This time of year, the hunting-season widows look forward to getting together without their ‘macho’ men. The theater is showing an appropriate movie; I hope there is no insult by calling it a ‘chick-flick’.
The deer also know that the season is here. They have been practicing running across nighttime highways, just to taunt the poor hunter who can’t find one on legal hunting grounds. The day before season, deer can be seen out the kitchen window. They smile back with an irritating smirk. The next day, they are gone.
Game wardens, restaurants, hunting supply shops, land owners and most of the rest of the population are waiting for opening day. The firepower at sunrise is rivaled only by the combined forces in Iraq. Regretfully, the enemy is ready.
Trophies on walls are the few bucks that made mistakes or were simply overwhelmingly outnumbered. Still, they have their revenge when a wife finally convinces her husband that it should be displayed in an off-room, like the garage. Is it a warped insult-to-injury when the deer horns are used as a rifle stand? Venison is fine, but how many freezers have some left from last season? from the season before? How many wives have secretly replaced freezer-wrapped venison with packages of steak?
How many men, months before, have hidden the Disney’s Bambi movie so the kids won’t start whining about shooting a poor, defenseless fawn’s mother or father?
Defenseless? I have seen 20 men, four pickups, and a score of binoculars search through a field. I have also seen bucks rise up out of those fields just after the light is too faint to legally shoot. I have seen hunters looking down the barrel and drooling, reminding themselves that they must not shoot the deer standing in front of Old Mrs. Smith’s front porch. She has been feeding them corn for months and she has a neon sign flashing “no hunting.” A doe will stand in front of a buck until the trophy hunter is gone. I hear that bucks can actually crawl on their bellies, tilting their heads to lower the horns, and go around a hyped-up hunter.
I have been pheasant hunting, scared up a deer with the toe of my boot, and have shook for an hour from a near cardiac arrest. I swear that some of the rifle bullets sold to me must be blanks. No way I could have missed some of those shots. How do the deer know to bolt from cover when I set my rifle down so I can ... well, be indisposed?
Deer season is looked forward to. It is also a misery. It is also a time for laughter.
I laugh when I see an out-of-state pickup stopped near a deer crossing sign. Don’t hunters from out of state know that deer can’t read? On second thought, I withdraw the question.