Deer Dreams

By Nick Simonson
, Big Buck Book Lead Writer

The Big Buck Book has been my most focused work yet when it comes to outdoors writing.  Each day, I publish a blog and each week, I write three feature and news stories pertaining to hunting, fishing or conservation for my dozens of newspaper clients throughout the upper Midwest (all at  Add in a few freelance articles for regional and national hunting and angling magazines, and it’s a pretty full schedule that keeps my mind busy. All of these efforts involve a lot of research, interviews and fact-finding, and a great degree of storytelling to weave it all together.

There was one thing I noticed though, when taking down the amazing stories from the three dozen hunters from all around North Dakota that will be part of The Big Buck Book, is how they influenced my nightly sleep pattern.  In one week, I had five nights where I dreamt of deer hunting.  Most weeks it was at least two or three nights where I had a dream about being in the field, or in the stand, or standing in some unidentifiable location with a rifle or bow in my hand.  In the way dreams often do, many of the hunts occurring in my unconscious mind ended in that slow-spiraling confusion or disaster that triggers a waking moment and notably in a couple of them.  So, pretty much true to life for my normal deer hunting experience.

While some were mundane, or just peaceful views over an open field, watching does and fawns filter in and out, some were downright startling.  There was the one where I was confident that my truck had disappeared, as I returned from a hunt to find it missing in the approach, and began the 25 mile hike back to Bismarck.  The following night, I was terrified to learn that in my mental cinema, I had shot the buck of a lifetime,  but that the tag I attempted to apply to the antler would not stick, and was also for a hunt in Tennessee.  Then, there was the trek through the endless field of towering gold stalks after a doe that bounded and reappeared, whispering and laughing, not unlike in the movie Children of the Corn. 

It’s been postulated by neuroscientists that our dreams help our brains unpack information and find ways to sort it, store it and get rid of the memories we don’t need.  It’s also been suggested by psychologists that they help the various levels of our psyche overcome stress, anxiety and concern about the future.  Some mystics even believe that dreams predict our future. I hope for most of those dreams that I’ve recorded while writing the Big Buck Book, that it’s not the latter, and more of the former two processes in play, as I manage enough misadventures in the field without some unconscious assistance. 

Here’s hoping your dreams this summer are all sweet ones as you await the word on your 2020 ND firearms deer lottery tag and get set for the fall, and that they all come true with safe and successful hunting!


Featured Photo: Sweet Dreams. Whatever buck you’re dreaming of, the Big Buck Book will help get you ready for your hunts this fall.

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