It’s opening morning but not opening of shooting. Not yet. So that silhouette of a deer, a buck, on the hillside over there is mightily testing my nerves.
It’s not testing my lawfulness. I couldn’t get a good bead with my open sights if I wanted to. And I don’t want to. Not yet.
But this wait is an agonizing weight on my eyes. The breeze bites my face, and I blink to clear my eyes of moisture. Will it ever get light?
It’s that rack slowly turning in the murky light of early dawn that has nerve endings arcing through my body. It’s knowing I have no control over the next 20 minutes before it’s light enough to shoot. No control over the buck’s morning path.
The buck doesn’t know I’m here. And sure, I can stay still. But at some point that trophy deer is going to wander off the hillside, perhaps into the darkness of the grassy fence line and brush between us.
And I’ll wonder where I’ll see it next, if I’m lucky enough to see it at all. How close? How light?
Or perhaps it will go the other way, and I’ll fill the sunrise preoccupied with the hope that another hunter will push it back toward me.
But now the deer is on high alert, having heard the slamming of a vehicle’s door piercing through the crisp air. I realize for the first time that my hands are cold. A dog barks in the distance. And then it’s quiet again.
As I hoped, the silhouette slides off the hill in my direction. It’s disappears. It’s all black and white now, both the dawning and what I do next.
I do nothing except stay quiet. I wait. I can’t move. I can barely breath. It’s opening morning.
Greschner is Rice Lake Chronotype sports editor.