What I learned in 2007 ...
1. First, that, yes, `it rains on the good and the bad, the just and the unjust'. (Someone else's words, not mine.) By that I mean this - I used to think that if I was good - I could expect good hunting ... or ... if I was `bad' - I could expect `bad'. Stated differently - good hunting experiences would be the result of me being a good person. But what I found is that being good basically got me nothing. Because the universe we live in doesn't give based on good, or bad, ... but gives out freely. And, actually, that is a good thing, because, I have come to understand that, gulp, I am not a good person at all. I may try to be good - but, whoa, I still have huge faults and deficiencies. But my Heavenly Father still lavishes me with wonderful blessings and hunting experiences.
Maybe I can say it this way: though perhaps we (as people) are moral (or immoral) - the natural universe is not.
2. To follow the magic. Yes. In a way it's related to Item 1. I am learning to `tune in' as I go out into the field. I imagine ducks on the creek around the next bend, and then as I carefully look - there they are! ( ... just as imagined). I think of the best possible outcome to a situation, and (sometimes, not always) ... it unfolds! ( ... just as imagined). I find that the natural universe is a responsive universe. (Maybe `interactive' would be appropriate.) You see - if my mind is cluttered with it all depending on me ...(my skill, my tactics, my doing everything just right, or being in the right spot) ... then there is a lot that can still go wrong. But if I accept my place in a universe much larger than myself - one that - if I look for it - responds to my wishes, desires, and love for the game - I become a beneficiary, almost a spectator, of what unfolds infront of me. It's wonderful - I call it magic.
3. A hunting experience is enjoyed in the mind. Or not. In fact, one hunting trip I went on this fall was only (enjoyed) in the mind. In the real it just didn't come together. One hunting buddy had to bail for medical reasons, and another couldn't get away. It was a dream hunt indeed - I had it so rehearsed ahead of time in my mind. I could see and feel myself executing the various stages of the hunt. I laid in bed at night dreaming about it ... unfolding in front of me. Don't get me wrong - I was really crushed for several days when it slipped away. But - if you can grasp this - I did go on that hunt (in my mind).
(And it ended up costing way less money and was far less dangerous.)
I went on another trip this fall - a dream hunt, of sorts, and though I really was there (physically) - it was much less enjoyed. I laid in my sleeping bag dreaming of being back home. So, the key to a joyous hunting experience - is to learn to enjoy (the hunt, or the not hunt). One day a time. And this is important as I am a father and husband and engineer and teacher and other stuff and there is a lot of other stuff going on.
And so when it works out - I grab my gun and hunt. And when it doesn't - it doesn't. I may have hunted less this fall - but it's OK - because, though not perfect - it has been magical. My wife and children think I still hunt a lot (spelled t-o-o m-u-c-h) ... which I can't understand - until it's been about 24 hours since I shot something - I realize my addiction - and must slip outside.