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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The end of hunting season

And so another hunting season passes astern.

I hope your season went better than mine, a washed up shipwreck of failure and blame.

Things started out OK. This was the year I was finally going to get a deer.

I read a lot of outdoor magazines to get ready. They said you should do some pre-season scouting to get a really big buck.

Instead I watched a number of low-budget hunting videos that stressed the importance of set up, execution and being on a private ranch in Texas, where you can shoot baited deer like rats at the dump from the comfort of your heated blind.

That sounded good to me. Unfortunately deer hunting on the Olympic Peninsula is seldom like that.

I used to enjoy good deer hunting in the Olympic Mountains before it was ruined. I blame the government.

By failing to address global warming, they have allowed the glaciers to melt. The decreasing weight of the glaciers, with the collision on the tectonic plates, deep beneath the earth’s crust have caused the Olympic Mountains to rise and become much steeper and higher than they were in my younger days.

Hunting the lowlands was no picnic either. I had some equipment failures.  I tried some of the new hunting clothes that trap the human odors inside so they didn’t ooze out and spook the deer. I invested in a can of aerosol spray that was supposed to cover whatever leaked out of the odor proof suit.

They claimed secret formula was a mixture of genuine skunk urine and doe-in-heat scent. Unfortunately when you combine an odor trapping suit, with a double helping of deer camp chili, you have a recipe for disaster you might not be able to cover with skunk urine.

There’s a deer hunting tip you won’t read about in any outdoor magazine.

The last day of deer season found me driving around looking like a pumpkin in an orange vest. That’s how you can spot the real losers. Hunters are legally required to wear tacky orange accessories that clash with everything. It makes it easier for the game wardens to spot them.

Anyone still wearing hunter orange on the last day of the season is immediately identified as a dud and a failure by the other hunters who got their buck. They wave and point and yell as you drive by, “Didn’t get your buck, Huh?”

It was OK. Hunting is all about family to me. That’s why on the last Sunday of deer season I went and sprang Granny from the care center.

I told the warden we were going to church. Granny didn’t care where she was going as long as it was out on the road. She didn’t seem to mind when I told her we were going to do a little road hunting through the suburbs of the Dungeness Valley on the way to church. 

“I thought people went hunting in the woods,” Granny said.

“Too many poachers in the woods,” I said. Then I told her about the plate tectonics thing and how the mountains were getting steeper by the minute but Granny never did care much about science.

Just then I spotted a trophy deer. It was a three point if you counted the nose and both ears. It was bedded down in someone’s front yard. They had a nice salmon fishing boat in the driveway. I hoped they would to move it so I could get a clear shot. It’s safety first on any hunting trip.

I told Granny to go knock on the door and ask them if she could shoot their pet deer. Say they were running low on fresh meat at the care center, or something. Granny thought that was a bad idea.

“You can’t just poach a deer in someone’s front yard,” she said.

 “It ain’t poaching Granny, it’s deer season. We are asking permission to hunt and besides, I got a hunting license and a deer tag and everything!”

I promised her we could go to the casino after we get my deer.

It must have been a dream-come-true for Granny, her Sonny finally getting a legal deer. She gave me a hug. Tears welled. I hunched beneath the seat as she walked up to knock on the door.  

What was I supposed to do? Ask for permission to hunt myself?  Picture a cute little Granny all dolled up in her Sunday-go to-meeting best. She is much more likely to get permission to hunt than someone in blaze orange who smells worse than a skunk in heat.  

There’s another hunting tip you won’t read in any magazine.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of anti-hunter attitude out there. I didn’t get permission to hunt.

It was OK. I took Granny to the casino. She won enough money to buy me a steak. 

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