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This was a round table with students and residents of Flushing. They were able to share their stories and opinions on hunting.
It’s a brisk autumn morning; the deer will be moving today. Two hours earlier it was the first time since last season hunting clothes saw the light of day. They’re heavy but it’s okay that they are heavy; they keep the body heat in and the chilly wind out. Without the jacket and lined Carhartt pants the cold would whip you to the bone. The paths to the tree stands are flooded with leaves with a dusting of frost on the top. To raise the gun to the top you clip it to a rope that is connected to the tree stand, climbing up the tree stand the ladder bounces and creaks a little. All that is left to do is to pull the gun up, load it and lower the case back to the cold hard ground. There is about an hour before the sun rises, so all there is to do is sit and wait. Finally it is light enough to see so now it is time to be observant of the surroundings and all the little crunches and cracks in the woods. The woods are dead; there isn’t a single noise except the wind through the trees, nothing has stirred. For the past four hours the woods have been peaceful… there is a loud cracking and crunching in the woods to the left in the distance; there is a doe, she fair sized. There is an even louder crackling of leaves: a nice 11 point weighing in at 250 pounds. The hunt begins.
William Tucker says “My favorite thing and the thing I love about hunting is the tracking of the animal.”
Kent Towns loves hunting. “When I was young I never went deer hunting, I only went pheasant hunting, and I never really got into it. Ever since I started hunting with my two boys I have got back into hunting a lot more, this year I got a big 11 point.”
Tucker said if anyone is interested in getting into hunting to “Find a close family member or friend and learn from them. It’s [a] relaxing respect for nature. If you take the time to slow down from everyday hustle you will get the chance to see some great things: owls, coyotes, watching deer… allows you to recharge your mental batteries. Kind of become one with nature, and appreciate God’s gifts of nature.”
Robert Wiedyk is an avid outdoorsman and his favorite thing about hunting is “being in the stand with my son, enjoying being in nature and watching wildlife and hearing a screech owl in the dark when waiting for it to be light.”
“One thing I won’t forget is the time I was hunting and it was cold and I didn’t see anything and I was starting to get annoyed and hungry for Oreos so I got down from my stand and went back to the cabin to eat my Oreos; when my dad got back he saw me sitting there with my Oreos,” Junior Austin Sanborn humorously added.
Sanborn said “My favorite thing about hunting is going up north not having to worry about the rest of the world and not having to care about needing to be somewhere or about getting something done in time for something or someone.”
“If someone is interested in hunting they should find someone they trust or someone who is close to them and ask them about it or see if they can go with them when they go hunting, but the person interested should be taught to respect nature and the weapon.” Sanborn remarked.
The buck is too far out. There is no shot. The shotgun doesn’t have the kind of range needed to drop the trophy deer so the wait increases hoping that the buck will come to the bait by the stand. The buck turns the opposite direction of the stand and darts off towards the doe. The wait gets longer. There is a squirrel nearby. It runs down, jumps on a pine tree and is knocking down pine cones, and making more noise which makes it harder to hear an incoming deer. The wind is picking up the tree starts blowing; this makes the stand sway and creak in the wind. The wind is ripping through the jacket now so it’s time to get out the hand warmers, and put them in the jacket to generate heat. An hour passes; there is a commotion on the edge of the woods: the sounds of antlers crashing together. The males are showing their dominance, playing, or trying to impress a doe because it’s mating season. The commotion comes to an end and the woods are silent again. In the distance a buck is trotting towards the stand,; it’s too far to shoot so it’s time to test patience with a high point and stunning buck tempting the natural instinct to shoot. The buck stops and sniffs the air like it senses danger, it’s looking all around but it continues forward towards the stand, believing there is no danger present. On its way to the stand it jumps over fallen trees so gracefully… but it’s dinner and no part of it is wasted. The buck finally gets to the perfect spot; it starts eating so now is the time to shoulder the gun and find the lung with the sights. Bang! The deer is impaled with the slug. The buck falls, stands up, and runs about 20 yards and drops again but this time it doesn’t get up. It’s a totally different perspective on the ground; when the feet hit the cold hard soil the trees get in the line of vision so now it’s time to walk in the direction the buck slipped off to. To find the deer the green flashlight helps illuminate the blood trail of the large antlered buck. There in the distance the buck comes into view now and it’s time to drag it to the gutting spot, the gutting spot selected away from the stands so the deer don’t get the scent and get spooked. When at the spot it’s time to get down and dirty gutting the big buck. Then off to the processor it goes, it’s time to decide what you want the meat made into; there is a wide selection of cuts: steaks, straps, back straps, roast, sausage, bacon, snack sticks, or jerky. Finally the deer is done getting processed; the freezer is full of this beast.
The hunting round table went well and was a little one-sided because those against hunting did not attend. The ones who did show up were a mixture between experienced and amateur hunters. The round table answered all questions and gave the hunters that showed up a time to share thoughts, feelings, theories and stories.