Darkness wraps around you as you watch the guide’s flashlight disappear. The little heater starts to take the chill out of the air and you spend a few minutes getting comfortable in the confines of the blind. After finding a quiet, handy spot for your backpack you decide where your rifle should sit, where your binoculars will hang and you slowly move in the seat to check for squeaks and noises. Satisfied that you are ready, you look out the window opening for the hundredth time – still blackout there.
An owl hoots in the forest. You have to grin as you feel your body relaxing, tension seems to flow away, you are at peace with yourself. You relish the fact that you are alone in the blackness, in the forest, away from the hustle and bustle – no telephones.
You notice that you can make out the tops of some of the spruce and pines – dawn is slowly starting to happen. You close your eyes, relaxing and listening – what else is there to do… The owl hoots again, much closer this time. You shine your mini-light on your watch – only twenty minutes until legal hunting. You touch your pocket and feel the five cartridges – shortly you will load them into your rifle.
With a start, you realize that you can see. Dawn came while you were enjoying the silence and your inner thoughts. You realize that your rifle is not loaded, one by one the cartridges go into the magazine and you silently slide the last one into the chamber. You reach for your binoculars and slowly scan the clearing, checking the shadows and dark patches of forest. Far across the meadow, a slender curve does not fit into the background. You focus on it, wishing it to become an antler. Suddenly it moves and the entire head and neck jump into view. All your mind focuses on are the antlers – wide, heavy and lots of points. He is a shooter – by far the biggest buck that you have ever seen. Your mind races and your heart pounds in your chest.
As your rifle pokes out of the window he steps forward, his entire body catching the early morning light. You find him in the scope and the crosshairs go to his chest. The rifle is steady, the hold is good as your finger goes to the trigger.
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