I had been on the mountain for several days scouting for a buck, a five point would be good. It didn't matter whether it was white tail or a mule deer. I knew it was rutting season. I knew if I could find a doe then there would be several bucks around vying for her attentions. I had walked miles and miles. My hands were frozen and my feet felt like they were being stuck by a thousand needles. I hadn’t seen any signs of deer. There had not been any rain or snow in awhile which made it more difficult to track my prey. Luckily during the late night and early morning the skies turned a soft white and began its light dusting of snow. The temperatures dropped and the snowed stopped opening the dawn up to a bright day.
I broke camp and bundled up my belongings feeling that today would be the day I would bring down a buck big enough to last through the rest of the winter. With no horse I knew that if I killed too big a deer I would never be able to pack the meat out and I would be forced to leave too much to the buzzards and coyotes. My only hope is that I will find a suitable animal and then be able to get it dressed out before a mountain lion or pack of wolves smell the blood and come to investigate.
I never dreamed when I left the city that I would be forced into foraging and hunting. I never dreamed that I would be in the woods all alone following tracks and fending off wild animals and praying to God to steady my hand and sharpen my eye. I had been fighting that panic of quiet loneliness even though I had the grandeur of nature all around me. It was difficult coming from the crowded loud city to the peaceful quiet of this country. I had begun to see why people first settled here and why they still come by the wagon full. I also could see from just the short time I had spent in the freezing woods why they left. This is not a country for the infirm or weak. It takes a strong determined soul to survive.
I walked on hoping upon hope to find some sign of life. Then just as I descended a low slope I saw them. There in the white powder was a split hoof track of a small doe or perhaps a spike. I walked on seeing the distinct track of an injured animal dragging its front hoof. This would be the one I would track this is the one I would bring down. Wait there was a bonus track one of a mallard or perhaps a mud hen. I did not realized I had come this close to the lake area. I would go down the hill and lie in wait next to the shore for my doe to make her appearance. It would be just a matter of time.
I found a low spot to shield me from both the wind and the doe. I stayed down wind in order for her not to pick up my scent. I waited watching for any sign of doe or duck. Sitting in the snow covered rocks and grass breathing the cold clean air gave me moment for pause. It made me appreciate each breath I drew and each exhalation of steam. I looked at the beauty and pureness of the day.
Then I realized that it was really cold out and it was time for Oprah and I had left the kettle on the stove. I shook myself out of my daydream and trudged back up the hill to the condo. I warmed my hands by the fireplace and drank my earl grey tea while enjoying the beauty of the lake.
I know, I know! I have too much time on my hands. I have too much imagination, but I had you going there for a few minutes didn’t I?
1 week ago