Conditions the next day were wonderful. The weather was favorable and we saw glimpses of deer here and there; just enough to convince me we weren’t wasting our time.
Unfortunately, the outside world was relentlessly intruding. Dr. Mingo’s phone leapt from his pocket every few minutes to dump new atrocities from Facebook into his head.
“They’re rioting in Portland!” He fumed.
“That’s why I don’t live in Portland.” I reasoned.
A truth I’m only gradually understanding is that whiners faffing about for stupid reasons is not my problem. Moreover, thinking about it is not my responsibility. I don’t know why I ever thought it was?
I’ve nothing against Portland. Powell’s books, good beer & coffee… I hope the place thrives. But if they’re intent on screwing themselves, why should that rest on my shoulders? If I mess up with a chainsaw and drop an oak on my truck is that their problem?
Facebook (and other media) obfuscate the irrelevancy of recreational protests. Screaming fools don’t have the slightest influence on the chickadees in a spruce bow. Goods and services emanating from socialist asylums are increasingly irrelevant. Who cares about gay wedding cakes, bad music, inaccurate reporting, crime, and whining? Tangible components of civilization like spark plugs, power generation, food, diesel, beer, and bacon are more important. The hobbies of tattooed potheads fade compared what matters. Thus, I’m learning to avoid entertaining nitwit behavior as if it’s relevant.
Protests seem oddly masturbatory. Everyone protesting in Portland already voted for The Felon. Didn’t she win Oregon? Congratulations protesters, you successfully voted and registered your desires, that’s all you get in the real world. What’s left to get upset about? That they lost? Do they really want the violent overthrow of a lawfully elected president? If so, why are they protesting in their backyard? Why not a place Hillary lost? Texas perhaps? Until baristas and unemployed poets take effective action they’re just theatric nincompoops. Show some initiative. Get in their one operating vehicle and carpool to D.C.? But then they’d do what? Overthrow “the man”? Who’s “the man” and is that their end game? That’s the point; they don’t have the slightest clue what they want. They just prefer “protesting” to “adulting”. I get it: “adulting” sucks; going to work, paying taxes, changing the oil, fixing leaky pipes, raising kids, washing dishes… it’s hard
I berated Dr. Mingo; “put that goddamn phone away, it’s heroin with a battery.” It was no use. Dr. Mingo tried to ignore his phone but the infernal device rang; someone called with “have you seen what’s on the news?”
I heard about it from Mrs. Curmudgeon too. She reported mass crying among certain crowds. Really? I understand sorrow. Nobody likes to lose. But crying? I’d planned a shopping spree if Hillary won. It would be expensive and probably futile. It was my best guess as to what I’d need as we continued Venezuelan-izing the nation. Given the Hairball’s win I got to avoid the expense. Had it gone the other way I wouldn’t cry. Who cries?
I fought it off and returned to reality. The wind shifted and a squirrel rustled leaves in a way that sounded like a deer. The game was still afoot.
We hunted all day and accomplished nothing. “Nothing” isn’t a fair description. Hunting is such that you’ve absolutely failed at a major objective right up into the moment you succeed.
Eventually it was sunset. Dr. Mingo was in a tree several hundred yards away and I was in “the junk heap” (the rickety stand from which Dr. Mingo had spied a buck days ago). Maybe this year would be a wash. Last year I didn’t connect either; 2015 was ruined by “The Patchouli Incident”. My fault! No excuses! I suck.
I sighed, two years without a deer in the freezer? The sun was down; still light to see but time was short.
Holy shit! A nice buck materialized in the brush. Don’t see them often. Mingo definitely made a clean miss. This was obviously “his” buck.
My pulse doubled and I felt the adrenaline surge all hunters know.
I like to wait. Wait as long as I can. Take all the time in the world to aim. Savor the last minute of the hunt. (Sometimes this bites me on the ass!)
“Mingo, is gonna’ be crushed.” I thought.
A friend, a good friend, a really extremely amazingly awesome friend… would let this buck walk in the hopes Mingo would get the shot he craved. Jesus man, was I really thinking that?!?
There was a doe deeper in the brush. No chance at the doe.
The light was fading fast. I dialed down the power on my scope and it was plenty bright enough. I love my scope! I had slightly lighter bullet weight than usual and the buck was heavier than my usual does. Bullet placement is everything, time to put up or shut up.
I flipped off the safety. Took a breath. There was no more time to wait for the doe. Sorry Mingo, the freezer calls. Better drop the buck hard, the moon wouldn’t be up tonight and it would be a bitch to track.
Breathe out. Forget everything else. Squeeze.
The shot was true. I knew it as soon as the hammer fell. I watched carefully because there was no snow for tracking. The doe, much larger than I thought, tore off in my peripheral vision. Maybe Mingo would get her.
I needn’t worry about the lighter bullet. I’d connected well. The buck bounded straight up and came crashing down on his nose, but it quickly struggled to his feet.
I don’t like tracking. I cycled the bolt and aimed again. The buck bunny hopped twice more; I’ve rarely seen that kind of behavior. I must have hit something vital. I could put a round in his hind quarter; good target. But I waited. No need to panic and waste meat. He veered toward a nearby spruce and I got a glimpse of rear leg. I tried to take out the bony part. (A deer isn’t down until it’s really down.) The buck didn’t notice my last shot and disappeared from view.
I found him right behind that tree. I’d taken out a front leg, both lungs, and possibly the heart itself. (Hard to tell about that.) Bullet placement rules! There was a hole in one rear leg. No wasted meat but it probably didn’t matter much either.
Mingo heard my shot just as three does walked into view. One large and two small. All were legal. He was against a tree and couldn’t twist around enough to get a view of the large one. He drew a bead on a small one. New scope, easy close shot.
He hesitated. Too small. He had a few more days left to hunt. No rush. He waited until end of shooting hours and the large doe never presented a shot. All three wandered off.
By then I’d texted:
“I’VE GOT GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS.”
He waited for the next text…
“GOOD NEWS IS THAT I VERIFIED YOU MADE A CLEAN MISS OF THAT BUCK. BAD NEWS (FOR YOU) IS THAT I DIDN’T. SORRY.” (I wasn’t sorry.)
Life is like that. Mingo had his chance but I got the buck. He could have blocked the highway angrily demanding a recount, but that’s not what men do. Instead he grumbled most of the next day (which is what men do) before eventually admitting everything worked out as it should. He also helped me bring out the buck. I appreciated the help.
We hunted a few more days but weren’t overly motivated once the freezer was full. We got distracted fixing a broken garage door. As hunting seasons go… it was a good one.
P.S. Dr. Mingo wanted to point out he didn’t lift a damn finger while I was dressing it (and smiled and drank my beer while I was asses and elbows deep in blood and guts) because it wasn’t his buck.