Why I am so happy deer season is here
Nov. 23, 2001
Am I ever glad deer season has finally arrived! I probably would not have survived another week of getting ready for it.
The hardships started back in early September, seemingly about two decades ago. I, along with most of the population of the Deep South, hooked up a bush hog to the tractor and began the annual assault on weeds that overtake our "greenfields." Greenfields, to the uninitiated, are supplemental wildlife plantings that help the game through the winter. They also provide a place where we build little playhouses up in trees in which we later sit for hours perpetuating boyhood and girlhood while waiting for a big buck deer to show that never does. A hideaway from the rest of life is what it amounts to.
Well, the tractor broke. This misfortune did not deter me however, for it has broken every September in recent memory. I did what I have always done when the tractor breaks. I got other deer hunters with working tractors to bush hog for me. The rains of 2000 and 2001 having all fallen in 2001, my weeds were neck deep and the bush hogging left enough residue in my fields to choke any hay baler.
In order to locate the surface of the ground for planting and fertilizing, I raked the fields by hand. There went both my September and my back. The hay that now surrounds my fields would supply all the feed lots in Iowa. It should be noted here that the cost of ammunition for deer hunters is minimal compared to the cost of aspirin and Tylenol.
Before my back could heal, I found myself lugging 50 pound bags of fertilizer, seed and lime from the truck to the shed and from the shed onto a trailer and then from the trailer into the greenfields. Strowing all this by hand is good exercise, I told myself as I choked on fertilizer dust under the hot October sun.
Surviving planting time with only minor heart palpitations and a couple of close calls with heatstroke, it was time to repair deer stands. Sometimes called shoot houses, these playhouses are fraught with opportunities for deer hunters to hurt themselves, primarily during construction and repair.
Most of my scars are the result of working on deer stands. One I will mention is an example of the unique ways deer hunters injure themselves. Emergency room forms have a category under "How Did the Injury Occur" that is labeled "Other." On your next visit for a deer stand injury, just check that box and don't try to explain.
My example involves a rather crooked ring finger, the one that is essential for making the "C" chord on my guitar. When I reach for "C" I often hit "A minor" instead because the last digit of that finger doesn't go where I want it to go and where it had always gone when I pointed it toward things for the first 60 years of my life. The reason is that a friend dropped the wall of a shoot house on it while we were both hanging on by our fingernails some 20 feet above ground trying to get ready for deer season. If you look at the end of a finger, the nail has a curvature like the letter C. My ring finger nail curvature is now like a J.
When the wall smashed my finger I said to Jeff, "Jeff, you just dropped that wall onto my finger and I really wish you hadn't done that," or some similar words that expressed my displeasure.
Among this season's deer hunting scars is another unique one. This one has not healed yet, but I can tell it is going to leave a fine scar. It is on my upper right arm and so the bandage doesn't show now that cool weather and long sleeve shirts are here. It is the last, and deepest, in a series of 4
deep gashes that begin at my wrist and progress perfectly spaced up toward the shoulder.
I got these injuries while working on a shoot house atop a single creosote pole. My ladder gave way and left me with the choice of either falling to the earth or grabbing onto the pole. I grabbed. The problem is that the pole was fitted with steel reinforcement rods driven into it for steps. As my 200 plus pounds surrendered to gravity, my arm became impaled on one of the rods, and as I slid downward, the rod entered and exited my arm 4 times. My wife was upset because the blood ruined a perfectly good T shirt.
Every deer stand has at least one wasp nest in it in September, and well, space limitations preclude my going into that and the rattlesnakes.
I'll just say that I am happy that deer season is here and at last I can sit at home and watch football on TV. If I catch a particularly sloppy game, I might actually go out and sit in the deer stand awhile and continue healing up so I can be ready for the action that begins next September.