Late November. This can't serve as the definitive account of American Thanksgiving in Southern Alberta, but it is mine.
It had been far too long since I attended a bourbon-soaked gathering of the U of A crew. The freezer had finally emptied of moose - save for an intact sirloin that I am inexplicably hoarding - and I had never hunted the storied land of Tigmore.
|Fact: it is illegal to fly YUL -> YYC with an empty cooler.|
The Shafongs landed late, so the trip south from Calgary was made under the cover of darkness.
Cabin arrival, 4am.
Wake-up call, 7:30am.
(A sleep-debt that would go unpaid for the remainder of the weekend)
Details from the first morning are a bit hazy because so was I. Those that had a full night’s sleep were already out and spotting deer, and Aaron had a tag to fill. Up to the house. Rifle. Ammunition. Vague directions. Feeling a bit worse for wear, but the beauty of the scene started to sink in. They have a good thing going down there.
Across the field just opposite the house we see the blaze orange of some combination of Jesse, Tom, Tyler, and Jess. They make for a distant field, and disappear. We make for the ridge. As we are half way up the slope we spot a few does, spooked, running our direction. We wait, hunker down. Maybe they'll come right for us.
But they don't - they turn around and return to the field below. So we move that way, staying low. The deer slow down to a walking pace.
"How far do you think they are"
"Maybe 200 yards"
"Wait but what about those deer right in front of us, 150 yards closer?"
So at 8:22am - about 20 minutes after starting his Alberta hunt - Aaron takes a doe.
|"I stand on the wings and pull the legs, right?"|
|The gutless method. And Rebekkah's initiation to the ways of the west.|
We then moved on to the festive portion of the weekend.
I eventually got my deer. But it was a real process, and one that involved me questioning everything from the bullet weight, to my vision, to my ability to estimate distance.
|Spoiler alert: I missed this shot|
|"... in conclusion I am pretty sure it was the cross-wind, bullet weight, scope-sighting, and divine intervention"|
In the following days we found a rhythm of waking, walking, whiskey, and eating until we felt disgusting.
Now I'm just going out on a bunch of photos.
|Jesse contemplates going special forces into a bear den.|
|I call this filter "turkey steam"|
|Met up with this psych-jazzercise trio, out taking album cover photos.|
|Missed these things - I|
|Missed these things - II|
|Missed these things - III|