Thursday, November 29, 2007


When the coyotes got in the goat pen, not only did they wreck havoc on the goats, they scared off the reindeer family my neighbor Carlito had been raising. The female and baby returned, but the stag was long gone. Carlito and his hired hand Frankie took the truck down in the woods and I grabbed my gun and flanked the ridge, hoping to either catch a glimpse of the stag or one of the dogs. I had no idea what I'd do if I saw the reindeer. I knew what to do if I saw the coyotes.
We criss crossed that ridge to no avail. No sign of any critter. Then, when I got home there was a flurry of messages on my phone from GNJohn who had seen the stag down along the river. Thinking it was a big whitetail buck his voice was giddy with excitement. "Where arrrrrre you? There's a monster buck down in my field. IT'S MAGICAL!" Carlito got the truck stuck. Frankie got lost and GNJohn was completely embarassed that he had mistaken the stag for Bambi. The exotic deer had disappeared into the woods.
About a week later I was in my tree stand bow hunting, when I caught sight of something moving down Ray Gilkey's hedgerow. When I saw that big white rack I knew immediately it was the free stag. I pulled the binocs up and put the glasses on the deer's back. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something dark come out of the woods about 400 yards across the field. At first I thought it was a couple of deer, but then realized it was two big coyotes. As if Hollywood had written the script, the pack was following the stag. He saw them also. As I watching the 'yotes the stag nervously crossed the field under my stand. I grunted, but he paid no attention. His reindeer sized penis was dangling and dripping. The whitetail bucks had some competition in the rut. Next year we could be hunting big mutant reintails.
Throughout bow season numerous people caught sight the stag, over by Pleasure Lake, down by the bridge. I checked in with Carlito periodically but he was too busy to care. "If I have to, I'll hunt him during gun season." he told me, showing his frustration in the matter. That's when I started setting traps. It was like having too many mice in the house. Nothing personal. Then, the day before opening day of gun season I saw a yellow cow trailer pull into Carlito's farm. The phone rang. It was Carlito on his cell. "Look out your window." he said. "I am." I said, wondering what new critter would emerge from the trailor. Then I saw those unmistakable horns. "How the fuck did you....?" Carlito was glib. He went on about tracking him, but i knew better. Someone in Bridgeville had spotted the stag under the apple trees and Carlito went over with a hand full of grain and the trailer, with not a day to spare. The next morning the shooting started. Had Carlito not captured him, by lunch that stag would've been headed to Jersey in the back of a minivan. " HONEY, LOOK WHAT I SHOT IN THE CATSKILLS!" That night the coyotes howled in disapproval. Trapping season was on.


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