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<u>Timmy’s turn</u>

The barrel gleamed softly as the first rays of morning crept through he tree’s. the oiled walnut of the Model 99 was worn smooth by caring hands. The air was still but held the threat of snow. Timmy smiled, the others had chosen to hunt the valley below, but he’d made the long uphill hike in the black of night to get to his stand. Last year had been his first deer season from the large boulder, and he took a plump young fork horn just after 7:00 am .it was his first buck and the thrill had gotten into his young blood. The fever burned throughout the year, now the wait was over, he was back on the ridge!

As the faint light increased, only the depths of the hemlocks above remained obscured. From his perch, he could see both sides of the hollow and most importantly, the crossing at its head. The sheer cliff several hundred yards below, funneled the fleeing deer through he hollow on their way to the hemlocks above. This was a once in a lifetime stand, generously passed on to him a few short seasons before.

“Morning Timmy, grab that bucket of oats for me” came the call from inside the barn. This Saturday morning was not unlike any other in the last few years for Timmy. He would head over to Jebs farm every Saturday to help wherever he was needed. The old man would never admit it, but he was slowing down and welcomed the young mans help. In reality, he enjoyed the company and saw a little of himself in the wide eyed youngster. Quite a few stories were told and more often than not they revolved around hunting. The old man had hunted the far ridge most of his life , his success proven by the scores of bleached racks that hung from the weathered walls of the barn. He made his final trip to the ridge three years prior to fulfill a promise to himself and took a beautiful chocolate horned eight point that now resided over his mantel. Not long after that hunt he had made the decision to pass his magical spot on to a deserving young hunter. Timmy Davis fit the bill perfectly! A hard working, eager to learn youngster who exuded a love for the outdoors as he had done himself for so long. So an agreement was reached and Timmy would spend his weekends and summer vacations helping out on the farm in return Jeb would concede his “rock” and the secrets of the ridge to the exited hunter.

The sounds of the first shots came faintly from the valley below. Hunters were moving from the roads and soon deer would be heading for the safety of the pines that lay above. ”keep your eyes on the laurel below “ the old mans words rang in his head. A blue jay scolded the uninvited guest on the rock at about the same time a red squirrel chattered sharply. Then he heard deer! He turned slowly towards the sound quietly raising the ‘99 as a lone doe snaked through he laurel , she was he first of seven, none of which carried the required headgear to make them legal. Soon a wet snow began to fall.

His initial optimism soon turned to an uncomfortable anxiety as the hours passed by. Several more doe passes his stand and he silently questioned whether to stay put. Again Jebs words rang through his mind, “ be patient young man, it only takes a second” shortly after 11:00 movement again caught his trained eye . A small group of deer were sneaking in and out of sight though the thick laurel that encompassed the ridge. The last of the group was a buck! He saw it only briefly but long enough to confirm it was a shooter. Several agonizing moments passed before he reappeared this time a scant seventy yards away! At the crack of the .308 the buck disappeared into the maze of laurel and all was silent. He found hair and blood almost immediately where the buck had stood and was thankful for the freshly fallen snow. “He wont be far” he said aloud as he sat and waited for nature to take its course.

The trail was good as Timmy rounded the ridgetop and headed for the massive hemlocks near the top. He was not hurrying but the increasing snow had him anxious yet again. Not far into the hemlocks, several doe burst from the cover but no buck followed. In the driving snow the visibility was terrible and Timmy struggled to see into the depths of the pines. As he focused his binoculars he saw antlers! Then they were gone! In agony he peered into the laurel in hopes of catching movement. Then he saw him, at the distant edge of the pines struggling to get over a blowdown. At the recoil he again lost sight of his target. Minutes passed by and still no movement . As he crept slowly up the trail he spotted a brown form laying in deep contrast to the blanket of white. The innocence of the ridge has been taken once again. The ivory horned ten point had made his final escape. After saying a short prayer he quickly got the work on the job at hand. Timmy glanced at his watch it was just after 2:00, with any luck he’d make it back to Jebs by dark!

The day had begun so many hours before yet it seemed too early for it to end. What a great day it had been! Another chapter had been written on the ridge. As he crossed the last fence and headed for the barn Jeb was waiting for him with a smile almost as wide as his weathered face. His pride was evident and he knew in his heart that his “rock “ was in good hands for many years to come!



BONZ
12-21-08
 

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What a great story Bonz... you're the man! Keep up the good writing. Looking forward to the next one!
 

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Thanks again Bonz. Good read that one ....Finn
 

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GOOD read Clay...i agree with the old man "It does only take a second"
. A lesson to be remebered by all.
and one told to this hunter as well many times.
 

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Bonz...

I am really liking these stories about Jeb... hopefully we see more of him in the near future. I juust read this for the 3rd time and like it even more. You got some serious talent that you share with us. I love it!
 
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