Up to this point in my life, I’ve looked down my only double barrel firearm, my nose, at that other subset of outdoorsmen known as hunters. I haven’t been hunting since the time I bagged a ten-pointer, saber-tooth tiger, and window pane in the same trip, the trip right before my mom confiscated my bb-gun and grounded me for a short eternity.
I figured it would be hard to ever eclipse the results of that excursion, and thus I focused my efforts on the pursuit of aquatic life, making it my life’s goal to become a charter boat captain on my grandma’s pond. In those days, I had about every color plastic worm available, which is not saying a lot because plastic wormery has advanced a lot since then. (Apparently, scientists have kept quite busy discovering new species of plastic worms, heralding each species as the missing link in the largemouth bass’s dietary preferences.)
Because my hunting skills are a little rusty, over the years I’ve let other people hunt on our farm in the hopes that they would deter the roaming horde of deer that pillage and plunder my crops. But, alas, year after year, I have been disappointed as hunters have killed nary a deer; instead, they’ve merely baited more in and taken pictures of them eating corn cobs.
HUNTER: “Look at all these deer in the photo I got from the trail cam.”
ME: “Have you killed any yet?”
HUNTER: “No, I could of killed some does, but I’m waiting for that big buck there.”
ME: “But can’t you kill up to six a year?”
HUNTER: “Yeah, but it’s too much trouble to fool with does.”
I’ve heard this so many times that my regard for hunters and their outdoor craft has plummeted. At least if a fisherman doesn’t catch anything, we have the decency to lie about it, but hunters seem perfectly content admitting that they spent four hours sitting in the woods and failed, then proudly riding away in their oversized trucks with no forest ruminant on the back. In fact, I’m starting to think if a hunter drives a trunk big enough to rival an Abrams tank, then they are too much trouble to fool with.
Apparently, real hunters drive a truck of normal proportions and work at the library, or at least that’s what I’ve learned since we’ve started letting Payne, a mild-mannered student worker and aspiring librarian, start hunting on our farm. In two weeks, he has killed three deer and two racoons–with a bow and arrow. That’s more than the other hunters killed in five years, with high-powered rifles with sniper scopes. You would never see Payne and think, “he’s a deadly hunter,” but I suppose it just goes to show you can’t judge a future keeper of books by his cover.