August Is A ‘Get-By’ Month, As Best Days Are Coming

Daryl Kirby | July 31, 2019

It is hard to imagine how close we are. It’s 95 degrees, and the air is so thick I can’t walk from the front door to the truck without needing a change of shirt.

Oh, but the best days are coming, and soon.

Someone a lot smarter than me once said a key to life is to find some joy each and every day. Don’t look to tomorrow—certainly not to next month. That’s big picture stuff. And for the big-picture stuff, the most important stuff, we should live for today.

But for folks who love the outdoors, our joy is coming. We can’t help but look ahead just a bit, until after August, our ‘get-by’ month for hunters.

Hard to imagine how close we are? It is not so hard once the August issue of GON hits. Looking through the pages of this edition, it’s impossible not to see that the best days are now just weeks away.

The list of dove shoots says it is time to get the shotgun out. Time to run a patch through it, screw in the improved cylinder, and wipe the metal down with the old gun-oil stained rag. The process—the feel of the gun and the smell of the oil and old powder on the patch—it will bring back memories. Maybe I’ll think back to a red-hot dove shoot. Certainly I’ll remember the smiles and fellowship before heading out to the field. I’ll remember Dave Willoughby’s safety talk before his Walton County shoots, when each year the hard work to prepare a great field went to providing spots for various non-profits and kids.

August is also when we publish the WMA deer hunting special. Speaking of work, tons of it goes into this annual GON article, and each year it brings back memories of the countless hours I’ve put in hunting deer on public land in Georgia.

The article reminds me of being on that very first gun hunt at Flint River WMA, of being at the check station with big-buck guru and DNR Biologist Bill Cooper when Larry Nickelson and his crew rolled up with a massive non-typical in the truck. That 177-inch buck is still the best ever from the WMA. And I can almost taste and smell the backstrap from a wild hog I killed—me and some now-retired DNR guys cooked it on a campfire next to my tent and talked late into the night.

I’ll remember the nice bucks I saw and almost killed at River Creek and Joe Kurz. How could I forget the morning a buddy and I hauled three does out of Redlands in a Toyota Corolla, two deer in the little trunk and one legs-up in the back seat. We ran into Carl Della Torre, the long-time area manager of Redlands, who just shook his head at the UGA college kids he had to deal with.

Then there’s the Fab 40, another annual tradition in the August issue, and one of my GON favorites. For someone who never kills big bucks, I certainly know how to live vicariously through those who do. And I love stats. Growing up, I couldn’t wait to open the sports section to study baseball box scores. Calculus in school, not my thing. But I could tell you Dale Murphy’s batting average and how many home runs he had.

Now my stat compulsion is buck scores, comparing and contrasting seasons and what counties are producing the big ones year to year. I love what GON does to compile big-buck records, and how we turn that incredible data into content like the Fab 40 and County-by-County buck rankings (which are coming soon, let us just get-by August).

Hunters, those of us who find core joy outdoors, who love the wonder of the stillness of just being out there suddenly jolted with adrenalin when an animal appears. Hunters, who pull the trigger with intent and purpose, with learned skill, and hopefully with respect and reverence, who take on the personal responsibility to put an animal down and put up their own meat. It’s not so hard for hunters to get by August. We know what’s coming.

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