It’s almost here. This coming Saturday marks the opening of deer season, the day most Maine hunters look forward to with great anticipation. And if the number of any-deer permits given out this year is any indication, there should be a bumper crop of deer ready for harvest.

As you’re pining away the last remaining days before the hunt, take a moment to consider your motivations and expectations for the coming season.

Maybe any deer will do. Perhaps you’re a youngster, or an oldster who is new to the sport, or maybe you’ve put in several unsuccessful seasons and you’re just looking for that first deer. You know it happens because you have friends, relatives or acquaintances who have experienced success. You just want your chance.

Maybe your time is limited. If you’re a youth and you didn’t connect on Youth Day, you may only have four more Saturdays and perhaps a few hours after school here and there, an opportunity that will be further limited once we set the clocks back.

Possibly your work schedule or personal obligations prevent you from getting out more than a few days, or even a few hours and you want to make the most of what little time you can spend in the woods. You know the odds are short but an opportunity could present itself at any moment and sometimes just being there is enough.

Your primary motivation might be meat. What you bring home will be far better than anything you can get at the grocery store. It’s all-natural, 100 percent pure organic protein. There are no additives, preservatives, artificial growth hormones or saturated fats. It’s local and best of all, it was procured by your own hands. And once you remove the head and hide, it’s just a carcass, so any deer will do you.

When the opportunity finally presents itself, by all means take advantage. The success and positive reinforcement will help build your interest and confidence in the future.

But bear in mind that opening day success in a one-deer state can be bittersweet. Unless you bowhunt in the expanded zones, your season is over. You give up four more weeks of time in the woods, experience and education. Whether it be by lack of early success or deliberate action, those who continue to hunt through the month will still benefit from every additional hour and day they spend in the woods.

Maybe you’re hoping for something more this season. You could be a hunter who has taken several deer and is now looking for a greater challenge: your first buck, or an older buck, a particular buck. Maybe your experience and confidence have elevated you to a level where you understand things like protecting yearling bucks to improve age structure in the herd. Or perhaps you just want to up the ante, to test both your skills and your resolve.

Or maybe you’re just looking forward to time spent out of doors, watching the woods come alive at dawn as fading darkness slowly reveals a serene woodland scene, immersing yourself in the wild rather than glimpsing at it through a pane of glass. For some that’s enough, though the timely presentation of a shot opportunity will not go unappreciated.

Whatever your personal motivation is for heading afield this Saturday, remember it may be different, possibly quite different from others you encounter. Respect them. Enjoy your time and let them enjoy theirs, and above all be safe. Good luck.

Bob Humphrey is a freelance writer and registered Maine guide who lives in Pownal. He can be reached at:

[email protected]