Some people would say it was just another cold, fall morning. That something was wrong with me because I came out here to do what, kill an innocent animal? I never cared for people that much, cept for my wife and son.
Alright let’s get back to that morning. It was about 6 a.m. and I’d been in my stand since about 4 a.m. Even though it was thirty eight degrees in the backwoods of the North Carolina Mountains. The birds were beginning to chirp and the squirrels were beginning to ramble around in the trees. It seems I am the only human being in the world. I thank God I live far away from the busy city streets. Just a simple country boy with no knowledge but that of the woods, the animals in it, and how to survive.
All this ran through my mind as I sat in my stand for another hour. I clung my granddaddy’s 30-06 close to me and realized this gun had been here before. With my great granddad, granddad, my dad, and with me.
I raised my grunt call to my mouth and blew just hard enough to make the low pitched sound of a buck
All of a sudden I heard a response to the call. A slight grunt and a stomping of hooves about thirty yards away. Now I just wait.
Then I saw him. This was a good sized buck, about a ten pointer. I raised my rifle so slowly I didn’t make any noise whatsoever. I whistled and he looked around giving me the perfect shot. BLAM! I saw the bullet hit him, hard. He jumped and then crashed to the ground. YES! It may have been my billionth deer but I still get that natural high.
I climbed down the stand ladder and walked over to my kill. Carefully, I nudged him to see if he was dead and then began to skin and butcher him. I carefully made each cut and gently pulled the skin off of the animal. Then I wrapped it up and put the cased pelt in my backpack.
I thought of tanning the pelt tonight and the soft leather it would turn into. I then got out some plastic wrap and fixed the venison just good enough for it to fit in my pack until I got home.
I walked through the woods “multicolored” from the midfall weather. It was eight forty-five by now and I was on my way home. The leaves crunched beneath my feet as I approached the house and I could smell the wood burning smoke. I stepped out of the woods and saw my quaint little house, with the chickens in the front lawn and the furs stretching on my work shed. The crops growing in the small field beside my house. Tomatoes, corn, collars, peppers, and other various little plants.
I stepped into the door and smelled the luscious smell of bacon, venison strips, and potatoes being fried. I walked into the kitchen and saw my beautiful
Wife standing there. She has brunette hair that comes to just below her shoulders and is about five eleven in height, five inches shorter than me. She saw me and said “Hey baby” and I said the same and kissed her.
I then went into the backyard to cut the huge slabs of deer meat into smaller meal worthy ones. Tenderloins, backstrap, steaks, and I left some to be ground into hamburger. I then vacuum sealed each slab of meat and put it in the freezer.
I walked back in the kitchen and said, “If I kill another more deer were going to have to buy another freezer darling.” She laughed and then I washed my hands and we discussed the hunt over breakfast. I lit a cigarette and took it easy for a while.
After I finished my Marlboro I walked back outside to chop wood for the heater. I open my shed door to get my axe and out jumped the family dog. A walker Coonhound named Bubba. Scared the [Please excuse my language... I'm an idiot] outta me. “How did you get in there?!” He just cocked his head to the side and looked at me. The idiot. I got the axe and went to work.
In another hour it was ten o’clock. Then I went in the house with an armful of wood and saw my five year old eating breakfast. He turned around and said “Daddy!” I put the wood beside the heater just before he jumped in my arms. “Will!” “You want to go help me check the trapline son?” He said “Sure.” and he ran into his room and put on his overalls and boots just like his Pa. I told Tanya (my Wife) we were leaving and then we went off into the woods.
Once again the leaves crunched beneath my feet but this time my son and I were talking. We talked about almost everything. His friends, my friends and other random things. We approached our first trap and were startled by a gray fox. I let my son shoot it and I carried it. The next two traps nothing. Finally on the fourth and last trap we caught a bobcat! That’s a seventy five dollar pelt! Seventy five! My son was amazed so I decided I’d tan it for him to hang up in his room.
We walked back to the house and I skinned the fox and the bobcat. After I skinned them I got out my homemade fleshing tool and began the dirty process of scraping all the fat off the furs.
After I fleshed the furs I got out my sixteen ounce bottle of hide tanning formula I ordered from Cabelas. I rubbed the amber colored concoction into the furs and left them to let the solution soak in. I then did the same to the deer hide I had obtained this morning.
Finally I can sit down and rest!
