An owl glides from the forest canopy on silent wings, daybreak is a half hour away and the morning chill somehow finds it's way through my elk hide shirt. I shiver from the cold, but remain otherwise still in my vigilant wait. The owl has made a kill and I hear the squeak of some small rodent, then absolute silence from the doomed creature.
Morning sounds reach my ears, the call of geese along the rivers edge as they wake to the new day, the whistle of a group of cinnamon teals wings slicing through the morning air overhead. As the darkness gives way to dawn I see a group of mule deer feeding along the treeline to the north. Seven does and a small buck making their way to bedding areas deep in the forest along this stretch of river.
For hours I wait, crouched just inside this wild rose thicket. Nature has put on quite a show for me throughout the morning. A fat raccoon nearly climbed up my leg while searching among the forest debris for grubs and insects, a weasel stood three feet away and inspected me, I think the little predator would have considered me as potential prey if I would have moved. Throughout the day I suffered the cold , numb fingers and toes, cramping muscles, thirst and hunger, but never once did I consider leaving my location. This is not my first day sitting in this thicket, for the last three days I have been arriving before light and leaving as darkness once again settles upon the land.
Twenty minutes ago the sun set, waterfowl are returning to the river directly behind me with great racket and rustling wings. The mule deer from this morning are returning to the fields to feed for the night. Although I notice all of these things around me my attention is drawn to a slight rustling of brush twenty feet away. A heavy antlered whitetail buck emerges from the thick tangle of willows and scans his surroundings for danger, he tests the wind periodically for any scent of predators. But I have done my homework, through scouting and careful observation I have learned some of this bucks habits. I have seen him on several occasions, but to my knowledge he has yet to see me. As he crosses fifteen feet to my left, I feel the string slip from my fingers, the arrow slices air and enters the buck directly behind the shoulder. I see him go down forty yards away and know he has left this world. As I say my prayers to The Creator for the gift of this meat and thank the deer for it's sacrifice, I hear the sounds of life along this river bottom, and wonder if somewhere out there is another deer watching all of this unfold, and thinking to himself, I am glad I had the patience to wait it out until darkness falls. Hawk a/ho