By Doug Leier

Hunting conversations sometimes have a number of words that are owned and defined by the hunter and the context in which they are used.

141112quality experiences

What each person strives for is time outdoors that fills their definition of a quality experience. How that's defined, only you decide.​

For instance, a "nice deer" or a "big buck" may not even be on the same page in the same conversation between any two hunters. Sometimes, people are in complete agreement on, say, what qualifies as a trophy, and other times, even at the same table in the same coffee shop with mostly the same people, the discussion is a bit more conflicting.

So from lunker and whopper, to trophy and big, the discussions and conversations can travel an array of paths and roads. Even something more vague such as what defines a "quality hunt," can turn a short, friendly cup of coffee into a drawn out, unending dialogue.

My standards for satisfaction when it comes to hunting and fishing experiences are similar to some, but much different than others. For me, a short afternoon walk that provides nothing more than a glimpse of a beaver working away in a creek can put a smile on my face as much as bagging a rooster or buck.

Everyone who spends time outdoors shares a common bond, but each individual defines his or her own appetite - or defines "quality" differently.

And even with deer gun season ending Nov. 23, there is still time to add more fulfilling experiences to your 2014 scrapbook. While the Nov. 10 winter storm and following cold snap pretty much sent most waterfowl headed south, turkey and some late-season pheasant and grouse hunting extend into early January.

While late season hunting can have some weather challenges, for many hunters it's more about getting out and enjoying one more time with friends in familiar places. It's all about enjoying the outdoors in a way that suits you, assuming, of course, that you stay within legal and ethical boundaries.

I have learned to make the outdoors my own little personal haven, enjoying the opportunities and not worrying about shooting the biggest buck, or even a deer for that matter. Some of my more memorable outdoors experiences are often not defined by a look through the scope and the squeezing of the trigger.

As November slides into December and ice fishing season begins to take form, you'll hear many conversations which fit into a larger discussion on the "quality" of this year's hunt. Much will relate to the lowest number of deer tags available since the 1980s.

On the other hand, it's been a great open water fishing season and that should continue once the inevitable ice of winter becomes solid enough for safe travels.

The topic of "how much time" do you spend outdoors is a common late fall conversation topic at gas stations, sporting goods stores and small town cafés. I've never heard anybody respond, "You know Doug, I hunted way too much this fall." It just doesn't happen.

What each person strives for is time outdoors that fills their definition of a quality experience. How that's defined, only you decide.

For me, the more often I get out, the more often I find those quality experiences that make me want to get out even more.

Leier is a biologist with the Game and Fish Dept. He can be reached by email: [email protected]