A Weekend at Peace With the Myself


I spent the last three and a half days out at the deer lease.  A perfect ending to a blissfully quiet Thanksgiving holiday.  These days one of the more enjoyable things about Thanksgiving weekend, is the chance to spend an extended weekend out in the country, enjoying myself.  Totally selfish, I know, but I’ll take every chance I get for a little extra time relishing the benefits of Mother Nature.   The days were cool and pleasant, not too cold, but chilly.  Luckily I have little heaters in the blinds, because Friday morning was very cold. I thought I might take you along to enjoy one of the days with me.


5:00 Am came quickly.  My shocked system, so used to late nights - not early mornings, was not happy with me.  I lethargically awoke, trying hard to get all the morning duties out of the way.  Slowly allowing the early morning cold and damp to soak into my consciousness, trying with some effort to energize myself. We had a nice rain off and on over the night, that left a fresh morning dew covering everything.  That smell of freshness right after a rain is one of the simple pleasures of life.  After dressing in plenty of layers, and getting my day pack loaded up with snacks and drinks, we set off toward the hunting pasture. 


From where we park, it’s a short walk, a little less than a mile to the blinds.  With the fresh covering of morning dew, and the overcast sky, it was a little more of a querulous walk.  The heavy darkness held the landscape hidden in an unnerving  suspenseful embrace.  There was no light at all from the night sky, so we had to use flashlights intermittently to find our way, and not spook too many critters.   Of course they did not have the same consideration, moving around in the bushes and fallen leaves.  The unsettling sounds, frightfully loud in the night.  By the time I reached the blind, the hair on the back of my neck was standing on end.  My heart doing summersaults in my chest.  I was fully awake and aware, let alone ready to get into the blind. 


1129081503The wait for days light to appear, taking a little longer than normal.  I was able to let my mind travel through distant thoughts and enjoy some special memories.  It’s amazing how that darkness before dawn can induce some of the most interesting thoughts and ideas.  The morning started to turn a series of progressing shades of grey, casting strange new shadows at different places.  These shadows causing me to scrutinize many a harmless twig or branch.  Once the morning light was upon us, the birds and small critters moved freely around the bushes.  A frequent rustling of leaves, or breaking branches competing for my attention. 


Slowly cautiously, a young spike buck appeared in the tree line.  They are called the grey ghost for a reason, one moment you see them then they are gone, only to appear a little farther down the clearing.  He move with slow precise grace, out into the clearing grazing as he went.  Ever watchful, he ate and moved, raising his head and twitching his tail at each noise.  Before long, he was joined by three doe, nervously moving around the clearing.  There was  something making them uncomfortable and jumpy.  Suddenly I heard a snorting and growling coming from the trees to the left.  The deer jumped and ran in the other direction, leaving the clearing as barren and vacant as they had found it.


Feral Hogs, Image via Wikipedia

Snorting and grunting, a group of Feral hogs came out of the tree line to the north.   Fighting amongst themselves, they moved out into the center of the clearing.  More aggressive than normal, they were obviously not our standard feral hog. They were smaller, only about 100 pounds, and far more quarrelsome than the hogs we usually see.   After watching them for some time, I realized they had some characteristics of the smaller Javelina.  Their heads and snouts were smaller, and the hair on their neck, stood up more pronounced .   The Javelina has been seen around these parts, but not in any large numbers.  They are a very aggressive, vicious animal, who will attack rather than run. I finally decided these hogs must be some kind of cross breed.  


Javelina, Image via WikipediaI was in need of some pork, so I selected the most aggressive of all the hogs.  Taking careful aim, right behind the head for a quick kill.   A hogs skull is thick enough that a bullet can bounce off it.  Slowly taking a breath,  holding it,  I squeezed the trigger.  The rifle bucked against my shoulder, and a small puff of smoke issued from the barrel.   The hog dropped right where he stood, and the rest ran for trees.  After waiting 15 to 20 minutes to be sure it was deceased I climbed down, and cautiously approached it.  Watching closely for the other hogs, I drug it to the base of the blind, and continued my hunt. 


After sitting for the rest of the morning, and not seeing anything else, I went back to the truck and met with my brother in law.  We drove up to the blind, and loaded the hog.  After taking it to town and showing it to the landowner, my suspicions were confirmed.  This was indeed a cross between the local feral hogs, and a Javelina.


It was not only an enjoyable weekend, but a productive one also.  Beside’s the Hog/Javelina (I wonder if it would be a Hogelina, or a Javehog), I took a turkey and a nice large 6 pound catfish.

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SusieScrapper said...

Sounds like you had an excellent time and those hogs would have scared me to death!! You're a really good writer too, very enjoyable to read!!

the walking man said...

