The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 11, 2012

Ken Maurer's Inside Line column: Walk in the Wild

I had an experience this past week that put some things in perspective for me. With all this hot weather, I haven't done much walking, and one evening as the sun set and the air cooled, I decided to take a stroll. I'm fortunate enough to have not much in the way of civilization in my immediate vicinity, and a walk usually consists of looking at trees, fields, and wild animals.

I often carry a firearm of one sort or another. Not because I'm paranoid about being attacked by a bear or a rabid coyote, but because I like carrying a gun. Our forefathers thought enough of gun ownership to write about it, and I tend to agree with them.

Being or staying familiar with your firearms also comes in handy when hunting season rolls around. On this particular evening, I was unarmed and not even thinking twice about it as I tooled along, wondering if or where I might see a deer, turkey or whatever. I am quite familiar with my local scenery, and often a patch of brown out of place will materialize into a deer, so for me taking a walk is sort of like practice hunting.

The sun had set and light was fading as I slipped up to a field edge. Seeing nothing in the field, I continued on when, out of the corner of my eye, a dark shape along the edge of the field about 30 yards away drew my attention. That wasn't there before and I stopped, realizing that an animal was watching me. A feeling of uneasiness swept over me when I studied the shape of the animal. It was either black or dark brown, with a roundish head and thick shoulders, and it appeared to be crouched. It's size was maybe a little smaller than a deer. An animal like a deer will let you walk by, sometimes at very close range, as long as they figure you haven't seen them. When you stop, they run away because they figure they've been spotted.

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