Sunday, November 8, 2009

Part Two In The Saga, Which Also Happens To Be The Finale.

So there I was. sitting patiently in my deer stand, intently scanning the various fields and tree lines within range of the .25-06 rifle resting beside me. I was tired. apparently getting up at five o'clock in the morning three days in a row will do that to you. go figure.

Anyways. it was about four o'clock in the afternoon. the weather had started off nice enough. a little breezy, but warm (for northern Minnesota), around 40 degrees. but then, not long after I sat down, it started to drizzle, then flat out rain. I'm no deer antics expert, but if I was a deer and it was raining, I would stay in the woods, where I might potentially find some shelter. I definitely wouldn't go out for a stroll on the soggy field. then again, I'm not a deer. what do I know.

So I'd been sitting like a statue for close to two hours and I was more than ready for some action. all around me I could hear the rifle shots of various hunters, some lucky ("BOOM-THUD") others, not so lucky ("BOOM..."). whether or not they were hitting their hairy targets, I was feelin left out.

After what felt like a very long time, I started seeing deer coming out of the woodwork (ha! get it? woodwork?), but none that I especially wanted. come to think of it, since they were all does and fawns I wasn't really legally permitted to shoot them, either, because my tag is bucks only. and really, that's a blessing and a curse, because when hunting season rolls around, I'm tempted to take a pot-shot at anything that moves. practically. my parents always taught me that shooting people was wrong, even if they are game wardens.

At about five o'clock, it's starting to get dark, and my main motivation is just that I really really don't want to get up at five o'clock tomorrow morning. then a little buck meanders out of the woods to my left, only about 100-150 yards away. I pull up my gun and scope him, ho-humming about whether or not I want him. he's not big. heck, he's a spike, maybe a fork at best. and there's something weird about his antlers, but since it was getting close to the end of legal shooting time, added to the rain, I couldn't tell what it was.

I debated a little more, and he continued to meander through the field, on his way to who-knows-where. aw, well, what the heck. I raised the scope to my eye again, and lined up the crosshairs to my satisfaction. back when I first started hunting, when I was thirteen, I would always shut my eyes a split second before I pulled the trigger. now, though, I think it's fun to watch the bright orange flame erupt from the end of the barrel (it's a rush, what can I say). then, after I shot, and the deer went down, I felt the familiar blood pounding in my head and the aftermath of an adrenaline rush I can never feel until after I squeeze the trigger.

As always, I spent a minute to calm myself down, slow my breathing, and will my trembling hands to still. (Note: I'm not a basketcase with a gun, I swear. I'm always nice and calm before I shoot. for some reason, though, after I shoot...pent-up adrenaline? I don't know).

After that, I took out the empty shell casing, and chambered another round, just in case. they've got an overabundance of Timberwolves around here, and there's no way I'm gonna let them tear into the deer I just shot, dang it. so I kept a steady watch over my kill, ready to shoot wolves, should I see any, no matter how supposedly "endangered" they are. (But I never saw any, or shot any, so you can't turn me in to the wardens. haha.)

Anyway. we eventually got it down to the river and gutted, skinned, and finally, hanging peacefully in the shed. turns out, his second antler was pointed sideways, making it non-typical, which is cool, even if the buck itself is small. it also turns out that I blew up both of his lungs with that one shot. that was cool, too. and so now, for the duration of my vacation, the pressure's off and I can relax and SLEEP and hang out on the farm.

*Deep, contented sigh*

Well, that's it for the Saga of Jo's hunting Extravaganza. hope it wasn't too boring or lame. See all you blokes in four days. Peace out.


Friday, November 6, 2009

The Calm Before The Storm

At this moment in time, all is right with the world. I'm leaning back in the recliner at my grandparents' house, enjoying the familiar view of the Bigfork River weaving through the backyard on its lazy journey to the Canadian border, about five miles away. past the river, there's the woods. actually, in pretty much every direction, as far as the eye can see, there's woods. that's what I like about this place. everything is so simple. in every direction, there's woods, above you, there are stars, and below you there's grass. and that's the way I like it.

Inside the house is familiar, too. a fire crackles and pops in the large stone fireplace, dear heads with impressive racks tastefully adorn the various walls, good smells are coming from the kitchen, and from somewhere far away I can hear four-wheelers as my dad and grandpa are making last-minute deer stand inspections.

We arrived last night, my dad, my brother and I. This trip up to Minnesota was far less eventful than my last one had been, when my big brother and I had gotten the bright idea to drive through the night. no big deal. it would be a snap. we'd seen our parents do it countless times over the years. by about two in the morning, we were both cursing our stupidity. finally, at around five in the morning, eyes bloodshot and virtually dead to the world, we rolled to a stop in front of the small farmhouse near the Canadian border and stumbled out of the car, solemnly swearing to never do that again, ever.

So not much is happening today. hunting season doesn't start until tomorrow, so today is really just devoted to planning which tree stand to sit in and caressing our guns. today is a day to relax before the hubbub begins. although, I've got to say, I like the hubbub, the chaos, the adrenaline, the intensity that is hunting season.

For now, though, relaxing here, basking in the familiar sights and smells and memories...this is okay, too.