November 18, 2010

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Most folks know I'm not one to shy away from the soapbox, so this week's editorial shouldn't be a surprise. Besides, I wouldn't want to bore readers with another week's worth of my hunting doldrums - I missed a 140ish 10 pointer on Wednesday afternoon.

I'm a bit concerned that that news would be a topic of conversation. Absolutely no one out there will be shocked by the fact I missed (I'm now 0-4 in my archery career -well possibly 1-4 since we think we found the target of my first ever arrow released the following year - with three total whiffs over the next several years.) What people are amazed by is the fact that I'm willing to publicly admit there is a nice deer or two running around where I hunt.

Pick up any hunting magazine or read any deer hunting publication online and you'll quickly learn, if you didn't know already, that Scotland County is one of the best places to whitetail deer hunt in the world.

Some, including myself, would say we are blessed. Not only does the deer quality spoil those of us who enjoy to hunt, the big bucks mean - well big bucks for the community. Most commercial zones depend on Christmas as the biggest sales season of the year. I'd suspect in Scotland County, Christmas comes early for the merchants, say right around the middle of November.

Deer season is the #1 tourism attraction for our neck of the woods. So it figures that we are going to advertise we have good deer hunting.

Still I get lots of questions about why I choose to advertise my deer locally. Please note my editorial is published on the sports page, not in the classified section. Just because I try to entertain with a humorous tale of the latest way I failed to take said deer, doesn't mean I'm attempting to broadcast that these creatures are available for the taking. To do that I would place a classified ad, which would probably get pretty costly since, we all know there is no way I can write anything in 20 words or less.

Apparently I am supposed to switch over to James Bond mode come deer season, possibly writing my editorials in secret code, hoping to trick people into thinking there are no deer where I hunt.

Trust me, my writings are not created in an effort to temper any jealousy or deer lust. I know there is plenty of the later roaming around this time of the year. Apparently enough to scare a lot of folks away from sharing their stories and photos with the public.

We brought back the Memphis Democrat Big Buck Club this year, hoping to entice more people to let us all see their deer photos. Already I've had several folks turn us down, even with the enticement of a chance to win a free deer mount, valued at more than $400.

The common excuse is they don't want the public to know they have trophy quality deer at their hunting spot.

As the person who arguably takes the most ribbing in Scotland County from folks who like to tease about poaching "my deer", I understand the sentiment. Still I never thought I would have to beg folks to take my money and win a free mount.

Unless the adjoining farm is up for auction next week and you don't want to create a last minute feeding frenzy that might drive the price out of your range, I don't see any good reason not to put your deer picture in the paper.

But I don't want anyone to know we have big deer... This may come as shock, but there are big deer all over Scotland County and everyone is going to know about it no matter how hard you try to hide the fact.

Are we really afraid that the newspaper will be turned into a treasure map for road hunters and poachers? I think we give these folks way too much credit, starting with assuming they have the ability to read, let alone the cognitive skills required to do more than drive up and down the road until something enters their crosshairs.

Shouldn't putting your big buck picture in the paper help? If you already got the big one, any road hunter worth half his salt surely would scratch you off the trespass schedule and move on to someone else who hasn't been as blessed to harvest their big one.

Instead of spending all of our time running from the bad, why not pause for a moment to bask in the good?

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