I looked at my watch and saw it was
Twelve thirty. I decided I had time
for a little nap. I took off my boots
and spread out on the couch like a bear.
I slowly drifted off.
When I woke up it was three and I slowly arose off the couch. It would be dark soon so I decided to feed the chickens, dogs, and the horse in the last two hours of daylight.
When I got to the horse pasture I saw something yeller standing at the edge pasture sneaking around but I didn’t see the horse! All of a sudden I saw him. He was a bloody mess. The yeller figure had come closer and I saw it was a [Please excuse my language... I'm an idiot] cougar! I ran in the house and got the gun and hurried outside before the mongrel killed my horse. At 200 yards I nailed him with a ballistic tipped 30-06 bullet and he was hit hard he ran off. When the shot rang out my wife ran out of the house and began to panic when she saw the horse.
We led him to the barn and gave him a pain killer and then bandaged him up. He was still bleeding badly but hopefully it will stop soon. My wife was crying and I cradled her calming her down.
She went back in the house and I fed the chickens and the dogs then went to bed.
I woke up the next morning at five thirty to check on the horse. He was up and walking around so that was a good sign. I lit a cigarette and led him back to the pasture. This time I was sure to bring the gun with me.
When I opened the gate he ran in and went right to his food pile and ate. I could see my work was done here so I thought of what I could do now. All my work was done for the week so I decided to go quail hunting.
I went to the house and opened my gun safe, and get out my 12 gauge Remington and a box of shells. I then went out to get rascal my bird dog. He’s an Irish setter with rust colored fur. I called him and we walked to the field where I normally bird hunt at.
When we arrived at the field Rascal ran through the brush and flushed up a covey of quail. I got two out of three, not bad at all.
Rascal and I stayed outside for two more hours. Trampling through the woods, shooting birds, and just enjoying the great outdoors. When each shot rang out deer jumped up at the edges of the fields and all around in the woods.
After I had gotten 12 birds I walked back to the house to see my brother’s truck there. I walked in the door and he jumped out at me scaring me to death. We went to the fridge and got two beers and sit down so we could catch up on thangs.
Surprisingly, he had behaved himself in the last two months especially with his probation about that fight in the bar… good times good times. Excuse me. Then he told me the bad news that he and his wife were splitting up. For being married ten years they fought the last two. Normally, they work it out but I guess not this time. We got off the subject and talked about hunting, fishing, Hank Jr., and other guyish things.
My wife had been asleep and was awaken by our noise and yelling. She stormed into the room with will following her. “Richard, no one can get any sleep in this house for you!” She then saw my brother and exclaimed “Bill! How’s Sharon!” She saw the hurt in his eyes and I saw her say “Whoops” in her head. She quickly changed the subject and said, “I’ll go fix dinner!” “Hey Will” Bill said “Uncle Bill!” My son jumped into his arms and gave him a hug. “How’s everything goin’ son” Bill asked. “Alright I guess,” Will replied. “Good”
We talked catching up with each other and then we went to check the traps. I grabbed my gun thinking it would be just another walk in the woods. Boy was I Wrong
It was getting dark and we tried to hurry from trap to trap. 1, 2, and 3 traps nothing. When we got to the fourth something strange was there. My catch had been eaten halfway. A fox. While examining the fox we heard no movement, the bear made no noise. Then he attacked. He hopped right beside us. My brother exclaimed “HOLY SH...” but that’s all he got out before the bear smacked him right in the stomach. I mounted my rifle ad squeezed the trigger. The bear fell from a bullet right behind the ear.
I ran over to my brother just to see he was cut, but nothing too serious. He jumped up and said “Whew, well you got yourself a new rug with that pelt now.” That’s my brother almost killed and still cracking jokes.
We skinned the bear and took it back to the house. Another thing to tan! That can wait. Bill and I went and sit down at the dinner table and ate backstrap, potatoes, drank beer, smoked cigars, and had a great time. By the time we were finished eating and talking it was eleven o’clock so Bill slept on the couch and my wife and I went to bed.
The next morning I woe up at four and woke up Bill so we could go hunting. We walked down to the tree stand, climbed up the ladder and just sat.
Once again while in the tree stand the thought came in my head-Some people would just think it was another fall morning. That something was wrong with me for being out here, to do what? Kill an innocent animal? I never cared for people that much.
I can skin a buck and run a trapline and a country boy can survive