Heart of the Beast

May 1, 2008
By James Howes, French Creek, WV

I awake from the constant annoyance of my alarm clock; which was set at five-thirty a.m.; I stretch and make my way to the shower. After washing up and dressing myself, I make my way up to the kitchen and prepare eggs and sausage. Once I finish devouring the delicious breakfast it is time to hoist my hunting equipment and pursue the intriguing whitetail deer.

Stepping outside, the air is crisp and brisk it sends a chill down my spine. With bow in hand I stroll cautiously into the dark woods in hope to make it to my tree stand before day break. My steps are slow my moves are subtle as I creep through the dark woods. Upon making it to my destination I fasten the bow sternly to the stand so as when I make my climb the bow is in no danger. Acting as an inch worm I inch slowly up the fern white oak. Clinching the stand securely into the tree and strapping on the safety harness I finally take my position sitting about twenty feet above the ground. Patiently I wait, the darkness begins to rise and the sun sneaks over the hill top.

Off into the distance the sound of leaves crunching and limbs snapping begins to draw near. It is light enough to see now, and the noise of crunching leaves directs me to my left where two doe whitetails are feeding around the knoll in my direction. Cautiously I watch my every move because the slightest turn could draw a wary eye. The grazing deer make their way closer and closer. I set anxiously waiting and hoping the big buck I have been waiting for will come galloping around the hill. Time seems to be set in concrete as I watch the deer. Some squirrels seem to have decided to scavenge around for food. This gives me something else to look at and calm down while my prey approaches.

The squirrels trample around in the dry leaves drowning out the noise of the deer; which is a good thing. Up and down trees they go, I have counted four, playing and chasing each other. A sense of humor comes over me from watching these critters play without a care. Distracted, I now have lost sight of the deer making their way toward me. So now my focus has to become more on my prey and less on the flamboyant squirrels.

The crisp crunching the leaves has drawn my eyes back into the direction of the deer. One thing has changed there is not just two now another has joined with its head submitted to the ground sniffing. This puts a new spin on things because on that sniffing deer massive antlers tower from the top of his head. I realize this is the one I have been waiting for; I remove the grunt call from my pack and begin to entice the bruiser. He feels challenged and starts galloping towards me. I gather my bow and clip my release to the string. The buck grows closer I make my pull. He stops and I place my glowing yellow pin behind his front shoulder. With a tug of my finger the bow flings the triple bladed arrow into the heart of the beast.

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