Sunday, November 26, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
So let this moment mark a moment in time.
I apologize, "BA." I shouldn't have shot at (and missed) what was rightfully your buck.
Still, I bought you coffee that morning, so I guess we're even?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
I am a hunter. Many acquaintances act surprised when they learn this for the first time, as if a man so well educated and highly intelligent cannot possibly enjoy firing arrows and bullets into the hearts of defenseless animals--as if hunting can only be enjoyed by the ignorant and stupid. Nonetheless, I am a hunter, and it appeals to both my education and my intellect.
I really only hunt deer and rabbits, but given the opportunity, I would probably hunt just about anything.
In the formerly great state of Michigan, this is now "gun hunting" season for white tailed deer.
I went today, along with my sidekick, the boy wonder, whose secret identity must be kept. He can only be named by his super initials, "BA" He is called "BA" because a client of our place of employment once called him an arrogant bastard. Even though that should make him "AB," not "BA," we'll let that one slide--especially since we're letting slide that I am the most arrogant bastard at our place of employment. Instead, I am left with the nom de plume "Hannibal" because I apparently come up with the good ideas. So tell me, then, why do my ideas matter for crap when it comes to Election Day?
That's right, I'm confessing to being an arrogant bastard. What's more, since the "AB" is changed conveniently to "BA" in order to fit within the nomenclature necessary for an A-Team allusion, I am doubly more qualified to be "BA." Yes, my sidekick is an "AB", but he is not a "BA." I, on the other hand, am an "AB" and a "BA." However, I will bow gracefully, with just this trifle of an objection because at least "Hannibal" gets to smoke the good cigars.
But back to hunting.
"BA" and I went deer hunting today. "Murdock" wasn't there, because he is a wussy. "Face" wasn't there because the three of us are unable to forge friendships with enough people who don't mind being pigeonholed as members of the A-Team.
We went hunting on a farm in southeast Michigan, about 1.5 hours north of Detroit.
"BA" picked me up at about 5:25 AM. We stopped for coffee and reached our destination by about 6:25 AM. He looked decent in his mossy oak bibs and coat, and I looked stellar in my blaze orange camo jumpsuit. He carried an excellent 12 gauge rifled-barrel shotgun, and had decent skills to back it up. I carried an adequate 12-gauge smoothbore "slug" barrel shotgun, but I had peerless skills to back it up. Before you dismiss this description as merely the product of a "BA," note that I have killed three deer--two with a bow and one with a rifle--and he has killed none.
We had a short walk from the farmhouse to our tree stands, and we were both ready to hunt before dawn.
By the way, if you don't know what deer hunting means, it means being able to sit for long hours in semi-to-unbearable cold.
That's what we did.
He was on an "island" of small trees, centered around a giant oak, all of which were right in the middle of a large field of recently plowed soybeans.
I was on a medium-sized birch tree before a carefully groomed oasis of clover surrounded by brush and woods.
Not much happened as the sun rose around 6:50 AM. I heard many squirrels and bird, but I saw no deer. However, sometime between nine and ten in the morning, I heard a commotion in the brush. Shortly thereafter, I saw a very large doe bounding into "BA's" soybean field. She moved pretty fast, so he never got off a shot, even though we had a doe tag between the two of us.
I noticed something about that doe, other than the fact that she was very big. She seemed to be running away from something. In fact, when she reached the opposite end of the soybean field, she looked across from whence she came.
That's when I figured that there was a buck on her tail.
For those of you whose entire knowledge of deer hinges upon having seen Walt Disney's Bambi, I hate to break this to you, but male deer do not court female deer. Deer are not like people. When a doe is in heat, she gives off a scent. That scent triggers a primeval instinct in the buck--men, you've felt this before whenever you've been around an attractive woman or climbed the rope in gym class. When a buck finds a doe-in-heat, he simply takes her. She usually tries to run, but he catches her. I've seen it, and it's less than romantic.
As it turns out, there was a buck on her tail. He was a bit more cautious about running across the field, but he cannot be blamed. After a few days of gun season, he had almost certainly learned that there were dangers lurking everywhere.
This particular buck was huge. "BA" tells me that he had at least eight points to his rack. I was too far away to count his tines, but I could still tell that he would make a fine trophy and dinner for several meals.
The buck bounded toward the doe, and he stopped about twenty yards away from "BA." I could see it all, and yet "BA" did not shoot.
I wondered if perhaps "BA" had fallen asleep, for this tends to happen to hunters who wake up two hours before dawn.
I checked the buck out through my scope. He was a big one, that's for sure. Moreover, he was standing broadside to me. This means that I had a clear shot at his side--where both lungs and the heart are vulnerable.
"BA" still didn't shoot. I was about 100-120 yards away, so any shot of mine would be tough--given my gun. Still, I thought that a deer like this does not come around every day. And if "BA" wasn't going to shoot him, then, damn it, I was. So I zeroed in on the kill spot--right behind his right shoulder blade.
