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Outdoor Journals Soothe March Madness

Tim MartinIn Robert Ruark's beloved outdoor classic, The Old Man and the Boy, he describes March as 'a fine month for remembering.' With the 2011 deer season gone and 2012's so far away, March is the perfect time to reflect on the highs and lows of the past season.

Back in 1985, I began to jot down a few notes after coming home from the field. My intention was to keep track of deer activity and log hunting conditions: temperature, moon phase, rutting activity, time of day sightings and so forth. This data proved to be incredibly valuable over the years, but what I discovered to be priceless were the little memories that I included.

According to my journal, this year I spent 15 sessions in a treestand with my 11-year-old son, trying to help him take his first buck. Twice he had the safety off on bucks, but chose not to shoot because of unfavorable situations. I made note and now we know where to move our stands.

Because of these records, not only will we improve treestand selections, but also remember our adventures many years from now - especially the happy little things. Like sitting on the tailgate at lunch, sharing a thermos of chicken & dumplings and singing Red Solo Cup. Or his teacher getting mad at me for checking him out of school one time too many. It would've been easy to forget my son's expression when a pileated woodpecker lit on a nearby limb and jack-hammered the boy out of a mid-afternoon daze.

Check Out Our Video TipsMy favorite memory of the season came when a beautiful 7-pointer stepped out of the pines and made a scrape within sight of our stand. It was too brushy for Graham to get a clear shot, but we had the safety off and only needed the buck to take one step to the left. Unfortunately, it stepped to the right and back into the pines. At that point, I heard a strange tapping noise and couldn't figure out where it was coming from. Then I realized the entire tree was shaking. In my journal, I wrote that my son smiled up at me when he realized the tap-tap-tapping was from his shaking rifle resting on the shooting rail. There's a memory that won't get away.

To avoid March madness, I encourage you to preserve memories like these and start your own outdoor journal. All it takes is a notebook, a pen and a few minutes. Your children and your children's children will cherish your efforts.

— Tim H. Martin / Buckmasters Online Editor