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Author Topic: Slap Shot - by Charlie Lamb  (Read 291 times)

Offline Terry_Green

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Slap Shot - by Charlie Lamb
« on: April 30, 2003, 11:13:00 AM »
Slap Shot

by Charlie Lamb

 

I was a little discouraged coming down off the mountain. There was about ten inches of new snow in the timber and a couple less in the open. Through my binoculars I had picked out the forms of various animals feeding on the wind swept ridges at timberline. It was one of those situations. You know. Can’t get there from here.
I had tried it, but each knee straining step was worse than the one before. The snow increased in depth as I moved slowly upward. I had finally given up halfway to the top. The snow, which had been a blessing below was above my knees and getting deeper. Tomorrow or the next day would be different. The snow would melt. It was early in the season yet.

The heavy racked bucks I had seen would stay where they were. There was no hurry for them to move to lower elevation,  they knew it and so did I. My problem was that I only had this day. There was no tomorrow or the next day as far as my hunting plans, went.
And so it went that I slogged back down the mountain, out of the dark pine timber and through the belt of aspens to lower ground. There were deer down here and the occasional elk, but I knew that the better bucks were up high.

I had on a new set of snow camo. New for that time at least. It was good looking stuff and I really wanted to test it out on something. Anything! So it happened that I stepped from the last fringe of cover into a huge sage brush flat. Not over a hundred yards away I spotted four mulie does bedded around a clump of lodgepole pine. The deer were evenly spaced around the trees which had grown in a tight cluster one hundred yards from any other trees.

I thought that there could be a buck with the bunch and if he was of any size would be tucked into the deep shadows cast by the huge old pines. I could plainly see the does nodding and dozing in the bright mountain sun. But try as I might I could not make out anything resembling a deer in the shadows.

It occurred to me that this situation would at least offer me the opportunity to test my snow camo. I pulled my white stocking cap down over my face and stepped boldly into the open. Without taking any particular care, except using the wind, I quickly closed the distance on the bedded does.

In fifteen minutes I had covered the one hundred yard gap and was standing in the wide open a mere fifteen feet from the closest doe. I could plainly see her eye lashes at that distance and smiled under my mask as her eye lids drooped and closed from time to time. Even at ten yards from the trees I could not penetrate the shadows with my gaze. The contrast was just too great between sparkling snow and jet black shadow.
Suddenly there was a commotion in the trees and a huge old four point buck burst from the cover and his bed. I knew it, there had been a buck in there! He hove to a stop twenty yards from me, dead  broadside. All that separated us was one small Christmas tree that stood halfway between us. As I slowly raised my recurve bow I side stepped  the tree. I was vaguely aware of the does looking around unsure of which way to go to escape danger. The camo had them fooled completely.

The cedar arrow came smoothly back across the rug rest and my middle finger found it’s anchor at the corner of my mouth. Years of instinctive shooting had taken over and the little voice in my head screamed at me to release as the razor sharp broadhead settled into position in my peripheral vision.

As the bowstring slipped from the tips of my horsehide glove I was aware of a movement out of the corner of my eye. The arrow flashed across the open toward the bucks chest. It was right on. Then suddenly she was there. One of the does streaked from behind the Christmas tree and the well aimed arrow, bound for success, buried deep in her spinal column just behind her head

I stood in shock as the buck and remaining does bounded from view across the frozen landscape. Fifteen  yards in front of me lay the still form of the fat doe. A crimson stain spread slowly in the snow where my arrow pierced her neck. The buck looked around for a few seconds and then trotted casually over the brow of the hill and out of my life.
What are you gonna do in a situation like that. Part of me wanted to cry and the other part smiled in amazement at this strange turn of events.

Oh well, I thought a moment about the long drag I still had to make, then reached for the knife at my side. Even though I didn't have the buck of my dreams, I'd made meat for the winter and had made a memory. Isn't that what it's really all about?

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