Like so many mornings before, Calnea dropped a handful of dried corn at the edge of the woods, then lugged the last bit of her equipment up to the top of the wooden stand. She stared at the bait, hoping she’d made the right decision to use it for the deer as opposed to feeding her three children. The sacrifice of one small meal could potentially bring in the reward of the century. Then again, such a small pile of corn wasn’t likely to attract the great Buck of Dutton Hill if he existed. She settled in as the sky behind the trees grew lighter with the coming day.
She kept still; listening, watching, hoping. The snap of a twig under hoof or the white flash of a tail was all she needed. See like the predator. Hear like the predator. And for the sake of the Seven Above, keep silent like your children’s lives depend on it.
Because they do.
Movement in the branches caught her attention, then a second one to the left and then a third. Calnea held her breath and took aim as a magnificent creature left the safety of the forest bellowing a throaty approval at the treat.
She fired off three shots in quick succession. The Great Buck of Dutton, long only a rumor, startled at the noise and ran back into the forest.
Calnea looked at her camera and kissed it. She had proof that life was returning to her war-torn land.