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The Last Hunt (Fiction)

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The Last Hunt (Fiction)

The Last Hunt

by

David Warnica




The fall winds stirred a memory. A memory of early morning walks. Walks to the pond, just over the hill, where the beaver built his home. It was there before his lifetime. It is vital to the many species of wildlife....the trout that dimple the surface of the water as they feed....the deer who only leave tracks of their passing....the raccoon who comes to feed on the crayfish....and the ducks and geese, the few that nest here and the large flocks that use the pond as a stop on their annual migration.

It is the waterfowl that stirs his memory. It is his thirteenth season. In his first year it was all new and wonderful, the smells, the wildlife, the freedom. It was here that he made his first retrieve. It was only a short retrieve, a small Teal, but it was his first, it was what he was bred to do, he is a Labrador Retriever.

Every season opener they went to this pond together, just the two of them. They would watch the sunrise, the mist evaporate from the pond, sometimes they would see the beaver adding sticks to his dam or house, and every year there were the ducks. They only took a couple. His master would shoot and he would retrieve. It wasn’t the killing they went for, it was the solitude and the companionship, the love of the outdoors.



This year the walk seemed a lot further. He was tired when he got to the pond. The beaver was no longer there. The deer were fewer and the raccoon seldom seen. The ducks still stopped occasionally but even they were fewer in number. He still had the zest for the hunt, but his body was older. He stiffened in the damp cold and his eyesight wasn’t very good. It took him longer to get up after laying down and climbing stairs at the house had become more difficult each year.

The pain he couldn’t understand. Fresh in his memory were the days that they were up before dawn and not home until after dark, only to do the same the next day. Now the pain was almost more than he could bear. His master knew, he had brought a blanket. There was no shooting which was just as well. The pain was worse but he was happy with the memories. His master loaded the gun, with only one shell, and there were tears in his eyes as he did. In a quiet voice, he thanked his old friend and said good-bye. He then fired the shot of the last hunt.








I wrote this as an english assignment many years ago. I wish to share it now and ask that it stay here and not be copied.

Thanks
Big Dave

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Re: The Last Hunt (Fiction) In reply to
Dave,
Those are powerful words. You got me with the last two sentences.
- Mike
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Re: The Last Hunt (Fiction) In reply to
Big Dave, you may remember me from the MLB hunt/dinner when I tried reading it and about broke down. Not long after that, I had to put my big yeller dog down. The writing sure captures the experience of living with a true blue friend and the grief that comes at the end of the road.