Beyond the Western
The Predator and the Prey
Scott A. Gese

A hunter, a cougar and a deer. Which is the predator and which is the prey?

Beyond the Western

Lester Craw had been an avid hunter ever since the day he was old enough to shoot a rifle. He enjoyed the woods. He enjoyed the thrill of the hunt and he enjoyed fresh venison whenever he could get it.

Over the Summer, Lester had scouted out a new hunting area. It was deep in the woods where old growth fir trees still stood. Well off the beaten path where other hunters were less likely to have scouted the area ahead of him. There were good game trails and plenty of tracks and scat from deer, bear and at least one cougar, as well as a small watering hole. All the signs of an area that should produce a trophy buck.

It was a brisk Fall morning. Lester had arrived at the spot he had picked out about an hour before sunrise. There was a thin layer of frost on the ground. The air was so still, the slightest crunch of a fallen leaf could be easily heard. Lester found his spot downwind from the watering hole where he quietly sat and waited. He knew from experience, something would show up, and when it did, it would be at his mercy. Mercy was something Lester Craw new little of.


It was well before sunrise. The big cat limped its way along the game trail toward the watering hole. As he had been doing for weeks, he would wait in the brush on the downwind side hoping to catch a rabbit or some other small creature coming in to get a drink. Because of his limp, he could no longer chase something down. It needed to be a surprise attack.

The limp wasn’t new. He had it since last Spring. He thought he could pick off a black bear cub when it had wandered too far from its mother. It was a miscalculation. The she bear was on him at the cub’s first whimper. She took a swipe at him and put a deep gash in his hind quarter. Since then, the meals had been either sparse or non existent. The injury was taking a long time to heal and he was hungry.

As the cougar sat in wait, it caught the scent of a human. he stayed put hoping it would pass. It did, but not far enough. The human stopped in front of a fallen log not more than fifty feet away. Instinct told him to leave, but hunger told him to stay and patiently wait.

Lester sat motionless as he hid behind a fallen log. With a good view of the water. He patiently waited for something to show itself. He knew he needed to keep very quiet and perfectly still.

Within fifteen minutes he was rewarded. A big buck with a huge rack cautiously eased toward the hole for a morning drink.

With Lester’s full attention on the deer, the cougar advanced.

Lester lifted his rifle and took aim. The cougar sprung from behind. The deer darted back into the woods at the sound of a scuffle.

© Copyright 2019 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.