Uhm! Pork. How many rounds did it take for the catfish Eric? sounds like you did what you wanted in the way you wanted. Well written memoir.

Shadow said...

a very productive weekend. the hunter brought home food, nice!

i share your sentiments about dawn (and dusk and the good ole' nighttime for me too) bringing interesting, intrigueing thoughts and ideas... can't wait for the holidays so that i sit up at strange hours without worrying about getting sleep in...

derfina said...

Send me some snausage!

LceeL said...

When I was in Viet Nam, there would be times when we would cross the river right outside the village we were staying in and kids would be along the bank, fishing for the family supper. Every once in a while we'd throw a grenade in the water and then watch them scramble for the resultant bounty of fish. And then we'd go out and hunt V.C. Which is why I don't hunt anymore. I do like fishing, though. And I don't use hand grenades anymore. (Can't get 'em.)

confused said...

I know the early morning shock to the system..:)..nice weekend ..and what time is dinner..catfish sounds good..:)

maggie's mind said...

Looks like such a beautiful place to spend some time alone.

Travis Erwin said...

Hogalina, I like it. But why am I picturing fat little fairy girl in the fashion of Thumbalina's evil and ugly stepsister?

tashabud said...

I'm really glad you were able to go hunting and also able to enjoy nature. Getting a hogelina (hehe) and a fish were definitely a plus. I guess you don't need separate hunting days for those from the the deer?

Yup, your story transported me out there to the Texas wilderness--at dawn. Brrr...I felt the chill as well.

Good night,

Cloudia said...

The smell of freshness after the rain IS one of lifes treasures!
Those piggies have relatives in the mountains of Hawaii . . . and you have a reader here. Thank You & Aloha-

Eric S. said...

@ Susie, Yes it was a grand time. It's fun watching the hogs, especially from the safety of the blind. Thank you so much.

@ The Walking Man, LOL, no ammo for the fish, just a little patients and some blood bait. Tasty little bugger though.

@ Shadow, It is always a bonus to bring home the bacon, LOL. I love Dusk, and very seldom enjoy dawn except when I'm hunting. Mainly because I'm not a very good morning person.

@ Defina, I'll have quite a bit of sausage, and a bunch of chops. Not to mention the ribs UMM UMM good.

@ Lou, Nice of you guys to help the kiddies out, LOL. Yep, you might get into a little trouble fishing that way now days. I can see why that would ruin hunting for you.

@ Confused, that early morning shock is not very pleasant, LOL. The catfish was devoured already, and it was very good.

@ Maggie, it is pretty in it's own way. Sometimes I have to let myself sit back and enjoy the Mesquite's, Live Oak, and Scrub Brush. But I have to remember that so many plants down here bite back.

@ Travis, LOL, I love it. Now I'll be seeing that picture in my head for the rest of the week.

@ Tashabud, Thanks, No separate season. Actually hogs are not regulated, you can hunt them anytime. They can really damage property, and many places hunting them is encouraged. They reproduce like rabbits, so they are plentiful everywhere.

@ Cloudia, I didn't know there were hogs in Hawaii, but I guess it does not surprise me. Thanks for reading, and I enjoy your blog too.

Wendy said...

Re: those memories... every time I go out during a dark, starlit night I think of my grandmother who came and got me out of bed at some ungodly hour and dragged me out into the freezing cold with a thermos of hot chocolate to watch Haley's comet. I was too young to appreciate it at that moment, but it's a powerful memory I cherish.

Judi "Jlo" Moran said...

Thanks for the take-along, Eric, on this pre-dawn trek and hunt.
Felt like I was right there with you - sounds like it was worth all the extra effort to wake so early.
Thanks for visiting my 12 Days of Christmas series today, Eric.
I was wondering if you'd be interested in giving your unique slant to one of the few remaining days.
We could use another man on the team - Rick feels a little lonely sometimes, I think!
Well, think about it and let me know: judimoran@gmail.com.

tashabud said...

Well, in that case, I'd be hunting for those fat and juicy "hogelinas"
anytime I'd get low on the bacon. LOL.

Enjoy the fruits of your labor and eat additional stips of bacon for me. I love the smell and taste of bacon.


forsythia said...

We don't hunt, but Phil allows a couple of hunters to go after deer on his land in Knox County, Ohio. Otherwise, they'd gnaw all the trees he keeps trying to plant down to the size of brussel sprouts. On the final day of deer season last year, we went into "Peggy Sue's" for lunch and suddenly realized we were the only people not wearing hunting clothes. The NEXT day we saw our first deer. Three deer were grazing just outside our cabin at dawn. The buck went round front, caught sight of our car, and the three of them bolted up the hill.

Kel said...

That was a lovely visit to the wilds to start my morning. Thanks!

