Saturday, October 5, 2013
Jumping the Gun.
It's a brisk Saturday morning. The sun shines over the horizon with those long streaks of sunbeams that make the autumnal coloured leaves literally radiate. It's a beautiful morning. The type of morning one imagines to spend doing all sorts of wonderful, active, healthy, things amidst the majesty of mother nature. And here I am, out to kill things.
It's early, not as early as I was instructed to arrive, but I had pleadingly negotiated a more humane start date with Trevor, my guide for the morning. Yet, the time is still ungodly. Trevor is around my age, but, measured in terms relevant both know and a hundred years ago, he is far more advanced in age. He owns a house, a truck, and has a well paying job and doesn't have a hard time waking up so early. Also, by the frontier yard stick, he is a man because he has killed things. You know - for sport. Trevor is a big time hunter. Elk, moose, dear, squirrel, and one time, bear; he's hunted it all. The friend of an acquaintance, Trevor has about as much in common with me as he does, say, a lobster. Which is, ironic because I feel as though a lobster would be better adept as traversing the wilderness, blood-hungrily. Why I'm out here, on such a mission can only be attributed to the fact that neither Trevor or I was ballsy enough to call each other's bluff. His amusement that I had never been hunting, in lo my 26 years, and my amusement in his amusement has led us down this path. He offered and I, seeking material, took him up on it.
Trevor is sitting outside on his front step when I show up. "You're late" the only greeting I receive before he stands, and enters his front door after which I assume I am to follow. "You're not dressed right," he says as he opens his front closet and riffles though and pulls jackets, hats, and various other articles out and throws them at me. Camouflage, I realize, comes in many shades and patterns. Each specifically designed to trick an unsuspecting beast into thinking we (the hunters) are just simple bits of twigs and leaves before "BANG" they're dead.
When Trevor deems my ensemble (a word I feel safe in saying, that Trevor has never uttered) passable, he wordlessly leads me to his truck, we get in and head into the wilderness. Or rather we drive outside of the city, turn off a few roads, ditch the truck and stalk off into the brush. As an admittedly less-than-red blooded male, I am perplexed by the urge for my more blood hungry brothers to go out with full bellies in order to murder innocent and quite cute-looking deers and other quadrupeds for kicks. When I broach the subject with Trevor, the one word, grunted response as to his motivation is simply: "Fun."
With that settled, and after I am shushed by Trevor for the hundredth time (he is not one for words, and certainly not a fan of other's either) we head deeper and deeper into the heart of the forest. The walk would not be easily compared to a stroll in the park. I trip, I fall, Trevor's camouflage pants are far too long, his boots a size or two too big, which only hinders my already unsteady progression and further irritates my guide.
We reach a spot in the trees that over looks a serene meadow. It stretched east, and the sun, barely visible, paints it harvest gold. the air is cool and still. Trevor has with him a gun, a scope, and a veritable utility belt of handy woodland tools. He does not have, much to my disappointment, a cinnamon dolce latte. Nor does he have ample good humor enough to appreciate me asking. At first the fresh morning air was refreshing. y body, unaccustomed to taking so much of it in has sprung to life. Now, however, I was getting sleepy. My facial region, and my hands were freezing while my core, wrapped in Trevor's hunting jacket. We are sitting on a log which is not the most comfortable for my posterior. I fidget, but am reminded by Trevor to stop moving and focus.
And so I tried. The problem being there is not much for me to focus on. The field, as far as I can see, is empty. No deer wandering about, ready to meet their maker. No birds singing. There is no sound besides my stuttering breath, and Trevor's steady huffing. I want to pull out my phone but I reminded that I am in the middle of no where, where no one can hear me scream and Trevor has a gun.
Despite it's badass reputation hunting is surprisingly boring. Which I am thankful for, actually. I am not entirely on board with this purpose of this outing. Hunting, to me seems silly. I am not a vegetarian, but lazy enough that the idea of going out, finding, and killing an animal to satisfy my hunger seems archaic. There is a Subway down the street that does that job well enough, thank you. The second part of why I agreed to trample out in the wilderness with Trevor is to try to understand his motivation. Try to comprehend his desire to conquer nature by shooting guns at it.
This motivation might be the only aspect that I will be able to investigate because, as Trevor reminds me: "If you keep making so much god-damn noise not even the most retarded deer will come within a hundred miles of us."
We sit for what seems like hours watching the field. Trevor has, after a lesson in carefully handling it, given me possession of the scope. I scan the horizon, my eyelashes looking like giant spiders legs against the eye piece. There doesn't appear to be any signs of life, and I have to admit that hunting for all it's manly fronting is really just sitting in the bush. Mind you there are guns involved. Trevor's gun is supposedly a pretty nice one. Meaning he uses a lot of big words to describe it and it's functions. The naming of his rifle may be the largest collection of words that Trevor strings together so when he is finished I give him a hopefully impressed sounding "Ooooh!"
My stomach rumbles just as Trevor tenses beside me. He has spotted something and with a lot of restraint he doesn't clock me. There, he silently point out, across the meadow is a beautiful young buck. Not the kind that is typically pointed out to me, but the actual one with antlers. I spy him, with my little eye through the scope. There he is just minding his own business, sniffing the air as he raises his head. He is pretty young, if you count points on antlers like the rings in trees, a fact that was never clarified by Trevor. He has few points and looks awkward and gangly. He is teenager and he is about to get shot. I have personified animals ever since I was young a threw a few cat weddings that are still remembered as the social highlights of spring/summer '94. So I find it impossible to not imagine a Deer News Anchor reading the news on a log TV as a deer family watches and reports on the tragic shooting of a young buck. A senseless act of violence.
Time moves in slow motion as I watch Trevor raise his rifle. He looks through his scope and I look through mine as the little deer's ears twitch and he bends down to munch on some grass. I put the scope down. I can't watch. I see that Trevor's finger rests on the trigger. And...
"Don't!" I say.
Trevor signs deeply, and pulls his gun from position, lowering it as he looks for me. Which is a blessing. He might just take aim at me.
"Please don't shoot him," I plead. "He looks so young and innocent"
If looks could kill, Trevor would be strapping my shot riddled corpse to the hood of his truck. His expression is fierce. I would feel guiltier if he didn't know what he was getting into. He had been informed by multiple sources that it was unwise to take me out on a hunt. That is was stupid even. That I was ill prepared. Emotional. Silly. To be fair, I knew there was a chance that he would shoot something but I only thought of it in the abstract. As in Trevor would shoot something and that would be that. Not that I would see it happen, think of it's family, and then god-forbid see it's dead body.
Trevor is a handsome enough guy, which already makes me want him to like me. But that possibility is shrinking by the second. He glares at me and I try to give him an adorable, innocent little shrug that I hope makes him less likely to kill me. To his credit, he doesn't. When I explain to him the thoughts on the deer TV anchor, and the story getting back to the deer's family, he actually smiles. Headway!
At this point our hunting trip turns into sitting in the woods. Trevor has beef jerky with him and he gives me a strip. It's hard and tastes like what I imagine dog food tastes like, but I skipped breakfast so therefore it's the most delicious thing I have ever tasted. I stretch my legs out from the log, and as the rises rises higher and higher over the meadow, and as Trevor puts his gun away I think I could get used to this hunting thing.