“Boom!” The retort was sharp in my ear even through my muffs, the kickback jarred my shoulder. It was cold even though I had enough layers on to make me look like a small bear. I didn’t dare look down at my feet, but instead looked out across to see what I had just done. I’d shot a deer. This big beautiful buck lay dead.
The tree stand I was sitting in was high enough to turn my stomach if I looked down. Which I avoided doing. My tree stand was still securely attached to the tree I was in and the ladder below it felt like it was still well attached when I grasped it to climb to the ground. I could feel my harness pulling tension between where it was attached to my body and its attachment point on the tree; it was still secure as well. As I reminded myself to breathe, I slipped and my boot lost its grip on the ladder. For a moment I thought I was going to fall but then that tension jerked to a halt as the harness gripped me and I gripped its straps and the ladder rungs. Vertigo threatened but I put my boot back on the ladder and finished descending.
With my boots firmly on the ground, I started towards my quarry. I was as quiet as I possibly could be, but as the tension eased animals started moving. Crows set flight turning the mid-morning sky to a midnight expanse in the flap of wings. A rabbit rustled around disappearing out of and back into the brush. A skink slithered across a fallen tree thin with hunger but racing to avoid the flap of wings.
For a moment or so the area had been quiet and still with death, but now it showed that life went on for everyone and everything other than the buck I’d killed. He lay on the ground, his belly still round enough to show he, at least, had been eating as well as he could while there was still some foliage. Bronze, copper, and gold flecked his pelt. As the sun revealed itself from behind its crow woven curtain his coat gleamed as the warm colors reflected the suns light. White collared his throat and muzzle giving him the appearance of wearing a halter made of new fallen snow. His antlers gleamed as the sun glinted across them making them shine as though polished.
As I reached for the buck I blinked – and the world shifted. I was back under my tree stand, but this time I held a bow. The warm “thwang” of the bow string reverberated up my arms as fast as the sound reached my ears. The scene replayed again – the only difference was my weapon of use. Again when I blinked upon reaching for the buck I was transported back to the tree and this time holding a crossbow.
The third time it happened I realized I was dreaming. I must need to go to Bass Pro Shops down the street in Katy for something. ‘Tis the season to go a hunting and I’d need ammo, a license, and fresh tips for my arrows and bolts depending on what I ended up using. “Time to get up and go,” I thought as I got up to get dressed and go to my favorite store in town - Bass Pro Shops.