Some may find this disturbing...I apologize up front
DAY 18…Blog for the day is posted…Shower is completed…skipping Dinner tonight…being safe and secure for the night in mid-town Long Beach, Washington, I would usually slip into the feathers and read from my new Kindle…but …
I been thinking about that herd of Elk we came across today.
All my life I have been an avid fisherman and hunter. From 9 years old, I had my own shotgun and rifle to hunt pheasant, quail, deer and elk…not to mention fishing equipment for Bass, Perch, Salmon, Halibut, and Trout.
I have also been asked what I think about out there walking alone for hour after hour.
Today, it was the Elk. When was the last time I hunted. What caused the “last time” to be the last time…
I recalled……..as I walked today….
Hunting near Coupeville, Whidbey Island, Washington, carrying my 20 gauge shotgun with double OO birdshot, hunting for pheasant. Up walks to me the Game Warden.
How you doing?
Not so good so far.
We have a situation…I need your help.
We have a non-native Mule Deer over in those trees – pointing – which has been badly wounded by a hunter who shot him full in the face and front quarters with bird shot.
He is badly wounded and not trustworthy to be loose.
You have any slugs (solid bullets) for your 20 gauge?
Yes, but not with me…back home in Bayview, about 20 minutes away.
Do you have time to drive & get your “slug” load?
Yes, and I can bring my Dad, two Brothers and an Uncle, who all have deer rifles.
Great…If you will do that, perhaps we can all together find and put that deer down.
So, I drive back home and we all arrive back at the waiting Game Warden.
OK, folks…lets line up about 100 feet apart forming a line along this road…the wounded 2-point is in that grove of trees.
We all line up…me in the center of the line as we walk together off the road into the trees…the Game Warden staying on the road watching over us.
Not 100 feet off the road, I come face to face with a big Buck Deer, large Antlers with two points on each side of his rack…He stands facing me. I stop..Raise my Shotgun…
He lets out a squeal, pivots and takes a leap directly away from me.
He leaps a second time…bounds really, like only a deer does, as my slug leaves my gun.
He is in mid leap, staggers in mid air, and does a forward summer salt and slides to a halt not 50 feet from me…He does not move.
I run up to him…stopping 15 feet short…he is still breathing and trying to get up. His front legs lift him up, but his hind legs lie limp. My slug has hit his spine…he is paralyzed.
I slowly walk up to him…he suddenly rises up onto his front legs, lowers his head and charges me, dragging his hind quarters.
I am now only 10 feet away and pump another shell into the chamber of my 20 gauge.
The deer is upon me, trying to slash me with his sharp front hoofs…
I drop my shotgun just as he raises his head trying to gore me with his antlers.
I grab both sides of his rack, and twist his head as hard as I can…
He jabs at me with his feet, and I flip him on his side, throwing my right leg over his back and getting a scissor lock around his neck in front of his thrashing front legs.
I’m now holding his antlers with my left hand and sitting on his neck, all his weight on my left leg under him…I reach for my hunting knife on my belt…find it…unsnap the flap…and jerk it from the scabbard.
The deer is in a panic…he is thrashing his legs and jerking his head…I nearly lose my grip on his horns.
I reach my right hand under his neck…find his throat, and pull my knife straight up into his throat, twisting and pulling until I feel his hot blood spurting on my hand…
He gives a very loud squeal and stiffens under me.
I hold my knife deep into his throat…he relaxes…I let go the knife and grab his right antler with my right hand.
He is shuddering under me. I lean my head forward between his horns, resting my chin on his forehead and start talking to him….
I apologize…I whisper into his face…his eyes roll up to look at me…our eyes are nearly touching…I keep talking to him…
I tell him I do not want to do this to him…I am so very sorry…
I release my left hand from his antler…my head still between them resting above his eyes…
I slowly caress below his left eye and down his muzzle, ending under his mouth, holding his chin in my palm…I still whisper to him all the while.
His eyes roll up to look directly into mine.
His eyes fill with tears
I keep whispering to him and caressing him under his chin.
The Game Warden arrives as the deer, tears falling from his eyes, takes a long sigh
And goes still
My last shot EVER was fired that day
That brave deer has not been forgotten
I have shed many a tear in remembering our last embrace.
Today, walking to Key West, I shed more than a few tears for that deer I killed over 50 years ago.
I have come to understand the preciousness of the spark of life.
I never again want to extinguish that spark.
This is a true story...perhaps it was my Uncle B. who was there that day...