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Great hunter?

I applied for this deer season's hunting license on January 1. I have cleaned and buffed my rifle until it shines. I have all my gear and it is in perfect condition. My water jug is already full. I have even washed my eye glasses. I am ready.

Yeah right, no way, only in my wildest dreams, are-you-joking?

The tags were originally mis-mailed and now "they are in the mail" is what the Game, Fish and Parks guy told me (actually a very pleasant gentleman). I have not shot my rifle since last year. I can't find any of my gear. My job is busy right now. My daughter, though eager, is shocked that deer season is already here.

Different thoughts about hunting come to mind. "I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn if I were standing inside it." My rifle caliber is far less than some out-of-state hunters who must have gotten theirs from the turret of a Sherman tank. I've never had luck hunting, whether you spell it "deer" or "dear". My biggest trophy died saying, "moo." Can you shoot it if it's wearing a saddle? Does it always have to fall over a cliff before you drag it out? Icy river water is good for feet.

Non-hunters ask if venison tastes good. That depends. For some hunters, it takes at least three tanks of gas at over $50 each in order to scour the countryside for a place to hunt. Despite that television shows depict everyone is armed to the teeth, hunting rifles aren't cheap. The hunter should have at least 26 boxes of bullets in case they miss. Landowners want to be paid to get rid of too many deer. License fees are extortionary. The "thirty-point buck" butchers out to be smaller than Bambi. No one else likes the smell of cooking deer meat, so you have to try to cook it yourself. The tiny, half-raw and half-burnt, piece of something on your plate HAD BETTER TASTE GOOD.

But my reality is better. The gas would be used visiting my ranching friends anyway. My old rifle was a precious gift from my father before my first hunting trip at his side. I personally have never shot more that ten bullets during any deer season - the enjoyable practices and safety lessons with my dad, brother and children helped there. The licenses are still expensive, but golf or other hobbies can also get that way. The often-repeated stories get better and better so it really was a "thirty-point buck" that I got last year. I gladly teach my children different ways to cook venison. My sons have told their stories, and now my daughter has her own hunting stories to tell, usually over the supper table. Yes, venison does taste good.

Hunting can be the world-renowned marksman stealthily outsmarting the ever-wary Boone-and-Crockett trophy. Hunting can also be the enjoyment of nature by family and friends doing something together; of growing closer as they create fond memories.

To me venison always tastes good, even if it is really hamburger from the store because "I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn."