Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Remember these hunters?

Once a year, for one month, men with red plaid coats and red caps, hunting licenses pinned to their backs, took their rifles into the woods to hunt deer. When I first moved into country (in 1987), the first day of deer season announced itself at sunrise with a rifle shot every few minutes. I remember this vividly because my shepherd mix was afraid of lightening, fireworks and firearms, so she’d try to hide in the bed with me. One the way to work (leaving my poor dog inside), car after car lined the country roads, their owners woodsmen doing their best to bag a buck. Some succeeded quickly, many others would talk for the next few weeks over coffee at the corner store: “Get your deer yet?”

Those guys are gone.

First, forget the once a month thing. Deer season alone lasts months--bow season, muzzleloader season, antlerless season--this November sport now lasts all fall. And hunting starts far before that and lasts long after. Something is always in season--small game, turkey, grouse, you name it. Guys with guns patrol the trails month after month.

That’s right--the trails. No woodsmen here. They want it easy. No parked cars at the sides of the roads by the woods either. Instead, pickup drivers sit by the fields with binoculars, waiting practically until all they have to do is step outside and fire.

I haven’t seen a red jacket for at least a few years. Safety seems out of fashion, at least visually so. Instead, everyone wears camouflage--pants and jackets. Everyone. And hunters don’t walk--they sit in blinds. They don’t even climb trees--they nail steps to the tree and build a platform.

And the old official start of deer season? It announces itself with large “Welcome Hunters!” banners at the corner store, announcing special quantity deals from the various beer sponsors--opportunities well used, starting first thing in the morning.


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