By Derek Malcore | PUBLISHED January 10th, 2022
After the interior car lights decide that it’s time to dim, and I’ve braced myself for chilly air inches away, I reach for the door handle, take a breath, and swing it open. It’s usually a quick scamper to the back of the vehicle in some slippers or moccasins followed by a drop of the tailgate or lift of the hatch. Unveiled before me, is an explosion of hunting crap: boots, clothes, stands, etc. that have taken over my and my family’s life for the past month or two. A few uncontrollable shivers send me into miny convulsions as I quickly rip my base layers over my body and slide on my boots. The “treestand” quickly doubles as a Cabela's clearance clothing bin as jackets, sweatshirts, and bibs get strapped down to any available surface. I feel comparable to old Atlas, bearing the weight of the world on my shoulders… only to think about carrying this mess of gear deep into some deep dark forest, then trying to quietly get it all onto my body and into a tree. I cinch down the shoulder straps, grab the weapon, turn that headlight down the path laid before me and it begins. The Walk.
As crazy and stupid as that whole scenario sounds, for the outdoorsman, it’s enjoyable. It’s a trip to visit a friend you haven’t seen in too damn long. It’s not the act itself that’s enjoyable, it’s what that act is preparing you for. The Walk.
Whether you are out for an early morning turkey hunt, a glassy calm lake and a popper at sunrise, hot coffee in a cold swampy duck blind, or dressing up in dirty clothes, half bent over in a dew ridden tent, its the anticipation for what lies ahead. The anticipation is why people do most of the things we do. Of course, the activities we choose to fill our free time with are fun, or at least I hope yours are, but running out of work as the clock strikes 5 to jump into your already packed up truck and jet off to whatever adventure awaits is when the real begins.
As a youth who was diagnosed at an early age with a severe whitetail deer hunting addiction, I often focused on the hunt, the kill, the buck!! I think we have all done that, at some point or another. With a few more years under my belt, I’ve come to relish the anticipation of these prized adventures. This is why so many of us get consumed with the outdoors. You can find ways to increase your anticipation.
Any type of hunting or fishing can operate under a similar umbrella, but I’ll use deer hunting in this case. For many, the deer hunt is a weekend, or maybe a week that they take off each year to head to a camp and hunt. Hang with guys, shoot the breeze, talk smart, chase da turdy pointer, ya know, regular old hunting stuff. They start to get excited the weekend before when they take out the old 30/30 and rip a few rounds at a cardboard box and make some chili for the upcoming hunt. Anticipation is high.
For those of us who need more, we make more. The hunt turns into more than sitting “my spot” in the woods and evolves into scouting trips, trail cams, shed hunts, archery, late-season. It evolves into building up the anticipation. Creating your own excitement for the adventure that lies ahead. Not now, but soon. That is what I have come to love the most about hunting. Building the anticipation. The more I scout and find new areas, the more excited I become about what might happen next season. It becomes less and less about the present, about the hunt, about the kill and grows into so much more. It becomes about the journey. The story. The trials. The moments you want to quit. It becomes about each cold crunchy step. Stopping to listen to the woods ahead. Never quite knowing what will be waiting for you when you get there. Cheers to the Walk!