Entry Fourteen: Sitting in the Stand

[A story in many parts: Part Five]

Amazingly, I came pretty close to the bulls eye with my first shot and, after four adjustments, it was determined that the sight was "good enough." Dad was up next and his gun sighted in perfectly. He “bulls eyed” his first shot and order was maintained in the universe. With everyone sighted-in and ready for the Big Day—which was always tomorrow—we convened inside and watched a Braves game on television while waiting for dinner. The food was prepared by a lady that was either the friend or wife or girlfriend of one of the fellows that runs the Plantation. As far as I could tell, she came in to cook and then she would leave. I didn't see her hanging around too much beyond mealtime.

After dinner was story time. Since most of dad’s crew were older gentlemen and all were long-time hunters, there were a lot of stories to be told. I thought about telling a few stories myself, but the subject inexplicably stayed on animals. Hunting for lost keys didn't quite have the drama of shooting a bear. I chose to keep quiet. You know, two ears and one mouth…

Reveille was at 5:00 am and everyone was up and ready to hunt fairly quickly. Something about the first morning provided fresh energy to all the participants. The camouflage being modeled in the room was overwhelming, but it served as the great equalizer. No matter what walk of life you arrived from, once the hunting uniform was on everyone was on the team and part of a unified force. We were hunters, even if all you were hunting for was some peace and quiet. Our promised continental breakfast consisted of coffee, soda, danish and Pop-Tarts. I believe it was Daryl, the senior member of our group, that asked what continent served Pop-Tarts, but I'm pretty sure it was a rhetorical question. And no one answered. We ate standing up and then loaded up in the three lodge vehicles at 5:30 am, heading to the woods.

The Seven Oaks Plantation owns several large tracts of land near the lodge and they have placed a number of deer stands throughout these properties. The routine was for all of the hunters to crawl into one of the three Suburban’s and then be driven to specific deer stands and dropped off one by one. When we pulled off of the main road and into the hunting property, the driver, a Plantation employee, turned the headlights out on the truck and, apparently, relied on his sense of smell to find the deer stands. I assumed there was concern that the lights on the Suburban would let the deer, who were sleeping soundly in the woods, know that we had arrived. For some reason the moaning of a V8 diesel engine at 0-dark-30 was not a concern. When the lights went out all talking ceased within the vehicle. The hunt had begun.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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