November 30, 2006

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Last weekís article was both difficult to write yet therapeutic at the same time. Any avid deer hunter will tell you that itís traumatic to lose a member of your hunting family. Yet while I was distraught about that trophy deer heading to someone elseís wall, I believed that talking about it would help.

The problem with that plan was I simply did not wait long enough. I sat down at my computer just hours after the news broke.

Little did I know that while my fingers were pounding away on the keyboard my wife was sitting in the deer stand just waiting to compound my frustrations.

Not minutes after the printer had spit out last weekís Outdoor Corner, my phone rang yet again. This time it was my spouse on the other end of the line, stuttering and stammering in excitement as she informed me that she had just harvested a big 10 point buck.

Am I a bad person? My first response wasnít a jump of glee or a proud praise of her hunting prowess. My gloom quickly returned, as all I could think of was the fact that big deer #2 was out of circulation and I was running out of time to score.

That must sound greedy. When I reflect on my emotions I can only defend myself by excusing the response partially as competitiveness and partially as fear of ridicule. What my lovely wife didnít realize was that now, she would not only have one, but two trophy bucks adorning the walls of our home, making my puny mount look even more out of place.

Donít get me wrong, I am happy for her. Not just because I love her, but because I truly believe she deserves it. That woman really got after it this year. She spent every bit as much time as I did in the stand.

Granted it was my favorite stand, one that I spent hours constructing, installing and maintaining. One that I scouted around extensively for months leading up to that day.

Possibly my enthusiasm for celebration was a bit in check because of the days leading up to the big score, when she told me of seeing shooters on several occasions while I set in exile on the other side of the farm destined to see just one big buck and that only with the use of the Hubble Telescope because it was so far away.

So when she explained in great detail how she had trouble shooting the deer because she couldnít see it in her scope, I didnít feel sorry for her. You see the deer was so close to the stand, she couldnít even use her scope because the magnification simply made it too close. Besides it is tough to use a scope anyway when you have to lean out over the edge of the tree stand to get a shot at the buck as it walks directly below you.

I told her after she killed that big buck at 18 yards that I had been hunting for over a decade and never had had that good a shot at a deer that I wanted to take. But Lady Luck here tops it in season two, when she went from an 18-yard shot to an eight-yard shot. I told her she should sell her scope and just switch to open sights.

While I obviously am jealous of her good fortune, that is still not the source of my issues. What she doesnít understand is that I write about being this big-time hot shot hunter, so it looks pretty bad if my wife gets a bigger deer than me every year. I told her she is going to have to start writing this column, because now whenever we are out anywhere together, all my hunting buddies are asking her for advice, totally ignoring me, unless it is to slide in a little jab or two.

I thought her father was the best deer hunter that I knew, but Iím starting to wonder. It must be in the genes. Great, I canít wait until my three daughters are old enough to show me up.

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