I look fondly at my father. How time flies! It seems only yesterday that he was trying to share all he knew about nature and hunting, and now we’re stalking the range together.
It’s been more than 20 years since I was first allowed to join a hunt. I must have frightened off quite a few animals that my father was watching just because I couldn’t sit still or I fell asleep on the raised hide. But these moments are precious.
We are on a range in Schenkenberg, in the Swiss canton of Aargau.
This is where Iearned my spurs as a hunter, and now I am visiting my father, who leases some ground in the area. It has been his hunting home for many years.
The mist and the drizzle give the forest a very special atmosphere.
For three days now, I’ve been sleeping in the cabin and stalking roebuck. I’ve spotted two deer so far.
The mist and the drizzle give the forest a very special atmosphere. There’s a transparent veil hanging over the trees and wafting through the branches.
I move quietly towards a small clearing in the forest. There I catch sight of a doe – two or three small steps forward, and the roebuck enters my sight.
The deer continue grazing and slowly retreat into the trees. It wasn’t the right time to take a shot. I’ve seen so many deer in my life, but I still feel the same amount of joy whenever I see one, and that will never change.
In the evening I go to the raised hide. Satisfied, I relax and unwind, allowing my body to recharge. But sadly there are no deer in sight. Then the phone rings: it is my father. Hello, Dad, my fellow hunter!
Birthday – Oh, yes, it’s still that day. My best friends and my mum come to the cabin. Although I turned 30 today, I don’t feel like having a big celebration. Having things just the way they are is what suits me best.
A huge smile spreads across my face when I see my mum blowing up balloons. Many things have changed – but not everything.
We barbecue some wild game, chat and enjoy the evening together.
The sky outside slowly grows dark and we light the oil lamps. You can see lights from the village below through the window. It’s almost a cheesy scene. I look at the small cabin kitchen with its gas stove. People used to spend the night there, and I sometimes saw edible dormice as a child.
I managed to get the buck when I went out stalking early.
My days in Veltheim are now over and I’m returning to work. In my mind, though, I’m still in the great outdoors. It always takes a while for me to get back to reality.
My phone rings on the very first day back. I hear a familiar and cheerful voice at the other end:
‘Hi Sabrina, it was nice to see you. Thanks for our time together. Oh yes, I wanted to let you know that I managed to get the buck when I went out stalking early.’
Ah, congratulations! Dear Dad … it takes a lot of skill and perseverance, to say nothing of experience. I look forward to more hunts together and stories by the fireside.