5:15 a.m.—Well, here we go, the morning we’ve waited the entire year for—Opening Day of deer season! Sadly, the off and on drizzle of yesterday has turned into steadier rain with warm temperatures. A full out rain gear day is on tap and my gameplan involves sitting in one of the many deer shanties on my hunting club’s 2,000 acres. I’ll be overlooking a mountain laurel-infested pinch point that these deer use as an escape trail from the neighboring club. I’m always pretty optimistic on the deer opener, but the moon and weather has muted the enthusiasm somewhat. Time to wake the troops, swallow some coffee and head out. Updates and photos here on the BBZ all weekend.—Gerry Bethge