A hunter gets lost in the Maine woods. A Survival Test
| Brian sat posted as the others drove the potential deer inward. Before the morning sun rose, they all planned to meet up where they started that morning at four o’clock. Brian never truly ever has been alone in the woods, especially in these woods of Maine. Now night was falling around him. The snow began to fall and covering his steps behind. He had lost his way back to camp where the others were waiting for him. Lost in the Maine woods was not where he longed to be. He did not bring his compass or topographical map with him he didn’t think he needed them, they weren’t that far. A city boy trying to be the man and a hunter he claimed to be, trying to fit in with his new found friends. He never had gone dear or bear hunting before, but told his friends that he had and been to Maine a few times. Therefore, they, his friends never knew the truth. He had only been bird hunting a far off claim to the reality he now exists in.
The campsite was set up off an old logging road to the north of the main road. Nine miles west off highway 95. This far north such locations called townships listed by numbers rather than proper names.
Brian was beginning to become nervous. He began walking out the way he came in, but that was not the case. He walked west when he should have walked south. The woods can bring the strongest of men to fear that are not adapted or prepared for such a wilderness. These woods are unforgiving and deadly. He was ten miles from the nearest town, seven miles from the Canadian border west of Bangor and into the Greenfield mountain range. The temperature was dropping and the air became frigid and harder to breathe. He was panicking and truly had no idea where he was.
He yelled out, “Mike, John, Seth, anybody.”
He had his 30/30 rifle, five shells in the rifle and five in his pocket to protect himself against the animals that lurked in the darkness, if any should come towards him, but it was nightfall, and blackness was calling. Brian had maybe five minutes before it would be pitch black and could not see anything in front of him. He stood silent trying to hear any kind of noise or voices calling out to him, he heard nothing but the winds and the snow hitting his nylon hunter orange vest over his hooded camouflage jacket.
Brian tried several times to backtrack his steps, but everything looked unfamiliar to him, he knew he was lost. His worst fears were gaining on him his breathing became exhausting. The snow was piling up and his footprints were gone beneath him, as if he never moved from where he was standing. The weather was bad and getting worse by the minute. Sweat poured from his forehead and his hands were sweating inside his gloves, his cloths were starting to freeze up from the harsh cold night from being already too wet. He took his gloves off and unzipped his jacket to release some of the overbearing heat, resting against a pine tree.
“Stay calm, just stay calm,” he assured himself.
He continued to breathe heavily as he could feel the heat lessen from his sweaty clothing under his outer gear.
He searched through his jacket pockets for a lighter or his small flashlight he packed, he was sure he had it. He found it in his inside pocket and flashed it ahead of him. Between the blinding snow and small beam of light he could barely make out the row of trees ahead of him. Looking at his watch, he noticed it was eighty-thirty. He has been out here lost for more than four hours, frustrated he began to walk again.
Traversing through the knee-deep snow and rolling land his legs began to burn and he was so hot he felt he was burning up. His cloths were soaked and he was in complete darkness. Using the light was useless now. North, south, east or west he did not know what direction he was walking, he just kept walking aimlessly, without direction, without meaning.
Through the distance, he heard something like that from the movies. He stopped and listened more intensely. It was a wolf’s howl, a pause, then another, and another, maybe a pack of hungry wolves. He did not want to die being a wolf’s dinner. Rumor has it a pack of wolves around here has been killing farm animals and other prey like dogs and cats in nearby communities.
Wolf packs tend to have large areas of wilderness to roam which provide enough food for the winter months.
“Mike, Seth, John,” he yelled out. “Oh my God, help!”
Pure fear now embedded his mind. The sound of the wolves again made his hearing that more intense. His heart was pounding outside his chest it hurt. His breathing and sweating intensified. From the dark filled wilderness, he cocked his gun and didn’t remember it was already loaded. As he cocked it, one shell ejected and fell into the snow, lost forever. Now he only had four in the rifle and five in his jacket pocket. He took the safety off his rifle and pointed it in front of him. The barrel was shaking and so was he.
A howl bellowed in front of him, only closer now. His eyes squinted straight ahead of him trying to see if he could see anything move, nothing. The snow was making his vision impaired and it cut into his cheeks of his face like sand from the high winds. He put up his left arm to shield the snow from his face, holding his rifle in his right hand.
From his right he heard a growl. Then to his left came the same kind of sound, so near. He pulled his rifle in the direction of the first sound and fired a sound shot into the darkness. He heard nothing like a wounded animal. He cocked the lever action and listened for another sound, walking slowly backwards. He felt something pull on his pant leg, trying to tear away the cloth what was to be flesh if he didn’t kill them before they killed him. He kicked his leg and felt a body, a body of a wolf. He reached for his flashlight and pointed in front of him. A large black and grey wolf snarled at him. He could see it straight ahead of him; he pointed his rifle and fired another shot. Brian wounded it in the shoulder. A yelp came from the wolf as the wolf jumped backwards. Brian knew he hit it. The wolf slowly moved forward, growling, and showing its white fangs.
Panic, stress, fear, all his adrenaline was pouring out. Another growl came again, this time to the rear. They had surrounded him. The moved closer in calculated action. He had three shots left, or so he thought. Brian flashed the light towards his left, he saw a shadow of a white wolf moving to his rear. He turned to his left and fired another shot missing the wolf. Brian screamed as he blindly fired his last shot in desperation believing he had another one before he had to reload.
The next day his three friends, police and a local Warden all feared the worst. They found Brian dead two miles from camp. His friends said they heard shots and thought it might have been Brian since he never made it back to camp. His rifle found empty of shells and four inside his jacket, one unused shell in the bloody snow.. A large grey and black lone wolf also found dead nearby, half eaten by the other wolves they assumed. Brian died of multiple bites to his throat, abdomen, legs and arms. His jacket and pants shredded to expose the flesh. The wolves remain on the loose.
Written by E. Roman aka Boston-Fiction 4/24/07