It is cold this late-season, December morning. Twenty-two degrees.
The climb up the ridge has me sweating. Too many clothes on and too old. My glasses fog up from the excess body heat. Daylight is coming.
I'm not sure why I am even hunting this morning. My freezer is full of deer meat and I have filled the freezers of several other families.
Besides, I have used my two buck tags, I can't shoot anything but does. But I am enjoying just sitting here on this ridge above the holler and watching the day unfold.
Hunting is not all about killing something.
But make no mistake, if a young, tender, fat doe walks by, I will shoot. I would like to find my lower plate. Somehow, I lost my teeth up here a while back.
It is a long story.
There is a deer in the trees and brush on the ridge in front of me. I don't know where it came from or how it got there.
I can't tell what, but very big body. I can only see pieces and patches as he/she walks down the sloping point.
Always, the head is hidden. A mistake could be costly. I can only shoot a doe and I can't see the head clearly.
I'm sure it is a doe but I have to be positive.
Then, I can see next to nothing. A grey blanket of fog is rolling in. My deer vanishes. Then, 80-yards below me, he appear at the edge of the pasture. Only one antler, but it is good one. Next year, he could be a dandy. The, the fog descends.
I like fog. I guess I should say, I like watching fog from a safe, secure place. I don't like driving or boating in fog. I once spent most of night, lost on Center Hill Lake, due to a dense fog.
But I am enjoying this time, just before sunup as fog fills the holler and creeps up the ridges. I know from experience, deer hunting is not good in the fog.
They can't see well so, they are reluctant to move or feed.
My most memorable fog is one I encountered years ago, hunting northern Alberta with Len Amate. We were hit and run rattling along some river.
It was thick brush, perfect for rattling. Then we saw the hoar frost coming. It was minus-1 degrees and in seconds, we had zero visibility.
When the fog lifted, all the brush was coated with an inch of frozen frost.
It is not that cold on this morning. Maybe, just as the sun breaks over the ridge and begins to burn the fog off, they will move to relocate. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the sights and sounds.
Somewhere, to my right and above me a Pileated Woodpecker is beating his brains out on a dead tree. I'm glad I can still hear him. I don't hear well at all and much of the sounds of nature, now escape me.
I haven't heard a deer walk in a few years. Once, I often heard them before I saw them. Now, I don't even hear the crackle of the frozen leaves and grass, as I walk across the field.
I have cooled off considerably. I'm still wearing my "tennis shoe" boots and my toes are getting cold.
Most of the time, I can't feel them anyway. Peripheral neuropathy just flat sucks. The rest of me is quite comfortable.
Now, the fog is starting to take the holler. I can only see part of the field the deer often cross. The holler is gone now, swallowed up by the fog.
The field I saw the big buck in last week, is down there somewhere. I can hear a cow and I think a mule or donkey or jack, somewhere off in the distance.
Here comes the sun, right on schedule. It is blinding as it tops the ridge.
The fog won't be around much longer. Probably, neither will I. We are going to put up two ladder stands this morning. Get ready for next season.
I silently ask God, if it is his plan, to give me another season. I haven't had my fill of fogs and sunrises.
It is a great way to start the day, watching the fog. I like fog.
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