The Hunt

Creative writing class: “Write a poem addressed to a family member.”

Me: “The Hunt”

As a child, I could not look you in the eye,
for fear of disappointment.
I did not hunt; breaking tradition.

 You embraced the harsh wind blowing at your face,
sitting hours on end in the rain.
I, being the smart one, sat inside
watching TV, sipping hot chocolate.

 One night, you picked me up from my friend’s house
on your way back from hunting.
It was dark, so thankfully you couldn’t see
a tear quietly rolling down my cheek.

 My heart was racing. I wanted to ask,
“Are you proud of me?”
I should have been out there with you,
though I knew it would have felt forced.

 And so I tell you, father, that it is not out of guilt
that you find me here today in camouflage.
It took many years of being inside
to finally understand your passion for the outdoors.

 At least now I can look you in the eye;
knowing yours won’t be disappointed,
mine will not shed a tear.

One week after submitting this poem, I went hunting with my dad for the first time- October 5,2012. I spent 2 ½ hours in a blind in Hadley and didn’t see anything but two squirrels and some birds.

Two weeks later, October 19, 2012, we (my sister, dad, and I) decided to give it a second try. We headed over to our friend’s backyard; a piece of property that was highly praised by my dad and sister who had had great experiences hunting there in the past. I made my way into the blind, set up, and the waiting began.

For the first half hour, all we saw was birds. I thought “This better not turn out like my last trip. If so, I’m officially cursed.” Forty minutes into the hunt, two little fawns came wandering into view. I watched as the first deer I’d ever seen up-close went about their day in front of me. It was reassuring, knowing that I was not, in fact, cursed. After about ten minutes, they ran off and we were left with the birds and the trees.

About forty minutes after they had left, the two fawns came back. They hung around the same spot, about ten yards in front of me, and went about their business. Dad leaned over and whispered one of his many tips to me, “Watch those little ones. You can tell by the way they act that there’s other deer around.” No less than ten seconds after he said that did both fawns, in unison, look off into the distance towards the same area.  They had seen or heard something. Something big. “Oh my god, Kevin,” my dad whispered. “It’s the ten point. Get your bow ready”

At first, I didn’t believe him. After all, only ten minutes prior, my sister had whispered to me, “Oh, if dad ever tells you he sees a monster buck, don’t believe him. He does that to me every time and there’s never anything there.” I didn’t have my hopes up, but for some reason, I didn’t completely doubt him. I could not see the hypothetical buck yet. My dad was at an angle where he could see it approaching, but I had to wait for it to show up in my viewing window. My heart wasn’t quite racing, but it had sure picked up. My sister, sitting behind me, did all she could to control her excitement. We all waited for the buck to enter my viewing window. It finally entered, dad hadn’t been joking. It was a very nice sized ten point buck. I had to remember to breathe.

I couldn’t shoot right away because I didn’t have a good shot on him. I watched as he slowly made his way closer and closer to the center of my window- the perfect place for me to take my shot. I couldn’t look at it because I was afraid I’d start laughing out of excitement. I looked away, only to have my eyes linger back to the potential prize-buck just yards in front of me. The fawns and the buck intermingled and he slowly made his way, step by step, closer to the center. I looked at my bow- it was shaking. Valerie asked for my right hand. I held it out for her and she wrapped her gloved hands around it. “I have to make sure they don’t get cold and stiff up,” she whispered.

Nature started going crazy. Two birds nearby loudly began hackling for the first time all night. What we later assumed was a mouse was scratching annoyingly at our door. My heart finally began racing when I pulled the bow up, slowly, carefully, into position. I slowly, quietly, began to pull the arrow back. After pulling for what seemed like an hour, it was at the right length; time to find the buck in my sights. This turned out to be quite the struggle. The red dot showed up just fine, but the rest of what I could see in the scope, tinted in blue, blended in with the darkening evening. I could not see the deer clearly in my scope. With the arrow still drawn, I would look away from the sight and try to imagine where I was aiming on the buck. I looked back and forth with the arrow drawn, waiting for my perfect shot. When I thought I had the right aim, I fired.

I saw the arrow flying. I was almost positive it had hit the bottom part of his vitals, but it was possible that I had aimed too low. The fawns and buck frantically scattered. My dad and sister finally let out a sigh of relief and excitedly convinced me that I had indeed shot it. We would have to wait thirty minutes until we could start tracking it. My heart rate went back to a normal rate; I began to accept the fact that I had actually just shot the gorgeous buck. Only the longest half hour ever would stand in my way of finding out.

When the time came, we all left the blind, eager to follow the trail. We found the initial hit point and began walking through the woods, following the trail and eventually found it about one hundred yards away. An hour and a half into the hunt, four hours into my hunting career, I had bagged the biggest buck anyone in my family had ever seen. It was an experience I hope I’ll never forget.

. . . . .

My dad has always been proud of me. I didn’t do this to please him and make up for the fact that I didn’t hunt as a child. This was done out of my own free will. It was a great bonding experience; one that I don’t think would have happened if either he or I would have forced myself to go as a child. I’m grateful for the opportunity I had and for the success that came with it.

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6 thoughts on “The Hunt

  1. This was awesome Kevin!!! The poem was absolutely beautiful and heart wrenching! You are seriously one of the best writers I know, I definitely had a clear picture of the scenes and felt like I was with you!

    I miss you and everyone from Davison CHWC 2010 so much!! I hope one day we all have the opportunity to reunite!

  2. Kevin – I loved this. The poem made me tear up; the hunting story was great. I can hear your voice through your words – you write the way you think. (I mean that as a compliment!). I always look forward to reading your next post.

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