Experience

A good hunter would have taken a shot this morning - and hit one, probably the big buck. And I call myself a deer hunter. How many years now - three, four? Still an untried rookie.

What would Daddy think? Hunting reminds me of him, even after three years without him. He loved the woods and this time of year. I miss him more out here. He tried to go that last year; so sick he had to rest after putting on each boot, but he went anyway for a little while.

Deer? Fox squirrel. 2:00 p.m. Maybe I won't tell anyone about this morning. Deer running everywhere - yes, running, but still no excuse for the hunters I know. Sitting here with my rifle tossed aside and a book in my hand, like I was on a picnic, and suddenly deer running everywhere. Probably pretty funny. Yeah, I'm a deer hunter. No, I don't think I'll tell.

2:20 p.m. Probably won't even see another deer, let alone shoot one. Had my chance. Anyone else would have shot that deer. What would Daddy think? Wouldn't say much, as usual, but ...

Beautiful weather this year - best yet. Too hot for most, but just right for me. So, not a total loss. Beautiful woods, nice weather, warm sun, quiet, good book - forget the book. Daddy would have hit it; he would have hit all those deer with a rifle like this.

Pay attention! Now, how would I try to shoot if I saw one there, or there? Doesn't matter. Great shot - with a target and a prop. No prop here even if I did decide to shoot, even if I did see another one. No way could I hit one just standing here like this. Rookie, fool.

2:45 Pretty cozy up against this tree. Could even sit down and take a little nap. There! Straight ahead ... three. They'll see me if I raise my rifle. What to do? Need to shoot. Can't let them go - not this time. Either do it now or quit pretending. Slowly. The one in the middle, the big one.

Need to shoot, but probably won't hit freestanding. Try anyway. Slow. Aim. Should have left my scope on. Probably won't matter. Safety off, easy, quiet. She's moving - need to do it now, or all of them will run, just like this morning. Wait for a good shot - wait. Gotta do this - can't not do it. Carefully squeeze, don't jerk. Running, leaping - once, twice, like she's ... hit?

A hit! Good shot? Maybe, maybe not. Could lose her. Okay, think. Wait, then go look. Excited? Don't know yet. Two fences. Loaded rifle. Leave the rifle? Might need it. Okay, first the rifle, then me - then again. About here. No blood - anywhere. Just as I suspected - missed. Look a little more to be sure. Thought I saw a wound. Another rookie wasting a deer. No more pretending. Don't belong here. Done.

What's that? Oh...