Let me start out by saying if you didn’t read last month’s blog you might not get this first little bit. But I kid you not, I watched a King snake eat a rollie pollie fat squirrel off my back porch a couple days ago. I have seen snakes on TV that look like they are unhinging their jaws to swallow their prey but in real life with the dogs barking and the wife squealing it is a much different experience. Seriously!
Last month I mentioned Deer Season, and if I can stay focused, that is what I would like to write about this month.
Way back in 1957, my Dad (I’m sure on a whim) decided he was going to get a deer lease. He had an old school bus gutted and put in a bathroom, kitchen, and a couple of sets of bunk beds to make the ultimate “deer camp mobile”. He found a lease way down in South Texas around Fredericksburg (probably because there weren’t many deer around here back then). The lease, which was actually a Sheep ranch, was owned by a German widow who was about 85, and her 65 year old daughter who we called Miss Melorine. The ranch had an old German style rock home and rock fences and the surroundings were so different than the norm of East Texas. Miss Melorine had an old corn crib, which was a building for storing corn, “converted” into a camp house, for the lessees. The camp house had a dirt floor, 3 or 4 army cots, a wood burning stove and a couple of lanterns. So I use the term “converted”, rather loosely. Even though the ultimate deer camp mobile was parked right outside we just had to spend a night or two in the “Corn Crib”. I remember the night our corn crib camping came to a halt. I awoke to the feeling of something crawling on my back. I told one of the guys to turn on the light as I was frozen with fear not knowing what I was dealing with. When the flashlight was finally turned on, in the dim light we could see the crib was covered with hundreds of rats. Actually it was more like 3 or 4, but in my mind it felt like a hundred! There was a lot of commotion that night, and a lot of high knee running. Oh the memories. Another thing that comes to mind is my Uncle Tom Sikes bought a 12 volt 10” portable black and white television that we somehow managed to squeeze 6-8 people around to watch Jackie Gleeson. It seems so insignificant now, but back then, it was a big deal! I sure do have fond memories of that lease and bus, and even that corn crib. Each year when Deer Season rolls around, I remember great campouts and great friends. This might come as a surprise to some but do you know how many deer I killed? Zero. That’s right, zero! I did not even shoot at a deer.
Not everyone who enjoys Deer Season is an actual “Deer Hunter”. Deer hunting is a lot of work and there are many responsibilities before and after taking that first shot. Personally, I am more of a “Deer Watcher”. You know, someone who uses binoculars or a spotting scope, to just watch the deer. There are many roles during Deer Season that sometimes go unnoticed, although each has an important place in “Deer Season”. There is the “Deer Plotter”, who enjoys preparing for deer season by preparing and planting food plots. There is the “Deer Tracker”, who puts out cameras and scouts for signs of deer activity like rubs and scrapes. Another is the “Deer Guide”, kind of like chaperones for the young or inexperienced and of course, there are the “Deer Campers”, who basically just go to cook, eat and hangout. And lastly, there is the “Deer Hunter”. In reality, Deer Hunter is probably not specific enough because there are the gun hunters, bow hunters, cull hunters, trophy hunters, doe hunters, meat hunters and probably more that I am leaving out.
So I guess my point is young or old, male or female, experienced or not, there is a part everyone can play in “Deer Season”. But seriously, everyone knows it’s really all about the food, I mean the memories!