There are many ways to measure time. The days, weeks, and years seemingly continue to pass us by with increasing and unsuspecting swiftness. We often want time to stop, to hold memory and moment in our minds forever. Moments of being in the woods, on the water, and in the mountains bring a refreshing perspective to an ever-changing world. Our experiences in the elements provide a chance to spend our time with friends and loved ones. Some measure the year by the summer, fall, spring, and winter seasons. In the Southeast, sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts measure time through the seasons of fishing, hunting, and college football.
As our time in the Southeast winds towards the months of fall, we are welcomed with fields of life. The dove fields receive the first planting of the year. There is an array of planting to do, but one crop has been a staple for this small game species for generations before us—the sunflower. Perfect yellow flowers provide the seeds that will reveal the first signs that our hunting time has arrived. The beauty of dove fields is that they can be added to properties of any size. Dove season provides a more casual and social approach to hunting; sitting on the perimeter of a yellow field, under a welcoming canopy of pines or hardwoods, gives us the opportunity to reconnect with friends and family afield. The sound of a mourning dove perched in a nearby tree is drowned out only by your partner rifling through a bucket for another handful of shotgun shells. These partners have been with us over the years, providing countless memories and stories to recount over a grill full of jalapeno dove poppers, a simple, classic recipe. The promise of cooler temperatures and Saturdays on the gridiron encourages us to begin planning for what is yet to come: fields that need our tractors and seeds for later season food plots, and duck blinds that need careful maintenance after weathering months of spring and summer storms. The clock has started on our next chapter as we welcome this passage of time.
As the fall season progresses, the Southeast experiences the first of a variety of whitetail deer hunting opportunities. Beginning with bow season, sportsmen and -women relish the chance for an up close and personal encounter with a deer. The stillness and beauty of the southeastern landscapes during the cool mornings or quiet afternoons seems to slow the passage of our seasons and forces us to be present in the moment. As the season continues into winter, through muzzleloader and rifle calendar dates, the waterfowl season presents itself. The Mississippi Flyway is well-known for providing early morning, cold-weather-tolerating waterfowl enthusiasts a chance to witness the sunrise against a sky that is, hopefully, covered in silhouettes of wings. For many in the Southeast, waterfowl season is the pinnacle of their annual quest for southeastern game, and for good reason. Duck and goose season combines various aspects of our yearly adventures. It offers a chance to reconnect with others in a duck blind, to be social while waiting on the next group to begin circling the spread of decoys that have been meticulously laid out in the early morning darkness. It challenges us to go into uncomfortable areas, into the habitat of these beautiful and clever birds.
The season for hunting wraps up with one last thrilling chase. The forests and fields begin to turn green again as we look to chase the elusive thunder chicken (a name for turkeys in the South) as they wake the woods, gobbling from their roost. We give chase to these birds in a one-on-one quest to best one of our nation’s most noble game animals. Always trying to outwit this wily bird, we spend our mornings and afternoons wondering what his next move may be. A cluck or gobble in the distance to the east quickly moves behind us, as if by an act of magic. Hearts pound and hands begin to shake as the bird comes strutting towards us, chest puffed out while presenting a fan of feathers, a long beard, and spurs, demonstrating his years of outsmarting even the most veteran of hunters. While frustrating at most times, the moment when it all comes together marks not only an overwhelming feeling of gratitude but the day when the season once again begins to warm.
There is a distinct rhythm to life and the seasons in the Southeast. We reflect on our previous adventures during the warmer months of chasing mountain trout in the Appalachians, largemouth bass and stripers in the lakes and rivers that meander through the hills and plateaus, crappie and bluegills in the farm ponds, or trout and redfish where the freshwater meets the salt (a few more months until the kickoff of football and dove season). So goes time from our ancestors and continues now: what to plant, what to plow, what to harvest, and what to plan. It’s hot, the middle of summer in the South, as we slip into that mountain getaway trout stream to cool off and get lost in the mountain laurel and rhododendron, listening to the stream’s soul-healing tune. Other times, as they say, if you can’t beat the heat, join it. Chasing inshore and pelagic fish at the coast, hosting family and friends along the southeastern lakeshores, or watching the summer sun fade from the dock are all enjoyable ways to embrace summer’s fiery warmth.
We live these traditions; we pass them on and share each one not just with our families, but with our clients, who often become family. When investing in the lifestyle we strive for, it is almost impossible not to bond over a piece of property and make new, lifelong relationships. We don’t just help our clients realize this dream; we share it, passionately. We love what we do. Coast to coast, from the mountains to the sea.