Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 80

Oh God... "Opening Day" is tomorrow... For those of you not familiar with the rural life, there is a day every year that signals the hoped for decimation of the local deer population. "Two buck and a doe" are the hoped for commodity.

In the sticks, that's how families survive through the winter.

Tomorrow is the day that all of the men, and many of the women, on the hill here will go out and try for their first deer of the season. Sunrise is happening around 6:03 am, so at 6:02 and about 25 seconds it will sound like a cannon is going off on this hill. By 6:10, the hill will be silent and those that "got theirs" will be heading back to hang it off of the tree in the front yard. Those that didn't will sit and no avail, until 10:00 am or so in the rain.

It's a warm hunting season this year.

So, I'm planning a bacon and egg breakfast at 10:00 am with the Virginia bacon we brought up from down South from the Peanut Guy. Win, loose or draw, the bacon hits the grill at 10:00 and if the guys aren't there to get it... well... Bear and Willie will have a nice breakfast!

All of this has brought the problem of "how to dress" to the forefront for Bear. Hunters shoot at anything during season... well, non-locals anyway. We don't have too many of those on the hill here, but once in a while they do show up and Bear is exactly the type of dog that doesn't come home during this season...not that he's ever off leash, but these guys have been known to shoot horses and cattle in their lust to "kill Bambie." The thing that really gets me is that the non-locals are notorious for taking the yearlings... we call them "ling-lings" who have just lost their spots. The act as though they've taken a monster, when in point of fact, they are thinning the herd from the wrong end.

Anyway, Bear has been a concern in all of this because he really needs his morning walks! Let me rephrase that... I really need him to have his morning walk because if he doesn't, he drives me completely nuts for the rest of the day! So the problem was, what to walk him in. The husband came up with the answer! He had a half-vest that almost but not quite really fits bear and is blaze orange. Should do the trick, but I may just have to get him a hat as well. We shall see how the season goes.

Long season this year, so "the big drive" won't be for another three weeks. That is where the guys go through, "drive" down the hill and do the major culling on the herd. I know it sounds barbaric, but it's a lot better than watching the herd die during the winter and interfering with the cattle herds up the hill. These cattle feed the area as well as the deer. What isn't taken for meat for the hunter's families goes right into the food banks up here and ... well, the food banks have been getting hit pretty hard lately. Between the hunting and the churches... we're hoping that at least the families with children will be able to have holiday dinners this year.

Happy wandering!

The Writer...and her dog, Bear


The Boisterous Butterfly said...

It sounds almost as if you are talking about a primitive hunting society. This is very alien to me. Surely people don't depend on their survival because of deer meat? Is this a rural myth? The strangers that come to hunt are there because of the macho thrill of the hunt, right? I had a brother in law like that, he hung his deer up in a tree on his suburban lawn for all the neighborhood to see. Pretty immature, if you ask me. Poor deer to have a fate like that, to be shot by an immature, macho truck driver without a bit of sense in his head.

Katherine Mikshenas said...

It is hunting season here in Maine as well. Some people do survive on deer and other game meat because they don't have the money to buy meat at the store. I am a great animal lover and I too, feel sorry for the deer. But the sad truth is hunting is the only way some families can afford to feed their families through the winter.