Six days in and I’ve seen one small pack of goats in total. Watching four kids suckling nectar from momma made this new father steady my bow before adrenaline took over and I orphaned them all.
Not quite the numbers I was hoping for.
Three dozen pointy sticks made it into my luggage with high hopes of flinging arrows like a battle scene from Braveheart. Hell, I wasn’t going to lose the fight for lack of ammunition.
Overinflated expectations is a repetitive pattern for me. Or maybe it’s just a really short term memory of what is actually the reality of hunting. The scene may change, but the story never does. I hear wild tales of of lactic acid filled arms from sending scores of arrows towards overpopulated prey. Hunters collapsing from exhaustion, not able to pull their bows back one last time.
Perhaps my brain plays these tricks on me to keep me traveling to unfamiliar hunting grounds to satiate my wanderlust. Or perhaps it really just likes to humble me when I’m getting a bit too cocky. Either way I find myself a stranger in a strange land.
This one month adventure starts off slow. I underestimate the time it will take to analyze my new environment and its inhabitants; to learn the creature’s habits. A deer at 11,000 feet above sea level in a sub-alpine environment will naturally pattern differently than a pig at 1,500 feet in a rainforest. It’s just the way it works. One I know how to find, the other I haven’t the faintest clue.
I reign in my expectations and commit to the long term. Learn, then succeed.
Like a steam engine leaving the station with its wheels spinning out on the slippery steel tracks, I throw a little sand down and slowly gain traction. I start moving forward, it starts to make sense. A pig won’t come out until near dark. A goat moves around during the hottest part of the day. Sheep jump around on the lava rocks in the early morning.
I sit and watch and realize I can fill a Bible sized book with what I don’t know about hunting and a kid’s coloring book with what I think I know.
I feel the tide slack. I’m not killing anything, but I’m no longer lost with what to do. A plan is formulating. I’m on an equal playing field with my prey now.
I can feel the tension in my immediate surroundings, as if the animals can feel a killer being set loose in their presence.
I’m ready to hunt Hawaii.