On Monday November 1, 2010 Darren Scholl and I took to Forbes' field for the first day of the Controlled Ontario Deer Hunt. It lasts for 1 week, Monday to Sunday, and hunters are able to harvest deer with a shotgun only, in our part of Ontario. The week is usually pretty manical with hunters supporting their blaze orange up and down and across all the concessions.
Darren and I set up late in the afternoon. We got out to the property and immediately saw a small flock of ducks in a pond that were black, but had white bellies. They were about the size of female mallards. We kept walking and saw and heard 2 really noisy Blue Jays. 5 minutes later we walked into a flock on 12 turkeys scratching in a combined corn field looking for an afternoon snack. All this in 10 minutes.
By 4:30 or so we had both settled into our waiting areas. Darren set up facing into a combined corn field (a different field from were the turkeys were snacking) and I set up in a bush with a mix of coniferous and decidous trees.
It was a gorgeous weather day.
Lately I have been preparing my hunts like an athlete prepares before a big game; good luck objects. I always wear a Windsor Lancer piece of clothing and I always bring a copy of Call Of The Wild by Jack London. I don't know why, but it seems to work.
I measure my hunting success by the wildlife I see and the tranqulity I feel, not by shots fired nor game received. Already I was having a lucky day out in the bush.
I decided to start reading Call Of The Wild from the beginning. I had gotten to about the thirtieth page, about 45 minutes into the story. The team of 9 dogs was a disfunctional unit at this point of the story. They were fighting among one another, savagely correcting each others mistakes, and scavenging one anothers' food.
Over my right shoulder I heard the ruslting of leaves. Seconds later the doe appeared. It almost perfectly blended in with the fall colours. There was no shot. Not now.
I sunk deeper into the hallow in which I was sitting. We were quite the opposites of one another; the female deer in its perfectly camoflauged and quiet self, me in bright orange vest wrestling to stay silent among the leaves and twigs. Somehow it did not see me.
I must have watched it inch towards my ideal shooting position for 4 minutes. Buck's problems would have to wait. At 12 yeards away I lost sight of the deer as it was directly in front of a coniferous tree with a rather large girth. Although it eventually took those last steps in the exact position I needed it to be in. At a distance of about 15 yards the fateful shot was fired.
I will be honest here. It was intense. (Some would say violent, and I would have to agree in a way.) There is no doubt or arguement in the matter. It is not something to take lightly - shooting an animal. I will forever take my time and be careful as it is an extremely serious consequence one enters into with a loaded gun.