Entry Twenty-three: Sitting in the Stand

[A story in many parts: Part Eight]

When we got back to the lodge, we cleaned up and everyone headed into "town" to eat at a restaurant called Rachael's. "Town" was a six building stretch of farm road about ten minutes from the lodge. Rachael's was a diner that occupied the first floor of an old house and it was known for its all-you-can-eat buffet of country-style food. Fried chicken was on the menu every day along with the usual suspects of greens, mashed potatoes, corn, beans, etc… A sign by the door informed us that on Thursday they added pork chops to the meat selections. Everyone ate their fill. I got a little concerned when we made a quick trip across the street to the supermarket and everyone bought some aspirin and antacids but that was before I realized Rachael’s was the only restaurant in town. Everyone else knew what was coming. Back at the lodge everyone fell asleep. Five a.m. wake-up call plus AYCE buffet equals nap. That particular brand of math was not rocket science. Amazingly, at three o'clock, everyone was awake and ready to hunt some more.

The late afternoon shift found me sitting in a stand on the edge of a plowed field. This particular stand was quite different from the one I had graced that morning because this one was really high in the air, almost like a tree house but without walls or a tree. In fact, I felt more like a sentry than a hunter. The stand was bigger which made it more comfortable. Remembering my cushion added to the comfort as well, plus the breeze had picked up which cooled things down somewhat. I assumed it was a breeze. As high as I was sitting I could have been experiencing a jet stream.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see a deer or not. If I saw one, I had to make a decision whether to shoot it or not. If I didn’t see one, the decision was made for me. I never had a burning desire to shoot a deer, yet I've never been opposed to it either. Does that make me an agnostic in the religion of hunting? At that time, only one person had even spotted a deer since we'd been there, so I decided to let it play out and deal with things as they came.

After an hour of solitude I noticed something out of the corner of my eye moving along the edge of the woods to my right. I slowly put down my book, set down my box of ginger snaps and reached for my gun. I looked through the scope and slowly scanned to where I thought I had seen the movement. As if materializing out of nowhere, a deer walked out of the woods into the open field. It took three or four steps and just stood there, broadside. Almost like it was on a kamikaze mission for quadrupeds. As I looked it over through the scope I figured out two things: it was a doe and it was really small. I stayed locked on to it through the site. All I had to do was squeeze the trigger and I honestly believe I would have downed it, but a lot of thoughts were careening through my mind. Did I want to shoot a deer that was the size of a Doberman and face those jokers back at the lodge? Should I be a little more selective and wait for something with horns? Or at least a valid I.D.? I felt like I was settling for a "last afternoon of the hunt/desperation deer" on the first day. So I let it go. Oddly enough, it stood there broadside for a long time, almost like it knew it wasn't worth shooting. There is nothing worse than a deer with low self-esteem. I've heard that low self-worth deer meat can tend to taste "gamey."

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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