But I have to ask you . . . I know that EVERYTHING in Texas is bigger and meaner than anywhere else in the world *wink*, but good graciousness them thar catfish must be gnarly buggers if you have to bait your hook with bleeding patients !!!! Tee hee hee . . . sorry, just couldn't resist.

Do you dress your own kills? Or take them to a local service provider? One of the things that make my city-raised kids grimace in distaste when I tell the tales of our youth is the thought of their mother having learned to dress deer.

We have wild pig out here too on/in the large mountain park that anchors the East Bay. For us though, the most aggressive and decidely territorial wild critter are the local rattle snakes. Unlike the rattlers back home that will not attack if you make a calm and steady retreat from their area when you here the tell-tale rattle, these this buggers will advance on you agressively, and at top speed for a significant distance. So exit from their territorty requires a healthy dose of adrenaline fueled skidaddle!!

We are off to New York City this morning. Yup!!! "The Big Apple" herself. Got me a wild hair to swing through to visit the Macy's department store to see their 150th anniversary Christmas decorations. Naturally I'll take my moment to sit on Santa's lap (after all, everyone who has seen "Miracle of 34th Street" knows that the "real" Santa works that store!).

I've never been to New York. There are so many things I want to see and experience there that 6 days may not be enough time to scratch that particular itch . . . guess we'll just have to wait to find out.


Jena Isle said...

Hello Eric,

That was a riveting and unique adventure. You do know how to describe the details so nicely. You're a good story writer. I do understand the feeling of watching the early morning unravel before your very eyes.

When I was younger, I used to sit by the mountain top and watched as the sun had slowly risen from the east. It was such an awesome sight especially if it's from a clearing in the mountain top and you're alone with the morning breeze playing on your face and all you can hear is the chirping of birds.

Thanks for sharing this with us.
I hope you can write one for me for the inspirational book. Happy blogging and best regards.

Mike Foster said...

Hi Eric, I enjoyed your post and wanted to let you know. I'm still recovering from my shoulder surgery, getting better every day, but still have difficulty typing for long periods of time.


Eric S. said...

@ Wendy, that sounds like a very nice memory. It's those special moments with the one we love that mean the most. They stick to your mind like glue, and can have the best effect on you at times.

@ Judi, I'm glad you enjoyed the read. It's one of those things I enjoy so completely I can lose myself in the process. I will see about working something up for it, don't know what, but we'll see.

@ Tashabud, Oh yeah, we'll probably go out later in the year to get another one. I love the chops, and the ribs. I never have them make ham or bacon, because the curing process is more difficult. I may check into some way to do it myself.

@ Forsythia, I have always wondered why deer like to eat some trees. It must be something they get out of the bark and sap. Do your hunters ever give you any meat. Venison is very good, and its healthy too, no fat.

@ Kel, OK, OK, you caught the darn typo. I saw it as soon as I pushed publish, LOL. The funny thing is the deer down here are like half the size of deer in Colorado.

We field dress them ourselves, but have them processed by someone we know. It's not like Colorado where you can hang your deer in the garage to cure. Down here you have to have a walk in cooler to do that. With out the facilities it's hard to process them safely yourself. Back home I used to do it all the time. But then it stay below 30 degrees all the time.

I hope you enjoy New York. Now that is one big city. You'll have to let me know how things went. Are you going to get to visit Dom, he said he was home.

@ Jena, Thank you. I enjoy the process of describing as vividly as possible the feelings and terrain around me. I look at it as a challenge. I love it when people say they feel like they were right there, because that means I did what I wanted.

@ Mike, I saw your new post, but I was pretty busy. I have to go back and leave a comment. I'm glad your progressing along with your recovery. Just be careful and don't overdo things. Your luck to have the video site, that probably helps you out a lot right now.

Kel said...

Dom is going to drive up if he can get free. He is working hard to find a new job now that he is back. His position on base has been filled, so he's in a pickle until he can find something because Mike has taken a job in New York, and though he's keeping the house in Maryland, he hopes to rent it to cover the mortagage and can ony afford to let Dominic stay there for a month.

So Dom needs to find job fast to have the cash available for an apartment.

I do hope he is able to make it.

Eric S. said...

OH boy, this is such a bad time to be looking for work. I saw a website somewhere that helps returning soldiers find work. I'll see if I can find it again.

Myst_72 said...

So nicely written, I felt like I was there!


soulMerlin said...

I really enjoyed your trip (I hate getting up and always feel groggy)

Your layout of the post is attractive, are you using windows live writer?


Eric S. said...

Myst 72, thanks I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Hello Henry, Thank you, and yes I use Windows Live Writer, and an add on called Zumantra. They are very helpful.


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