Saturday, March 29, 2008

Decisions

Out of the west, a cold wind bites at my exposed skin. The wind is in my face carrying my scent away from the deer bedded ten yards from me. For the last three hours I have been stealthily creeping through the tall saw grass and willows along this river bottom. Six does are bedded under a stand of cedar and juniper at the edge of the riverbank; their seemingly impenetrable senses and constant alert behavior have made this stalk challenging to say the least. Twelve eyes, six noses and a dozen ears, scent, scan and listen for any sign of predators. Through patience, years of practice and more than a little luck I have closed the distance on my intended prey. I slowly rise from the tall grasses and draw my bow on the closest deer; I pick a spot behind her shoulder and feel my fingers beginning to relax against the string in anticipation of the shot.A smaller set of ears suddenly appears among the grasses at her side; I lower my bow and return the arrow to the quiver. The yearling fawn at her side has changed the outcome of this hunt. I as an ethical hunter try not to harvest does with the young of the year at their side, in the hopes that my actions will ensure a healthy herd for the future. The act of stalking a herd of deer has enough challenges, sneaking away from the herd undetected is even harder. As I sit on the ridge across from the still bedded deer, I count this days hunting as a success. A wonderful stalk, an ethical decision and a beautiful sunset mark my passing through this place, as the deer rise from their beds and begin feeding along the bottoms among the salt cedar and Russian olive trees. The mother and fawn touch noses for an instant, unaware of the predator watching them or the split second decision that nearly altered their lives forever. I rise from the ground and begin the walk back to my truck and the return to my own family, as the Wyoming sunsets on the western horizon, confident that I made the right decision at the right time, while looking forward to the next hunt, and the adventures that it may bring. Hawk a/ho

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just love the way you write, I can almost see the deer bedded in the grasses. Your site is great. Please keep the stories coming!

Anonymous said...

Mike I enjoy your stories, you have a magic way with words, it lets me feel as if I am there also, in a intense or relaxing moment. And the photos just add to your thoughts.. Thanks