It didn’t take long for me to become somewhat disenchanted as my confidence waned with the lack of game. I watched that fence for two hours and didn’t see one living organism. To make matters worse, the silence was deafening until I really started listening, at which time every single noise I did hear fed my paranoia to the point that I was driving myself (already a bit unstable) completely bananas. I just tried to remember to breathe and calmly think about what I was going to do to Jon if I made it out of there alive.
I was considering pulling his toenails off one by one with pliers, pouring syrup on his back and pushing him onto an ant hill, or possibly just forcing him to drink from our colleague’s spit cup. The options were endless and, admittedly, both a welcome distraction and an amusing source of entertainment.
With that I noticed movement in the tree next to me. I calmly looked up and saw a red squirrel darting through the intertwined branches above me. I watched him for a strong five minutes as his antics were quite riveting. When I finally looked back down at the Alley of Stillness and Boredom, there was something distinctly different about the view. A short way down the slope at forty yards was a mule deer peering out from the woods on the in-play side of the fence. I could only see his face and limited portions of his rack as he was still tucked into the trees.
My heart started pounding and I slowly raised my rifle and looked through the scope. It was a buck, all right, but I couldn’t yet see how mature he was or even get a good angle for an acceptable kill shot. I waited patiently for a time, and then, as if he’d played this game before, he darted from the cover of the trees, jumped the fence, and then stopped and quartered toward me as if to say, “I saw you the whole time and know you can’t shoot me over here.”
He stood there patiently staring at me for a moment, as though he were flaunting his mental superiority over me. As contempt brewed inside me, I noticed he was a mature eight-point with some serious mass and tall brow tines. Clearly, he hadn’t gotten that old by being careless.
The buck then turned and calmly strutted into the woods on the neighboring property, knowing full well that there was nothing I could do about it. That was the end of that.