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How Lucky Am I?
by Brian Hall

  I was lucky enough to have some time off during the holidays.  Now was my chance to get those pesky gray fox.

  The landowner, James, is a friend and was regularly losing chickens and ducks.  So, with a week off, I decided to give them a shot.  I live 30 miles from the farm, but with all the sightings, I figured in a weeks’ time I could harvest a few.
  The first morning, I made about a dozen sets along the brush piles, and some trails.  I didn’t carry the shotgun that day, and saw one quail and 8-10 deer.  Content with the freezer full of meat, and a job to do, I just went on with my business. That is what captivates me about nature, you are in someone else’s  “house”, and you never know who or what you will see.

  Hurry up and wait til morning.  During trapping season every morning is like Christmas for me.
  When I arrived at my friends’ house that first morning, I noticed a squirrel running up a tree.  I parked, loaded up the gun and looked patiently for the squirrel. (James loves the taste of squirrels)  So I looked and looked and eventually gave up the search.  It was a sure sign of what the day held for me.  James came out and greeted me but my mind quickly shifted to the half-mile hike ahead of me.   We spoke briefly, and I was on my way.

  I walked along a wood line to my first set, when I heard a loud crash. Something hit the fence.  I mean HIT the fence, it pulled the top strand of wire loose.  Boy I was excited, because this morning I had brought the shotgun!   But my fiery excitement was quickly extinguished.  Something was wrong, I hadn’t taken out the birdshot from my squirrel encounter… no problem, I’ll just load it with buckshot.  I looked in all my pockets but there wasn’t a shell to be found!

  By this time, the first deer had broken free and was gone.  As I peered around the corner to where the commotion was, I saw a monster buck.  He stood and looked at me about as surprised as I was.  As I admired his massive rack, the seconds felt like hours.  There he was, a monster, twenty-five yards away, and all I could do was watch.  As he jumped the fence, two smaller bucks walked out to see who was trespassing.   Within a blink of an eye, they were gone as well.

  As I continued on my way, I could not help but think about what had happened.    My disgust was quickly transformed into a feeling of contentment.  How lucky was I to have had such an experience?

  Well, I didn’t catch a fox that morning, but that is OK.  I had seen something few people have the privilege of seeing.  Sure wish I would have caught a fox, or seen the first buck that hit the fence, but tomorrow is another day.