Friday, November 07, 2008

'Tis the Season When a Young Man’s Fancy Turns to…Deer Hunting

Perched on a comfy log with a long lethal piece of wood and steel cradled in my lap I settle in to allow the noise of my entry to settle. The woods are never truly quiet. Manmade sounds, the drumming of an old John Deere tractor starting up is replaced by the drumming of the male Hungarian Partridge, the staccato rhythm of a woodpecker searching for breakfast in the bark of a dead tree. Only faint echoes farm dogs barking or shots from some hunter off to an early start resound through the forest. Those are temporary distractions and soon the voice of the trees takes over. Creaking and groaning like a group of old men, the rustling of the few leaves still clinging to the trees, save the Oak which always holds on to them to the very last. What the trees are talking about is lost on me for I do not speak their tongue.

Catching the sound of approaching prey will be difficult as there is a blanket of fresh snow on the ground, masking the faint noise of their passing. A Jay in a nearby tree Squawks it’s warning that an intruder has entered it’s domain, small red squirrels come down to the ends of slim branches to scold me for intruding on their hunt for food, though it is not them I am after this time.

Time is not relevant to the trees; they mark it by passing seasons vice passing hours. The spirits of the forest ghost through the trees beneath the ridge upon which I sit, two does, safe as my permit is buck only, but there is the anticipation a buck will follow. Not so this time. Only the occasional caw of a far off crow breaks into the forest calm. I pull out a bar of chocolate and almonds, which has frozen while in my pocket – it is impossible to describe in words the glorious taste of the chocolate, it remains the only proper way to eat one.

The cold slowly works its way through my coat, but better the cold than the warm rains of last year. The black powder in my gun is as sensitive to moisture as a lady’s fresh coif. The hammer is on half-cock, the ball seated firmly on a bed of powder, the cap tight on the nipple, ready for service, but the call never comes.

No more deer to be seen, no venison for the stew this year unless my brother or father get lucky. I pause to wipe my moustache only to find it coated with ice from my breath. Too cold for even the deer to be stirring, they are undoubtedly still curled up in the comfort of the tall grasses, having had their fill of the neighboring farmer’s corn.

All too soon the hunt is at an end, my brothers comes up the path, also giving in to the cold, and we’re off to find dad and seek the comfort of a warm trailer.

It saddens me that much of today’s youth who become nervous when their cell phone loses its signal won’t experience the forest or have the chance to gaze into the sky and really see the stars, undimmed by city lights. Though dad is gone and my brother and hunting spot far away, my thoughts always turn to the times we spent together on these expeditions, deer or no deer they were a success in their own right.


At 6:19 PM, Blogger Little Lamb said...

Better deer hunting than lamb hunting.

At 8:50 PM, Blogger K9 said...

mayden (of voyage fame) came to stay with me out at the cabin. i walked her out to the field at night. the half moon was so bright it stung our eyes and jupiter and venus were in full view as well. i told her to keep looking at the sky -behind the stars are more stars - soon the eyes will adjust and you will see the band of the milky way. it was great! next night we had a fire and stayed out. so beautiful.

huntin', like fishin', are sports that are about tuning in to the living world. ironic in that the goal is to kill. however, here, it is critical to take some deer so the forest has enough food and room for the survivors.

my best advice is not to build a stand in a cactus. grrherhahahaha

liked your post on quiet revolution.

At 5:01 AM, Blogger foam said...

ah, and the nice thing is that you don't even have to hunt to experience that kind of solitude and quiet.

all you have to do is get yourself out there ...
and listen .. and look ..

At 7:55 AM, Blogger dianne said...

Many times I have sat by a camp fire on a cold autumn or winters evening, feeling and smelling that lovely chill in the air. Looked at the beauty of the deep blue sky, a bright moon, the sparkling stars and just listened to the sounds of nature...

At 11:36 AM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

My brother described our hunts as a pleasant walk through the woods with guns. Rarely were deer harmed in the making of the hunt. On the downside I really enjoy venison. In Germany it was possible to buy it at the market, here in the US you have to be more involved in the process.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Jack K. said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Sometimes the joy comes from being there and attending to your surroundings. Hopefully you will get a buck the next time.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger /t. said...

you could try
hunting at your whitehouse

i heard, 'the buck stops here'

( tip: just dress as elvis and tell 'em jimmy hoffa sent you )

good hunting!


At 12:34 PM, Blogger Indigo said...

Indigo Incarnates

Is there any way to make tofu taste like deer? Hee hee. There are days when I miss being a carnivore!

At 7:45 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

/t.: Or Oprah...

indigo: Best you can do is take your firm tofu, put it in a large bowl , place a plate of the tofu and something heavy on top to press the moisture out of the tofu. Put it in the fridge over night. Empty the fluid for the bowl place the Tofu in a plastic bag with a mixture of soy sauce and oyster sauce and let it marinate for a day. Now you will have tofu that tastes like something besides tofu, a definite improvement.

At 11:41 PM, Blogger dianne said...

Indigo, the firm tofu is lovely sliced, marinated in garlic, soy sauce,sweet mild chili sauce and lime juice. Great in a stir fry with vegetables.
Sorry Phos, my dear,just passing on a recipe.:)

At 3:14 AM, Blogger How do we know said...

:-) you said i might like to give this post a miss.. not for anything in the world!


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