Memories Of A Hunt by Rick Fowler
I have been deer hunting off and on for twenty years, with some years successful and others not. However, the images of opening day this season remain vivid.
My hunting partners (high school pals) and myself had synchronized a rendezvous for opening day at a small café in Michigan’s Emmet County, for a 4:00 a.m. breakfast. Talk this morning centered on old hunts, today’s hunt and old-fashioned bull. As dawn approached, we set off to a hilly, heavily wooded eighty-acre parcel north of the city.
Though the morning was crisp and clear the coolness of the air is not what remains etched in my thoughts, but the dampness and the eerie fog that encased the valleys where we waited quietly for dawn to break. Though none of us would admit it our secret quest was a thirteen-point buck many of us had seen for the past two years, wandering the hills where we now lay in wait.
A myriad of colors soon provided an excellent backdrop for the crest of a hill I staked out. Though the damp air remained, the fog began to ascend as daylight crept closer. My eyes were fixed to the east like sentries awaiting any movement. The foggy mist acted like a reflector for the sun and glared back at me, making any shot I might get, difficult at best.
A movement no more than seventy-five yards away startled me. My finger slid to the safety, ready to release in a second. The movement became an image that appeared as a silhouette in the fog. My finger moved the safety to off as I mentally prepared myself. Finger on the trigger, eye on the cross hairs, a buck appeared and turned his massive head towards me. I knew what I had to do, but hesitated for a second or two, stunned by the absolute beauty of the scene magnified by the sun and fog.
Somehow he knew something wasn’t right and lit off into the hardwoods, without so much as a word, shot or groan from me.
I wasn’t that upset or angry. I had just witnessed nature at her finest.