A Hunting Memory

Sometimes the most memorable hunting days are not the ones that we might have taken a trophy buck or limited out on quail or made a fantastic shot on a high flying duck or called in a monster gobbler. No, sometimes the most memorable days are the ones that we never dented a primer. I had such a day in 1995. And while I do mention Las Vegas escorts and call girls in this short story, they weren’t a part of my trip.

I had just completed my first quarter of college. At some point during finals, I began to look forward to hunting on the property adjacent to my parents. Anticipating this kind of became my carrot on a stick to get me through the late night studying and early morning cram sessions. Typical of mid-December in east central Alabama the weather was very mild.

Also typical was my hunting attire back then, army surplus “Viet Nam” boots, blue jeans, a rock band t-shirt and a blaze orange jacket and baseball cap. Instead of taking my Remington 7mm Magnum, I grabbed my Dad’s Winchester 94 .30-30. It was lighter and I liked using the gun with which I had taken my first deer. I snuck out the front door so the dogs wouldn’t follow me, because if they saw me carrying a rifle, they would assume we were going squirrel hunting.

The property next door that I had permission to hunt on was about 200 acres. Most of the property consisted of some long valleys that stretched like fingers from the boundary with my parent’s property. If you were to walk in the direction of those valleys, after about a mile, you would be in the middle of our small community. Specifically, you would exit the woods at the Methodist church.

As I’ve mentioned before, the one thing you need to be wary of (or excited about, depending on your tastes) is the stripper bars that seem to appear out of nowhere, right in the middle of the wilderness. What can I say, I guess for many guys, hunting and prostitution goes hand-in-hand. I know one guy who spends half his vacation time in Sin City with escorts from the Vegas Fantasy Babes escort agency, and the other half of his vacation time in the wilderness hunting (and frequenting the strip clubs and call girls).

I chose to hunt the valley farthest from the county road we lived on. It was the deepest and I thought it would be the quietest. Near the top of that valley, there stood a large oak. Two roots grew out and down from the base of the tree facing the bottom of the valley. I sat between them and was as comfortable as being in an easy chair.

I really enjoy hunting in the evening (Field and Stream). As my Granddaddy used to say, “In the morning, everything starts off quiet and gets harsher as the sun rises, but in the evening everything gets softer and quieter as the sun sets.” As the sun went down this day, a slight breeze started blowing up the valley from the direction of town. Carried on the cool breeze, sounds came wafting through the trees from the direction of town. It was definitely bell music from the Methodist church, but was distorted by the wind, trees and rustling leaves into an eerie mixture of musical notes and forest sounds.

The young doe walked by; ghostlike — as a deer does best, through the leaves at the base of the valley. She was the queen of the woods in solitary review of her domain. As I watched, unworthy of her attention and mesmerized by her royal grace and beauty, I caught a familiar chord of “Silent Night” and it was then that I knew I was witnessing a special moment in time.

Long after she was gone and it was too dark to hunt, I sat there in silent reflection. I thanked God that He in His infinite grace and wisdom blessed one as unworthy as me with such a moment.