Thursday, October 16, 2008

The art of hunting (aka, Run, Bambi, run!)

Fall is here, and that means one thing – my significant other neglecting me to go out and shoot furry woodland creatures.

Yes, hunting season has begun. For a foo foo chick, I know quite a lot about food plots, deer stands, and bow calibrations. I have listened to it for the past two months.

Keith has plowed, fertilized, and sown seeds in the middle of a forest. He has repaired stands, renovated camp cabins, and browsed new camouflage on-line. He has prepared for battle against a four-legged prey that is, in his estimation, attempting to take over the world. In the forest, it is man against beast, and most Mississippi boys dream of open season on the enemy.

I have never understood hunting. Daddy has never been a hunter. He did take my sister and me frog gigging years ago, but all I can remember about it was that squishy sound frogs make. Needless to say, I did not dine on Kermit that night.

Daddy is more of a lawn and garden kind of guy. He would much rather work to make something live than run out and kill it.

Momma grew up in the Delta and has hunted her entire life. Being raised with three uncles, Momma learned everything a boy should know about the woods. She can hunt, fish, harvest cotton, and cut the head off a snake with a hoe. And she isn’t scared at all.

I was obviously blessed with Daddy’s genes when it comes to the great outdoors. We are bumbling idiots in anything other than our own backyards.

Mosquitoes follow me around like that dust trail on Pig Pen from the Peanuts gang. Despite my utter disgust for all things dirty, I can’t walk three steps with some sort of nature attaching itself to my clothes. I can come within a mile of poison ivy, and voila, I am covered in it. (I think it can smell fear like dogs.)

Daddy gets stung. Doesn’t matter what it is, he gets stung by it. And he is allergic. So anytime he has spent time outdoors, he comes in with his eyes swollen shut.

Every family vacation that involved nature has always been a disaster. Once, my family rented a Winabego and hit the road. I cannot recall the experience myself because I was under five, but from eyewitness accounts, I ripped my diaper off and mooned all the cars behind us. Then when we finally stopped for the night, I locked myself in that big tin can and destroyed the place. My parents had to call the highway patrol to get me out.

Sextons don’t camp; we don’t cook meat over an open fire, and we don’t use leaves as toilet paper. We are room service kind of people. Air conditioning kind of people. Hot shower kind of people.

But I digress.

I amazed at all the preparation hunters make. Despite the “seasons,” (By the way, Keith does not discriminate against game. He hunts every season all year long.) hunters prepare all year for those three months of camo bliss. And I am talking manual labor preparations.

Let me put this into another context. I want to read a book, but I have to make the book first. I spend an entire year writing the book and typesetting the words. Then, I go out into the forest and chop down a few trees to make the paper. After I haul the trees back to the lumber yard and cut them up….Do you see where I am going with this?

Months and months are spent preparing for a handful of weekends spent in complete silence waiting for some creature to wander into your path. I can’t even fathom the patient of these men. It drives me crazy to wait at the drive through window.

Anyway, Keith purchased some new camo gear to outfit him for the season. Friday night, he laid his new outfit out on the chair in the living room – removing tags and packing his camo duffle (ayhum, man purse). It was almost as if he were preparing for the first day of school.

He packed gadgets and knives and wild animal urine and talcum powder (I didn’t ask), all while blowing some sort of honker that mimics a doe’s mating call. I don’t know if that honker worked on deer, but my Chihuahua was quite interested.

Sunday, I visited him at his new hunting cabin in Ackerman. He was painting the walls khaki. More preparation.

What is it about hunting?

I decided I should probably find out. I have made the decision to go hunting, and no, this is not just to have an opportunity to shop for camo. I need to understand the kind of cult addiction it has on people – not that it will become an addiction for me unless deer start walking around the mall. I need to know what my competition is.

I let you know how it goes.


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. There are pictures posted on my blog of all the combined hunting gear of my son and husband. You would think the deer could shoot back. I think if you are going to hunt, do it like the Native Americans, with a bow and arrow and dressed in a loin cloth. Now that's what I'm talking about!! I'd just love to see David running around the cold morning in a loin cloth.

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