Monday, March 31, 2008


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


Willard said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog.

I t was an avid hunter, until 1997-98 along with being a photographer since 1974.

In that time frame, I laid down the rifle for the camera, but I still respect someone who hunts ethically and with restraint. I guess we just ran into too many of those that had neither ethics or restraint and it ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth. "Salty" still hunts some, but he is doing a lot more photography than hunting in the last few years.

If you visit my blog over a period of time, you will find that I am critical of our elk hunt in Pennsylvania.

This is mostly because that we have a small herd that is a major tourist attraction. A great deal of the hunting pressure is focused on elk that are acclimated to humans and in an area that is near the major tourist spots.

It bothers me that hunting the animals in this area is portrayed as challenging, when in fact it usually is not. This type of hunting and unethical hunting is what I am opposed to. If they must have a hunt it should be in the wilderness areas, or other areas well away from the public viewing areas.

I welcome your comments and commend both you and Stacey on your excellent blogs and your respect for wildlife.

adam said...

I like your blog. Very nice!Thanks for the nice comment on mine today.

Editor said...

thanks for stopping by, will be back to check on you.

sky said...

WOW...that first photo is mag material if I ever saw one!!!!

Gee. Stacey girl, dang your good with that camera I would so be a good student of yours were I closer hahaha. Mike your a VERY talented gifted writer and artist, it is true artists always find each other.

gorgeous couple you make.