A Simple Cold Morning in The Woods

Tree Against Night Sky
Image by ::: Billie / PartsnPieces ::: via Flickr
It was a brisk refreshing, 32 degree’s, with a slight breeze out of the south west. Sky was clear and the stars vibrant. The moon had set hours before, leaving the terrain strangely lit only by the stars. I walked in towards my hunting stand. Critters rustling in the trees and bushes created a welcoming sound to accompany me. Trudging through the soft deep sand, the kind you might find at the beach, is silent yet appealing. It takes a little more effort to walk through the sand, trying to steer clear of the cactus and thorn bushes. Bordered on all sides by oak and mesquite trees, with just the single two track running through the middle. There are times I enjoy the hike in more than the actual hunt, there is something genuine about it. It’s a short trek, no more than a mile, but the enjoyment is interminable, and ever so satisfying.

We try to get into our blinds no later than 5:30, usually around 5:00 AM. That way we can get our selves situated and comfortable for the lengthy wait to come. Surprisingly, Saturday morning I waited less than an hour to see some activity. The early morning was  just starting to light the landscape. That time of morning when there seems to be dim grey lights trying to vanquish the night sky, yet the sun had not yet broken the horizon. I noticed a slight movement along the tree line, not much more than a grey flash of something. Slowly, I lift my binoculars, to scan the tree line, being careful not to make any movement that might give my solitary presence away. Sure enough, there are two deer making their way up the edge of the trees, cautiously watching  for predators or other animals. I watch, fascinated by their confidant clean movements. No wasted effort, purposeful, yet cautious. I sat in wonderment at the way wildlife moves in their own terrain. It’s a unique beauty that’s hard to describe, sleek yet effortless.

The deer, both does, slowly walked pausing frequently to feed on the plentiful sprouts of grass, leafs, and corn.  Ever watchful yet seemingly comfortable in their surroundings.  They took 45 minutes to travel a short distance of a couple hundred yards.  Enjoying myself so much, I forget the morning chill that had caused my breath to appear like a light fog as I exhale.  Anyone who has spent time in the outdoors know that time between first light, and the sun actually becoming visible is the coldest.   I noticed none of the cold, even though just minutes before I was shivering from the damp Texas morning air.  The two deer spent hours in the field in front of me,  slowly joined  first by one, then five more doe from another direction.

I had 8 deer in front of me, all does, three obvious yearlings, two elderly ladies, and thee middle aged young ladies.  All simply beautiful, displaying varying shades of grey and tan-brown.  I wish I had a video camera, for times like this are so interesting and rewarding.  I watched them all morning until they finally disappeared into the woods, one by one. 

I was hunting for a buck, and had no desire to take a doe this early in the season.  I decided to wait a little longer, it was only 9:30 AM, a buck might still walk out to explore the field and corn feeder.  I was able to open a soda, and eat my candy bar.  sitting there astounded at the wonderment of the morning beauty.  This is exactly why I love hunting.   It has nothing to do with killing an animal.  More so the  simplicity of  submersing myself in, and enjoying, the beauty of nature.  I considered myself lucky, to have seen so many deer already. 

While enjoying the morning sun shining in on my face, I heard some noise coming from the tree line to the south of me.  I grabbed my binoculars and started scanning, trying to locate the source of that rustling noise.  I could hear twigs cracking and breaking, and the noise of leafs being stepped on or pushed out of the way.  Moments later, a solid black wild boar stepped out of the trees, and walked unceremoniously toward the corn feeder.  There is not much beauty in the movement of the hogs.   they just bull through anything in their way, and travel to the intended destination.  Pretty soon the hog was munching on some corn left behind by the deer. 

Suddenly there was a fluttering of wings and feathers, and the chortling of turkeys.  One by one about 20 turkey come out of the same tree line, moving cautiously.  They were obviously intent on getting their own fair share of the corn.  The turkey seemed content to move up beside the Boar and start munching.  The boar on the other hand was going to have none of that, not wanting to share his morning meal.  He started to chase a turkey off, and then turned on a second one.  I was then amazed to see all twenty turkey launch a dedicated attack on the boar, covering him in a flurry of  flapping wings.  Using their sharp spurs, and beaks to persuade the boar to relinquish his selfish thoughts.   I sat stunned and amazed, watching as the 200 pound boar gave up and left.  The turkeys then continued their trek through the field forgetting the corn they had just fought for.   I had never before seen turkeys take on a wild boar.

