Part 2

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Gillian Lovell swore as he watched the hind end of a white-tail deer leap from sight.

The flash-flag of tail seemed to mock him as it vanished while his shots had gone wide when something other than he himself had managed to startle the wounded animal.

If his carbine had not continued to have proven the useful tool as it usually was, he might have smashed it against the trunk of a nearby tree and left it there.

It had taken him almost two days to get this close and yet once again he was no further than he had been when he'd first seen it.

Tall and lanky, once again he would have to rely on his skills as both woodsman and tracker even with this setback - as his grand-father had often suggested, dark brown stubble easily became thick beard if a hunter failed to find a wounded bleeder that would not slow down.

With a swipe of his arm across his brow, he thought of his prey: twelve-point and well over two-hundred pounds, the animal would supply meat for months.

It had been pure chance that he'd even managed to hit it in the first place. He paused to give the spooked animal time to settle as he carefully reloaded the cursed carbine.

Blood spots ran thick in some places along the trail while empty swatches filled in elsewhere, which only served to make someone as skilled as he felt he was admit that the wound would not kill the animal anytime soon.

He absolutely refused to admit that he might not catch up at all.

His horse and mules had been left tied together several ridges back as he'd moved on foot to track his prey without their having slowed him down any in the process.

As he eased through the brush, he knelt to check for fresh sign of bedding where the deer may have rested as darkness in the dirt would show if it may have yet still bled from its wound.

With time and nature having favored the deer as it often did, he knew full well that the damn wound could close up at any time and the trail he followed would end.

Unless, that is, he kept the deer active enough so that it would not have adequate time to rest or heal.

With some reluctance he pulled a slice of jerky from his pocket and chewed on it as he mused; his quarry would not go far if nothing was chasing it.

He had a fresh blood-trail and time on his hands.

With any luck he would have the deer by nightfall, or the next day, and not have to stay out in this godforsaken wilderness again.

There was defiantly something to be considered when soft bedding and pillow more often than not won over soft dirt and sticks most anytime that he might have otherwise considered either for his own bedding during the night.

Not far ahead, the subtle sound of movement made him smile as he began to follow the trail once again.

The chase was on.

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