Monday, February 27, 2006

Hunting

The one thing that helped shape me as a person and is responsible for bringing the clan a bit closer together as well was the annual deer hunting trip. Before you get in a tizzy about Bambi’ s mom having her guts spattered all over every other tree in the dark forest, please bear in mind no, or at least very few, deer were ever harmed in the making of this hunt. Ok, maybe a few man made artifacts took a hit (hey, have to sight in the ol’ shootin’ iron, don’t you?). Thinking back deer were probably not even the main objective. It was just nice being together and sharing the experience.


It was not a strenuous hunt. Though dad was probably a die hard hunter back in the day, I do not think any of us were the “get up four hours before dawn and sit in the woods covered with eau de skunkass so the deer can’t smell us, freezing to death” kind of hunter – hell, even the deer aren’t that stupid. Dad would pull the trailer up to the lake and we’d bunk out there and even come back for lunch!!


If your idea of hunting is eating a half frozen sandwich in the middle of the woods with the wind trying to find a way through your clothes, you wouldn’t have enjoyed our hunt. Screw being uncomfortable! In fact that is how I found my spot. I always looked for a comfy log to sit on, if there was a game trial nearby, bonus! My brother and I weren’t too far away from each other, my dad off on a hillside overlooking a swampy area. It was nice because I could just sit back on my log and absorb the sounds of the forest.


I loved being in the woods, smelling the moldering leaves, the fresh breeze, hearing the squirrels chatter, the drumming of the wood peckers. You could see and hear the trees swaying with the wind, the leaves made a colorful carpet for the chipmunks as they ran around looking for whatever chipmunks might look for. We were in the wilds of the Kettle Moraine, rife with stands of hardwoods. Shagbark hickory, oak, maple, Ash, Hawthorn, with Birch, Poplar, and some pines mixed in for good measure. It was beautiful, cold, sometimes rainy, but always beautiful.


There are some smells that bring the memory or our woodland jaunts rushing back – a frozen Hershey bar with almonds for instance. The candy bar would generally freeze in the coat pocket and seemed to taste better than ever. Putting it in the freezer comes close, but it still isn’t quite the same.


The other smell, oddly enough, is the putrid smell of an Olympic contender (deonstration sport in Bejing) asparagus piss. We always had steak and asparagus for dinner the night before we went out and it became a tradition to mark our territory before hunting with a hearty asparagus piss. That may well be the reason we rarely saw any deer, if it smelled that bad to us I can imagine what they thought, if deer do indeed think much of anything.


Things change as time goes on and we don’t go out anymore either by ourselves or together. Dad is gone, that is one reason – it wouldn’t be quite the same. My brother and I live halfway across the country from each other now and that doesn’t help. I took a look at the guns I own and they have deteriorated to the point where I am not sure I would care to pull the trigger. I have no desire to shoot them any longer and I will probably get rid of them. Not because I am opposed to guns or hunting, just because I have little use for them and if someone has a gun, often times they feel obligated to use it, even when the situation might not warrant the use of that much force.


As far as the folks who don’t understand hunting, let me quote the unwritten law of nature – “Life is short if you taste good”. I like venison and at that time there was only one way to get it, not that I ever got what I went out for, but the opportunity was there. The father of one of my son’s friends got the concept. They were watching Bambi when my son’s friend said “that’s Bambi’s mom” to which the father retorted, “don’t get too attached”.

6 Comments:

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Sarah Letnes said...

I didn't know that's why you put Hershey's with almonds in the freezer. I thought you were just weird.

 
At 4:53 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

That's why...

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Rabbit said...

"Life is short if you taste good."

LOL! That needs to be a bumper sticker or something.

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger SC said...

Hersheys should be banned. They are addictive. I only went once to America but I ended up near enough surviving on them, and nothing else, for three weeks.

Very nice piece PK.

 
At 10:00 PM, Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

SC,

Thanks!

 
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