Monday, December 20, 2010




It's been happening for quite a few years now. At some point near the end of deer season and just before Xmas I come home to find a toy or decoration in a bag on my door. The first time they left a plastic shopping bag with a little fake tree. It was just what I was hoping for. I thought it was Mupp. But he swore up and down that he didn't leave it. Carlito? Naw, he's too busy to fuck around with this kind of thing. Al? GNJohn? Slick? No one owned up. My money was on the little Jewish boy Slick but he said it wasn't he. So, this year after going to Ct., to tie one on with my mom and Duke and Mupp and Becky, I come home to find a nice plastic train set on my doorstep. Another miracle.
Then the day after our old hunters venison stew and egg nog party we drove over to Slick's to check out Beek's angora bunny bikini farm and we drove by a xmas tree off the side of the road. Damn! I couldn't believe my luck. A FREE xmas tree. Must've dropped off the truck. I went home got the pick up and loaded 'er up. Next to the tree was a kid's plastic Indian motorcycle half buried in the leaves and snow. I took that too. Now I have a train set, a tree and a toy motorcycle. Another miracle.
After shooting that big buck I've been basking in the moment and have only hunted a little. OldBobR and Mupp came up on Sat. and we put on drives. Mupp and I had doe permits and OldBobR wanted to wait for a buck. Of course he saw all the does. Mupp and I came up empty. This afternoon I went back in the hut at Majestic. I'd moved it and yesterday took a long crack at a lame doe. I missed. Today I went back. I saw nothing all afternoon, so I decided to leave a little early. When I got up I just so happened to look down in the snow. I caught something shiny. It was a little silver skull I wear on my wrist. Shewho gave it to me and I really like it. I picked it up and put it in my coat pocket. I can't believe I didn't lose that bracelet.
I made my way back to the car slowly. I crested a hill and spotted a deer with it's head down. I pulled up the scope and the deer raised it's head and limped off. It was the same one from yesterday. I stopped, back tracked and slowly got above her. She was a little over 150 yards and gimping away. I got a good rest, held on her back and squeezed. She ran but I caught a glimpse of her through some pines and heard her go down. Then silence. That moon was coming up over my left shoulder. There's an eclipse tonight. And a meteor shower. The deer never made the stone wall. She turned out to be a button buck. His back left foot was nearly ripped off- probably a car hit him. It feels really good to shoot an injured deer that will either starve or more likely be taken down by coyotes. I think I'll give it to Buddy Buddy and Sarah Berka. Another Xmas miracle.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010



Tuesday, December 14, 2010


No matter what, the weather just won't cooperate. A cold snap with a little snow was followed by a 50 degree warming and torrential rains. The deer were shut down for the second rut. I saw plenty of does, but no bucks. Gun season ended with one small buck and no does. Monday was the muzzleloader opener.
I hunted the hut (now in the horseshoe bowl at Majestic) in the morning and saw nothing. I came home and there was a message from Savage. He was bringing up OldBobR with Mupp. He wanted to drive Paradise Pond and GNJohn's back ridge. As it turned out we only had time for Paradise. Savage shot a doe in the first drive and Mupp and I saw nothing. The temps were dropping fast. The back side of the front that had hammered the midwest was now putting the east in the freezer. I checked the weather. Winds WNW 15-20 mph 5 degree lows. And nothing changes until Friday. Fuck.
But there's not much time left so I got in the woods. I didn't have any choice. This morning I jumped a momma and two babies behind the school house. Then I worked my way down behind ExRDJohn's and spotted a deer down the ridge behind the Hassidic truck container. At least three does were bedded down in the tangle about 200 yards below me. I had to close the distance for a good shot. Remember a muzzle loader has only one shot. It took me about an hour to make 50 yards. I waited for a good gust of wind and slid down this little side hill, trying to get behind a deadfall. Against the snow they caught me. At least ten deer exploded down the hill into the woods. Fuck again.
I got home around noon, had a cup of coffee, tried to thaw out and then headed for Majestic. My plan was to still hunt the NW wind back to the hut and sit out the afternoon. I had a sleeping bag in my pack. My face leafy mask was frozen solid with snot and icy condensed breath. Not 15 minutes into my walk I saw a deer standing in the pines. When I took a knee it made me and spun (but walked slowly off). I waited a while then slowly found the bed and track and followed it. I didn't go 100 yards before I saw a buck- a big curved spike. He saw me at the same time and bolted to the left. Then a doe went off to the right. I had no chance. I found 4 beds and they all looked good. I decided that instead of continuing to the hut I would set up here.

Last week Mupp, OldBobR, Savage and I put on drives down at the airport. We never saw a deer, but saw the very large tracks of two deer who got by us. "If we'd only had someone at the castle, we'd have had them." Savage bemoaned. The "castle" was a pile of rocks YoungBobR piled up as a kid. Back to Majestic.....

I found a "castle" in those woods and settled in for a cold afternoon in the bedroom, snuggled up to those frozen rocks. I could see maybe a 100 yards into the pines, dotted with oaks. These deer never had to leave the safety of cover. Acorns littered the landscape. The wind bit, but the sleeping bag in my pack worked wonders. It reflected my ass heat and I was OK. I never saw a deer until about 4 PM. I caught some movement below me. A deer was coming my way. The wind was good. I put the scope up. It was a buck.....a good buck. He came within 50 yards. When he passed a big tree I already had the gun up and hammer back. I put the cross hairs on his vitals and squeezed.
He hunched, kicked and ran like he wasn't touched. I sat still. Then I reloaded, pressing the ram rod against a tree in order to get the load down, fumbling for another cap. When I was reloaded I went to find the track. Thank the LGM for snow. The track was easy. But no blood. Fuck Me.........but then a drop of blood. But just a drop. I followed the kicked up leaves. Less than 100 yards later I found the dead buck. He's a big mature 7 with one broken brow tine and by far the biggest deer I've ever shot. I can't tell you how pleased I am and want to especially thank Sarah Berka and Buddy Buddy for letting me hunt their piece of heaven. Hunter's Dinner on Sat. after dark. See you at the shack.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010




The wind again. Bow season started with wind and gun season is ending with it. Only now it's 15 degrees without the 10 to 20 mph WNW bone chiller. There's a few ways to deal with it. Sometimes sitting works and sometimes drives work, but still hunting has not worked. So I bundle up in as many layers that I'm physically able to drag through the woods, along with the blind, gun and pack filled with blanket, pee bottle and extra clothes, and make my way to as remote a spot as i can get to and wait. I spent from 8 AM to 4:30 PM sitting on a stool in a little tent, looking out the windows. I froze my ass off, but the day went surprisingly fast. I never saw a deer.
So this morning I met Savage and Mupp over on Paradise Pond. Savage drove for Mupp and I. On the first drive I had three does sneak up behind me. I could've shot any of them but until Muzzle Loader Season-no doe permit in Sullivan Co. But on the second drive I walk the road up to where the stump dump is and Savage tells me to go in the woods there. But as I'm looking to my left to the tangle of stumps I catch movement to my right and immediately I see horns and a big back. I drop to one knee and put the scope up, but he's already got me and he's moving up towards Fred Rd. I scurry up the road on frozen puddles and try to get above him. It doesn't work and as i go in the woods another group of deer go out above me. Then ten minutes later Savage puts another six doe right to me. All in all I see 14 or so deer and a nice buck.
In the afternoon i still hunt Majestic and set up on a new spot overlooking an open hardwoods bowl, rimmed by an old logging road. Right before dark a big doe crosses the bowl. I spot her over 200 yards out and watch her come with 20 yards, never winding me until she hits my track. It supposed to be even colder tomorrow and the wind won't quit until Saturday. Savage swears that's the hot day for the second rut. So all you deer hunters that look at this blog for something other than the pictures- GET IN THE WOODS. It's heating up again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010



