True story: in Chase of the Moose & a Deer

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ohio has enjoyed a most beautiful abundant of snow. Sleds have seen more use in the last week with squeals of joy then we thought would be possible with the odd warmth had well into November. This year, The Captain purchased a few double inflatable sleds. Thanks in part to a previous Tailbone bruising occurring from our  inner child playing on the hills. We are not as young as we once were... 
The snow has also brought energetic joy to our Moose.  He flips & digs. Rolls and pounces with his 100 pound puppy body, retrieving his football & playing tag with me outback. I remove his leash for our romping and did not think twice the very morning one of our playful jokes became a reality. Moose is young and still learning self control in a few areas. With the mix of breeds in him, the instincts can be a bit over powering.

We had a decent 6 inches of snow on the ground in the more flat areas. Uneven ground seemed to provide more depth of snow banks. Almost topping my snow boots. As usual, I wore my Camo Coveralls, snow gloves and full face mask being the total woos I am in anything under 40 degrees {F}.
I removed his Leash & gentle leader collar, placing it onto a picket of my garden fencing. Moose went to the tree line, which is normal in his anticipation of our football play. But this time it was different. He was zig zagging where the tree's begin, normal to his picking up a scent. I thought rabbit in that few seconds before I saw him dart into the tree line.  Raising my eyes to the movement I saw ahead of him, a beautiful Buck with thick antlers rose & hopped out of the brush just 20 ft away. No need to insert the explicit instantaneous thought which popped into my mind.
The chase was on! I tried calling him back while trying to keep an eye on him & where the Buck was heading. Burdened with the weight of snow wear and the depth of ground coverage, my movements were slow. I quickly made way to the path clearing into the field just in time to see the Buck head up the back hill, towards the deep ravine. Moose was still in the brush, yet hot on his trail. There seemed to be no breaking of the zoned mind set in instinctual hunt.
 Moose has the coloring of White tail deer, complete with white tail underside. To an inexperienced or idiot eye, he very well could be mistaken for a smaller deer. And BOTH buck skins were heading towards the public hunting grounds! Once I made it to the hill & ravine side, I lost sight of the Buck but scanned the trees to see Moose had already made it to the other side. I lifted my fleece face covering, calling out his name, upon which he must have lost the scent track, wagging his tail in response to me, making his way back up to where I stood. Well, Almost that is...
He caught wind of that dang deer when he was close to my outstretched arms. Shooting off again before I could get to the opening in the old livestock fence.
I lost patience in that moment and doubt began to set in. I cried out his name, out of breath and sweating in my coveralls. I lowered the top half and tied the arms at my waist. My boots getting heavier & heavier with every dip & climb. The snow covered grapevines, wildly growing everywhere the eye can see, began to hamper my hunt even more so. Catching the toe of my boots, I stumbled & rolled down hills far more then I wish to recall. Becoming frustrated and full of worry, I began to cry. My face so hot from all the chasing & adrenaline rush, the tears did not even have a chance to feel cold. I could not see or hear him. The deer trails were such a mess, I could not see which split of path he had taken. I truly was at a cross road of decision. What if he chased that buck into the public Archery hunting grounds? His neon orange vest was not on, nor a collar. I joked about his one day chasing a deer through these woods but did not think I would find myself in the midst of winter snow chasing him down.

I continued on, determined to find him. I will NOT give up. I traced back towards the bottom of the ravine. Thinking I should make way towards the field and turn into the hunting grounds where he may double back.  Remembering in that moment, I was so worked up by calling his name, I had yet to whistle our special call. I looked around, positioning myself toward the hunting grounds, just high enough the sound should carry well despite the trees. Calming myself just enough to catch a good breath, I whistled our bird song. I waited. The only thing to hear were creaking of trees. No barks. No stomping. Nothing. With my back turned to the woods, facing to the side of the ravine, I let out one more loud whistling...and before finishing was plowed down by a massive MOOSE coming down a hill to greet his Momma. As my face fell into the snow with a thump of my body, I shot my hands out and grabbed that loose skin hanging from his neck. A trait from his Saint Bernard mother I am ever so thankful for. I rolled with his massive body until I had my back into the snow. Moose panting, licked my face with his excited greeting and looking rather satisfied from his big adventure.

 I found him! Or rather, HE found me. Holding onto his neck skin,we hit the field clearing and stumbled in a ground hog hole, hidden beneath the snow. I lost grip and fell again. Face first into the snow. I was beginning to feel a pattern here.Thankfully, Moose stayed close when I raised my head, completly exhausted and becoming a tad ticked off. I told him to get back to the house, NOW! regretting it after considering I should just letting him drag me through the field like a rag doll.

 And so my Moose did follow command, running his butt to the Garden yard. I found him paiently waiting by his ball, looking as though he were intent on some football romping. Not today Buddy. I think you've had enough fun for the both of us. I slipped his leash back on & he calmly walked backed to the house where everyone had no clue to what adventure we had just been on and laughed as I shared the story of our Moose chasing a Deer while I stumbled along in his trail.

Sweet snowy dreaming my Dears,

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