Thankful Outdoors: The Final Chapter

Courtesy of Scott Hopperdietzel.

MARSHFIELD, WI (OnFocus) – This week will be the last moment of sharing the Celebrate the Experience! So much appreciation to all the readers and comments over the almost two years you have followed along. I have met and had some great conversations with people over this time. I hope that my stories have inspired you to look at the outdoors differently and that you have made some of your great memories. With that, let me share my final Celebreate the Experience moment with you.

Winter has arrived, the snow is piling up. Some are grumbling about the snow; others are like bring on more to use their snowmobiles. What I like about the snow is viewing what is happening with game movement.

Jared, Craig, and I were reminded during a Saturday muzzleloading hunt on how deer are masters at times in the game of chess. It’s a reminder that when you get an opportunity to harvest a deer, you have beat the Chessmaster in their own game.

We had been out making tiny pushes to each other, trying to move deer. The little trace of snow helped show some sign to us. We were getting ready to make a final push on a bit of point that Craig and I had hunted together many years ago. As we approached the end of the point, we cut a fresh big track entering the area.

The swamp surrounds this point, and we thought the ice wouldn’t be thick enough for a deer to want to go out on it. Jared posted, Craig and I would be the drivers. As I made my way to Jared’s location, I picked up on that fresh track. It was making its way towards Jared; I wondered why I had not heard the muzzleloader go off yet.

When I got to Jared perched in the tree, I asked, “you see anything?” He said, “yeah, a buck had come through, but it was too thick and not able to get a good shot off.” Jared said the buck had headed back towards the trail that we walked in on. We decided to see if he had crossed because he might still be in the point.

As we walked back down the trail, there was no sign of the buck crossing. So we repositioned ourselves, and Craig would make a push while Jared and I posted along the trail. As time passed, I saw Craig’s blaze orange walking in my direction. I was on high alert, expecting that buck to be soon making a dash onto the trail to cross.

Craig hit the trail and said that the track had doubled back, and had we left Jared in his original location, he would have had a shot, the buck did make it out onto the ice, and it was plenty thick for him to hightail it over into the next big marsh section.

CHECKMATE to Mr. Buck!

The picture that I share this week is a perfect ending to closing out the Thankful Outdoors Celebrate the Experience times with you. As I sat overlooking the river in the surreal snowfall of the afternoon, many thoughts in life raced through my mind. The river reminded me that life is constantly moving; life never stops.

Watching a river is one thing in life where you can associate many things; I often find them interesting. It shows how powerful life can be when they rage; other times, they are gentle as it flows quietly on a summer evening. When a river is calm, it shows reflection and reminds you to look at yourself and see the beauty within.

If you ever sat and watched a river at sunset, you will see the amount of life it is full of;  fish surface to eat a meal of an evening hatch. It’s a provider to many things and can show that many things can coexist, but there is a balance between coexistent and being in danger of being eaten.

These flowing streams have history and tradition as they have been cut into the earth for thousands of decades. Flow can change depending on its surroundings and show how adaptable a river is.

Next time you cross a river, take a moment and see what you take away from it. You may be surprised at what you discover.

In closing, I want to thank everyone again for the support over the years. Have a safe holiday season and find your way to Celebrate the Experience!

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

Scott Hopperdietzel
Author: Scott Hopperdietzel

Scott Hopperdietzel is the creator of an outdoor blog named Thankful Outdoors. He shares his passion for the outdoors with readers. The focus of the blog is to “Celebrate the Experience” in his stories; you feel what the connection to the outdoors means to him. His goal is to inspire others to get into the outdoors and create their own experience. Along with writing, he is a father to three boys who are often part of the adventures along with the family Weimaraner, Boone. You can find his writings on the website or follow his social media platforms on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.