Today was the first day of the two weeks out of each year that I least enjoy living here. It's firearms deer season.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not against hunting per se. Various groups of humans have always had a predatory relationship with certain animals, and I'm not vain enough to say that all of that is wrong. I myself have participated in deer hunting. I considered it this year, but decided against it, for the reason that if one of us shot a deer, we would have to deal with butchering it, which we do not have the space for, or having someone else do it, which would require 1) a valid deer tag at $29, and 2) an additional $65+ for processing. That gets to be expensive meat. Plus there's all the time sitting, waiting in the woods, time being a precious commodity around here.
What I do not like about this time of year is that I do not feel completely safe here. Years ago when this was still our weekend retreat, The Hermit was nearly hit by a bullet fired from the road as he was walking out, fully dressed in blaze orange. Ironically, the shooter is one of our neighbors now, and our kids are best friends. We have talked with the parents on several occasions, but the incident is never brought up. The shooter ended up being fined by a DNR conservation officer after we reported the incident.
Still, there is a hunting camp on the old farmstead just across the creek, where I normally run Togo, and on the 40 just to the south. Rifle bullets travel a long way, and you just never know.
Also, and this is my main pet peeve about hunting these days: When did all terrain vehicles become essential equipment for deer hunting? Or grouse hunting? The northbound lane of the freeway was packed with vehicles yesterday, every other one being a pickup truck or SUV towing a trailer with one or more 4 wheelers, and blaze orange visible somewhere. I made a beer run to Sturgeon Lake this afternoon, and every deer camp I passed had more than one 4-wheeler. The use of these vehicles is restricted to certain hours during deer hunting season, yet I wonder why they are allowed at all. 20 years ago, hunters walked into the woods and dragged their deer out by hand. What has changed, why do people feel they need these gas-powered toys just to carry on the "tradition" of deer hunting? I think "deer season" is just an excuse to bring these toys out in the woods, to explore man's primal nature on the seat of a fossil-fuel burning toy. Note the sarcasm.
On the above mentioned beer run, on the way out I drove by the home of the person who nearly missed shooting my husband years ago. There were about 5 or six guys in blaze orange parkas standing around in front of the house. When I returned, they were still there. Spending a lot of time out in the woods communing with nature!
At any rate, I won't feel completely safe walking my dog or walking in the woods until these yuppie yohos have gone home to the cities for another year. And I won't apologize to anyone about saying that.