Tuesday, November 15, 2016


What with all of my attempts at trying to get the ancestors to cooperate on the page, as I said, I've hardly been in the woods. But facing literary frustration, I finally closed the laptop and started to put my time in. With this moon the roosters who now roost in the front of my house and right outside my loft window, barely shut up all night long. It's driving me nuts. The only good thing is I'm awake before dawn. So I've been getting in the stand early, but sadly have seen little action. That all changed last night.
   I was in the orchard stand down at GNJohn's. For most of the afternoon I watched a couple of does munch out in Gilkey''s meadow, oblivious to my presence, hundreds of yards away. My frustration was mounting as the light began to fade. Then I heard some grass crunching in the golden rod. I looked down and there stood a nice buck, moving his way to an opening 30 yards away. Slowly I picked up my bow, and attached the release as I rose from my seat.  I drew back, aimed right behind his shoulder and fired. He reared and kicked both legs, as i heard a good "thump." He ran to the edge of the tall grass and turned and looked at me. I felt confident in the shot, nonetheless I nocked another arrow and waited, hoping he would fall. Instead he turned and slowly limped away, disappearing behind the wall of golden rod. I waited to see if he would cut across the open field but I never saw him again. 
   Bow hunting is tricky. I've learned never to push a hit buck. In 15 minutes it would be too dark to see. So I eased out of the stand and quietly went to look for the arrow. I found half it. Two feet of dry arrow laid in the grass. This was the first sign of things not going as well as i had hoped. I went back to the truck and drove to Rock Hill to get a six pack and batteries for my head lamp. I waited over an hour before returning. I still felt pretty good about the shot, hoping I the arrow had hit the far shoulder and broken off. I was sure he'd be laying in the path. As you can guess by the title he was not.

   This morning Savage Lynch and I went out at daybreak to pick up the trail. I had found blood, but not much of it, last night and hoped to get a good trail in the daylight. The opposite was true. It took us an hour or more to get a couple of hundred yards and that was the edge of the Neversink. We waded across the river and as it started to rain we lost the trail. For all you non-hunters, this is the worst possible outcome of hunting. I have nothing to blame this on other than my seemingly increasing inability to hit what I'm aiming at. Two weeks ago I missed a good buck, clean, shooting right underneath him. This deer, I'm afraid, I hit too far forward, sticking him in his shoulder. This is not a kill shot. It would explain the lack of blood and the broken arrow.
   All day long I've been sick to my stomach. Once that shot is loosed on an animal you are attached. Of course my depression is nothing to the reality of an injured deer, now lame, possibly unable to escape predators. I tell myself it comes with the territory, but this truism does little to cheer me up. Time will pass and this will be another lesson learned, another failure accepted and dealt with. Hunters understand what I am going through. Vegans probably think I should be stuck with my own arrow and the rest of you either will empathize or think I should just admit I'm lousy shot and give up. It's not like things were going too well to begin with for those of us who loved Leonard Cohen and think Trump has no business being in the White House. I wish giving up was an option. My tears are very real.   


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