People have their reasons for not wanting to engage in given activities. Disregarding any moral questions about the activity, I disdain being a hunter for other reasons. Such reasons include: the contemptible hours that are spent scouting out a viable position, the spending of time and funds in preparation, the tediousness of waiting for the game, and my personal bane of waking up very early in the morning. There is one experience that smote any potential for a desire to hunt for me.
The incident began during my fifth grade year, when winter’s chill struck early in my area. We suffered a turbulent ice storm for the entire day only a couple days after my birthday in November. My grandfather was absent that morning, for he was out hunting on Ecallaf Mountain at the Terncur Dam on rather dim prospects for a bear in bear season. I trekked to my bus stop, blinking snow out of my eyes as I tried to watch my breath freeze in the remarkably frigid air. It was a typical school day with the exception of the incessant discussions of the portentous weather forecast. Much worse weather was to be expected in the evening. The unexceptional day at school was further substantiated by the fact that I had an essay assigned for the night’s homework.
Coming home from school afterward was a somewhat cumbersome venture due to the steep hills, slickened by snow, deep, damp, and heavy, which I needed to scale in order to reach the house. That was not the most treacherous part of the day for me. Home greeted me with relaxingly dry, radiant heat. My grandmother and mother watched the news while I secluded myself to my room. There, I fought for my consciousness while I pressed myself to get my writing finished. Unfortunately, my exhausting efforts did not finish my assignment before dinner. My grandfather, safe and sound, returned home in the midst of our meal. His excitement was infectious, even as he entered the room.
His words, “I got a bear!”
My grandfather drove a truck and would have kept the bear in the back while he was driving home. We inquired about whether or not he had yet to bring it into the garage, where our second vehicle, a car was currently stationed. He shook his head and restated that he had shot and killed the bear, but he had yet to bring it to the truck. He was encouraged to sit down to eat and discuss his adventure.
He had waited for a few hours in his position on the summit, until dawn had broken a bit, before he sighted and engaged his bear at a distance. The bear had next fallen and rolled down the mountain for an estimated fifty feet or so, a testament to its own bulk. Grandfather had spent the rest of day and most reserves of energy carefully dragging his burden down the steep slopes toward his boat. He had practically exhausted himself about two hundred and fifty yards from his boat. He had proceeded to return home as soon as possible.
Grandfather brought forward his anticipation of the loss of his only bear to the cold and scavenging coyotes. He proposed with utmost sincerity that he needed to take his son, my uncle Orbdamu, and me back with him to the area to finish dragging the bear and to bring it home. This was met by considerable objection from my grandmother, who argued that all the weather reports were advising against making unnecessary trips in the evening, particularly in the later evening, and from me, who argued that I could not offer enough assistance to be worth bringing along and that I had homework to complete still. Given these points, he adamantly called Orbdamu immediately after dinner was finished.
Frantic, I immediately returned to my work. From what I overheard as I got dangerously closer to finishing my essay, the meteorologists were done with euphemizing the storm, finding words, such as “Armageddon,” appropriately descriptive modifiers. Whether Orbdamu could provide reinforcement or not was nebulous, since he had been dealt a rather rough day himself, and he also had two offspring, Elizabeth and Franklin, to put to bed before he could consider going. The formidable forecast and unsure uncle provided me hope, so I willingly finished my essay.
In order to relax my mind in preparation for my bedtime, I immersed myself in the broadcasts my grandmother continued watching. My completion of my assignment afforded my grandfather new hope because he still had faith in my ability to lend my immature muscles to his cause. The phone’s ringing was uproariously cacophonous in the relatively tranquil living space where we gawked through the television at the extreme reports of snow in other parts of the country. It was nine o’clock, my bedtime. My grandfather’s face was aglow as he spoke with Orbdamu. Orbdamu was eager to assist my grandfather. Despite my canny grandmother’s desperate attempts to defend me, my grandfather innocently thought it was best to drag me along with him and Orbdamu.
