Today is the opening day of the muzzleloader hunt.
Or as it’s known at my house, “Wednesday.”
That’s right ladies, for the next month, your men will be absent from all family, church, work or cultural obligations.
Your daughter’s baptism is Saturday? You’re probably going to have to reschedule.
This is the time of the year when even the most solidly reliable of men become as flakey as a 60-year old layer of 15-year house paint.
Through the years I’ve heard many hunting stories, but not the ones you’d expect.
No, these are hunting stories of a different type. They all start with the phrase — “Oh yeah, well my husband …”
• Spent our 20th wedding anniversary on the mountain with his friends.
• Called in sick to work for two weeks and didn’t tell me until after he shot his elk.
• Took me on a ride for my birthday … so he could scout elk. But he made it up to me the next year by buying me camouflage. It didn’t fit.
• Managed to pull the back bumper off my SUV while looking for deer.
• Missed the championship game of our child’s little league soccer team. He was the coach.
Normally, this is the time in the column when I come up with some bizarre example that’s so outlandish that it’s clearly a joke, but I really can’t top these real examples.
It’s called Buck Fever. It applies to both buck deer and bull elk, but the symptoms are the same.
Instead of running a high temperature, men who catch Buck Fever instead become chronically inattentive — even more than usual.
They act like they are constantly distracted. This is because they are constantly distracted.
They may look like they are listening, but really they are just counting down the minutes that they have to pretend to care about anything that doesn’t have antlers, or tallying up how many dedicated hunter points they have or plotting how to purchase a new gun.
This is because the gun, scope and various upgrades they spent hundred of dollars on last year is no longer capable of killing a deer. Nope, they need the new one. They’ll keep the old one, you know, for reasons, but the new one is essential. You know, to penetrate the deer’s upgraded armor plating.
When not reading texts from scouting buddies, they are on the Internet watching videos of other people hunting.
The good thing is, they only display these types of behaviors when they are home during this time of the year, which is a rare occurrence.
This works out to everyone’s advantage as things like personal hygiene begin to suffer.
Showers become less frequent. They wear the same camo outfit that still carries the odor of last year’s deer musk.
Forget about shaving. That’s out until Christmas.
Buck Fever is so contagious; people worry about you if you don’t catch it.
“Oh, I see your husband doesn’t have a beard,” Sally Downthestreet says. “Is he alright?”
Yep, because I was inoculated from Buck Fever when I realized, I like the taste of beef, pork or chicken straight from the cellophane better than the flavor of mountain beast.
“Oh, you just haven’t tried my elk steak,” says Shooter McWoodsman.
That’s very nice, but I prefer my meat to be raised in a pen under a florescent light while being pumped full of hormones, steroids and antibiotics — just like God intended.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for hunting. It’s a great memory building tradition.
Ethical hunters help with both ecology and conservation.
But if I draw out for an elk permit it would take away someone else’s chance to do something they love when I’d rather be at home eating steroid steak. Um, I mean sirloin steak.
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