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The heal of my waders slid in the fresh mud off the bank into the shallow black waters of the creek, my left hand was raised as to prevent the low hanging branches from scratching my face with my right hand cradling my Remington 870. Within a few steps, I was immersed into the edge of the woods. I was in pursuit of the famed Rock Dove.

I had a look through the trees into the neighbouring field and saw nothing but fresh wild grass and hay, there were black birds, and common house sparrows, and red wing black birds flying about in the absolute nature. Once my feet were placed firmly at the bottom of the creek, I swivelled to the front and back with my eyes to get a better glimpse.

The fast flowing current was slipping around my boots and like a serpent continued into the heart of the woods, on either side there was thick brush, rich in color and sounds, it was place where the love for the woods is moulded into your soul.

I stood their very still and saw a ripple in the waters just up a little ways up, a beaver came swimming towards its dam in total silence, gliding through the water with a sense of purpose all the while very weary. Be humble in the woods and respect the environment for it can teach us great things.

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Its large horizontal branches were a safe haven for the crows and pigeons of the farm; it was a majestic tree standing taller than the evergreen and poplar trees which stood by its side. It was a prominent mark in the landscape, a true symbol of the natural beauty and grandeur which surrounded me on my many hunting trips, with its height of over thirty meters it helped me countless times to find my way out of the snowy wilderness.

Just a fortnight ago we were hit with an extremely powerful storm which passed through the region and tore down trees and power lines leaving thousands without electricity.

The winds were so strong they seemed to have turned in an inward direction from the open fields then curled right into the tree line at the farm and ripped several large trees completely out of the ground.

Their roots which were now exposed formed dark mud caves and new habitat for wildlife and the downed trees would become firewood for the local farmers.

The landscape had changed indeed and the wilderness which is very much a part of my being had left me with a deep feeling of emptiness, the storm had taken our dead tree.

Silly? Perhaps, however to the true hunters we know that we are very much part of this wilderness which surrounds us and we are all constantly reminded to respect it and to adapt to our natural environment all the while enjoying its beauty for it is the home of our wonderful wildlife.

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