The One That Almost Was

It was a typical late October evening. I had driven by houses decorated with pumpkins and ghosts on my way to the state park where I do the majority of my deer hunting. It was the first east wind after quite a few north wests, and I was pumped that it was finally the right wind to hunt one of the tree stands my dad and I had put up earlier this fall.

martin-chown-practiceThe beginning of my sit was uneventful, a few squirrels here and there, a couple of chickadees and blue jays flitting around. With about 20 minutes left of shooting light, I caught a glimpse of a gray hide slinking along the edge of a swamp 25 yards to my left. Peering through the thick pines with my grandpa’s binoculars, I could barely make out  the eight points sticking up from the buck’s old body. With my heart beginning to pound, I reached for my bow and started double checking the range I thought he would step out at. “Twenty yards, money, just like I practiced after school today,” I thought to myself. Thumbing my bow release nervously, I peered into the quickly darkening forest to check on his location. I peered and peered, not seeing anything through the thick pine and cedar mess. My heart rate started to drop as the seconds ticked by. After about five minutes, I couldn’t take it any longer. I stood up, fumbling with Papa’s binos. A wave of relief washed over me as I immediately saw specks of his old hide through the trees. He hadn’t disappeared into the swamp. The wave of relief turned into a tsunami of despair as I realized the buck was staring right back into my binoculars. Trembling, I put the binos down. Just in time to see a white tail bobbing gracefully off into the distance.

Martin Chown – YCC Member, Traverse City

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