooting deer.

It is the one time of year, for a very short window, when hundreds of thousands of Missourians put aside the stresses of everyday life to focus intensely on time outdoors.

Again, I only wish for more days in the month of November.

See you down the trail…

Brandon Butler


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