The Huntcirca 1988.
A shot rang through the brisk morning air. It came from John's .300 magnum automatic. Then, some shuffling leaves, some twigs cracking, and finally a thud and a bubbly wheezing followed by absolute stillness.
John was a 26 year old hunter from Milwaukee. He had always hunted for large bucks. He knew his gun was a little overkill but he didn't really care. All he cared about was getting a big trophy buck this year.
John's appearance was neatly maintained; not even a single hair protruded out of his nose. He wore a bright orange jumpsuit that looked like it just came out of the L.L.Bean catalog; In fact John looked like he just stepped out of the catalog, too.
This year John's hunting partner was a 52 year old veteran hunter named Bill. Bill had always hunted on this land in Westfield.
Bill hunted deer to get away from his job. He enjoyed hunting because he was outside, and away from all of the conveniences of the modern world. It was tranquil and peaceful.
Bill hunted in an old red, faded jacket that he had used since he was in his twenties. He used a .270 that his grandfather had made. The walnut stock had the patina that comes only from handling. It was a rifle that would do fine if he used a well placed shot, which he always did.
Bill and John had met in a usual way; they worked at the same place. John had sounded like a fair enough hunter to Bill, but he wasn't sure if he had enough hunting experience.
This opening morning they had made their way to the tree stand slowly and cautiously. John had rushed a bit, but Bill slowed him down to a pace that was less likely to spook any deer that might be in the area. When they got to Bill's stand it was almost dawn.
In the stillness after the John's hasty shot they looked at the spot where John's deer had collapsed. John saw it; it was a six point buck. Bill congratulated him.
John muttered," I should have gotten a bigger one."
Bill couldn't understand why John was so displeased. He thought, "John is not the kind of hunter I hoped him to be."
Then, startling both of them, just as John was about to get off the stand and tag his deer, a huge buck snuck in front of them. It caught both of them off guard. Bill thought how beautiful and graceful it was, but his thoughts were cut short by a loud crack from John's magnum.
They both saw the twelve point buck fall to the ground. John triumphantly looked at Bill. What he saw was a disenchanted look on Bill's face as Bill yelled, "What the hell are you doing!"
Then John said, "You didn't really think I would just let a twelve pointer get away, do you?"
Bill knew that he could never go hunting with John again. He quietly took off his faded jacket, pushed up his sleeves and took his hunting knife out of his back pocket. The messy part was about to begin.