To deny the instinct to hunt is to deny the instinct to exist.
When I am hunting and fishing with the right attitude, I reenter the woods and rivers with a moment-by moment sense of the glories of creation, of the natural world as living fabric of existence, so that I'm both young again but also 70 thousand years old.
Anyone who fails to be moved at a primal level by the sight of vast schools of salmon fighting their way upstream in response to inscrutable instincts to procreate and die probably shouldn't be there anyway.
E Donald Thomas Jr.
One's own heart is the best place to store the few things of life that really matter.
I stand there as I have learned to do and take another look, breath in the scents, one more time I feel the emotion and experience the exertion, the adrenaline rising and falling away as the accomplishment of realizing I have once again found the place I should be right at that very moment.
Once in Mozambique while driving in an open vehicle down a dusty dry riverbed close to dark I remember smelling the sweet musk of a Leopard somewhere close to the track. Not once but several times over the hours of the drive while the lights of the Landcruiser illuminated often the eyes of hunters and hunted in the limbs of the leafless bush, that smell would fill the workings of my senses. I would see the blinking red, white, or orange colored flames of the eyes of those looking down as I passed and feel them there. Sometime I see a glimpse of fur or the flash of a tail, an empty limb swaying from the weight of something now gone in an instant. Bush Babies, Leopards, Baboons, Porcupines, Night Jars, all shifting here and there and some poised and calm watching calmly covered by the night watching me go.
Another time I was leaving the Bush to catch the plane home in Pemba. I started early around 3 AM as I wanted to drive the bush roads at night in the coolness. Just after dawn on a good strait stretch I saw ahead a pack of Wild Dogs laying in the road, they were a large group and I knew them as I had driven many times to the area with clients as I could always find them just off this road in a dry river where water stood under a tall bank of the river even in the dry season. They would be there most days during the heat of the mid day sun drinking and wallowing. This place was also an advantageous vantage point to view the river bed east and west as the river was strait for a good way in either direction. They could lay up and watch for anything moving either way and as the land lay flat all around it was a good place to launch a stalk.
an eventually she persuaded several young pups to follow her out into the road where she lay down and began to nurse. At this several of the males rose and began to get a little flustered as they would yelp look at me and then at her as if saying this isn't a good place for that but eventually they settled again with some still standing and two approaching the truck first on one side then on the other sniffing the air constantly. I deducted they were trying to get my sent, there was no wind but we were so close I knew they could smell me. I decided to cut the engine and see what goes. Cutting the engine brought a few pricks of the ears and some long stares but all was good and I was prepared to sit there forever. Another five minutes and the Bitch stood up, licked a few pups and moved off in the direction she had come, the nurse following, then one by one and then two three and more they all moved off following her and disappearing like ghosts except one old male grizzled around the mouth. He stood off at a right angle to me at about 30 ft. sat down and just looked at me as if he was waiting for something. I spoke to him and told him I appreciated them visiting with me. At this he gave a little yelp as he was turning to go and never looked back but just walked away. I gave them a little time and cranked up and drove away. I have contemplated many times over this event and I would like to think they had come to realize I was no threat to them, that they recognized me and felt safe around me. I will really never know for sure but at that moment my thoughts were that they were saying goodbye to me in their way. That thought is now more meaningful than ever because I haven't been able to return for several years for various reasons. Maybe that was the last time I will ever be there a thought that brings a terrible sadness, all I can say is that on that morning I was right where I was supposed to be, below are pics from other times.
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- Just Another Savage!
- I’m a Southern Boy, just 56 last November, I get around here and there, Central America, Africa, Red Bay. I’m a Father, Grandfather, Husband, Artist and general flunky of sorts. Live in a little historic town in an old building I remodeled. Just wanted to hear myself think I guess, talk about the need of simplification, show some art, express an interest or two, brag on my dogs and see where it goes. That’s it!, That’s the deal, Thanks