The Art of Hunting

I got colder and colder as the sun peeked over the treetops on the edge of the fire lane. It took my father and grandfather two days to find that pristine spot. It was an absolutely perfect morning until my scope started to fog up. For the next hour I busied myself swirling my jacket on the lens to try to get it clear. I looked through the scope to see if it was clear. And there, 150 yards away, I saw the doe.

I hadn’t even anticipated seeing a deer that day. I’ve always been a crappy hunter, and I didn’t have the luxury of nice private land. I was out in the middle of nowhere and I had no idea if anything even lived where I was hunting.

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Jenson Chier prepares for a long wait in the deer stand.

But I did see a deer. And in the next moment, it was gone. It took me several minutes to realize my gun had fired. With my heart beating out of my chest, I ran down to the spot where I saw the deer. No blood. No deer.

I wasn’t mad. Most guys my age would be though. Junior Drake Enderlin is one of those people. He said, “I get one pretty much every weekend. I’m lucky because I have my own land.”

Enderlin said, “I’ve passed up deer most people wouldn’t ever pass up. Seven points, eight points. To me, it’s not just about getting the deer. It’s about getting THE deer.”

Enderlin doesn’t flinch in the face of a dead deer. Neither does Junior Jeremy Baste. Baste said, “When I kill a deer, I just tell myself, ‘My family’s got to eat.’” Baste’s family cleans, stores, and eats everything they harvest on their own land.

Junior Josh Pinter isn’t nearly the hunter Baste and Enderlin are. He said, “I just like going out there. I’ve killed a few, but I can’t say I really enjoyed getting the deer. It was more about just being there.”

But even Pinter has had more success than I have. I still have never killed a deer. But I can’t say it upsets me. To me, a successful hunt is being out in the woods, with the sun peeking over the treetops.

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