Sunday, January 1, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 1st installment

      “Wait…” I said.
      “Why?”  Russ whispered.
      “If all their heads are down grazing, they won’t bolt until they see what scared them.”
      “Who says?”
      “The Old Man said – There!  Their heads are down, go for it. Take a breath –easy.”
      “Shut up, Casey. I know how to shoot,” Russ breathed, managing an intense whisper.
     I was an arm’s length from the muzzle blast and could feel the remaining unburned powder stabbing my skin, burning pinpricks. That shock a minor irritation compared to the painful assault on my eardrums!  But, by God, I did not blink. The Old Man has drilled over and over, in late night discussions imparting wisdom about hunting: the absolute most important single thing a shooter must accomplish is to never blink. “If you shut your damn eyes, you will be a sorry shot for the rest of your life.”
     The antelope bounded up in the air the same instant we heard the thump of the bullet hit, and the graceful creature came down in a crumpled pile, life gone.
      “What a shot! A perfect shot at this distance – it must be at least a football field away,” crowed Russ. I didn’t blame him for his outburst of exuberance. There is an adrenalin rush the moments after a kill when a kid has power and control over life. That’s the power that makes hunting appealing at least to Russ and me; oh, and I’m constantly thinking of way we can make money doing what we love. There is something special about hiking into the wild before dawn when there is a nip in the air even in summer just the two of us. The hunt takes us way from people, alone for many miles; just us, armed with our guns, ammo, wits and drive.
      “Give me the gun; they’re on the move,” I shouted, my heart thumping in my chest. The idea they wouldn’t be spooked and wouldn’t bolt if their heads were down must be ‘spud cellar gossip.’ It took precious moments as I rushed to stand up in the soft, sink–in and–fill–your–shoes sand.  We were kneeling in the sandy bottom of the dry irrigation ditch that surrounded the east edge of The Twelve, a name given to this particular field of alfalfa. We had arrived at this place before sunrise, following the road in the dark, cutting through the sage brush to the ditch and finding our spot by the predawn glow on the horizon. We’d carried in a 10 foot pole that had a white t–shirt tied to one end which we stood up like a flag pole. We had quizzed a few of the old savvy hunters and trappers that understood wild game; we learned that even the most skittish animals, although wild, were amazingly curious. All animals in their natural habitat are watching for movement and smell, if a kid is up wind and stays perfectly still, the animal may approach quite

500 more words tomorrow

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