November Morning

September 4, 2009
By
More by this author
When it's 4:30 on a November morning most people are asleep in a warm, comfortable bed. Not me, I'm awake and dressed in camouflage ready to go deer hunting. It's a tough decision trying to figure out the right number of layers to keep warm vs. the least number of layers to stay flexible enough to pull the rifle to my shoulder. In the end I normally sacrifice warmth. Being cold is tolerable and the winter hunting clothes wont let me reach freezing point. Deer hunting is my favorite thing to do in the winter months.

Once fully awake and decided on which spot I'll hunt, I grab my favorite rifle, the 30-30. Stepping out into the frigid morning air is sort of a bitter sweet moment. Bitter because my body completely rejects the freezing weather, but sweet because the thrill of the hunt hits me. My senses feel opened, alert. Maybe it's the cold and maybe it's adrenaline coursing through my veins. What ever the reason it's exhilarating.

Trying to walk silently through the woods while juggling a rifle with no light to see, is a learned skill. Luckily I've mastered it through years of hunting. Once I reach my hunting spot I have to clear the dead leaves and twigs which is not the quietest thing to do. I sit on the frozen ground waiting for day light. Surrounded by the early morning slumber of nature is peaceful. In the dark, when my eyes prove useless, my hearing goes into double time. I hear everything from leaves falling to squirrels waking up, but I always stay aware for one sound. Twigs snapping and leaves crunching. Not often does that sound come quickly, or even come at all. The only thing I have to do is listen, and wait. Waiting is another learned skill. Without it, and I wont get a deer.

When the sun comes up and it's light enough to see, I start scanning the hillsides for movement. I'll see a lot of it. Squirrels chasing each other up and down trees. Turkeys flying from their roosts. Chipmunks coming out of fallen trees to search for breakfast. I'll see it all, all but the one thing I'm looking for. The gray-brown pelt, and the white flagged tail. The animal that's always alert,aware. Deer are looking out for me just as much as I'm looking for them.

I always catch the movement when I'm not looking for it. The moment I realize it's not a squirrel or a turkey or a chipmunk, my heart races, my muscles tense. The fresh adrenaline racing through my veins warms my frozen fingers and toes. I watch the large doe make her way down the hillside. Already predicting her path, I know she will come across the plateau in front of me. I ready myself, watching her come closer, and closer. When she steps into the open my heart feels like it's going to beat out of my chest. I move my rifle slowly into place. Carefully, I slide the safety off, but the click it makes might as well have been fireworks going off.

She freezes. I freeze. Only one muscle in my body moves and it sounds like tribal drums in my ears. My vision zeros in on the sweet spot behind her shoulder line half way down her side, the perfect broadside shot is open to me. Taking advantage of her frozen state I take aim, I control my breathing, holding it steady. I squeeze the trigger and watch. I watching for several things at once. For the doe to buckle inward, knowing I hit her. I watch for the falter in her step. The staggered run, and then see her fall. It seems like a lot to watch for but in the moment everything is slow motion. Listening to the leaves rustling by the last life leaving my kill, I catch myself smiling. Such an exhilarating feeling the hunt brings. Not always do I see a deer. Not every time do I get to shoot, and not every hunt will I bring home a deer.





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

MinuteDee,12 said...
Sept. 23, 2009 at 9:43 am
Oh My Golly Gosh, this is amazing! You are so talented!! C:
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback