Friday, November 30, 2007
The Deer Hunter
"He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD." -- Genesis 10:9
Yesterday morning, while getting dressed for work I looked out our bedroom window and spotted a large, brown animal about 1/3 mile away in the field next to our house. I couldn't make out what it was so called for Nancy to come. She couldn't see it clearly enough either and fetched the binoculars. Well, between our old binoculars and older eyes, we finally deduced that it was a deer that had been hit by a car or been shot and had fallen in the field. It was close to the ground, thrashing around, but clearly not standing up.
What to do? I decided to get out my rifle -- an old Marlin .22 that my dad gave me when I was 12 or so. In the 44 years since that gift, it's probably been fired 10 times (mostly at tin cans) and mostly 20+ years ago. For years it sat in the corner of our television room with an artificial flower stuck in the barrel. When we moved to the farm, I had it cleaned and put it in the corner of my closet.
Of course, a gun is no good without ammunition, so off I went to find my bullet. Yes, bullet. Singular. I only have one, making me, I guess, the Barney Fife of farmers. It was left over from the time I fired the rifle 20+ years ago and is usually in one of my dresser drawers or old cuff link boxes. As I searched for it I girded up my psychic loins so I could shoot this poor dear and put it out of its obvious misery. My physical loins had their own problems at that time -- the thought of actually killing a living being was wreaking havoc with my guts.
Thus armed -- an old man with an old gun and an old bullet (safe in my pants pocket), I set out. I asked Nancy if she wanted to go, but she hurriedly declined. I climbed in the car and started the drive out to the road closest to the downed deer. I knew I had one chance -- a shot to the head was required. Could I get close enough without it going wilder in pain and kicking me? Was it rabid? Was there even such a thing as a rabid deer?! That's when I noticed I had my work clothes on -- dress slacks, penny loafers, necktie. Quite the hunting outfit.
I pulled out on the road, found the spot where I thought the deer would be (there a slight risings and fallings that hide things even on our flat land), put on the hazards, grabbed my rifle and headed out. I couldn't see it at first. Had it moved? Was it writhing in pain? I spotted dark brown movement and went that way. After picking my way across the ditch, carefully since I was carrying a rifle (even though the bullet was safe in my pocket, I didn't want to trip and end up with the rifle barrel in my nose or something), I looked up and saw the deer. Except it wasn't. A deer, that is. It was brown and writhing. It was an extra large garbage bag. Snagged on a piece of corn stubble, it alternately filled and emptied as the wind whistled across the field, snapping it around. The piece of corn stalk was what I had mistaken through the binoculars for the deer's tail.
It being trash day, I snagged the garbage in one head, pointed my rifle downward, and headed back to the car. Back at home, I stuffed the deer/bag in with the rest of the refuse as Nancy asked, "And exactly how many shots did it take to put down the garbage bag?"
Quoth Bugs Bunny, "You poor little Nimrod."