Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Deer Hunting

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.

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