There are times that the opportunity come where we can shoot the deer

There are times that the opportunity come where we can shoot the deer. But sometimes we are waiting for the better chance to come, which it doesn’t come all the time.

Speaking about taking what you can instead of waiting for something better, or the “bird in the hand” philosophy, I had a similar experience with the deer that I thought might be a squirrel—recounted elsewhere in the book.

On that day, I started out with the intention of getting a deer for the house. I had been working hard, trying to provide for my family, with little opportunity of getting out into the woods. If you think it is easy for a deer hunter to spend his time during the open season working for wages, you are not a deer hunter.

At the time, I was living on Deer Hill in Kennebec County. Deer Hill was not named for a family by the name of Deer. I have always said that the last deer to be shot in Kennebec County would be from Deer Hill, but I am sorry to relate that most of it has been turned into a chicken farm and the land has been cleared of the apple trees, which were so attractive to game, and turned into an enormous—for Maine cornfield. And they call this progress!

However, on this day, I crossed the west branch of the Sheepscot River where I was sure I would find deer. I hadn’t gone far before I kicked a half-grown deer out of the brush. He, or she, wasn’t over a hundred feet from me and was an easy shot, but I said, “Run along and grow up and I’ll see you next year.”

Darned if I didn’t jump another similar deer within a half-mile of the first and this one stood and presented a broadside shot. Yet I passed it up as I had the first one. Then I came to the squirrel that turned out to be a deer. I shot her, a good doe, but instead of dragging her directly home, took her to the nearest road, which was in the opposite direction from home. Hanging her up in a neighbor’s barn for the night, I walked home.

Homeward, I met a mighty nice buck that stood in the road permitting me to walk within buckshot range before he jumped a stonewall and into a small field where he started feeding. He continued to feed as I walked past in plain sight and not over a hundred and fifty yards away. I was tempted to take him and give my doe to the neighbor who was kind enough to care for her until I could pick her up. I was able to resist the temptation, probably because I was too tired to bother with the job of caring for the second animal.

It is no use for the hunter to force himself into the hunting when his body cannot resist, the good rest is also important preparing him for the next hunt.

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