The Outsider: Snap, crackle, pop and Crunch
|By Will Jones - The Outsider | November 16, 2017|
Snap goes a twig as I try to walk quietly through the bush. “Damn it.” I falter, catch my balance and curse under my breath, then, set out again, placing careful feet on a carpet of fallen leaves, amongst odd shaped boulders, over and around the mass of fallen dead branches and twigs.
It’s not long before I’m swearing again because sneaking silently through the hardwoods on a Haliburton hillside is a thing that only the animals that live there, the deer that I am trying to hunt, can do.
Once at my stand, my allotted position to watch for our quarry, it’s not long before I hear the telltale crackle of a scurrying squirrel, as it races down the trunk of a nearby hemlock. And I guess I must be sitting on his nut cache because I’m then treated to a barrage of abuse that even someone like myself, who is less than fluent in rodent-speak, can understand is not a friendly hello. My little pal is in a frenzy. He chatters even quicker than his feet move as he races from tree to tree, across intertwined branches, over the leafy ground carpet, everywhere at breakneck speed, only stopping to chastise me with his nut -induced verbal assault.
And, then, there’s a noise that stops both me and my red furry friend in our tracks. No, not the approach of deer or the voice of a hunting hound but a very loud ‘pop.’ This morning is the first real cold one in the woods and the trees are feeling the freeze. But, right next to me, wow, that sure is loud and Mr. Nutkins thinks so too because he’s gone awfully quiet. For perhaps a minute, there is no sound in my part of the forest, other than the breeze rustling the leaves of a distant trembling aspen. It sounds like a far off waterfall. The almost silence is clean, fresh and exciting, and I listen keenly to try to catch the voices of our dogs on the trail of a deer.
Instead, I am treated to the quirky, alluring cries of a pair of ravens high overhead, their usual caws interspersed with clop’s whistles and hoots. And then there’s Crunch! No, not the crunch of a deer’s foot on frosty fallen leaves but Crunch, the comically named seven-month-old puppy, out on his first hunt. He’s full of joyful barks and yips as he races through the forest. First, giving tongue simply because he can, but then joining with another older dog, and realizing just what his huge bawling howl of a voice is for, as the hounds race through the woods, calling out that they are on the scent of a deer.
There’s a buzz from my radio but I don’t need to be told. “Heads up, boys, there’s a race coming your way...” Go Crunch go. Run fast and sing your song. This is your day, your destiny. Even if killing a deer is not part of my story for this year.
WILL JONES - is The Outsider