I was hastily pushed to don my winter clothes again and to board the truck. I was chilled during the ride, despite the running heater. I dozed, for we arrived at Orbdamu’s distant house in an instant. Orbdamu wore a rather thin jacket. He seemed extremely sanguine despite the situation, and I pondered whether or not he knew the true nature of the issue. For Orbdamu my grandfather adjusted the heat settings to a degree of an unprecedented height. Although I had confidence in my grandfather’s driving precautions, I had too much trepidation to fall asleep once more, for thoughts of the treacherously inclement weather conditions and the boat and trailer we were towing persisted to feed my fright.
We eventually arrived at the dock. The icy air outside was a shocking contrast to the tepid air within the vehicle, but I nonetheless needed to come alongside my uncle and my grandfather. On the lake, the night was sheer obsidian. We had a single post with a light, two headband lights, and an especially luminescent flashlight. Orbdamu operated the engine while my grandfather used his GPS to guide us to the landing location. I marveled at the uncommon prodigiousness of the snowflakes, illuminated by our lights. As we journeyed, we suddenly arrived at the idea that we might need to leave someone at the landing location, once the bear was in the boat, so the boat would not lose buoyancy.
We did not reach a conclusion on this matter by the time we reached the landing spot. We secured the boat and hiked from there to the bear’s location. Reevaluating my developed hiking abilities, I languidly scaled the slick slope with the other two. Carrying the bear downward was not the main challenge, because we were taking a descending path, but heaving it over fallen trees and boulders in the way was an arduous gauntlet. The value of the aid I provided was an enigma to me. I certainly did my best to carry as much weight as I could, but the majority of the weight was capably handled my grandfather and uncle. Our slow, grueling hobble would have appeared either tantalizing or comical to the fictitious coyotes I imagined at the time were nearby. This fantasy made me work assiduously, but it did not seem to expedite our progress.
The progress my grandfather had made allowed us to reach the boat in considerably less time than it seemed to me: about twenty-five minutes. At the boat we decided that the two hundred-pound bear would not be enough to decisively encumber the boat with all of us included as passengers. The single trip back was more horrific. We still had to navigate by the GPS, which I feared might stop working, for the wet snow fell more densely this time around. The boat lulled in pace and floated lowly in the water. With the wind pulling up its own wakes, a considerable amount of water would enter the boat as the waves smacked against the boat’s side. I considered mentioning this, but I figured that my fellow passengers were just as aware. I felt drenched and chilled despite the copious layers I wore, and my understanding of hypothermia made me phobic of my insuppressible shaking. I put my faith into the fact that this was not going to end like some grim movie where, just as salvation was nearly tangible, there would be a horrible twist.
Just like a movie, however, full hope was restored by lights; in this case these lights were the orange streetlights of the parking lot by the dock. As we neared the dock, I chuckled at the fact that our truck was the only occupying vehicle. No one could have been as foolhardy as we were. I spent the last of my energy helping put the bear into the truck.
Despite the extra time the snow plows had to clear the roads, driving back home was treacherous because we were mainly driving on roads no one apparently thought were in use at the time. The plows were not responsible for our situation; we were responsible. We, thankfully, experienced no deleterious surprises. However prudently and efficaciously this was conducted, something tragic could have occurred.
My grandfather and Orbdamu discussed what should be done with the meat once my grandfather had the bear weighed the next day at the rangers’ station. It was decided that the bear would be made into sausages. At this I was revolted and betrayed. I despised sausage. Orbdamu received our gratitude for his assistance and was dropped off at his house. Apparently still jarred from the experience, he walked vacillatingly. My grandfather and I were too exhausted to handle the bear or the boat, so we simply headed inside the house. All the wet clothing was placed near the heat registers or hung any place where it would not matter whether the articles around it or the floor below it got wet. Too eager to sleep, I neglected to brush my teeth. I went to bed past midnight. I fell asleep assuring myself I would never put myself or anyone else in such a situation by avoiding the obsession of hunting.