This is an entry to this week's Freaky Friday contest by @pete
Jack, Ed, and I were heading across the valley on a cold day. We were going to hunt duck and geese. Jack was more about hunting for sport and taxidermy, while Ed believed in eating what one hunted. I enjoyed some Ed's cooking in the past, especially that venison. Me, on the other hand, was not here for hunting. I work as a outdoor guide and they decided to have me tag along. I have always been a fan of the great outdoors. The wide open spaces....the lush forest....the beautiful lakes....the majestic waterfalls....the many wonderful animals that graced the outdoors....the look of the sky....everything that was great about God's awesome masterpieces. Now I was going to get a close up look of hunting in person. As much as I love animals, I didn't mind going hunting (even though I was only a guide for this trip). In fact, I was fascinated by it. I always wondered what hunting was like, and now was my chance.
We rode on Jack's big RV to the hunting site, and we then got into our outdoor gear as we headed towards this big lake about 10 yards from our stopping point. Jack and Ed both had their hunting rifles loaded and at the ready while I got my camcorder mounted onto my hat and followed them. Jack said the key to any hunt is to be subtle. That means no making noises (you can whisper, but make sure you are not loud), no sudden moves, no missed shots, and definitely no alerting what you're hunting. To hunt animals, you got to make sure they don't know you're here; they will run like fire if they do. And it is not for the impatient ones either; you've got to scan the whole area and watch these animals go about doing their normal activities. Eventually, you'll find a moment where you can pull the trigger and make the kill. This was the philosophy of hunting for Ed and Jack. As much as I wasn't a hunter and was excited to see it in action, it was a philosophy I took utmost care in giving great respect.
Jack and Ed took up two different positions in and around the lake. Jack decided to set up near the edge of the lake while Ed set up in the lake (the water wasn't deep enough to warrant swimming). I decided to set up on a flat edge by the water; I did think of setting up on top of a slope, but I didn't want to risk falling and attracting attention. Then, I sat down and quietly watched everything behind the scenes. I made sure not to make too much noise, and pretended I was a photographer carefully scanning the area before taking pictures. I could see that Jack and Ed took their time in waiting for the right time to make the shot. It would probably take minutes, maybe even a few hours. Either way, it didn't really matter to me, as long as I was sitting comfortably with my hat-mounted camcorder recording the whole thing and my camera ready to take pictures. I took a moment to absorb the beautiful landscape that was before me. The ripples in the water....the cloudy sky....the many hills and trees from afar....it all looked so beautiful. It was like watching a painting brought to life. As I watched Jack and Ed, I noticed that these two hunters (each with different goals) were looking as if deep inside they were thinking. I don't know exactly what they were thinking, but I would imagine they were thinking of what they were going to do the moment the time came to take the shot. They were probably going to make a big kill, and obviously do something with what they killed. Jack was probably going to stuff and display it along with his many other hunting trophies at this house (much to his wife's chagrin). Ed would probably roast these ducks for Christmas dinner with his wife and children (I remember eating a nice juicy piece of duck a la orange when Ed invited me over last year to spend Christmas with his family). In the end, though, I wasn't really focused on what they were going to do afterwards. I just wanted to see what it was like to be the hunter.
Then, a half an hour later, both hunters readied their guns. I got my camera out and started to take pictures. They had their sights set on a few big ducks at the other side of the lake. The two hunters were like snipers; waiting until the time was right to shoot. I tried my hardest to contain my excitement, as any sudden noise may ruin the whole hunt. A few minutes of silence passed....and then BANG! Several shots were fired and the many ducks flew away quickly. Moments after that, Jack and Ed both came back with two big ducks each. It seemed like a victory today.
Weeks later, I was back at Ed's place celebrating Christmas dinner with both our families. There was a couple juicy ducks a la orange, large trays of stuffing, a couple of big bowls of mashed potatoes, piles of butter corn-on-the-cob, bowls of banana pudding, a large platter of dinner rolls, large pans of green bean casserole, and more. It was a good feast, and it was a time where I really got to appreciate the success of a hunt. It was a time to feel as if one accomplished something, and I believe that's how Ed felt. With an event like this, it made him feel like he was really doing something worthwhile.
That was the time when I had really gotten a figurative (and literal) taste of hunting.
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