Originally posted by yours truly at DefensiveCarry.com
This happened years ago. The wife and I were visiting married friends in KY and I was invited to tag along the next day to a deer hunt. Stupidly I accepted since I was willing to experience the “thrill of the hunt” something I never lived. I was going just as an observer since I did not feel like shelling the $100+ fee for an out of state hunter and I thought that I’d be a danger with my non-existent training in long guns.
Sometime in the wee hours of the AM when even ghouls and witches are asleep, I felt a hand shaking my shoulder and a voice demanding to wake the heck up. Is the darn house on fire? Are we being attacked by feral zombies? WTH? When the fog of Morpheus dissipated, I collected my drooled self, got up and I was promptly shoved a cup of steaming coffee in my hands. Before I could say thank you, I understood why I was given coffee: Sometime during the night, the house was raised from its foundations and deposited inside NASA’s Deep Freezing Hangar for Outer Space Temperature Material Testing. It was COLD for the love of all that is holy! Mind you, you have to understand that I had lived 90% of my life in a region of the world where 65 degrees is considered the new Ice Age and 95 is just a tad warm. Of course, that being my regular weather, my clothing was appropriate for fighting alongside rebel guerrillas in the rain forest (AKA Jungle) but not quite “tactical” for the forests of Kentucky around Thanksgiving. My thickest piece of clothing was one of those outback long coats which I donned with just about every t-shirt I had. Adding triple socks to my feet made me have a nasty time putting on my sneakers.
I headed for the kitchen nursing the 4 drops of coffee left in the cup. When I stepped in, I saw that the table was covered in quantities of food indicating that a small church choir was joining us for breakfast. Biscuits, rolls, bacon, jelly, gravy, grits, sausage, steak, chicken (ugh), scrambled eggs, sunny side up eggs, pickles, hash browns and Quick were available. I don’t eat breakfast so I headed for the coffee pot, poured about 5 ounces of sugar in it plus about half cup of milk and stirred with a wooden spoon. Thinking that drinking directly from the pot would be impolite, I requested a straw.
When my buddy finished his breakfast and half of what was supposed to be mine (no small choir coming) we stepped outside the house. I swear I heard an owl hoot “Would you cut down the racket? Some of us are trying to sleep for the love of God!” Oh, by the way, it was frigging cold! the marrow in my bones turned to dry ice within 3 seconds and I sucked on that straw trying to get more hot coffee in my stomach. My buddy loaded the back of his truck with a rifle case and a small back pack & we hopped inside. As he drove to his “perfect deer spot” I was trying to figure out if my uncontrollable shaking was due to the cold or a previously undetected nerve malady augmented by a sudden ingestion of 12 cups of highly sugared coffee. The heat in the truck took forever to engage and when the temp inside the cabin finally reached somewhere above 32 degrees, we arrived at the sacred hunting ground.
Against my own instincts, I got off the truck and got mauled once more by the darn cold. This time a new twist was added: My bladder demanded that I took care of business right there and then. I looked around and found some bushes to one side and told my buddy I’d be right back. I undid whatever layers of zippers & assorted tighty whities I had on but the inhabitant of the nether region refused to expose itself to sub-zero air. After cajoling, threatening and serious negotiations which included a vacation in Aruba, I was able to avoid an accident and found relief.
We proceeded into the woods as my buddy chatted and explained to me the principles of hunting, spoor, tracks, feeding salt blocks, points on a deer (which sounded like a scoring system for basketball if you ask me) and tons of other info that my brain tried to assimilate and process in vain. After what it seemed halfway through the distance Bataan Death March, we reached a “creek” (In the city we see more water in a drainage ditch though) and was told to hunker down to wait for Deer to show up. So I did what I usually do when I am about to be very bored waiting: I lit a smoke.
-“You can’t smoke here!”
-“I don’t see a No Smoking sign anywhere.
-“It is no that you dumb arse. It is for the deer.”
-“What, they don’t like second hand smoking? Are they health nazis or something?
-“No, they get scared.”
-“So they are health nazis.”
-“Just put that crap away.”
I took the longest drag ever and put the cigarette out. Of course, with such a long drag, the inevitable coughing fit occurred. I did not know that hunters were such a uncaring bunch, I mean he could just wrap my mouth with three layers of duct tape but instead he used about half a roll to contain my coughing fit.
We waited and waited and waited and I fell asleep with my back sitting against a tree. Next thing I hear is a detonation so dive for the ground or I should say roll ’cause every joint in my body was frozen solid and I could not extend my body. Thankfully the sun was up now and after some 25 minutes and a liberal application from a plumber’s torch I was able to walk upright (somewhat) again.
I approached the newly dead deer as my buddy was gutting & cleaning it. I asked that, since the deer was dead and second hand smoking should be the last thing in his mind, would he mind if I could have a nicotine refill. My buddy gave me a look, sighed and said it was OK… Oh what a glorious feeling of heat and addiction savored.
When he finished his task, I asked what’s next and I did not like the answer.
-“We take it to the truck.”
-“What did you think? I am going to leave it here?”
-“I guess not but, Can we call somebody? UPS or something and have it delivered it?”
-“No, we gotta drag it back to the truck. We’ll take turns.”
Now the deer looked like it was the size of a small horse and I dreaded the idea of marching with that thing through an uneven forest for three counties and a federal reservation. I pleaded and cajoled but to no avail. Finally I managed to get a long branch and scrounged some bailing wire and convinced my buddy to set carcass on the branch so both can share the pain. Although we ended up looking like a scene from a bad Tarzan movie from the 1930’s where the natives have the kill of the day and are marching back to camp, it did the trick and we reached the truck without back pain enough to require morphine and a Thai masseuse. We next drove to the Ranger station where the deer was examined, some records taken and the ranger put on the deer one of those plastic wrist bands Night Clubs use on patrons for control. I thought it was a good waste of wristband seeing that this deer would not be enjoying any disco dancing any time soon. After that we went to the local butcher who promised to prepare and have the deer in steaks and sausages sometime before tax day.
All in all was an educational experience and I gained a lot of respect for hunting and hunters. And no, no way in hell I would repeat it. I am too lazy and I like to sleep only to be woken by sunlight, a fresh pot of coffee and a bathroom with a temperature that will allow no hassles when my bladder comes a calling.
This happened about 14 years ago. But I am thinking on repeating the experience on a milder weather and easier grounds. A buddy at my club wants to bloody his new 30-30 lever action while hog hunting. In Florida we have several private lands dedicated to hunting which gives you the opportunity to hunt any time without having to get a license. And the best of all is that is geared to lazy SOBs like me. You ride a swamp buggy with a guide, you are driven to the best possible spots and you pick whatever hog you like with the flavor of weapon you choose to take. And if you are lucky and bag something, you are driven back to base camp where for a modest fee an expert will clean the carcass and pack it in ice for you.
Throw me a box of Dunkin Donuts and a six pack of Pepsi for the guys and I am there!