One thing that outdoorsmen will always do, is be late getting home. No matter how long they claim they will be gone, or how long they intend to be gone, they will always be later than stated. Its not our fault really, time just changes when you’re outside, especially if you’re like me and get distracted easily.
I remember a few years ago I watched a film called “The Missing“. Its a great film and it has a quote in it that I’ve always felt struck a chord with me:
- Samuel: [long pause] There’s a Apache story about a man that woke up one morning and saw a hawk on the wind. Walked outside and never returned. After he died, he met his wife in the spirit world. She asked him why he never came home, he said “Well, the hawk kept flying.”
- Samuel: There’s always the next something, Maggie. And that will take a man away.
Now back to where I was going with this.. Oh right, getting distracted, I guess that happens even in my writing. Anyway, I set up my bear bait just before the season opened, when it was still nice and cold outside. Not surprisingly, nothing showed up on the trail cameras over the next few weeks.
A while later, the first weekend of the season actually, I decided to go have a sit in my little handmade blind. I figured nothing would show up, there were still no pictures on the trail cameras and nothing missing from the bait barrel. I figured it would be nice to just sit and relax for an hour or so and maybe see if I could spot anything that needed adjusting, maybe some branches trimmed to give me a shooting lane, things like that. A few minutes in, I realized that my blind was in short supply of something to sit on and crouching just wasn’t pleasant. Not worrying about blowing my cover, I stood up and started to walk around the area looking for a good log I could commandeer and use as a seat. Most of the ones I found were too rotten to support my body mass. Suddenly, in front of me on the trail, there was a great big, terrifying…. pile of moose poo. Then it hit me! A thought, not the moose poo, it was stationary. Where there’s moose poo, there’s moose, where there’s moose, there’s antler sheds. So I abandoned my log hunt for a shed hunt. I didn’t find much, I never seem to do well while searching for sheds it seems.
After some walking around I came to a clearing at the edge of a pond and glanced up across it and saw two beavers sun bathing on top of their lodge. I can’t help but feel the expression “busy as a beaver” might be misleading, or are these beavers the exception? Either way, I decided to try and get some pictures of these lazy beavers. I walked up to the waters edge and snapped a few pictures with my phone, but they just looked so far away. So, I came up with a plan, I walked back to the quad and drove it around to the far side of the pond where I could get a closer look at the beavers. I walked slowly and silently toward them, I froze like a statue every time one of them turned to look at me. Finally I was about five yards from the water and about ten yards from the lodge and they spotted me. They dove into the icy water, I crouched there silently for what felt like minutes, finally they resurfaced through the thin layer of ice. The cracking ice made that amazing sound, a mix of lazer beams and rubbing polystyrene together. They both looked right at me, I refused to move a muscle. Slowly they both swam back to their home, climbed on top of it, and started licking and shaking the water from their fur.
I slipped ever closer, this time without notice. The toes of my hunting boots were in the water, this was as close as I could get without swimming and I didn’t feel like wrecking my hair. I had my rifle with me, like I always do in the bush, I carefully maneuvered it onto a patch of grass where it would stay dry. I then dug my phone out of my pocket and snapped some more pictures. Eventually I was noticed and the beavers dove back into the water, this time seemed to have a little more panic. I decided that was enough stress for two animals trying to enjoy the sun, I grabbed my rifle and snuck back to the quad, all the while trying not to arouse anymore suspicion.
As I headed home I looked at my watch, I had been gone for almost three hours. That’s triple what I had intended, but well… the hawk kept flying… and I didn’t even get a decent picture… Still a better use of time than watching TV, if you ask me.
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