Our Tribute to Opening Day

                                                       

Soon your headlights will guide you down a dirt road you know well enough to navigate with your eyes closed. The concrete and bustle of the city will fade away behind you as a brand new season gently unfolds in the dim light of your truck.

You’ll shift into park, kill the lights and slip into the silence of the woods. This will be your new home for the next several months.  

By 10 a.m. it’ll already be hot. You’ll feel sweat on your brow, and be looking for shade. The elk won’t talk, and every step you take will result in the crunch of dried grass, pine needles and crispy leaves in desperate need of water.

It’s possibly the worst hunting day of the year, but you’ve never been more excited to suffer.

You’ll dream of the cool breeze and shade of an autumn storm, but until then, this is where you’ll be. In the moment, outside, in your place of worship. The hunting may be tough, but there’s no place you’d rather be. As a hunter there’s no other place you could be.

It’s in your blood to be in the woods, on that day. There are hundreds of days to hunt across the country but only one you’ve looked forward to all summer. You’ll have practiced your shots, tilled your fields, packed, repacked, packed again and driven your family and friends mad by practicing your calls. This preparation is merely a seed of the success now ready to be sown. 

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Last year’s slate is wiped clean, the score is 0-0 and your excitement lies in endless possibilities. Around every bend in the trail you’ll become more accustomed to the scent of pine. At the summit of every peak you’ll witness orange sunsets that set the world on fire, and deep within the middle of every mountain bowl the gold aspen leaves rattle with colors only found in the fall. In these places lies opportunity. Opportunity to learn from mistakes and improve upon triumphs.

You’ll speak in a permanent hush, pay attention to the ground closer than you have any sidewalk and walk side by side with best friends you haven’t seen since last fall.

The act of nature unfolds every day regardless of work schedules, bills or traffic, and today, you’re no longer a casual observer of this act but a part of its drama.

Out here you acknowledge the reality of death and celebrate the unparalleled gift of life.

You don’t enjoy death but instead celebrate nature’s defiance of it, while staring its inevitability in the face.

It’s the only way to truly live.

All the shortcomings, close misses and missed chances will culminate into greatness this year. You are more committed than ever, ready to endure the hardships, uphill battles and long nights of wondering “what if.” You are not just a hunter, and this isn’t just a day. You are a vessel of a tradition which has long endured through eons of time.

When the first alarm of the season sounds off in the dead of night, you will have been awake long before.

It’s not just another day, it’s not just another hunt, it’s not just another September.

Opener is everything.