I recently reread the book Merle’s Door by Ted Kerasote, one of my favorite books of all time. As usual, it awakened in me a need to get out into the wild and hunt. However, despite what my taxidermic collection might say, I am not a hunter in real life. I satisfy this craving through video games for right now.
If I’m in the mood for a quick run, I play Hunting Unlimited 2009, or Deer Hunter 2005. Sometimes I’ll play Carnivores or another more fanciful hunting game. But this book awakened a need for something realistic, so I went for the most realistic hunting game I know of: The Hunter.
Now, I have a free account, so all I can hunt are Mule Deer, but that’s fine. It’s the area and he feeling I love so much. I hunted for over an hour today, and while I spotted a doe, I was so shocked to see her that I couldn’t get a shot off in time. Instead, I spent time tracking a couple of deer, and enjoyed the lovely views.
I started the hunt at six am, game time, and enjoyed the sight of the beautiful pink sunrise that greeted me.
Within an hour, I was caught in a sudden downpour that made tracking difficult. I lost the deer I’d been tracking in the resulting mud, but I was left with a gorgeous image as I looked to the sky.
I loved this image so much, it didn’t matter to me that I didn’t get a deer. I saw a pheasant and tried to get some pictures of it, but I couldn’t get close enough for it to be defined on the camera, so I won’t share those photos of fail with you. However, I feel refreshed and calm, as if I really did just go on a nature walk. I’m going back into the game now, and perhaps this time I will bag a deer. More photos to follow – I will probably edit this entry. 🙂
Went hunting again and finally got the hang of tracking. I still have yet to even see a buck, but I bagged 4 mule deer does, and managed to get a couple of good pictures of a live pheasant. 😀
This was the first deer I took down. I didn’t think I’d hit her at first (I forgot to hold down space when firing, which causes your character to hold their breath and therefore steady your aim), but then I found blood on the ground and tracked her a few hundred yards to where she fell. 😀
The second deer I managed to hit was a stomach shot, and had it been real I would’ve seriously apologized to it for that. It walked a very long way, almost a mile, before it laid down and died. It took me nearly 20 minutes to find it. It looked so peaceful laying there that I aimed my camera carefully to get the best shot.
This was the only deer I hit that fell where it stood. Inspection showed I’d taken out one of it’s neck vertebrae, and death was instant. I angled the shot so the entry wound could be seen.
This deer didn’t walk nearly as far as the second one before it fell, but it did walk far enough that it laid down and died. Again, I angled the picture carefully so it looked to be resting.
And now for the live shots!
I’d been tracking the 4th deer in the above set, after having shot it, when something moved in my peripheral vision. “No way,” I thought. “I hit that in the lung… it couldn’t still be walking around.” I brought up my binoculars and looked. I was shocked to see a pheasant, walking calmly in low grass. I crouched and moved closer, expecting it to flush at any moment and fly away. But it stayed, and I kept getting closer. Eventually I dropped all the way and belly crawled toward it. The following shots are what I got before it finally noticed me and flew away.
A very pretty bird and I was very happy to have seen it. I don’t have a license for pheasant or it would’ve been a trophy for sure, as close as I got to it. However, I loved seeing it walk around. So far I haven’t been able to get any photos of live deer – they’re always too far away and spook before I get close enough for a good shot. But some day, I will just lay in wait and get a nice picture.
Not of the first buck I see, though. He’s going in my trophy collection for sure. 😛