Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dog Hunting, by Josh

I stood in the cornfield. An earsplitting bawl broke the silence. Smokehouse, my redtick deer dog, had just jumped a whitetail. As the other five dogs tuned in they took off after the deer. I hollered out on the radio, “The dogs jumped, you boys get ready ‘cause here he comes.”

Since I first started hunting at the age of six I eagerly waited on these two months of the year when gun season was in and we were allowed to run deer dogs. Hunting season only came once a year, and I waited for it ten months out of that year. You can always tell when deer season is in because you’ll see me and my boy Trent riding down the road in my jacked up, mud-splattered camouflage Toyota with four big mud tires, a dog box in the back, and a whip antennae bent backwards behind the truck. Then you will hear other hunters holler at us on the CB radio, “How ‘bout it bone collector and mud dogg?” They tell us the dogs are about to cross the paved road, and off we go to head the dogs and the deer off and hopefully kill the deer if not turn it back into the block we are hunting.

As we pull up to the usual spot to listen for the dogs, Trent leaps out of the truck, grabs his shotgun, and bolts off into the woods. As I try to figure out what the heck he is doing, he begins blasting away; the deer dashes across the road maybe fifty yards in front of the truck. When the dogs reach the spot where Trent shot at the deer, a hush comes across the timbers: not a sound emanates from the dogs. Trent and I begin looking for blood. As we get further and further away from the truck, the dogs jump the deer up again but this time they run much slower. By the time we got back to the truck and raced around the block to the concrete bridge, the dogs caught the deer and had it bayed in the creek bottom.

I had one more dog left in the dogbox: it was the puppy I had raised, Freak Nasty. I hollered back up the creek bottom at Trent to let him out. Before I had taken three steps, Freak Nasty came streaking down the creek bottom nearly knocking me over. As soon as he came close to the deer, he sailed at its throat. The buck began slinging Freak Nasty around like a rag doll. I waited patiently until I had a clear shot, and in that split second, me and Trent both shot at the massive whitetail. The race was over as quick as it started.

When we got back to the truck our favorite hunting song was playing “Dog Hunting Man by David Cooler.” We pulled back into my driveway with all the other hunters, and all of us sang out loud:

“Drop that tailgate show them what its all about let’s turn them loose let them run it won’t be a minute and the race is on and once they hit that cypress pond the dogs will be singing their sweet song. Wait just a minute they’re coming my way maybe this will be my lucky day and daddy I hope you understand I’m a full blooded dog hunting Man.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

Waiting for the Buck, by Trent

As I was walking through the woods to my tree stand, I was thinking about how I didn’t want the season to end. Even though I hadn’t shot anything all season, I had seen a couple of deer. All season, I had only seen three does and a couple fawns. I didn’t want to shoot them because I knew if I did I would get picked on for shooting “Bambi.” I couldn’t tell if the fawns would grow up to be monster bucks or big does.

This would have been the last time I got to hunt during the season, so I was really wishing I could get something to brag about to my pawpaw and my uncle. When I came back from daydreaming, I went to my stand that I wanted to hunt in that afternoon.
It was a perfect afternoon to hunt. The wind wasn’t blowing. The trees had lost all their leaves: Everything was still and calm. I was waiting for that big buck to walk out of the trees following the doe and its fawn. As I sat there, I got more and more anxious to see that big buck following the doe and its fawn out into the field. My uncle was in the stand across the field to my left and my pawpaw was in the other one back behind my grandmaw’s house. I had my dads 30.30 rifle laying across the rail bars on my tree stand. I heard footsteps.

I got my gun ready. I kept hearing the sound, and then I looked down. It was three squirrels chasing each other from one tree to another. I was so mad I wish I had my .22 cal riffle with me so I could just shoot them and be able to take something back to the house, but I didn’t want to take the chance and scare away the deer if it was near. I sat there in the silent thinking about how I wished the big buck would come out so I could shoot him.

Later I heard something to my right. I looked. I couldn’t see clearly through the trees but one spot. So I just watched. After about thirty or so minutes, I saw that white tail flicker in the air. I was ready to blast the deer. I waited for it to come out. I couldn’t tell if it was a buck or doe or what, but I knew it was a deer. If it walked out, it wasn’t gonna be alive for long. I watched it walk around over tree limbs. It was a big doe. I sat there patiently waiting for it to come out to the field and get some corn instead of eating acorns. I heard a tree branch fall. I looked back to my right and I saw the doe leaping over the fallen tree branch.

I saw a second tail following it right behind it. I was mad but happy at the same time because I knew that next year they’ll be bigger. I’ll be waiting. I’m so glad deer season is here after I have been waiting all summer to hear the beautiful sound of my gun go off and see that monster buck laying there dead as a rock. I can’t wait to be in a new spot this season where my pawpaw saw a big 8 pointer.

Hesitation, by Josh

I can barely hear myself think as the wind whips through the trees. As the wind's gusts increase, I wait patiently. I know my patience will pay off in just five more minutes, I keep telling myself. If I just wait a few minutes more, there is bound to be a deer step out. I just know it. Rain begins pounding down onto my back I sit still never moving, eyes sweeping across the freshly cut cornfield looking for any sign of a deer.

I sit for what seems like hours but as I check my watch it has only been twenty minutes. And then after an hour’s worth of waiting,  a doe steps into the edge of the field, closely followed by two young fawns dappled with spots. I watch these beautiful animals fight the onslaught of pouring rain and gusting wind. I keep thinking a buck will soon step out; I will only have a split second to shoot. I must quickly gather my gear and start looking because the rain will wash away any traces of the deer.

The doe and fawns mosey around the field for about an hour and slowly they disappear into the foliage once more. There is only about twenty-five more minutes until sunset, and there won’t be enough daylight to shoot.

All of a sudden an odd movement catches the corner of my eye. There stands a monster buck, but as I watch him come across the cornfield towards me, I think, “I can’t shoot this animal.” But I must. My family needs to eat, and deer meat is our only means of meat. But, this magnificent animal standing there, I cannot find the courage to take the shot. There is one other thought that crosses my mind: take the shot or we will go hungry. I slowly raise my gun he sees me and dashes into the woods, never to be seen by me again.

Friday, November 6, 2009

What Motivates Me, by Josh

There are a few things that get me motivated. I love hunting. It is probably my favorite thing to do. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning, getting dressed out in all camo or just regular school clothes depending on whether gun season is in or not. Sitting in the deer stand 20 or 30 feet in the air, barely able to breathe for the chill of the air around me, watching my breath come out and just float away with the breeze.

Then twigs cracking, a faint but unmistakable bleat of a fawn. I know a doe will soon come out into the field closely followed by the buck I have been waiting for all season. A movement. There he stands in the still morning air. The sun rising just behind him, sunlight glistening off of his magnificent silhouette. I start to shake. My heart beats faster and faster. I can't breathe as I reach for my 7 mm rifle with its Nikon scope.

He sees the doe and begins to slowly make his way across the soybean field towards her. As he makes his way towards her, I raise my gun and realize just how huge this white-tail really is. Maybe 18" wide at the least above his ears, a foot a massive 12 point. I cough. He goes into a dead standstill and his ears perk forward, swiveling in every direction. He looks for the sound, nervous twitches course through his body. He sees nothing. He keeps moving. He stops to eat. I raise my gun, aim, and click. He looks up, straight at me. I freeze. He begins eating again.

I put in another shell and "BOOM!" As the smoke clears. I see him laying there flopping. A huge smile embraces my face. I now have bragging rights, "What then tree huggers? I am the bone collector!" That's what gets me motivated.