The human eye is amazing. The beauty it allows us to experience and cherish in life is beyond mere words to express. A beautiful sunset, your child’s face, love in your spouses’ eyes and countless other sights beyond number are the results of this miraculous gift called sight.
Sight can be very definitive, recognizing minute details and patterns. Have you ever picked out a friend or relative in a crowd or at a distance simply by the way they walk? Of course, you have, the eye misses nothing. However, unless you train your brain and eyes to work in concert, the eye may miss things readily apparent to another.
The image was ignored simply because the brain deemed it unimportant. Ask that person if they noticed what you just observed and they will answer no. They are telling the truth, it was there, their eyes saw it, but the brain failed to recognize it. Fascinating, seen but unseen, there but invisible.
Hunters and fishermen see things others don’t. Their eyes and brains are trained to seek out detail’s others overlook.
An individual who doesn’t fish stops their car beside a beautiful brook cascading down the mountainside and says, “My that’s beautiful,” takes a picture and then drives on. A dyed-in-the-wool fisherman sees the beauty but a host of other details as well.
There’s deep water at the edge of that large rock, a perfect place for a big trout to hold. The waters are fairly fast there, I’ll have to cast at least 15 feet upstream for the bait to sink deep enough by the time it reaches the rock to insure a hit. The same rock juts out in the stream, creating a swirling eddy against the bank, another perfect holding area for trout. A cast against the bank, allowing the bait to sink deep in the eddy is almost a sure thing. The log wedged across the bottom of the hole is also a great spot for a fish to hold. A spinner cast across the creek could swing right underneath it.
Two people sitting in a boat, one fishes, the other doesn’t.
“Look how pretty the water is.” says the non-fishermen. The fisherman nods his head, noticing the deep weed edge, the lily pads in the back of the bay and the steep point to the left with fallen timber disappearing into the water. He’s already planning how to fish this perfect bay, starting at the point, working the deep weed edge and then hitting the lily pads with a frog. Same bay, two different perspectives.
Water sight is reading the surface and recognizing what’s underneath, the fish species that live there. How to approach and the technique and bait-lures needed to succeed. Hunting sight is much more complicated and subtle.
Animals, birds and reptiles are almost all lovely. Some, perhaps vultures as an example, are not. They are garbage men and look the part. Mother Nature in her wisdom allows that beauty, or lack of, to also become the perfect camouflage.
A young fawn is the perfect example, strikingly beautiful, yet curled up in the grass or underneath low-lying limbs they are almost impossible to see. To the untrained eye they are impossible to see.
A deer hunter’s brain is wired to look for a multitude of details. They’re not looking for a whole deer, but for bits and pieces of them. The great majority of the time deer see, smell or hear you first. Oftentimes you never see them before they run off. But there are times when due to cover, the lay of the land, careful planning or by just dumb luck, you close the distance.
You have snuck to the edge of the ridge and carefully peek around the tree you walked up behind. Your eyes first quickly scan everything in front of you, this only takes a second or two. If a deer is clearly visible you pick them out immediately. Ah, hah! That was easy.
Most of the time though you see nothing. The second scan takes a little longer, still nothing. Now you begin picking apart the forest in front of you. What’s that brownish shape over there? A stump on closer look. What’s that darker area in the brush? Not sure, bears watching. Those leaves have been dug in and look fresh. Suddenly, your heart leaps. A tiny flick to your right. Your computer-like mind reviews years of data in a microsecond and you know that slight motion was the flick of a deer’s ear. You slowly raise the binoculars and in plain sight, now that you see it, is a deer facing you head down.
The flick of an ear, a shade of brown, the curve of a rump, the straight line of the back, a white edged tail, the texture of the hide, or twitch of the tail are all glaring, red lights to the hunter. Seeing the entire deer’s, a luxury.
Turkeys step forward and stop, raising their heads slightly, a very recognizable motion. Squirrels hop just so and their motion up and down trees is distinct. Grouse, unless they’re on a log, are pretty much invisible. Every bird species has a particular way of beating their wings and flight characteristics that set them apart at a glance.
What can the discerning eye learn to recognize? Almost anything!