{ Opening Day }
~ a Memory, a Story, a Message ~

for more pics,, click here to go to IceDream's Picture PalaceIt was a cold snowy morning , opening day back in '97.

Two friends and I set out to an  area of isolated wooded terrain amidst the army of hunters surrounding us. It was 6:30 am, hot coffee and goodies are packed into the bucket of supplies to take out on the trail.   Here it was,,, the first day we had permission from the State to take some veni-meat for our tables! 

Excitement was high as we clarified where each of us were to be based. We headed down the two-track in the truck and a song came on that sent tingles ever so deep within.
"Fred Bear"  by Ted Nugent just began to play. The rhythm of the guitar and the story being told in song about Fred Bear and the Spirit in the woods couldn't have been more perfect. The beat of the song mimicked that of the ol' ticker when that special hunting experience hits you between the eyes and then gets logged in the memory banks for many a moon into our future.

As the headlights of the truck scanned the snowy white two-track ahead showing sign of a few deer but no fresh tire tracks,,, our spot was SAVED!   Teds guitar hypnotically echoed out the truck windows into the dark woods as we turned up the tune to let it play at that level many would frown upon. We weren't frowning,,, and neither were the deer. They are a curious critter and were probably tapping their hooves in rhythm.  (yeah, right) 
     We were in our element and the words held true, the spirit in the woods was here. We could feel it.

The song ended, the radio and truck now turned off at out parking spot at the end of the two-track.  Energies from just prior were still permeating from us,,,, we were not coming out of these woods empty today. No way. 

 Still crisp morning air stings our lungs as we set out in our separate paths to get next to nature. Senses highten as each step in the snow takes us to our perspective roost. Walking was not what you do on the hunt,,, you stalk. Every few slow quiet steps, stopping, not only to listen,, but to break the pattern of crunching sounds from the crusty snow in an attempt to be as quiet as possible. Furry ears that hear many a simple sound is sensed as potential danger. You'll never see a deer or racoon with a set of ear plugs with an i-pod meandering aimlessly about down the wooded trail.  No way. They're on the watch at most any given moment and we must attempt to be that way too.

Fresh tracks in the newly fallen snow graced my path as I slowly ascend  a steep hill, straight up a deer runway to the top where the heavy oaks stopped at a clear cutting on the other side. I follow the woodline back down to a break in the runway and found a spot where I could place my back to a huge oak.  There was a  decline of the hill on the other side of the tree with a beaver pond at the bottom. 

As quiet as a one could be with a bucket banging, kicking the snow aside with covered branches crackin',,, I guess I lost the lot of  my cover. I figured I may set up quick if not quiet. Timing is of essence too ya know.

A light pink glow of the rising sun just beginning to break the darkness, shapes became more discernable. It wasn't even an hour after sitting in front of that oak while sitting on a sheet, my bunns were 'per near frozen to the ground and then some  movement caught my attention atop the hill from which I came. 
   A smaller stately buck was sniffing the ground like a puppy dog looking for a Milk Bone.  My scent trail was picked up undoubtedly yet there might have had enough time to pass as not to deter the buck from continuing his path back into the cedars below me for the days retreat in some laying grounds.

He got halfway down the runway all the while looking ahead right to my area. He kept stopping and smelling, lifting his head and again looking every 8-12 steps or so.  He knew my shape was not familiar but could not recognize what I was. The fallen tree brush I'd sat behind must have helped in distorting what I looked like ,, so closer he came.

Dissappearing in a small ravine between us, my hand went to my rifle. Yet when his rack was spotted along the ground line on his ascent something says ''No, not the one". He was a nice 4 pointer and had a nice broad chest. My frozen hand falls back to my side as I kept my head tuned to the left of where the deer was coming from but keeping my eyes to the now appearing head,, peeking over the hill towards me.

Closer he came down the trail continually staring right towards me,,  stopping & smelling the ground and the air.  His curiosity took the better of him as now he was about 20 feet from me.  Still walking closer and closer he was practically 12-15 feet from me.  My eyes rarely made contact with his,, purposely looking to his side and keeping my head still and facing to the left.   His head dropped with eyes still trained on me, he stomped his right foot. Quickly he  lifted his head and then lowering it and then stomped his left foot.

At that,  I looked directly at him. His head raised to full height and froze at my sudden movement.   I smiled, nodded my head and broke the silence in greetings just as in the manner as how you would greet any other friend,,,,,,  "G'mornin' my Friend" I said. 

With that the buck sprang to life, did a backflip and a Fred Flintstone peel out retreating back  into the ravine and then re-appearing just on the raise of the hill.  He turns to look towards me as so to see if I was following and stared as if in amazement of ''what the hell was that?
   Feeling as I was of no danger he paralleled the hill to my right then crossing back again over to my hill, stopping at the top.  His back to me, he stood there looking over the clear cut below  facing due east.

I tell you,  watching his proud silloutte standing there looking away from me with the golden colors of the sunrise surrounding his shape as an aura,,, something hit me and touched me so very deep. A spiritual bullet if you will.   Just to witness this majestic creature in his realm was truely awesome.   I cannot convey the emotion generated in witnessing this but my Spirit was indeed intensely touched. 

"Fairwell my Friend. Make lots of majestic children as yourself and be safe"  I whispered aloud to him.

Sometimes we have to let it go so it can grow.
                                        .                                   ... and so can we.

 We never come out of the woods without a bounty of some sort.
for more pics, click here and go to IceDream's Picture Palace



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