“I am a Hunter, yes that’s what I said, a hunter – ducks on a lake, grouse in the air, deer on hoof, numerous others too varied to keep count. I do it because I love it, and don’t argue with me because you’ll lose. I’ve won the arguments and not all of them with words, sometimes I’ve served up knuckle sandwiches to bleeding heart animal advocate provocateurs……”
Jonah Winter did not care to elucidate further on this contentious subject. When it comes to nature, there is no greater authority than himself and if you don’t believe it, just ask him. His contempt for what he calls the interfering city types knows no bounds. They are determined to take the Wild away from him and they can meet him head to head, possibly at the end of a bullet for emphasis, although by admission, it hasn’t come that far….YET. He loves the Wild you see, the morning hours, barely between dawn and sunrise, the bugling of a stag, who is just waiting in a frozen stance to be taken down by his expertly aimed shot.
Jonah had not reached his limit of five wolves for the season, its like he was saving up, but not really, you could go days without seeing one, so he kept a tag in his pocket just in case.
“Well, I have to admit it” he thought to himself. There IS one in particular he wants, that he’d seen only three times, which is not unusual because they know to keep themselves hidden and they live in the barely accessible areas on this rocky earth. She was a beauty, white as snow, her coat so remarkably white she couldn’t be missed even if there was snow on the ground. He got to thinking of her as Snow White and didn’t know why, supposed maybe he’d seen one movie cartoon too
He hadn’t started out as a hunter, was turned by this guy Kirby he’d met in their big city apartment complex 20 yrs ago. At first it was the stillness of wilderness, the birds waking up chattering in the misty mornings, and the rustlings in the bush of who knows what. Then when Jonah and Kirby got into the serious business of hunting. His first kill was a complete revelation. He lost his breath, nearly laughed aloud and recovered enough to realize he LIKED it, really you weren’t going to pull him off this newfound excitement.
Idaho introduced him to another prey which he didn’t consider wolves to be, you understand. Prey seemed to denote weakness and wolves were in no wise weak. They were strong and just too daggone smart. Like a person, if you want to know the truth. Usually he got in his allotted limit for the season and had no trouble selling pelts and such. The last three winters were remarkable in that Snow White had made an appearance exactly once each season and he meant to make it a point of getting her this time. His appetite had been whetted for a trophy that would outclass any other. He would find her, don’t think he wouldn’t, he told himself. “We’re going to meet, Snow White, so be prepared!” “Your pelt will cover my bed for time without end, Amen!”
He’d ventured too far and the weather had come in turning bad, it was blowing snow like a wall painted white. He was up to his knees with the new snow and leftovers from previous falls and before long he could go no further, the fading light would leave him in darkness, he had not even a flashlight. He’d overstayed his time in his search for Snow White.. Jonah could hear the wolves themselves protesting, their howls growing louder. He’d known about the hypothermic death sleep that accompanies freezing. Now here he was in the wilderness he loved, listening to the wolves he wanted for trophies and what was happening? They wouldn’t find his remains till Spring, if then. He wasn’t really that cold now, because he could not feel his limbs, just so tired and sleepy a Mack Truck couldn’t have moved him, as he collapsed in a heap.
A form in the snowy shadows came from behind, stretching its body full length behind his own, he could feel it’s warmth deep into his frozen back as his skin began its thawing dance of painful prickling. The form kept moving closer seeming to become a part of his unmovable limbs while he slipped into a world of sleep and warmth that rejuvenated his worn out soul. The dawn was visible from beneath his lids when the form slipped away.
There is nothing in this world you can say to Jonah Winter about hunting, in his new latter day existence, because his ideas will convince you otherwise. He would have served you one of his knuckle sandwiches, if you had tried to convince him the hunting life is the closest thing to Nirvana. But his new take on things precluded such tantrums. The meaning of life had dawned on him like a Eureka morning (and believe it or not, that’s exactly what it had been) — life means just that! You do not take life to appreciate life. You must nurture its beauty! You see he has a little bundle of white fur he once gathered off an anorak now hanging in his closet. That small packet never leaves his person and the memory of the one who saved him has earned her and her kind his protection as long as his life persists.
Jonah got his trophy, just not exactly in the same way he had anticipated.