The shot was there, and I took it. Little did I know that my brother-in-law--to whom the gun belonged--had sighted the thing in at fifty yards. I was firing at at least one hundred yards, which meant at least a four-inch drop.
Three things happened when I fired. First, my right ear began to ring. Second, that deer jumped up and started to run. Third, "BA" opened fire.
I thought for sure that the buck was wounded mortally as it ran into the woods opposite the soybean field.
"Did I get it?" I shouted to "BA."
"Which one?" he yelled back.
"The one by you," I replied.
"The one about ten feet from me?" he countered.
"Yes!" I sang.
"I don't know," he answered.
I took my time climbing down from my ladder stand, for a good hunter knows not to chase wounded game before it dies. I crossed my clover field, through the brush and into "BA's" soybean field, and saw that he too had climbed down from his stand.
We spoke briefly about how big the son-of-a-gun was, and I apologized for shooting before him--since the buck was obviously in his hunting-zone. However, I maintained that my broadside shot was good.
We quickly found the tracks. They weren't hard to spot. However, as we followed them toward the opposing woods, I noticed that there was no blood trail. "BA" countered that it sometimes takes a while for a blood trail to show up, so we followed the tracks into the woods.
However, no matter how far we followed the tracks, we could find no blood. That's when I had to admit that I had missed. Since I was shooting at between 100 and 120 yards, I figured that the drop would be no more than an inch or two. That was why I had aimed between the heart and the spine. However, since my brother-in-law had sighted the gun in at 50 yards--which I only just learned--my shot passed just below the deer's torso.
To make matters worse, "BA" was ready to shoot but was only waiting for the dear to turn broadside to him--a straight-on sternum shot runs the risk of perforating the stomach and intestines, something that you want to avoid if you plan on gutting a deer (the last thing you want is to find a bunch of crap--literally--strewn throughout the otherwise delicious meat).
In an instant, after my shot missed, the buck ran. That made "BA's" shot miss. So even though the both of us shot at the same deer, we both missed. I confessed my part, and we both admitted that the buck had escaped unscathed.
While "BA" saw more deer afterwards, all that I managed to do was grow colder. I moved to a couple of other spots, but for the most part, I stayed in the same spot until dark.
We were skunked, and it was my fault. I am very sorry, "BA." Next time, I'll lay off for a second--just so long as you take the damn shot!
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Today is election day, that day of the season upon which we all fool ourselves into believing in popular sovereignty--not unlike how those chaps fool themselves into thinking that they get a whole bunch of virgins if only they blow themselves and a bunch of Jews or Christians with them.
I went to vote for Proposal 4--to place restrictions upon the state's ability to seize one man's home in order to sell it to another (it's all under the guise of "eminent domain"). I ended up voting for Proposal 3 also (if you don't like dove hunting, then don't hunt doves), for Proposal 2 (I have a dream that one day my children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character), and for Proposal 1. I did not vote for any people, unless you count my having written myself in for governor and the state board of education. I also did not vote for Proposal 5 because I saw it as a conflict of interest at best. If I don't believe in forcibly redistributing my wealth to others, then I cannot ask for others to be forced to distribute their wealth to me. Furthermore, trapping the funding of education at the level of inflation is short-sighted and a bad idea. Again, I must reiterate that I did not vote for any people. I do not respect anyone who presumes to govern me.
But something happened at the polls that turned my stomach, and forced me out of my not-posting-sloth.
I was in line waiting for my ballot, explaining why I wasn't going to vote for Dick DeVos, even though mommy was going to do so. As Natalie and I stood in line, a slack-jawed 300 pound-er with a two sizes too small jacket and hair to make the rattiest of mops attractive approached and said to one of the equally pathetic (but "official") folks behind the desk (i.e. ugly folding table), "I'm in adolt edjicashon, an' I git credit if'n I kin prove that I voted. Kin you give me some kinda reseat?"
That's when my heart sank. It was bad enough being surrounded by obviously very blue (think navy blue x10) collar types who couldn't even define the word constitution, let alone identify provisions of the constitution. Now there's some adult ed. teacher who's encouraging his obviously "challenged" (i.e. stupid) students (let's be honest: there's a reason why they're in adult ed.) to vote.
If you want to say that everyone has the right to vote, then fine. However, that doesn't mean that it's right for everyone to vote. There's a reason why the founding fathers feared democracy, and I saw (and smelled it) at point-blank range.
My education no longer mattered. My careful reasoning and recognition of Natural Law was out the door. My disinterested approach--I didn't vote for or against Proposal 5--became a footnote at best. Because of universal adulthood suffrage, someone who in a scientific study could probably disprove Darwin’s theory of evolution canceled out my votes.
More and more, I agree with the original idea of restricting the right to vote to those who hold property. This would avert what Bastiat calls "legal plunder."
More and more, I believe wholeheartedly that anyone who receives federal or state monies should be disenfranchised, lest such people use their "right" to vote as a tool for theft.
Bravo, democracy. Ave Granholm. Veni, vici, deplori.