Larry Penkava Column: Lamentations of a deer on the run
As a deer I hate this time of year.
If it weren’t bad enough trying to trip across those blasted, slippery, rock-hard, human roads without running smack dab into what they like to call a “hummer,” now they’re out to get us with all their high-tech military weaponry.
My granddaddy — the bucks called him “Rack” for his 12 points — used to talk about the good old days when hunters made the chase a little more equal. For one thing, they couldn’t shoot a doe without the risk of heavy fines.
Now, does are fair game. ‘Course, hunters still are looking for bucks because they they make better trophies to hang on their walls (gross!), what with their antlers and all.
Years ago, my granddad used to say, hunters would go after deers (I don’t know why humans leave off the “s” from the plural) with a rifle or a bow and little else. Today it takes a giant pickup truck to haul all their gear. And they have four-wheelers to, ahem, carry the carcass of a step-too-slow deer out of the woods.
A buddy of mine said he crashed through the window of a Bass Pro Shop one night and couldn’t believe all the stuff hunters could buy just for deer hunting. All kinds of guns with telescopic lenses, game feeders, deer scents, deer corn (I loathe deer corn), listening devices and, worst of all, meat processing and taxidermy supplies — sickening!
My buddy said it was enough to make him upchuck the collard greens he had found in an unprotected garden. In retaliation, he said, he left his mark on some camo coveralls before he found his way out and made it safely back to the woods.
They like to call hunting us deers a sport. I guess it’s a sport if you win, but a deer can’t afford to lose. A hunter can go all day without shooting a deer, then head back to his comfortable home.
Fall and winter are the seasons when we deers like to move around. It’s harder to find food so foraging requires covering more territory.
Humans found that out many years ago and decided to make their hunting season the same time as when we’re more likely to be out and about. It’s also when our antlers are at their full extent, making us easier to spot.
And have you ever tried running through the woods with a rack on your head? What human was it, Absolom? who got his hair caught in the branches of a tree?
Anyway, they ought to even up the playing field for us deers, other than just making hunters wear orange vests. Why not give weapons to us deers? Or telescopes and listening devices?
Why not make hunters wear cowbells and flashing lights? If nothing else, they won’t be shooting each other.
If it’s war they want, why not make it more realistic? Let hunters feel what it’s like to look squarely into headlights.
Speaking of which, don’t we deserve secure deer crossings at major highways? That’d be a bonus for humans as well. If I had fingers, there wouldn’t be enough of them to count how many of my high school buddies wound up as fender fodder.
I don’t wanna sound like a spoil sport, but doggone it, I’m tired of dodging bullets. Not to mention cars and SUVs and Mack trucks.
Is it too much to ask for a ceasefire once in a while? It’d make crossing the beanfield a lot less stressful.
Did you ever wonder why wild deer meat tastes so gamey? It’s the stress of the hunt, don’tcha know, and that loads the system with the wrong hormones.
All I’m asking for is a little consideration. Live and let live. Have a heart. Do unto others, etc.
Just give us deers a sporting chance. We have feelings, too.
And I can tell you, hiding amongst the cows is so deflating to a buck’s ego.
Larry Penkava, who has written Now and Then since 1994, bagged his only deer with a front fender.
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