Fortune favors the bold. And the really quiet.
Bagged a deer today. Wasn’t the fat bastard I was hoping for, but it was a deer nonetheless. A small buck, maybe a hundred pounds. I can’t be certain of the weight because I didn’t get on a scale holding it.
I woke up early as I expected I would, and decided to head out early to get setup in a hide before too much light got into the sky. I warmed up a can of chicken noodle soup and put it in one of the thermos containers we’ve had here forever. I grabbed up a few granola bars as well, and after stogging down a can of corn and a can of peas, I layered myself up good and marched into the woods. I walked out past the athletics fields and the giant funeral pyre that still needed to be relit.
It still smelled horrid. In case you were wondering.
Realizing that the bodies were putting off a wretched odor, I checked for the windage, and made sure I went upwind and far from the pile of half burnt bodies. I knew the deer would be scared away from the smell, and wanted to minimize the chance I’d be sitting in a dead spot with that scent on the air.
I put a solid mile down into the woods before I noticed animal tracks in the snow. I’d never been out to this area of the campus, and was kind of surprised to find a small stream heading north-south. I’m not sure how deep it is normally, but with the thaw we’ve had mixed with the few day’s rain, it was definitely too deep for a zombie to cross. Finding that little gift was a pretty pleasant surprise. I don’t know if you remember Mr. Journal, but I was pretty desperate to wall off this back side of campus long ago, and knowing that stream is there makes me less antsy about it. It might also explain why we haven’t had any undead wandering through the woods to get onto campus in this direction.
I am however a little weirded out that there’s a fair chance a zombie got swept away in the stream’s current, and is now trapped underneath the lake ice, bobbing around, waiting for spring to make its escape. That might keep me up a night or two.
Anyway, moving up to the stream in a few places I noticed several sets of tracks. I’m not positive, but there were at least three or four sets of deer tracks in the same thirty or forty foot area. That’s a great sign, as it means there are more deer right in our backyard should we want to hunt more. I don’t want to overhunt them though. At least not this winter. Next winter after they’ve had an uninterrupted breeding season, we can hunt more, but for now, I want to give them a chance to repopulate.
I found a downed tree that had a nice elbow in a thick branch, and set myself up with a good field of view of the stream, and the woods. I made myself comfortable, relaxed, and waited for something to come by.
I came to the realization while sitting there in the woods that I miss my family. I miss hunting trips with dear old weird dad, and my odd brothers. We hunted a fair amount growing up, and dad was very much an outdoorsman. Sitting there on a cold March morning sipping on my thermos of hot soup, all I could think about was being fifteen and waiting for my first buck to walk by. I had been reminiscing for a few hours when the deer I took down crept up on the stream for a drink.
Without moving too much, I lifted the Savage and let it dip its head into the stream to get a drink. Mid swallow I clicked the safety, which froze the deer like a painting. A fifty yard shot later and I was hoofing it to make sure it was dead. The shot hadn’t killed it immediately, and it had put about twenty yards of real estate behind it from where I’d shot it. It was dead in the snow when I found it.
Using my uncle’s old hunting knife I gutted it, and started the hour long process of dragging it back to campus to preserve. I radioed to the girls and Gilbert that I’d gotten a deer and a cheer came back. I tell you what, fresh meat and hide goes a long way towards cheering folks up. Gilbert met me at the ass end of campus with his truck and we drove to the maintenance building I’d converted into a smokehouse. He helped me dress it and make all the right cuts. I tell you what, he’s done that before. Even though this deer was smaller than the one I’d gotten last, he salvaged the same amount of meat off of it.
We didn’t have enough salt to brine any meat this time, so we relied on smoking all of the meat. We also set aside a few steaks to enjoy for dinner, and I assure you Mr. Journal, if this journal had taste-o-vision, you’d be in hog heaven. It was beyond phenomenal. While Gilbert was getting the fire going for the venison smoking I snagged a small two gallon gas container and a few armloads of wood and drove back out to the pyre to get it relit. I got the wood put into strategic places, and used a gallon or so of gas to get it all going, and viola… Pyre was relit. After I threw most of my yummy soup up due to stench reasons, I headed back to the smokehouse, and Gilbert gave me a huge pat on the back for bringing home the bacon.
And the deer hide as well, which Gilbert says he can use. I still had the hide from before as well, so now we have two hides to use. Yay for us.
After that I decided I’d spend the rest of the day being warm inside, and messing with Otis. He’s been pretty cheerful lately, and I felt like obliging his frisky nature with some attention. Over our venison dinner we four went over plans for the near future, and all the possibilities of what could happen with new folks arriving from Westfield. Everyone is scared, but also very excited. Abby is more hopeful and excited over the possibility of Gavin coming to be here, which shouldn’t surprise anyone with a functioning heartbeat.
We also discussed the timing of getting more shit accomplished. We need to build barrier walls around campus that can fully secure the area. At the very least, we need to start the dialogue with Mike about getting additional manpower here to help us with it. This will really be an issue once warm weather comes, as the undead will be able to get around easier, and we’ll be out in the athletics fields planting and maintaining our crops on a regular basis. Last thing we need is one of us to get jumped while we’re bending down to stick a cucumber seed in the dirt.
We also agreed that the daycare was a ripe target for clearing if only to make sure it wasn’t filled with undead children. Patty seemed very adamant about making sure we put them to rest at the very least. I had to agree with her on principle. It’s creeping me out right now thinking about the possibility of there being a building filled with kids scratching and clawing their way out, one tiny broken fingernail at a time.
If we get any food, or diapers, or formula out of the place too, then fantastic. If not, then we’ve done our good deed for the day. None of us felt comfortable doing it tomorrow on such short notice. Mike will have to wait a bit for his baby formula supplies.
We’d passed a few houses that were far enough from downtown that we could clear them without too much fuss, and the girls were all gung ho about clearing them. Gilbert said he’d be more than happy to go with them, which means I got a day off tomorrow. I think I’m going to try and figure out a way to destroy the ice near the bridge to cut down on the likelihood of any zombies using it as a fucking freeway again. After that, who knows? Maybe I’ll channel 13 year old Adrian and watch some porn on the big screen while everyone is away. If I’m lucky, maybe Otis will sit on the couch near me, watching with that quizzical look on his face as I do it.
The day after tomorrow we have our meet with Mike here, and I’m hoping we’ve got some good stuff we can trade to him. I know we’ll have extra venison we can trade, but I’d like to find some other things he might want. I also hope he’s got some kind of a firm answer as to how many folks may or may not be interested in moving here to help even out the populations, and give us some extra labor force.
Either way, it’ll be nice to see Mike and company. I am a big Mike fan.
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