Sunday, November 9, 2008

Branch Butt

  This morning at the end of the hunt I took the bag of screw-in steps and cut the tags off.  The tags are WARNING tags in several languages, and require shears, flame, oxidants or oily rags to remove.
  Warning.  Death.  Dismemberment.  Severe injury.  Do not use for climbing.  Do not eat.  Do not use as support.  Remove from healthy trees after use.  Beware.  Falling hazard.  Adult supervision.  Puncture hazard.  Poison.  For use by one person only.

  People, people, people.

   I used them this afternoon to get up a big 60 year pine.  This is a Wild pine.  Unclimbed.  Scaly loose bark.  Lightning struck 40 years ago and grew around the dead part.  Poison Ivy to carefully clip, peel and drop.  Tremendous view of the other end of the pasture I've been hunting.  I could see down into the tall grass.  Noticed that there were some probably left-hand shots.  Found a nice branch and parked myself watching one way and listening another.  After an hour I was getting branch butt and stood up to stretch.

  Years ago, I shot a big buck near here and lost him.  I'd never lost a deer at that time.  He didn't go to waste.  Coyotes and vultures have to eat too, but I was upset.  Big buck.  Long shot.  Match ammo and an X-ring zero.  345 yards with a light mirage from the left.  I read the wind and distance and broke a perfect shot on the trigger and cross hairs dropping the bullet over the crown of the field.  I KNEW I hit that deer.

  But I never found him until the NEXT year when I walked up a leg bone under this unclimbed pine.  More scuffling around found the vertebrae, the other legs and shoulders.  No head.  No horns.  Turned out someone else had picked it up.  I made a pile of bones and offered up the appropriate prayer.

  So I'm standing on this branch doing a little pine yoga to get the blood flowing and notice the branch I am sitting on has crushed pine needles and a little white piece of trash.  That's odd.  I pick up the white trash and its a squirrel-chiseled deer vertebrae.  Gotta be from that deer.

  Thirty feet up a big pine in the evening light.  It's a process, this hunting thing.

  Later, two does walked under me.  I'm quite taken with the view.

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