Friday, October 18, 2013

One of the Most Dangerous Animals

It was just after daybreak. I had watched her for about 30 minutes in the dark as she worked her way across the field.  She was both beautiful and dangerous. In fact, if you think about it, most things in nature share those two attributes.
Mount Everest is one example. The largest mountain in the world has enticed many a climber with her glorious beauty. She is also a killer. Nearly everyone that has ventured to the summit has come back with either parts of their bodies missing and damaged through frostbite or falls or parts of their soul grieving for the bodies they spot on the way to or from the peak. It is too dangerous to return the fallen, so the climbers that did not make lay scattered throughout the mountain. Having made authors such as Jon Krakauer and Anatoli Boukreev famous with their stories of Everest’s ferocity, it still isn’t close to causing the death, destruction, and disease of the beast that was in front of me.
Niagara with all her history and splendidness is also a devout widow-maker. She has power that few things or places on this world could ever compare to. Many times you can visit something that is regarded as larger than life and then once you get there you realize “wow, it’s not nearly as impressive as I thought it was.” Not Niagara Falls. It actually is beyond what you can imagine. The force of the water slapping the rocks below, the spray that results towering higher than any building it is very impressive. From miles away the sound and spray can be seen. Many daredevils have ventured down the river on their way to the drop. Only a few have survived. Yet it still does not contend with what stood just yards away from me.
Yes, this was the moment. Her kind was scarce just a few decades ago. Through both management and mismanagement she began to flourish however. In fact she is so common throughout the state that North Carolina has allowed unlimited harvest. She destroys landscapes. She decimates food crops. And during the months of October through December she especially burdensome to travelers. She fears not the would-be driver and often will head for direct impact. She also shares parasites, mites, and ticks with both people and pets.
This would be my chance to turn the tables. It had now been nearly an hour after I first saw her. I was not sure I would get an opportunity. She walked from left to right out of the swamp, occasionally pulling up soybeans as she strolled through the field. Patiently I waited. For some reason she turned. I remained still and steadfast sitting on the lock-on stand. She made another turn offering my movement to grab my bow without her noticing. She then turned back toward me once again. I could tell she was completely unaware of my presence. Her ears twitching away from me and back toward the swamp gave away her lack of insight. A little closer, that is all I needed.
Then she walked towards the stand and was only a few yards away. No clear shot for her vitals, I knew I still had one shot available. Nearly directly under me I set the sights. With one steady pull the string and arrow locked in place on the Pearson Stealth II. My right index finger slowly moved up and over the release trigger. Instinctively, the pin glided to the intended point of impact and the trigger was grazed.
The spine shot laid down the doe immediately. Thirty seconds later and another deer would be done.

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