Never miss the details
Find a nice spot in the gully that has food and browse and deer trails. Then sit and observe the world at a local scope for the day. Forget what’s going on in the news. Phone on ‘Do not Disturb’.
Eat that choco/granola bar that’s been in the lid of your pack the last few trips. Notice its printing is fully scarred on its plastifoily wrapper.
The outer surface of the chocolate shows its perfect aging process. Never melting completely from the grain mix. The chocolate layer has been warmed enough to ‘offgas’ more of the cocoa processing agents and giving the pallet the truer notes from this region’s cacao. This thought process justifies subsistence on the aged pack snack and increases enjoyment.
In this case ‘Nice & Natural’ in Auckland, NZ is the only link I get to the cocoa region.
Should I stay or should I go?
Waiting on the Lord
I am pretty sure that most of the successful hunters i know are guys who are moving pretty fast. Covering lots of ground. I can do that, too. But the first sambar stag I shot was me lifting my head because I heard hoof beats in a totally silent morning. I had been sitting in a likely place- in the dewey grass at the base of a burned-out standing tree stump. I was actually kneeling as this particular scene unfolded. My bow was propped in the naturally tall grass with an arrow nocked. I was face down in fetal position at around sunrise. I was praying but not toward Mecca, and not for my hunting I’d say, because that just isn’t ever near the top of the list if you’ve got a wife, daughters and friends. I lifted my head slowly in complete control though these were pretty rushed sounds of travel from my left. He was straight-leg stomping down the soft forest deer track on a path that would lead him broadside at under 20. I don’t remember the details of what was going through my mind other than a calm thought of “Yep, here it is, here we go”. I guess I was on auto-pilot for the most part. My bow was in my hand and when he was just about broadside I let out a kissy-smooch sound that stopped him perfectly at the end of my drawn arrow.
I let the arrow loose and remember watching the fletches disappear into the brown just up and back from the front leg crease. But the stag was seemingly unmoved in the moment, still looking right through me as my silhouette was shrouded by the 12 ft tall charred base of an ancient eucalypt.
Then he continued up that same track with all the teenage confidence he rolled in with. I slowly got up and watched him trot away up the ridge for another 200 meters. I walked quietly and slowly for about 20 meters watching him. This is not really advisable in most situations. Sit and let them expire. Don’t even give them an opprtunity to know you are there is they dont already. In this instance I got away with it for a bit. He walked through a few rays of sun that reached through the trees from the east ridge. It seemed as though by the time he got to the ridge his gait had slowed and his head had been lowering to lateral with his haunches. I watched him pause and start to teeter… maybe… I’m not sure. It was just a split second hesitation in his steps that I was pretty certain I saw just as the outline of his body protruded into the skyline above the ridge.
But you just can’t be sure. And sambar are very tough. I’ve heard stories of more than one rifle shot hitting their mark and the samabr still went many kilometers.
Did I even hit him?
I sat back down at the log. It’s known as “the log” by me and Paully. It’s just a nice seat on a deer highway. I sat back at the log for a good ten minutes before I texted Nathan. We split ways at the top of the gully. He wanted to just come out and read in the forest and tag along for the morning. I rarely take anyone out. I don’t need the hassle of expectations when I just want to walk in the garden with my bow for as long as it takes to accomplish the ‘not much’ that I have planned. Nathan is a rare gem of a human. I’d have him around no matter what I had planned.
I told Nathan to just start walking down the gully toward the creek bottom and then traverse a trail parallel to the creek and I’ll see him. He asked if I’d seen anything. I just affirmed a “yes” and gave him directions. He had no idea my bow had spat an arrow.
Go up and you’ll have victory
Wait for my spirit moving on the mulberry trees. (Just so you’re aware that it’s me who gives you victories)