Hunting Season

Courtesy image

A solitary hunter, of single intent,

Perched in a tree stand

Watching the morning break. Cold,

but warm-hearted, knowing

He can feed his family for another year.

Disturbing the calm, roosting turkeys

Start a chatter, hell-bent on being heard,

Grabbing attention from the squirrels,

They take center stage.

He wonders if they will stop

Alarming the prey.

Wild birds

Incessant in piercing conversation,

As if their squabbling

Kept the earth on track.

The noise penetrating his brain

More powerful than the winter hoar.

Annoying this stalwart,

This man among men,

Defender, provider, hunter,

Following the ways of his


Hands cupping his ears,

He shouts at them

“Stop, stop it, you’re driving me nuts.”

Crazed, he considers shooting a few

Out of season.

They cavort

Up and down in the pine perches

To the ground and back,

Distraction for anyone less-skilled,

Less-committed to providing for his kin.

Their talking, back and forth, never ends.

Ready to let them have it,

He aims at one in dominant display.

Feathers spread in noble grandeur.


He stops as they stop.

Suddenly on cue, they bring back

Quiet, as if concerned for the hunter’s

Need to succeed, to fill his larder with venison.

The communal conscience of these bright fowl

Takes over, spilling avian love into human survival.

Drawn into their silence,

He sees the doe, one of the millions overrunning

The land, possessing the forests

In search of dwindling grass.

Sighting at one, another comes into view.

He knows shooting the first-day’s trophies

Means a family’s contentment.

The two white tails move in a sea of amber and brown.

He shoots once. Twice. Downs them both.


Now the birds begin their encore,

New, different music to his ears.

Well-earned symphonic concertizing

Set in the cold, grey dawn.

The snow begins, he leaves the hiding place,

Descends from the tree,

Begins the real work, gutting the deer.

Relieved, he invites the feathered encore.

A smile breaks out in his eyes,

A whistle of syncopation in his voice,

A grateful nod to his winged friends

For knowing when to stop their turkey talk.

Charlene James-Duguid

Based on a life/hunting experience of Jeremy Christopher

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