I truly enjoy the stolen moments in life, the moments where a person can break free from how turbulent life can be, and remind themselves of who and what they truly are. I grew up in a family of outdoorsmen. Hunting, fishing, trapping and tending the garden were way beyond leisure activities enjoyed on days off from work, they were a passion and in some cases the only way to put food on the table. The hunters in my family have this tradition, we keep a Field Journal. This precious family tradition has become a great tool for me. I feel that a person can learn a great many things about themselves if they take the time to look back and pay attention to past victories and defeats. In doing this we learn and grow. I was lucky enough to inherit my grandfathers field journals, and in the evenings leading up to the fall and winter festivities ( White Tail and Small Game season) I like to sit on my porch smoking my briar reading the hunting and fishing stories of days gone by. Earlier this evening I picked up the newest of my personal tomes, last years note book containing all my treks into the river and wood. About halfway through a bowl I found this comedy of errors, I feel this is truly a gem. I would like to think that this particular entry proves the point of " If you can't laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at?" That being said, I must let you know that this Field Journal entry is quickly becoming one of my all time favorite personal hunting stories, and every time I reread it I find myself in a tear fit of laughter. I hope that anyone who reads this gets a good chuckle from it, I definitely do.
OCT 4th 2011
Being as busy as I have been with work and my life as of late, I don't always get as many opportunities to get out and hunt as I would like. I do however make time to shoot my bow as often as I can, this stolen hour or two a couple times a week helps me to ground myself, helps me to process all the experiences I have encountered since that last time I was able to shoot, and helps to hone the edge that all who call themselves hunters have to a razors edge.
Keeping the paragraph above in prospective please enjoy the retelling of today's evening hunt and know that as I am typing this out, I am laughing at myself while shaking my head and weeping a lil on the inside all at the same time.
My hunt today was extremely bitter sweet, this being the first opportunity I have had to get out into the wood and into my tree-stand this bow season, even though I have been shooting a few times each week this summer and grouping arrows tight enough to make the Nuge proud on a regular basis, I feel a missed a couple potential shots with the fact it was my first time out this year and my woodland edict was a tad rusty. At around 6:03pm I had three does come up the trail by my stand from behind me, they were heading in to the wind and got the drop on me before I even had a chance to consider a shot. This wasn't totally my fault, my tree-stand faces to the west and I have no more control over the wind than anyone else, but still I feel I should have given the wind factor more thought as I was climbing up the tree.
I kinda chuckled and shrugged this unfortunate event off, while saying to myself "Give it time..... It's still early..... the hunt aint over yet!"
About fifteen minutes later I heard that tell tale rustling coming from in front of me off to my left, the kind of rustling that says" Hey get your game face on bub!" Right before I had heard the rustling I was thinking to myself " I have 6 different tree-stands and I pick the once facing the west for an afternoon hunt...... GOD I'M A KNUCKLEHEAD!". So looking forward into a beautiful slowly sinking afternoon sun I saw him, this feller was either a very nice sized 6pt or a medium 8pt. Squinting into the sun and searching for a clean flight path, I determined that he was only 27 or 28 yards out and that after I had him dressed out I was going to write my congressman about passing a law that the sun had to set in the north or south when I wanted to hunt this particular stand in the afternoon, and dammit as an American citizen I feel I have the right to have more control over the wind. The wind was in my favor this time...... unfortunately the setting sun was not, while lining up my shot and squinting out the sun I failed to notice a small scrub Hickory tree, that is until I heard a sickening "Phwack" as my arrow sunk into its about 1'3/4" diameter trunk at "vitals" level. I swore under my breath as I watched my quarry bound down the deer trail with his flag down prolly laughing at me. Before every shot I take I say these words "Lord Please bless me with a great kill shot, or at least grant me a clean miss."... Be careful what you ask for..... cause sometimes it can be a fickle b**ch.....
Even with the fact that certain aspects of this hunt could have gone better, I still feel blessed to be able to have experience it first hand, to take in the sweet smell of the Autumn air, to be at one with the earth mother if only for a few hours at a time, like my fore brethren did when the land was still youthful and more wild. To be able to achieve an unwavering serenity in a world as fast changing and chaotic as we live in, if only in short doses.
I didn't bring my A-Game today and you got lucky, but my brother consider the rust knocked loose.... I look forward to our next meeting.