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I watched the 8-point Virginia buck feast on the ripe berry bush next to the caterpillar green field from my stand. Sweat was streaming down my parched face, as I clinched my .30-.30 Winchester tightly to my right cheek and glazed down her sights. The searing hot summer sun and the orchestra of crickets screeching all around were little distractions compared to the mosquitoes that were arbitrarily feasting on my body. The buck was about 80 yards away and seemed as though he was enjoying himself in the pleasant shade of a large old oak tree, nestled on the edge of the field where the flourishing berries grew adjacent to.
I knew that with one slight pull of my finger, I would take the sterling buck’s life as my prize. I could visualize every sensation and result in my mind once the trigger was pulled. The fierce powerful recoil of the rifle into my shoulder, the roaring thunderous “Boom!” the stench of burnt gunpowder amidst in the air, and the life of the buck gone with the wind as it lay motionless on the ground. I embraced the vision and slowly began to pull the trigger as the smell of roasting venison over a cedar-oak fire rested pleasantly in the back of my mind.
Seconds later, a ferocious ringing was cluttering my ears and before I knew it, it was done. Several birds filled the sky with there wings as if the world had suddenly imploded on them. A strong gulf breeze blew in from the west cooling my baked skull, and carrying off the smells of potassium nitrate mixed with charcoal and sulfur into the wind. I approached the buck from behind with my rifle poised for a follow-up shot. He was still twitching as early signs of rigor mortis began to set in. He laid there on the soft, dry grass with his tongue dangling out of his mouth and blood protruding from his neck. His coat looked like something between a ragged pelage to a solid deep auburn and his white tail distinctively stuck out like a poise. His gallant rack displayed great arrogance and pride. I silently chanted a prayer for the deer which was an ancestral tradition that is rooted in my genes.
“Oh, Great Spirit whose voice I hear in the winds and whose breath gives life to all the world, hear me, I am small and weak… I need your strength and wisdom. Make my hands respect the things you have made and my ears sharp to hear your voice….I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy; myself….so when life fades, as the fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.”
After showing my respect, I pulled out my ocean blue tarp from my sac and began preparing the buck to be brought back to my sacred makeshift camp.
Arriving at the camp I immediately hung the buck between two tall pine trees, which were fairly apart. Coniferous trees surrounded the campsite. The forest floor was blanketed with a thick bed of pine needles and pinecones were all around with an aroma of pine that could be smelt for miles. A few several feet away from the campsite was a miniature hemlock swamp where a thick, boggy browse swallowed its surroundings. I eventually gathered my necessary tools to skin and field dress the buck. I began making clean cuts with a sharp skinning knife on the inside of the legs, which would add to the attractiveness of the finished hide. Working from the rear up to the brisket, I began to field dress the deer removing all the foul innards into an old rusted up fishing bucket and then tossing them into the creek. After the rawhide is removed from the carcass, the hide is wiped clean and salt is placed all over the inside of the hide for latter tanning.
Several hours later, after butchering all the meat, I sat next to the cozy cedar-oak fire with a stuporous bewildered gaze into the pot roast. The smells of the cedar and the garlic shank roast was flaring my nostrils with supreme euphoria and filling the woods with a scent of aromatic nirvana. My enlightenment was almost complete. I clenched my steak knife and stabbed into the pot, taking in a large bite of shank venison roast and consummating my final goal of pure enlightenment. Now I was ready and allowed to be a man. I was now able to come back home to my village and be respected for my attainment.