Monday, December 15, 2014


Every deer tells a story. There was the one I shot in the lake, after chasing it in a row boat, in a snow storm in Cooperstown. And the one I walked up on with the slug gun and missed. And the monster I gut shot and was lucky enough to stumble over , after just about giving up. Over 20 years I've had good seasons and bad. I've killed little ones and big ones. I've missed easy shots and hit impossible ones. I've felt elated, and completely demoralized (sometimes within minutes of each other). But the one thing I never considered was giving up. I did quit hunting for 20 years- from age 20 to 40, but since I returned to it, another hiatus does not seem to be in the cards. It's become too important to me.
   This year I hunted hard; probably harder than I've ever hunted. Give or take a day or two, I've hunted 7 days a week since Oct. 1. I haven't worked. But I also haven't spent much money either. There's nothing to buy in the woods. Since not being able to get the bow string back on the wide 8, I amped it up even more. Some days I left the house before dawn and didn't get home (empty handed) until after dark. Only my hunting buddies and Shewho understand this compulsion. Everyone else thinks I'm nuts. "How can you not kill a deer? We see them everywhere." I have no answer.
  A while ago I was having a season just like this one. The only difference was I was still commuting 5 hours round trip to Manhattan every day to work as a carpenter at the Dakota. On the weekends I hunted hard. By the end of muzzleloader season my freezer was still empty. On Saturday night it snowed 6 inches. Mupp had planned to come up Sunday afternoon to put on drives for me. He had already tagged out and didn't even have a muzzleloader.
   At dawn I went behind the Old School House and saw fresh tracks. I wasn't set up more than half an hour, when i caught movement. A big doe was coming down the hill followed by a spike. I pulled the gun up and fired. She piled up in a cloud of snow. I was a happy man. But it was after dragging the deer home I realized that the bolt had fallen out of my gun in the snow. It was as useless as a club. I backtracked, trying to find it, to no avail. So when Mupp showed up I grabbed my slug gun and threw one shell in the chamber. It may not have been following the letter of the law, but it was within the spirit. Whatthefuck. I was not going to pass up a willing driver.
   We did the cemetery drive. I stood just over the stone wall, facing a hundred snow covered blow downs. I had little hope of seeing anything. The radio crackled, but I couldn't make out what Mupp said. Then like an apperition, an 8 pointer stepped into a xmas card oval of snow covered hemlocks, stopped broadside and looked at me. I almost didn't raise the gun, I was so stunned by it's beauty.....almost. The slug hit his shoulder and he went down. Then he tried to get up. Luckily I had another shell in my pocket. The second shot killed him.
   We were back at the shack by 2pm, drinking beer and congratulating ourselves. And it was then that the love of my life- Shewhocannotbenamed, who I rarely got to see in those days, because of the complications in both our lives, pulled into the driveway to see two deer hanging in my tree. I don't know who was happier. My brother looked at her, a big smile one his face, and said "He's having quite a day, don't you think?" Shewho didn't miss a beat, hugging me and replying to my brother. "And he's gonna get laid." Amen.

Yesterday I shot a nice little 8 pointer putting on drives with Mupp, Savage, and Photogeorge. The day before I shot a big doe a mile back in the woods at Mr. X's Mystery Farm, drug it out by myself and hung her in the pine tree. After partying in celebration with the congregation I drunkenly went back on Facebook and resolved to return to Huntingwithsupermodels. Yes. I am out of retirement. The glow is back.      


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