The Good Doctor and I crammed ourselves in an old tower and split up the compass. I watched the feeder and the back and he watched the treeline and the front. He was shooting. I was there to call the shots and drag bodies. Around 9:00 we had eight deer milling under a tree a tantalizing 60 yards out. They had a double twiggy screen and never gave a clear shot. After 15 minutes of eating whatever they were eating they doubled back the way they came in. All does. Several candidates.
We sat on that for a half an hour and then I got a little deer under the feeder. Two. Before three came out I had Sneed turned around and getting into position. Two nice does, one clearly the biggest and a yearling. 90 yards. We agreed on the shot and I locked up with binoculars. Sneed settled in, then went right through the trigger on his Remington.
At the shot she flinched and spun. The other two deer fled right, she ran left and pulled a hard turn, digging in to join the group. I could see the exit wound and the expression on her face. She stumbled and then went nose first into the grass, kicked a couple of times and was gone.
We sat and waited for her two friends to leave.
It's killing, deerhunting is. No doubt about it. We killed her to eat her, or for Sneeds family to eat her. I've got a couple in the freezer. My heart went out to her as I watched her run so hard after that mortal blow. We were happy, with the prize and the success of the hunt. First deer for the doctor in two years, but it's tempered by the directness of the process. You don't think about anyone killing for the sausage on your Papa Johns pizza, but they did. We do think about the complexities of hunting and killing your own venison. It's a good thing to go direct, sit in an old tower with the wind blowing out of the north, smell some gunsmoke and step around the blood now and then, so you don't lose contact with that cost.