All my life I've loved TV. And for a good chunk of it I've loved hunting. Well it just so happens now that I have a satellite dish, I can watch the hunting shows on two channels- Versus and Pursuit. If I'm not in the woods I can watch other people hunt on TV. After a season of watching I now have a pretty good grasp on what's out there. Want wacky and irreverent? There's THE BEST AND WORST OF TRED BARTA (who now inexplicably is in a wheel chair) or the "young gun" GUN IT WITH BENNY SPIES. This guy is a likable grunge knucklehead who drives around South Dakota in a '73 Mini-Winni, hunting deer on frozen golf courses. Or if you're looking for hot couples who kill deer together there's a bunch of hunks with tiffanys who can shoot the eye out of a chipmunk at 50 yards with a bow. My favorite is the more practical nuts and bolts approach of DEER AND DEER HUNTING. Whitetail photographer and hunter par excellence Charlie Alsheimer dishing up good biology and hunting tips. But for shear complex twistedness there's TED NUGENT'S TOOTH AND CLAW and a slew of Christian hunting programs.
It being "SUNDAY SERVICES' on Pursuit Channel, the Christians are knocking 'em silly with fist pumping, praise the Lord for that double lung shot, God help me Jesus find that blood trail, pure joy. Almost every show has a sunset shot, maybe a little scripture, as well as the money shot. The parallels between a hunting show and 20 minutes of porn is apparent. There's a lot of build up before the bow is drawn and the arrow loosed. Hell, there's not much else out there. If Dave Chapelle came back with a hunting show I'd never leave the house.
But I did leave the house today. I had a six, two spikes and a doe in front of me. The wind was gusting right in my face. Then I saw a big rack moving through the woods.......JESUS CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's been tough. I don't have a doe permit for Sullivan Co. and all I'm seeing is does. There's less than two weeks left in gun season and I've yet to score. I can hunt doe down at Mupp's but he hasn't been seeing much either. And it's a half hour each way in the truck. So I try to strategize my area here. I know there's a big one at Majestic and also one on the back ridge above Gilkey's. I've seen the trees. I decide to bite the bullet and drive down to the Thruway Market to buy another "outhouse" blind. That's what they call the blind I got ripped off. I saw a nice doe behind Elijah's this morning but it's too tight on those houses and you always hear the school bus backing up. The "beep-beep"stirs up the deer. I decide to go deep in the woods on the back ridge and set up the blind amongst these big rocks, overlooking a wide trail. I had the wind right in my face and backed up to a dripping massive rock ledge.
About four o'clock I saw a doe coming down the path. Then another....and another. Six does and the last one a buck. I can see it's a four with small brow tines. Now here's the thing. If I was a trophy hunter, like Savage, I would let this deer walk. But I have an empty freezer and the clock is ticking. When the buck clears the tree I click the safety off, hold on the front shoulder and squeeze. The last thing I want is a blood trail. The shot echoes down the valley, across Ray Gilkey's fields, all the way to the new two lane bridge crossing the Neversink river at Denniston's Ford. He falls in his tracks. Phew.
I gut that deer and attempt to drag him up hill back to my car, that I've parked at ExRDJohn's
but there's no snow and I'm fucking getting too old for this shit. So I go down the mountain to Ray's fields and get him out that way. Actually Ray's is now RNButch's mom's place and I knock on her door and she says that RNButch told her about me. And yes it was fine to pick up my deer. She was nice. But no one's around to help. No Slick. No GNJohn. No Carlito. I finally get ahold of GNJohn and he helps me load it up in the truck and hang it from my pine tree.
I can't tell you how pleased i am to have shot this buck. Trophy or not, it is tough shooting a whitetail buck. Tomorrow I'm going down to the airport to put on drives with Savage and BobbyR and maybe Mupp if he gets back from babysitting his grandson. Maybe I'll get a doe. Freeze your ass off trudging through swamps and fields, trying to kill a deer or snuggle on the couch with your little darlin' ? I guess we all have our choices. The cats can fend for themselves. I'm going hunting.




Way before I ever thought about making art by hunting and killing animals, I did a piece called MY COW. The year was 1980. This work started by designing and registering my brand with the state of California. The "Pointed Cane" brand looked a little like an elongated Pacman standing on his lower jaw. I got my local blacksmith (SF still had one in 1980) to weld me up a branding iron and then went in search of a cow to buy. My good friend Peggy Ingall's brother Pete had a little ranch in Gridley, CA and he turned me on to a farm where i purchased a 400 lb. calf. Dan Ake and I lined his old Ford Econoline van with plywood and drove east into farm country. Needless to say neither Dan nor I had any idea how to handle a cow. With the help of the farmer we got the calf in the back of the van and drove back to SF. The critter spent the night on the streets of SF, while I prepared a performance at 80 Langton.
The next night Dan backed his van into the gallery and with the help of Tom Chapman we branded the cow. I remember Cathy Acker and Robert Atkins watching in horror as I singed the cow's hide as part of a performance called COW POEMS. Another night in the van parked on the streets and then we drove the MY COW out to Pete Ingalls' ranch. I told him I would pay him $20 per month in order to board the cow for her natural life. I read somewhere that a cow's nose is as specific as a human's fingerprint. So a couple of month's later Pete lassoed the cow and Dan pulled prints from her nose. The piece was progressing nicely.
I went to NYC before Xmas and planned on tracking down Yoko Ono at the Dakota. I had heard she kept dairy cows on a farm upstate, and thought I maybe could interest her in this piece. One thing led to another and I never got to see her. On the flight back to SF the pilot announced that John Lennon had been killed outside the Dakota's entrance. Then, one night about a week later, I got a call from Pete. The cow had jumped the fence, got out on the road and was killed by a local driving his pick up truck. He sent me the steaks which I printed and then salted into art objects. The piece was over.

This morning I began MY COW II. This will be the creation of a dairy cow from a fertilized egg to birth. Buddy and Scott Key will do the actual insemination and care for the calf on their farm near Cooperstown, NY. I will fund it and document this specific cow's life. A cow can live 30 years. This one may out last me. Pictures to follow.