The Risks Of A Caribou Hunt

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Too Late For Thanksgiving / It’s Gonna’ Be Alright

In case you’re wondering why I’m posting cartoons, hunting stories, and poetry, it’s because I’m trying to avoid taking it all too seriously. Getting pulled down in the political mire right now is a bad idea.

The press and liberals (but I repeat myself) are in week #3 of crapping their pants after an election cycle of concentrated asshattery. That’s just too much stupid for one universe. I don’t want to add to it lest the whole thing folds in on itself and form a white dwarf cinder core of inescapable dumbass and I feel guilty for contributing. (If it happens without me that’s not my problem.)

Like any sane person, I’m enjoying their meltdown (because schadenfreude is delicious) but I’m also hoping time and cold weather will bring most of the nitwits back to their senses. When January 20th rolls around and they’re not all herded into cattle cars by Cheeto Jesus maybe they’ll be ready to crawl off their fainting couch? One can hope. If they weep constantly for four or eight years it’s going to be unbearable.

In the meantime lets all try to keep it light while half the nation digests and excretes the propaganda that was shoved down their throat. Nobody likes finding out they were totally full of shit. Go hug a hippie and tell ’em it’s going to be OK. (Of course, you’re welcome to kick ’em in the nuts after that ’cause grown ups don’t need a hug after an election. Your call.)


P.S. Perhaps it’s time to explain where Bart went. I’ve been too busy so far but if the freaks don’t calm down or recount maneuvering gets serious I’ll make time. Satire is the least disruptive cure to a world where half the populace is hyperventilating.

Hat tip to Blue’s Blog.

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Hunting Poetry

One of the comments to Hunting with the Curmudgeon: Part Seven: Last In Series deserves it’s own post. It reminded me that I was failing to write about the sublime in a hunt and safely focusing on the mundane.

Those of us who hunt understand the depth and spirituality of the endeavor. However, we don’t usually share it; at least not in words. We’ll drag willing novices into the deepest forest in the hopes that they’ll see it themselves, but we won’t verbalize the deeper meaning of the hunt. It’s one of those “if I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand” moments. If you’re a hunter you already know. If you’re not, it’s gap not easily bridged.

That’s probably why my hunting story involved ranting about intrusive smart phones and insulting the service guy at Goose Hill. Writing with soul and beauty is difficult. Jason Reynolds gave it a shot and I’m glad he did. Enjoy:

Each Year I Go Into the Woods

A Poem, Quatrain, Ballad or something of the sort by: Jason Reynolds

Each year I go into the woods;
I tell others it is to hunt those deer!
The truth: it is to put my feet where grandfather stood
Find my soul and wrestle my fear.

Sitting on the ground, trying not to be found,
Melting into the solemn autumn, white flag on a big buck’s bottom,
Singular concentration trying not to blink wrong, the birds sing their song;
About the time the crickets cease, the sun’s arising and so is the peace.

The sassy doe with her inquisitive bow and teasing stomp,
Mere feet from me I find pleasure in her attitude;
Earthen air fills my lungs and my heart awakes to nature’s pomp,
The leaves float down to me here where lives all solitude.

My only quarrel is with the squirrels,
The only plight with the breeze that carries my abbreviated sneeze;
Eyes begin to droop until I see that majestic deer stoop,
And it is on again: me against him it is time to win!

Sneaky as can be the allusive antler carrier is a bruiser,
A mystical mammal showing only his face;
I work hard to beat him at his game but I am the loser,
Like my stress he’s disappeared and I am put back in my place.

Hunting is less and less about the actual killing,
More and more it is being with like-minded burley men who seek balance,
As we escape the chaos of life to rediscover it is well worth living.
Nature has no substitute: refreshment is found in the woods alongside man’s silence.

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Political Definition Of Gun Violence

Hat tip to IMAO and Dana Summers.

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We Are Not Alone

I tried mightily to avoid the election day biased media circle jerk (with mixed success). I thought I was the only one. Yet a kindred spirit (link) did the same (without the hunting):

On election day, I went to bed after my personal news black-out.

Just as my counting of election signs led me to vent about propaganda (and more importantly that propaganda hurts!) he has similar observations:

I live in a true alternative universe. It is starting to wear me down.

Go there and read it all. (Hat tip here and here.)

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Hunting with the Curmudgeon: Part Seven: Last In Series

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:


He waited for the next text…


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.

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Hunting with the Curmudgeon: Part Six

Eighteen minutes into the day and the plan had gone to shit! Rather than blissful unawareness of election results I knew The Hairball had prevailed. The news (despite being unwanted knowledge) made me buoyant. The same feeling you get when the Doctor says “that thing is normal, walk it off” instead of “the results came back and you died in 2008”.

I still wanted to avoid politics. The ugly wasn’t over. When the left side loses an election they fling shit until just before Christmas. (You can set a clock by it.) I presumed lawsuits (lawfare?) were in the works… or riots. It depends on whether their hated opponent (who is invariably called racist and compared to Hitler) won beyond the “ratio of cheat”. Useful idiots would get to work soon. Probably beginning with mass pants-shitting hysterics on Facebook and likely riot(s) in a place that votes to the left of Lenin (always riot in a friendly place?). They would continue until it gets cold or some fuckwit kills a cop or two. (Horrific prediction, if I’m wrong about ensuing deaths you may chastise me. Remember this, predicting the future is not the same as endorsing the madness. I don’t like riots!) I also dislike articles about the electoral college written by “journalists” who can’t do fractions. It’s like hearing a goldfish discuss thermodynamics. (If they were smart they’d just call up their bitch sessions from Bush/Gore 2000 and repost them.)