Was my weekend productive? I think so even though I did not get a buck.
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AngelBaby said...

The place you were at sounds wonderful and a great place for a relaxing peaceful rest. I could just picture it with all of the different animals, it must have been amazing. I used to live on a ranch like that and I just loved it. The peace and quite was such a treat to come home to. Thank you for sharing this.

Love and Blessings,

Shadow said...

you dragged me right into your world. this is lovely.

confused said...

Eric I felt like I was right there...there is nothing quite like sitting somewhere away from the hustle and bustle and just seeing what goes on in nature everyday

Summer said...

Eric. Great story. You really hit the nail on the head. Hunting is far more than killing animals. It's about nature and getting back to where we belong. It's medicine for the soul. I agree with Confused, I was right there with you.

And the turkey/wild boar story was hilarious. I was chased by a Tom Turkey once. Hilarious for everyone watching, not for me. :) Those suckers can be mean!

tashabud said...

Hello Eric,
It sounds like you had your fill of the outdoors this past weekend. My hubby and one of my coworkers who also hunts say the same thing. You guys have that same mentalilty about hunting and about being in the great outdoors.

You know what I think, though? Subconciously, you guys just want to get away from us, wives, temporarily. Because, you know, we can really get into your nerves sometimes. LOL. So, hunting and fishing are very good excuses. Hehe. I'm just teasing, of course. I just had to put my on spin about hunting. Maybe because I'm feeling a left out during hunting season. In my case, it started since the 3rd week of August. But, I'm a big girl, I'll just blog my blues away. LOL.

Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. Like everyone else, I was transported to the place that you were describing and seeing and experiencing everything as well.

Enjoy your upcoming hunting trips. Hope you get your big buck before your hunting season ends.


derfina said...

Maybe next time you can go hunting with a high powered lens (camera) instead of a high powered shotgun, eh? (Although your descriptions make it very easy to 'see'.)

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I'd say this was a stellar way to spend your time. Look at all the wonder you saw. Awesome. Have a great day. :)

Jena Isle said...

Hi Eric,

That was a wonderful post. I could imagine you waking up, walking and watching those does. It must have been a refreshing experience. We can't do it here anymore , but my friend hunts through the internet games, it's called "Deer Hunting". and he says he enjoys it a lot.

One lesson I have learned from your post is that: "United we stand, divided, we fall." lol... or
"We are like angles with single wings, we have to hold on to each other so we could fly."

Cheers and enjoy your vacation.

Jena Isle said...

Oh, btw Eric, I have given you an award at my Gewgaw Writing blog. Do pick it up. Thanks.

Not The Rockefellers said...

It's too bad you didn't get a buck. Maybe next time. On the way home through New York State a saw three road kill buck. All youg'uns.

Peace - Rene

Eric S. said...

@ AngelBaby, Thanks. I was hoping to take everyone along with me. Yes it is beautiful in its own right. Not quite the same as the mountains of Colorado, but nice anyway.

@ Shadow, I'm glad you enjoyed it. It always makes me feel good when I can bring people along through my writing.

@ Confused, thanks, your right there is absolutely nothing like getting out to the woods. So refreshing and relaxing.

@ Summer, Thank you, hunting is so misunderstood by many people. It has gotten a bad reputation from a few bad apples. Hunting is all about conservation and preservation of our resources. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I had a hard time keeping myself from laughing out loud when the Turkeys and the Hog got into it. I wish I could have seen the chasing you around, the mental image is quite funny, sorry.

@ Tasha, darn you caught us! LOL. You should get your husband to take you along. That way you could enjoy the outdoors with him and experience a few new joys. Your Hubby is one lucky guy for more reasons than one.

@ Derfina, Some day I will take a decent camera with me. I have tried with the cheap little ones I have, but they just don't work that well for wildlife photography. I'd really like to get a video camera, and capture ome of the more interesting scenes. For now I'll just have to keep using my verbal pictures.

@ Sandee, you are so right, it is a stellar way to spend some time. I enjoy all the wonders of the outdoors.

