I was just sorta hiking along trying to stay out of the wind and warm up after sitting from before sunrise until nine thirty in the morning. At nine o’clock I was shaking pretty good, it was 21 above, with the wind howling, the wind-chill, made the air temp feel like zero. I was cold.
After climbing down out of my stand I left the logging road and headed for a big growth of balsam trees I thought I’d still hunt around. When I got to the non windy side I eased my way around without seeing anything. I meandered across an old woodcut and dropped down into a north- south running draw, half way down the west slope I spied just the faintest deer trail that I bent over to inspect. In that slight meandering trail was one incredibly large set of tracks. Then I really began to shake. There was no frost in the tracks, they were fresh. It was ten after ten in the morning.
Without moving I followed with my eyes the line of tracks through the leaf littered slope to the creek bottom, and then as it went up the facing slope I lost sight of it. I physically moved quietly over to where I could once again follow the tracks that created the trail.
When I reached the top of that little slope the wind was once again so raw, I knelt down.
Not forty feet away about eye level in a tangle of hazel brush I could see the top of one antler tine and it was as white as a church candle taper. I couldn’t stop shaking. It was ten thirty six.
Now my mind started to race with questions, first with the wind blowing from me to the deer, why didn’t the buck rise and bolt. Why was the buck not moving, why couldn’t I see more of the rack, why couldn’t I see more of the deer. I gently slipped the safety off and aimed where I thought the buck would be if it stood up. I anchored myself for what I thought would be a shot, only seconds away.
Seconds became hours, the wind never let up and I was so cold I’m not sure I wasn’t just numb, but I didn’t move. That tine never so much as wiggled. My eyes watered, my shoulders ached and my knees felt like hot rocks burning to get out of my coveralls. Finally the one lone tine, turned every so slightly. Now I could see tines all down and around one side of the rack. It was a ten pointer.
His front came up first and then the hinds followed, I could see clearly into the boiler room and I aimed right at it, when he looked back over his left shoulder, towards me, I pulled the trigger. It was two thirty in the afternoon. The trout whisperer