By J. Bayer
Gerlach peered steadily through the scope, keeping the crosshairs center-mass on his prey. With subconscious precision, he drew his right index finger back against the trigger, feeling the pad on his fingertip flatten against the cold steel.
Earlier in the day, Gerlach had spotted a six-point buck, but he’d let it go. A conscientious hunter, Gerlach would make only one kill and he wanted it to be a good one.
Every autumn since he was a child, Gerlach had looked forward to the opening day of deer season. He’d get up well before dawn and make the two-hour drive to his favorite hunting area. He might have avoided the drive and hiked into the woods behind his house, but he didn’t enjoy hunting so close to home.
The wind stiffened across his back and Gerlach readjusted the windage knob on the scope. Satisfied, his hand returned automatically to the trigger.
“Buck fever,” the deputies would say when they came to investigate another dead hunter.