Friends can be lost over deer ownership
I’m shooting this one from the hip. We have a deadline and I’m trying to stay ahead by writing an article far in advance because when it’s due, hopefully JH and I will be out of town. It’s a balmy 82 degrees but where we’re headed is currently 11 degrees with a minus 14 chill factor. Now I know, most people would ask why in the world would someone leave a warm Mississippi to head to some godforsaken Midwestern state the week of Christmas? The answer is really quite simple. We need a break from the woods here. So what better time to head west and forget the crowded woods for a few days.
When we return, maybe all of the hoopla will have subsided and we can get back down to business. By the way, waders, shotguns, bows and arrows will be making the trip with us.
One of my best friends made the comment to me this summer that if we ever wanted to go on a wild bird hunt, of course this means quail, this was the year to do it. Ample rainfall for the past several growing seasons has restored previously drought stricken areas of western Oklahoma. With the return of numerous species of flora, also came the bobwhite. Pointers are jumping at the chance to find the numerous coveys for us to flush in front of our Berettas. So we took him up on his invitation and we are loading the truck. He also commented the mallards are there by the thousands and if you want to, bring your bows too. I may need a uhaul to carry all of our gear.
Pictures by the score of big bucks being taken are going viral. The rut is in full swing and the woods are alive and not just with deer. Hunters are also on the move. It never ceases to amaze me how this frenzy multiplies like a snowball headed downhill. Every day, picture after picture of a whopper buck is hitting social media. It has gotten to the point that everyone thinks there is a book deer running around saying “put me in the back of your truck.” I assure you, this is not the case. People go nuts when it comes to the allure of a giant whitetail. I just sit back and laugh now at the drama that arises at hunting clubs. Rules, rules, and more rules are added to the already lengthy list of rules. For the most part there is one culprit when it comes to drama in the woods ... jealously.
I guess it is human nature to want what someone else has. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard negative comments made about some fortunate hunter when a good buck is taken. If this hunter continues to be successful year after year, then according to some, he must be an outlaw. Some people are downright paranoid to the point of insanity if they think one of “their” deer happened to be taken nearby their property. Comments like “he shot my deer,” resonates throughout the community. I have heard jealous individuals state, “I have been watching that deer for years.” There’s an old adage that goes like this, “don’t pour water down my neck and tell me it’s raining.” However, I’m sure you have heard a much more colorful version of this. High fences are erected to protect what some think is “theirs.”
Grown men can’t sleep at night in fear of what may happen to one of “their” deer if they aren’t there to cuddle and protect it. It’s a pitiful situation.
I’m sure most of you can relate to what I am describing. Many may be nodding in agreement as you read this. Let me assure you though, as this is nothing new. Jealousy is not limited to the deer hunting arena. It abounds in business, country clubs, and even in congress. This goes way deeper though than what is on the surface. We all have our idiosyncrasies when it comes to faults, some just handle it better than others and don’t “own” them.
I’ll tell you a story that happened years ago regarding a south Texas rancher who was worried to death about one of “his” deer leaving the ranch. Every afternoon this rancher would ride his fence line on his horse. He got to the point where he jeopardized life-long friendships with his neighbors over a stupid deer. Well, one of his neighbors finally got fed up with him riding the fence day after day spooking game. The crack from his rifle spooked this rancher’s horse into the next county and at last report this fine quarter horse crossed the Rio-Grande heading deep into Mexico. The rancher, picking prickly pear out of his wranglers, had a long walk back to the barn.
If you don’t understand any of what I am writing about in this article, then good for you. On the other hand if you fully relate to this, then ask yourself, are you the rancher on the horse? Are you to the point where hunting is creating stress instead of bringing peace and relaxation? Are you missing out on what our woods and waters really bring to our hearts and souls? If so, then maybe you need a trip to Oklahoma to walk with a pointer and watch the covey rise too. If so, give me a call, I know just the place for you and you’re welcome to go.
Until next time enjoy our woods and waters and remember, let’s leave it better than we found it. Happy New Year.