It was damaging my calm. I tried to shrug it off. All I wanted was to sit under a tree and watch chickadees but I couldn’t chill out.

Meanwhile Dr. Mingo was having a crisis. He had seen a nice buck, taken the shot, and…

I hesitate to say the word “missed”. In his mind, it was more like “failed myself and my family and my world and everything I stand for… thus dooming myself to an eternity of dishonor.” Doctor Mingo is a good shot and has high expectations of himself when it comes to shooting.  He spent a few years in the Marine Corps.  You get the picture.

He was blaming himself for having improperly managed his scope. Overnight his brain had downloaded guilt trips from sixty scolding Jewish grandmothers and mixed it with conditioning planted there by drill instructors. He looked pale. He was muttering to himself; “Where’s the point of aim? What happens if I see a deer?”

Time to resolve this. We abandoned our post and headed towards town.

This is where I have to explain something about living in certain rural areas; civilization has already started collapsing. Forget all about your survivalist, post-EMP, zombieland fiction. It’s a spectrum and my neighborhood is inching down the slope.

Dr. Mingo was confident that we could wander into any one of a dozen stores, choose from an endless variety of scopes, have it professionally installed, sight the rifle in at a clean and orderly shooting range, and get back into the forest. This is entirely doable in an advanced, industrialized, free-market, society. For example, in this very town a generation ago. Now, civilization is delivered via FedEx or not at all. It’s amazing the electricity stays on.

A 50-mile trip got us to the only place we’d have a chance; a store I’ll call Goose Hill.

I’ll say this for Goose Hill… it exists. Which is more than you can say about nearly anything else. There is no competition from megastores like Cable-lass, Sportsman’s Storage Facility, or any other chain. Nor is there much local competition from mom and pop gunshops. My favorite one closed a few years back. When I need something I usually resort to Amazon (and wait for FedEx), organize a road trip, or go without.

Goose Hill is for when you’re desperate. (Which we were.) That’s because the staff encompasses the speed of the DMV with the high end intellectual horsepower of watching a stoner drool. Plus, the selection is sparse enough to make a Soviet Central Planner cackle with glee.

[Editor’s note: Two weeks ago Goose Hill was sold out of 150 grain in my desired caliber. I have plenty of 150 grain but stocked up on 130 grain (might as well buy ammo before the election). I sighted in at the lighter bullet and reasoned that good bullet placement with a 130 was fine. Now they had 150 grain on the shelf. Dammit! Alas, the die was cast. I wasn’t about to re-jigger my scope in mid-season. It was bad enough that Mingo had to do it.]

The store was deserted. Just Mingo and a nice lady who’d already bagged a buck. (We hung our heads in shame hearing that.) She’d ordered a cute pink .22 many weeks ago. She was haranguing the sole gun counter guy to get the scope she’d ordered many weeks ago. Turns out it had arrived many weeks ago but gotten lost somewhere in the back room many weeks ago. He installed the scope at the speed of sloth. Friendly but slow. S.L.O.W.

The .22 was a Christmas gift. She was fretting in November over a rifle ordered in October to make sure it was done by Christmas. That’s all you need to know.

Time stopped. Continents drifted. I could feel them moving… faster than the gun counter dude.

Two fellows came in to look at guns. They looked around, assessed the situation, and bailed. Dr. Mingo was aghast that folks simply accepted terrible service. I shrugged, what are you supposed to do? In three instances I’d seen more or less what I wanted at this very store and got so frustrated that I left without buying. (There’s a store a couple hours’ drive away that’s excellent. I consider a 200 mile drive better than dealing with the sloths here.)

Another customer came in. He wanted an AR15. There were two or three to choose from. Two guys who had been doing God know’s what(!?!) in the back room charged out to make the sale.

Meanwhile slothman was examining Mingo’s scope… slowly. The scope was bent. (No shit!) Mingo suspected. I agreed. A new scope was selected… time slowed further. Apparently finding scope rings is difficult and takes the better part of an hour.

The AR15 customer didn’t like the front sight on the only reasonable AR. Mingo pointed out he could pull a pin and remove it; replace it with a fold down sight. The guy said, and this is a quote:

“Nah, I’ll probably just mill it off.”

Mingo shuddered. Use a mill instead of swap a part?

The shopper wandered off. The salesdrones vanished.

I sidled up. “You know how that guy said ‘mill it off’?”

Mingo nodded, still horrified.

“Look at that guy, you think he actually owns a mill?”

Mingo frowned. There’s more chance a houseplant has a mill than that guy.

“He means,” I paused for effect, “hacksaw.”

Mingo nearly had organ failure. Take a hacksaw to a perfectly good AR? Horror!

“These rings will fit. I can mount it. Free of charge.” Slothman showed signs of life.

Mingo agreed, I shrugged and the guy spent 10 minutes finding his screwdrivers. It took over an hour. Then he disappeared in the back to “boresight” it. To the sloth, boresight means “it’ll hit something in the same latitude… maybe”. Mingo or I expected “on the paper at 50 yards”. How silly of us.

Of course no ranges were open. Mingo couldn’t believe it. We compromised with a targed in my yard. (Probably scaring every deer for miles.) True to his marksmanship, Mingo dialed in quick.

Thankfully before sunset he was on post waiting for that buck.

Mingo was itching to redeem himself. The deer didn’t get the memo.

When the day was over, we celebrated Hillary’s defeat (or Trump’s victory?) by downing half a bottle of whiskey and watching Tucker and Dale versus Evil.


P.S. Video of the gun counter guy is below:

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