Well, another bear season has come and gone without me even seeing one. A huge disapointment, but I suppose I could have went out more then I did. Kinda lazy I am. But it gets expensive after a while, driving there and back. Anyways, there is the end of August and beginning of September yet.
But as I sulk about my unfortunate luck I remember the good old hunting days. Yes, even before I could hunt. I would wait for the beginning of hunting season like I would wait for Christmas, not being able to sleep and all. My dad wouldn't hunt alone of course, he had his usual bunch of guys that came up. Uncle Phil, Uncle Ray, Uncle Glenn (who isn't my uncle at all, but he was the local pastor and he came over about 6 days a week, so he was considered an uncle), Mike, Paul, and sometimes people like Will and Ken would come up.
Anyway, they would all come the night before and plan for their escapades in the morning. I hovered around like a moth to light, mainly keeping my mouth shut and learning the abundant knowledge that oozed from their mouths. I watched them point out random spots on the maps they had spread across the table, discussing times and places of interests. They would then talk about "pushing bush", a term that I loved to use when talking to my minor hunting pals at school. Then, after all plans would be made, the visitors would head downstairs and sleep in the woodroom.
After I would get home from school on opening day, I would throw my backpack inside and run off to the shop, desperately hoping a monster buck would be lying in the shop. Most of the time there would be three or four, but usually no monsters. After the end of the day, they would come in and eat supper before those who lived farther away, such as Uncle Phil and his friends, would go home. I sat and listened intently to the stories of the day, like the deer that ran past the posters during a push.
Among some of the more interesting stories I heard was the one about Uncle Phil and the buck that almost was. Uncle Phil was hunting and he saw a buck and let off a few rounds, then followed a blood trail for goodness knows how long. He eventually found the buck, and he then began to gut it out. When he was done, he was just starting to notch his tags when two other hunters pulled up. There they claimed the deer as their own, telling Uncle Phil that they had shot it but had forgotten their tags. They then had to go home and grab their tags, so Uncle Phil, being to kind person he is (he was also outnumbered by armed men).
Meanwhile, all the hunters that had returned home were gathered around the shop, when we (as in the hunters and myself) heard several quick gunshots. These were followed by more, until it started to sound like a war. I think we counted 13 or 14 gunshots within the minute. My Uncle Ray was cracking jokes about how it was probably Uncle Phil, as he is infamous for his ability to get running deer to go faster. I think that that image has dimished over the years, as I remember him nailing two running deer with three shots one year. Dropped them about 100 yards from each other.
Anyway, we all waited until a weary and depressed Uncle Phil walked into view. Immediately the group of hunters rattled off dry remarks, asking him if he had to come back for more shells and what not. To everones surprise he to them he hadn't fired off one of those shots, and then related the heartbreaking story to us.
Of course there are many, many more stories for other days, but this shall do for right now.