posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 04:41 AM
A misty fog had settled over the valley, laying low in the marshes surrounding the alders. The shriek of a hawk caught his attention and he looked up
to see it circling something above the hill in front of him. If that was a sign, he had no idea how to interpret it.
The air outside was much colder than he had anticipated and thick with moisture. Only a few minutes outside made his chest feel full with the heavy
air. A Misty rain began to fall, and he chastised himself again for not bringing a waterproof jacket. At least his boots would keep his feet dry.
He slung the rifle over his shoulder and began making his way up the hill beyond the camp trailer. He was told by Danny that once you climbed the
hill, there was miles of bush just full of wildlife. Nobody else lived around here,and the animals thrived on the seclusion. It was a steep climb, and
the terrain was rocky in most places,extremely slippery in others. More than once he was grateful for an available branch to grab and maintain his
He heard the sound of rushing water,and pushing his way through a stand of dense, half dead spruce, he came to a very fast running creek. It was at
least ten feet wide where he stood and varied to more or less as he gazed up and down the bank. Worse than that, it ran deep, easily over his boots.
With no way he could see over it, he decided to follow the bank along it, upwards, hoping it would lead to the source,(likely a small lake),and
perhaps his prey.
It became obvious to Tom that truly it had been some time since anyone had been up here. The branches were thick and long, and some hung directly over
his path, forcing him almost into the water...twice. " Good deer country" he said under his breath, trying to be positive.
An alder branch snapped back at him as his foot slipped on a wet rock. "Damn it!" he cursed.
The rain continued and he was feeling the damp cold more than the caffeine jolt, and infinitely more than the adrenaline of the hunt. He realized with
all the noise he must be making moving branches out of his way, he might as well be a bull in a china shop,likely scaring away everything anywhere
near him. With just a few more steps up the slipperiest slope he had encountered yet, he had arrived.
The creek had indeed led to a small lake,which would have been quite picturesque , were it not for the devastation surrounding it. As far as the eye
could see was clear cut. Rotted old stumps surrounded by decades old limbs. Some of the branches were still clinging together in huge piles of
twisted, gnarled fingers....locked embracing each other in their violent and sudden demise.
There was very little new growth anywhere,even after all this time. The carnage left littering the forest floor had blocked out all life for that
generation and beyond. Tom felt a pang of resentment. For his species to thrive, it had to destroy others. He began to wonder if he had wasted a trip,
and money. Surely nothing much was living here. It would be a farther hunt than he anticipated to go through it. He surveyed his position,and weighed
his options. The thought of going home empty handed propelled him forward,and he made his way as quietly as possible through the previous forest
giants that now turned to sawdust under his feet.
An hour of walking had past and the only wildlife he had seen was a partridge he managed to flush out,and a flock of geese flying south. He sat on a
large old log,praying it wasn't full of ants as he ate two large sandwiches he had brought stuffed into his pockets. The sun had all but vanished
behind the dark grey clouds. The rain lingered in fits and starts,and the wind had picked up from the north bringing what felt like frigid arctic air
Swallowing the last bite, Tom's ears perked up at the sound of the snap of a twig. He froze, unsure of which direction it came from. He had walked the
clear cut, and was not far from the tree line at the other side. He slowly rose to his feet and narrowed his vision towards the forest beyond.
He heard it! He saw the branches sway in the distance. Nothing more. He picked up his rifle. Which way was the wind blowing? Was he upwind, or
downwind? A sudden gust quickly confirmed he was upwind,and whatever it was couldn't smell him. But he was still sitting out in the open, and could be
SNAP! SNAP! WHOOSH!
There! He saw it! The flick of a white tail amongst the browns , reds, and green foliage. And it was moving...fast...
He sprung towards it,running full tilt, then stopping to listen, then running, then stopping again. He made it to the last place he had seen it. A
squirrel chattered loudly from the tree above, quickly giving fair warning to all of the danger of his presence. He scanned the ground for tracks. In
this weather, there should be something. And there they were...Hoofprints. BIG hoofprints. His BUCK! He could only hope...
Tom followed those tracks left behind in the soft earth, slowly, carefully, always looking from the ground on up,should the deer be right there. The
tree line to the clear cut long since disappeared behind him, and the rain turned to snowflakes. Small at first, then huge white puffy crystals
blanketing the ground and covering his followed path. The weather had always changed suddenly this time of year, he knew...but the timing was awful.
The wind blew a thick white curtain in front of him,and he stopped.
He stood there stationary,silently. He was right on the bucks tail, he knew. WHOOSH! SNAP! SNAP! To his left...
Tom pivoted his upper body,careful not to move his feet, lest he make a sound. He raised his gun,and took a deep breath. From behind the trunk of what
had to be over a two hundred year old sugar maple,walked his dream. His rack of antlers lightly coated in new fallen flakes,and his back a white
blanket covering the light brown coat. He stood as majestic as the king of the forest should. He snorted, loudly,and pawed at the ground with his
Tom felt the adrenaline rise in his body,and he fought to hold his breath as he readied his finger on the trigger. At the same time he exhaled, he
pulled, it fired...and the buck bolted. He'd hit it, but not a kill shot.The bullet struck the hindquarters as it leapt away. And now the chase was
No need to be quiet now as he barreled through the bush. He could hear it in front of him thrashing through the limbs,and he knew the shot was bad
enough that it wouldn't get far. He felt bad that his aim had been so off as to cause the animal to suffer. He knew it happens,but it was not an
efficient way to hunt and there was no thrill in it for him. Not to mention, he was getting very tired,and the sun was hanging low in the sky.
Somewhere he had lost track of time.
There were hoof prints in the snow that had now settled on the ground, and blood. Lots of blood. He followed them to a grove of large oak trees, that
circled a small clearing. As he got closer he saw them. White crosses. Three rows of five each, forming a circle around the clearing. Fifteen dead
loggers lay before him...and one eight point buck. He had spent the better part of the day on this hunt, and now faced the reality that it was getting
too dark to make it back to camp. "Foolish pride." He muttered. He was not prepared to spend a night in the bush. Not prepared at all.
(Continued next post)