Quiet opening day provides respite from busyness of life

Jerry Apps
Sometimes solitude and quiet is enough reason for deer hunting.

It was opening day of deer season, and I, with a new handwarmer, some beef jerky in my pocket and my 30-30 Winchester lever-action deer rifle, I sat at the ready. The temperature was 17 degrees. Thankfully there was no wind. Not a whisper of wind. The sky was clear and I was ready.

I am sat at the edge of a little field, where just a week ago I spotted a big deer leaping across where I was sitting. Couldn’t tell if it was a buck. Coming out of the pine plantation to the north and following a deer trail. Would I see a repeat? I was ready.

Nothing. Quiet. An abundance of quiet, which I rather enjoy. The sun crept over the trees to the east, warming my back. My back needs warming.  

And then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was a squirrel, running, stopping to look at me, running some more. Looking at me again. And then it disappeared. Nothing else happened. Surrounded by quiet.

Then I saw it, a chick-a-dee. It flies by and lands on a tree limb to my right. Calling its name over and over again, “Chick-a-dee-dee,  Chick-a-dee-dee.”  Breaking the silence. Welcoming the morning.

I’m enjoying the solitude and the quiet. No phone ringing. No computer demanding my attention. But where were the deer? Were they on a different deer trail that morning? Or were they hunkering down in some sunny place, enjoying the quiet of a frosty late-November morning?

At noon my son, Steve asked, “What did you see?”  My report, “one squirrel and one chick-a-dee.”  He smiled.

THE OLD TIMER SAYS: Sometimes solitude and quiet is enough reason for deer hunting.

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work, go to