There are certain spots, which trigger memories long forgotten.

By: Carl W. McCardell

I had not been there for several years. When the thicket came into view I instantly recalled the last grouse I had flushed there. It seemed as though I had not been gone long at all.

There are certain spots, which trigger memories long forgotten. These places vary. It can be a lone tree or an entire woodlot. It might be a pond or a particular bend in a creek. They all have their similarities though. They help me to recall events I do not want to forget or worse, events I want to forget.

The first story I ever had in print for PENNSYLVANIA GAME NEWS was in the January 1988 issue. It is titled, "Keeping The Memories Pleasant." I described an incident when I could easily have shot someone by mistake had I not obeyed the instructions Dad had given me.

Some hunters never hunt again after having made the ultimate mistake of shooting at someone thinking that person was a game animal. I believe it is the constant reminders that keep them from ever going back again. Just seeing a firearm, ammunition, hunting coat or any place remotely similar where the event took place is a source of painful memories.

On the other hand, it can be hard to go back into the woods after having been shot at by mistake. I was on a hunt when a careless hunter shot a friend one turkey season. It gave us both a new respect for safety but neither of us was able to hunt for turkeys for some time. It took a while for those memories to be put into perspective.

I can relive past deer hunts when I climb into a stand. There might not be a creature moving in the woods but when I look in a particular direction I can see the racked buck coming in my direction. I can even recall the weather and some of the emotions I was going through in another time period.

Duck blinds and other hiding places offer memories galore. There is so much action on some days that it can be difficult to recall all of the events when going there again. Funny how I tend to recall most of the misses but cannot retrieve all of the details of the ones got at these spots.

I am glad I have recorded the details of all the grouse I have bagged. My total is in the mid-80s now and I might not have been able to remember all of them otherwise. When I stand in certain thickets I can sometimes bring to remembrance even more details than I had written down.

Most people looking at a briar patch might simply see a tangle of uninviting vegetation. Some of these spots can help me recall the sudden flush of a pheasant or quick departure of a cottontail.

I recently remembered how a grouse had flushed the day before out of a stand of gray-stemmed dogwood. It paid off because I was able to make a double when my memory caused me to take the safety off as I stood in the exact place.

I got a deer on an extremely windy day several seasons ago when it had raced out of a certain overgrown brush pile. When seeing it again I instantly recalled an earlier incident when a deer had run out of that clump while I had been hunting for grouse.

So, you see, keeping mental notes of certain spots not only lets you enjoy past adventures, they also might help you to have a new pleasant experience. If you had success at that spot once, it can happen again and again if you are paying attention.

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