In the woods
6 days into the hunt. You're tired. You've seen LOTS of tracks but nothing brown. You smell bad, you've come close, you've had no success but...
You're in dark timber in light snow, walking two steps, standing for 20-40 seconds, silently turning and making sure there is no movement anywhere, walking two steps, standing... the sun is low. The wind is in your face, right where you want it. Perfect. They will come down for the evening, and you are ready. You hear nothing, you see no orange. Then soft crunching. Slight movement seen 40 yards away. Silence. Just as you expect. You are tensed, shaking a little, eyes wide, breathing quickens, pulse quickens. More crunching, then silence. You expect to see an elk. Then you really do see a flicker of brown in the setting sun, no orange. Now you are ready; you shoulder your rifle but do not scope just yet. More movement of brown in the brush, you see a flash of lighter brown - the butt of an elk. Now you scope your target.
And your heart stops because you see the human face of a compleat idiot. The terror you feel is palpable because you saw him in your scope - it was CLOSE. Outrageous. You walk up to the guy and ream him a new one which he dearly, DEARLY deserves. You want to make sure this idiot never, NEVER does this again.
Not all the reasoning in the world will make the dead rise from the forest floor, reconstruct a family, make such a thing possible to live with. You can be absolutely, completely, totally in the right - "Be sure of your target"; "Always know the area behind your shot"; "Hunters should go through safety training"- with all the right arguments and rationale. And be just as dead. Happens easier than you might imagine, to people who are NOT yahoos.
WEAR ORANGE, end of subject.
Except to say, I was not the hunter in the story. I was the other one. Not this year, but a long time ago. I have never forgotten, now don't you forget.
Heb Dduw, heb ddim; Duw a digon
I'm that gun-totin', farm-raised, evangelical, pro-environment, OHV ridin'/drivin', Southern civil rights pro-labor Liberal yo' momma told you couldn't possibly exist.