‘It’s the eyes you see first. Not that great muddy cape, not that muzzle twisted in rage or the nostrils flared and ready for battle. It’s not even the antlers. It’s the eyes, wide and fixed on you and nothing but you.
It all happened very quickly. We were forced to bash through tight scrub and had no choice but to make some noise. It produced an unexpected result — out of nowhere a rutting red stag charged into view just a few metres in front of us, his head held high and face framed by wet leaves like a painting. His fierce gaze was right on us, there was no chance or reason to raise the rifle.
Slowly reaching back without looking, I take Jamie’s hand in mine and give it a small squeeze, hoping he understands. Don’t move. Remember this.
Then the young stag spins abruptly and is gone, lost in the mist. I turn and pat Jamie on the back, and am about to ask him if he saw it all but there’s no need. He is lit up almost as much as the stag. And on that happy note our day is done and we trudge down the hill to camp, muddy but satisfied.
Along the way it occurs to me that he thinks things will be like this forever. I know better, but in the meantime we go on little adventures. I’ll never be able to give him a million dollars — but I can give him this.’
from Hunting Life – Moments of Truth
Peter P. Ryan www.faraway.co