@ Jena, Thank you, both for the compliments and the award. Your far too kind to me. I enjoyed the weekend so much, and got myself refreshed and recharged. I like the thoughts you have girl, LOL. I'll have to see if I can come up with some more stories with a moral, LOL.

@ Not The Rockefellers, Thanks, but I didn't mind. There is time yet, and I got to see some wonderful wildlife. The funny thing is, I am always saddened to see deer hit on the side of the road. It's a terrible way for them to go.

tashabud said...

If I go, then that will defeat the very purpose of him to get away! LOL. Actually, he wants me to go along, but, with work, it's hard to get away from my work because we're very short of staff. Besides, I just want him to have his time with his hunting buddies and just be himself and not have to worry about me there.

Good night,

Eric S. said...

Tasha, your so good to your hubby. You would probably enjoy it.

Vixen said...

AAAMAZING writing Eric. I have been out in the morning like that (usually just camping, not hunting)as I am an early riser and love to watch the wildlife. You made it all come alive in my head.

redchair said...

That must be outstanding to witness, Eric. I loved your write-up on it. You take us right along with you. You're such a good writer.

Now in reference to those wild turkeys: Would they be good to have for Thanksgiving dinner ..or not?

Kel said...

Sounds a grand morning Rico . . . and makes me itch to get out on mountain.


P.S. We're home. Got in to San Francisco around noon of "the same day" we left Beijing at 4:00pm. The flight was 11.5 hours . . . economy . . . and then an hour and a half by BART train to make it to the town next door . . . then a short lift from Randy's brother from the station to the house. Now we're just hangin' tough sitting up, fighting to stay awake until 9:00 pm, so as to whup the jet lag in two days instead of three of four . . . . SIGH!!!!

soulMerlin said...

Hi Eric....I'm starting to get back to circulation again...although my circulation would have suffered in that period between first light and sun-up. It was just like that when I went to see the Oak.

It is quite amazing about the Turkeys ganging up. Over and over again people underestimate animals...they 'know' and that is the subtle difference...Humans 'think' but animals 'know'.

A very authentic post, from the writing to the events.


Eric S. said...

@ Vixen, Thank you ever so much, you are too kind. I do love the early morning out in the woods. Funny though I can't stand mornings any other time. I prefer the night. LOL.

@ Vikki, Thank you, you always make me blush with your compliments, LOL. It is wonderful to experience, and so refreshing at the same time. Yes those turkeys make a great Thanks Giving meal. They are all dark meat, no white meat what so ever. You would be surprised at how much better they taste that store bought turkey. I plan to take a few turkey this year, I have a friend that makes turkey jerky.

@ Kel, glad you made it back. Sounds like it was a grueling trip back. At least you got to spend some free time exploring China, I loved the photos. Randawg looks very impressive towering over the general populace, LOL.

@ Henry, Good to hear from you. I was so relieved to see a new post on your site, I was getting worried friend. Your so right about the animals. Hope things keep going well for you.

June Saville said...

Thanks for letting us look after your shoulder Eric. I'm one of these characters who don't quite understand the thrill of a hunt when it is called 'sport'. But now your point of view is clear to me. It's the brash killem-at-all-costs-and-whatever-is-in-sight types who make my flesh creep.
Take what is necessary, and with thought for the consequences, is fine by me!

Eric S. said...

hi June, Yes that type of person is not appreciated by most hunters I know. A true hunter is one who is trying to preserve and protect the animals. I know it sounds strange, but when you stop and think about the terrible suffering caused by over population you may understand. Even in some of the national Parks, where hunting is not allowed, there have been serious consequences of over population. Those in charge then "hired" snipers, to come in and do a mass kill. That type of "thinning" is what makes me sick. They would be far better off allowing selective hunting, perhaps a draw system. This way Hunters could harvest the oldest, and the ones with the poorest genetics. In the long run, it would create a healthier, stronger heard of animals.

June Saville said...

Long may your attitude reign Eric.
Recently there was a most horrible mass killing of kangaroos here in Oz. It had become necessary because of over-population.
On the other hand such issues as over-fishing have depleted fish stocks so much we're in trouble.

Eric S. said...

The excess in either direction causes untold problems. Hopefully someday a happy medium will be found world wide.

Mass killing of animals to control population is always sad. So much goes to waste, and there is no respect in it.


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