The beauty of a morning deer hunt

Chris Pulchny

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  • Category Deer Hunting
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The early morning seems to always be the same. The human mind seems to be trained to remain as silent as possible. Noise seems amplified. The sound of a running faucet has the audio of a torrent river, cascading through the rocks.

The hinges of a door seem to whine as is being woken too early. All of the subtle noises are as grand as they will ever be, as I try to prepare myself for a morning hunt. I have surly awoken the others in the house. As the door hinge silences, the cold fall wind pierces my face like thousands of needles flung horizontally in my direction. The frost covered grass beneath my feet crunches just as it did the morning before. Looking towards the heavens, the sky is dark; my eyes seem to throb as they focus on the stars. These distant pinpoints of light litter the sky filling the vast void. I stop for a moment to admire the wonder, the crunching grass silences. As I stare, I am thoughtless. How could this be? There is so much to ponder yet my mind is dormant - I continue walking. As I come to the gate I must cross to enter the property, I take great care to cross it silently. The wrot Iron Gate is pitted with rust, to the touch it is bone chilling. As I reach the apex of the crossing, the chain that binds the entrance shifts. A mournful clank echoes through the country side. I mentally curse myself and sigh as my feet reach the ground on the other side.

Once across the gate I stare into the darkness of an old corral. A lone steer stands behind an ancient cedar fence. The boards are rotted and weathered with age. The north side of one board is covered in moss. The moss seems to have found the perfect place to grow and spread. I slowly wipe my hand down the edge of the board knocking the moss from its surface.

Dawn is approaching, the sky is no longer that deep type of blue the night sky harnesses, but now a tri-fecta of color, from that dark deep blue to a lighter blue and finally an orange lining at the horizon. I hasten my pace fearing I will be late to my destination. I trod across one more pasture with the same crunching of the frosted vegetation announcing my presence. As I near the timbers edge I approach a massive Oak that was surly once a lone sapling in a sparse landscape. Its girth is nearly twenty times any tree around it; I pause for a moment to stare into its canopy.

My final destination is some twenty-five feet above the ground in this tree. As I climb the limbs the bark dislodges from its location and showers to the ground. The frost covered branches are slick and require concentration while climbing. My breathing becomes labored as I ascend the tree. The moisture from my breath collects in the air as a light fog that wisps away with the wind. I finally come to rest on a cold aluminum platform. The light of the sky has begun to allow one to see; once again my eyes throb as they struggle to focus on the landscape before them.
Soon after daybreak the life of the woods begins to stir. First the birds awaken with morning songs. Their Chirps and whistles have a beautifully annoying quality. The lone steer from the corral saunters by. I can now tell that he is red in color, but not the same red as you find in a crayon box, but the red you can only use to describe the color of an animal's hair. He stops and stares into the tree as if he watched me the whole time. Finally he moves along on his way to find the herd.

I sit a bit anxious wondering if the day will be productive. I hear the crunch of the frozen grass, similar to the way it sounded as when I had crossed the area. I slowly try to locate its source. My ears seem to guide my eyes in a futile attempt to find the location. Suddenly my eyes lock onto motion. The motion had been the flicker of an ear. The animal almost completely blended into its environment, gave away its location with less than a second of motion. The crunching continued as my quarry drew near. Within seconds the animal would cross an imagined border that marks my maximum range.

I slowly apply tension to the string of my bow. The cold muscles in my back and arms begin to twist and contract as the string comes to full draw. The tension of the string seems to hum with vibration for a brief second. With the exhale of my last shallow breath, the peaceful morning silence is over. The arrow in flight slices through the cold morning air without hesitation. Soon the arrow embeds in the ground and the target bounds away. But the escape of the sound the animal had heard is short lived. The arrow is no longer a cold inanimate object. It is now warm and stained. As I retrieve the arrow I note its color. It is a bright red, the kind of red you would expect to find in a crayon box.

I slowly follow drops of blood that mark the path that the animal had taken. The trail is easy to follow; the blood stands out in the icy frost covered grass. The trail is short, barley making it out of sight of the crown of the huge oak which I had sat. The lifeless body slides over the frozen ground easier than one would expect. Once to the huge front gate- I took no care to cross it silently, it no longer mattered.

Once to the house I position my harvest so that the family could come out and admire my bounty. I open the front door expecting the smells of breakfast and the sounds of morning news coming from the television. However, none of these sensations are present. Everyone is still wrapped up in their warm beds, asleep. How had they slept through my loud noises I had echoed through the house in the predawn? I walk into the kitchen and start a pot of coffee. The aroma of the crushed beans cooking warmed my nose and widened my eyes. The smell must have been leaking throughout the house and into the bed rooms. Soon doors begin to open and the sounds of sinks and toothbrushes are audible. It seems that on this day my morning was different than others. It's just too bad they all can't be the same.

Posted by Chris Pulchny under Deer Hunting on March 5, 10 07:09 AM | Permalink

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