Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Night Lights

Tales from a Hunting Journal
(Part XII)

     My nephew, my brother's son, does not visit much.  He is chained to the suburbs by parents unwilling to make the trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa.  My brother likes to forget about the outdoors and our family traditions.  His son only hears whispers of the stories of a young man afield.  But every once in awhile, on a rare occasion, I kidnap my nephew and allow him to explore a whole new world, free of mini-vans and soccer practice.  He gets to play freely amongst the trees.
     And so shortly after Christmas, my brother and his family visit a weekend or two after the holiday to celebrate.  I told my nephew I would drive him back to "civilization" so he could spend an extra night at Grandma's house.  Part of the deal, however, was that the night had to be spent coyote hunting.  This deal did not go over well with my daughters as they had not yet gone coyote hunting and desperately wanted to.  Grandpa jumped at the chance to hunt with his grandson and a sleepover quickly turned into an event.
     The night was cold and clear as we packed the side-by-side for the trip to our set-up.  Grandpa wanted to sit up in the two-man stand so Justyn wouldn't be so apprehensive (coyotes don't climb ladders, do they?).  We bumped along the woods trails, eerily looking like a dark-leaved tunnel in the UTV's headlights, not saying a word, Justyn shivering a little with cold and excitement.  We parked and trucked through the snow into the stand.  I hunkered down about 35 yards in front and off to the side with caller in hand.  Sitting in a lawn chair, back to a tree, as the caller wailed like a wounded rabbit, I tried to pierce the night's shroud with my stare.  A handful of times I thought I saw shadows move and I felt as if Justyn and Grandpa were using me for bait.  Several eternities passed in between scanning the field for glowing eyes.  The excitement and enjoyment were tangible, I couldn't tell if I were more excited because of the hunt or who was hunting.  The whole thing seemed so joyously surreal.
     Before the excitement wore off and turned into frigid boredom, Grandpa flipped on the spotlight and took a poke at an imaginary critter.  Justyn got to hold the spotlight, to hear a shot, to smell the gunpowder in the air.  We gathered our gear and walked out into the field.  Justyn led the way looking for the stealthy creature that was hiding amongst the pines, flitting in the shadows.  Not able to find a drop of blood or ounce of fur, we headed back to our rig and followed the drifting woodsmoke back home to a warm fire and hot chocolate.
     Forever turned out to be two hours of sitting and it was perfect.   

No comments:

Post a Comment