Hunting Trips 2

The Hunting Trip: Part II

My father and I have been hunting before, we went grouse hunting a few times and the first hunting trip I wrote about. Each of these events or trips was focused on me taking the shot for the kill. This time it was my dad’s turn to shoot for the kill.

December 1st 1995, was only a couple of weeks after the first hunt. Winter in North Idaho is tricky, sometimes it snows in October and we have snow all the way until March while at other times we won’t get snow until January. This December 1st was that way. It hadn’t snowed yet but the ground was frosted over.

In the country or the people’s republic of Idaho it is pristine. The views are majestic with snow capped mountains everywhere. The air is so fresh that it makes you feel as if there is no other civilization. This Saturday was just like that. I was awoken by my dad at five o’clock in the morning, but I was ready to go this morning. Either I didn’t have a dream or quickly forgot it as I got up and got dressed in all the clothes that I would need. I went to the living room and found my 300 savage lying there waiting for me to gently inspect it. I found the rounds sitting right next to my rifle and looked at them. They proved to be clean and had the right sound to them when I shook them, indicating that the powder level was just right.

My dad was eating a bowl of oatmeal and told me to do the same.

“Sure dad, I’m hungry as a billy goat.” I replied as I filled a bowl with oatmeal and prepared it just the way I like it. I love to put some milk, brown sugar, and cinnamon on top of the oatmeal to give it a delicious flavor. I sat down at the table and ate my bowl of oatmeal while reading the comics in the Saturday newspaper. Garfield was funny as hell that morning so I laughed out loud.

“What’s so funny?” dad asked

“Garfield’s at it again.” I said as I slid the paper over to dad

He read it and bust out laughing in short time. “So I am going to walk through the quaky trees today so you can get a shot at a deer?” I asked once the laughter ebbed.

“Yeah, I want to see if I can get a perfect shot today too. Is that cool with you?”

“Absolutely, I got my orange vest.”

The Creek

The frigid waters of North Idaho in December
The frigid waters of North Idaho in December

Starting the Hunting Trip

 

I put the empty bowl in the sink and went into the living room to put on my winter hiking boots, and then I got my jacket out of the hall closet.  By the time I had retrieved my jacket dad was all ready to go, so I grabbed my rifle and followed him out the door.  Unfortunately we didn’t have a gutter over the door and a drop of ice cold water dropped down my back.  I reflectively hollered a swear word that rhymes with ship, and dad spun around to look at me.  My dad has perfected the look; he lowers his forehead and looks up at you while raising his eyebrows.  I knew I was in trouble because I was only 15 and 15 year olds aren’t supposed to cuss right?  He simply said, “Watch it boy.”  And that was enough for me. 

Going outside of our front door you immediately step onto the deck.  From the deck you’ve got a wonderful vista to examine.  The trees on the right danced to an unheard song as they were always swaying from left to right.  The fields to the north, east, and south of the house were bare of any crop just a couple weeds sticking up.  The air was so pure and clear that you could hear the water running through the creek a quarter mile away.  The scene was so serene that it makes you feel like just standing there and be at peace with what Mother Nature has blessed you with.

Together, side by side, dad and I headed up to the fallen log near the creek.  We discussed various things, he told me about work and I told him about school.  He asked how it was going with my girlfriend, I said it was great.  We got into a discussion about safe sex, and about the evils of drug use.  I told him that there’s nothing to worry about on those fronts.  Once we got to the fallen log it was day break as the golden rays of the sun were peaking over the furthest mountain.  We sat for a few moments to see if there was any animal activity, there wasn’t.  So after about ten or fifteen minutes I headed out to flush out any deer that might be lurking in the quaky trees.  By this time we already knew that this was a prime spot for deer to hide.  They made their homes in the quaky trees.

I came up to the creek near the old barn that dwells on the banks of the creek and looked for a spot to safely cross.  Apparently the water was higher this time, so I spent about five minutes looking for a spot.  I found one rock about halfway across the creek, so I leapt.  This rock was not very big so when I landed on it I felt it move and had to quickly jump off to get to the other side or risk falling over, so I jumped for the other bank.  I missed but my knee hit the bank and with my other leg cocked I got it onto the shore.  My right foot went in the creek up to the ankle and that water was cold!  Since my dad wasn’t near me I let out a whole slew of cuss words… “S&*t, f%#k, G*&@$(*&*$&, son of a b*&(^.”

To add insult to injury my 300 savage that I was so proud of got a smudge of mud on the barrel.  So as I climbed up the hill around by the old cabin up to the entrance to the quaky trees I cursed and ranted and raved about the mud on my barrel.  I had by then wiped it off so I continued on in increasingly higher spirits. 

I entered the quaky trees with flair; I stomped on sticks and picked one up.  With the stick I picked up I beat the living crap out of every tree that looked at me funny.  I made as much noise as possible, and tried to scare the deer out into the clearing so my dad could have a clear shot.  After pushing through the quaky trees I saw the clearing through about five feet of trees.  At this point I hadn’t heard any shots so I decided to turn and circle around where I knew there to be bed down areas.  After circling and still no shots fired, I announce my presence with authority.  “I’m coming out!!!”

“Alright, I’ll be up in a second.” Dad responded

So in the meanwhile I looked around, squatted down to rest, stood back up because I wasn’t comfortable anymore, and walked in circles.  Finally after like ten minutes dad met up with me and we talked about if he had seen anything.  Through puffs of breaths he said that he hadn’t.   To be perfectly honest with you I didn’t know what to do so I said, “What do we do now?”

“Let’s head up to the fence line and walk it until we come out on the other side of the quaky trees.”

“Alright” I excitedly said.

The Deer

The Deer we found
The Deer we found

The Shot of the Hunting Trip

So we headed that way carrying our rifles in a low ready stance, weapons on safe. We came to the clearing on the other side of the quaky trees and there stood a doe about twenty yards away. It was facing in a manner that made a perfect shot impossible, but dad took a shot anyway. The report was so fast and loud that it scared me because I had not yet realized there was a deer there. Apparently he missed because he fired a second shot two seconds after the first. The deer came into my view at this point. He didn’t miss the first shot but he hit the deer in the leg and it was trying to get away, so he shot it again, this time (second shot) he shot it in the back. I believe the bullet severed the spine because the poor old deer was still trying to crawl away.

“Jesus Christ dad. Kill it already!” I said as the poor animal suffered. Well, he felt terrible about the whole situation so he walked closer to it and fired the third and final shot into the deer’s head. It was done; the deer was finally put out of its misery.

Later on, after everything that needs to be done after getting a deer was done, that 90 pound deer yielded about 20 pounds of meat. I joked with dad about a perfect shot.

“So…perfect shot huh?”

“Shut up” he said as he laughed.

“You know, I was just trying to figure out that you taught me to shoot and I get a perfect shot from two hundred and fifty yards, yet you missed at twenty yards…hunh.”

“Well, because of the trajectory of the round moving out two hundred and fifty yards, if you had been twenty yards away you would have missed too.” He said matter-of-factly.

“Oh, I see, so isn’t that a principle of aiming?”

“Yeah” he began to laugh at this point and we both joined in a good laugh about it.

I still give him grief about that to this day.

 Copyright 2009 by Wesley Cox

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