Here is my Zodiak of the content and mood of this forum, arranged into 6 distinct seasons. This is the result of a highly sophisticated and scientific analysis of forum threads. Hope you enjoy. Andrew.
New year-whenever the draw is announced (January through sometime in March):
Content: Generally a minimally active time for the forums. Threads are started and don’t have very many responses. Occasional wolf or furbearer is taken. A musk ox story or two. Lost/overdue parties and the occasional search thread are the only threads that really catch our attention.
Mood: Everyone has the mid-winter fever but it has settled down by now. It is tempered by the fact that we’re gaining daylight and everyone knows we’re half over with winter. Everyone seems to be on the forums a lot, but not very interested in big discussions/arguments/stories. Too much work.
Most frequent thread: ‘Has anyone ever been to ‘Location X’ and seen wolves?’ or ‘I called and called like they do on the Youtube videos, but nothing worked. What the heck am I doing wrong?’
Draw result release-first day of bear baiting season (Sometime in March through April 14):
Content: Two immediate options: ‘I got ALL the permits!’ or ‘f***ing bulls***, rigged, cheaters, unfair, racist, evil, bureaucratic system! Forget this! I’m never wasting my money again!’ The discussions that follow are ‘Okay, got a permit for this area. Has anyone ever been there, have any info?’ or ‘Let me explain why this is all so unfair….’ Ironically, the people asking for info get little to no responses, whereas the threads about the system become enormous firestorms where no one is happy until they’ve posted 10 times.
Mood: Extreme happiness from receiving a permit or loss of all faith in the world. Either way, people are anxious that the end of winter is closer, but not here yet. The first gear discussions begin to pop up, as a technical way of escape from all the draw permit talk.
Most frequent thread: ‘Okay, so I’m thinking about this new rifle/caliber for ‘Species X‘ this upcoming season. What do you think? Should I buy it?’ or ‘Do you think using ‘Ingredient X’ will work for bear bait?
Beginning of bait season – mid-summer (April 15 through June 10):
Content: Snow conditions, bear sign and pictures of bait setups dominate the threads until finally, someone pulls the first trigger of spring. Pictures of bears and the discussion of what they used to kill them spring up. Usually, there is not much of a story at all to bait hunting (‘Well, I got up early, and sat in a tree until he walked up. Then I shot him…..The End.’) More people focus on who came with them, like wife, kids or out of state/newcomers. Then, it shifts to ‘Why aren’t they coming in?’ and ‘D^MN BROWN BEARS! GET OUT OF HERE!’ We begin losing posts and people to the fishing forum gradually.
Mood: Everybody has mellowed out because summer has finally arrived. Everyone is busy, getting ready, going to the sportsmans show, going to the gun show, going to the range, going scouting and working like crazy. We begin running into each other out there. The first delusion posts begin ‘Hey, we didn’t see anything and got soaked and broke everything, but we were out in the field! THAT’S what matters.’
Most frequent thread: ‘Trail cam pictures’ or ‘Took my new ‘Toy X’ out today to see how it worked.’
Mid-summer-Opening Day (June 11 through August 9):
Content: The people we lost to fishing begin trickling back. It’s common to see pictures and stories of non-hunting adventures from the summer. Those posts are rare gems. The preparation posts begin. People are again asking about where to go, what to use, how the conditions were, etc… but people begin answering more. The one question that WILL NOT be answered is where people have seen large moose or sheep. Last year’s hunts get brought up again a lot.
Mood: Eager, a little nervous. Many are uncertain if the weather or work won’t cooperate. Generally everybody is very happy. I chalk that up mostly to the sunshine.
Most frequent thread: ‘Only X more days!’ or ‘Is he legal?’
Opening day-Season close (August 10-September 30):
Content: Straight up hunting stories and pictures. Exactly what this forum was created for. A lot of backslapping and congratulations, especially by those who don’t have the chance to get out this season. Sooner or later, someone’s partner ditches and someone needs a new partner RIGHT NOW! As the season winds down, we see cruel threads of 49” moose and 7/8 curl sheep that people had to pass on. We bear one another’s burdens well, mourning with those who had to keep the safety on.
Mood: Everyone seems to have a great attitude about the season. We all know how blessed we are just to get out in this awesome state. However, scorn and insult is heaped on those who commit gun safety violations or make idiotic mistakes that ruin the trip. It’s all done anonymously and relatively politely though, knowing they might be reading.
Most frequent thread: ‘My first, biggest, best Animal X ever taken.’ or ‘Well, didn’t get anything. Still had a good time.’
Season close-Draw application deadline (October 1 through December 30):
Content: Let the Monday quarterbacking begin. Lots of 20/20 hindsight about that year. The ‘what gear to spend my dividend on’ thread pops up, soon followed by its child ‘look what I bought with my dividend.’ The last ditch deer hunting and late season moose hunts begin. Many ask “Why would you want to go out when it’s THIS cold?” or think it. More important, the permit fever begins with the Ship Creek Registration hunt. We put Black Friday shoppers to shame with our cutthroat permit tactics. Lots of questions, few real answers. Also, polls and arguments begin creeping up at an alarming rate.
Mood: The polls and arguments are alarming because they indicate the creeping boredom and winter fever setting in. People strain to think of questions not yet asked (“If you could only have two rifles, would you rather a 338-06 and a 308, a 338 Federal and a .30-06, or a .300 and 338 Winchester Mag?”)
How long until spring?
Most frequent thread: ‘Did anyone else have Situation X happen to you this year?’, ‘Anyone have any information of Permit X’s area?’ and various discussions/cagefights over proposed regulations.
Merry Christmas everybody. I’ll see you all next you all next year…and does anyone know a good trail into West Alphabet Hills (DM332)? Also, what rifle should I buy to take in there? It doesn’t matter, I’ll never win a permit anyways. At least I get to get into the field and have a great time with my family and best friend. I’m lucky compared to someone from New York.