Saturday, December 15, 2012

Deer Season Blues

It’s that special time of the year. You know that season that is associated with this time of the year.  That time of the year when we find it hard to sleep and eagerly wake up early in the morning. We break out special clothes and follow traditions that have been handed down year after year. You could say it is almost a holiday.
Wait, you say, almost a holiday? How can I call Christmas almost a holiday? Actually, the” almost holiday” I am talking about is deer season. The time of the year that hunters find it hard to sleep and blaze orange rules the fashion world. Alarm clocks are set to really early, guns are oiled and knives are sharpened.
I must admit, I used to live for deer season, but life had gotten in the way. I just found it hard to make time to go hunting, too many things to do and too little time to get them done. Something had to give and it was my hunting time. But that all changed this year, when my kids got the hunting bug.
Somehow finding the time to go seemed to be a little easier, maybe it was a little easier to justify it. In any case, Ike, Tatum and I bought our licenses and made plans to go hunting. We carefully strategized where to go and quickly made up our minds. Since the kids are in school, morning hunts were out (at least until the weekend).
The first night Ike and I eased into our spot. As we walked in it crossed my mind that it was entirely too warm for deer season. I was in shirt sleeves and sweating profusely, it just didn’t seem right. We picked out our spot and quickly set up at the edge of a soybean field. I had to admit that the warm sunshine and the leaves nearly put me to sleep. That was more than I could say for my snoring, sagging hunting partner. I would have been right there with him, but the ever growing rock strategically placed under my rump kept me awake.
Soon I heard a rustling in the leaves off to my right. I woke up Ike with a well placed boot and we readied ourselves for the monster buck that would surely materialize. Crunch, crunch, crunch and suddenly he was there. A big, fat, red squirrel. I have always wondered how an animal that small could make that much noise. But there he stood and he was mad.
The squirrel quickly darted up the nearest tree and tail wagging he proceeded to scold us. I am not sure how long the rodent chastised us for interrupting his peace and quiet but it sure seemed long enough. I am quite sure all of the timber knew just how displeased he was about our presence. In the end, I suppose the silver lining was that he did provide some entertainment, because there sure weren’t any deer to hold our attention.
The next morning was Saturday and Ike had a debate tournament but Tatum and I were able to schedule a morning hunt. The morning was warm and the sunrise was awesome. Surely this was going to be the day, we would get our deer. This optimism continued through the first, second and third shots we heard. However, this confidence melted away with shots four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten. I am not sure what they were shooting at, but we are pretty sure it was not deer. We scrapped the hunt and went Christmas shopping.
Since he couldn’t hunt the day before, Ike made the decision to skip Sunday School and go hunting the next morning. However, the morning only yielded one coyote sighting and a broken rifle. The discussion on the way to Church was that maybe it was not a good idea to skip Sunday School to hunt. That night we went out and saw our first buck (sure he was a long way off, but we still saw him), maybe it was a sign that we were on the right track.
So as you can see our quest for horns to hang on the wall and venison steaks is still unfulfilled. Our enthusiasm is not waning and I am sure that big buck will saunter by the next time we go. All it takes is patience. If I have learned one thing it is that with age comes patience. OK, that patience also comes with the knowledge that I know the freezer is full of beef and the memories I make hunting with my kids is far more important than anything else.

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