Here in Michigan, almost any diner will have a deer hunter or two in it, at any given time of the year. The same can be said for grouse too, but this is one of those deer hunting stories.
A lot has been written about the elusive whitetail, maybe too much. One thing is certain though, as long as November 15th is on our calendar I’ll bet my best wool socks, deer hunting will be a coffee house issue. I like my coffee and eggs served with hunting stories and I have heard some of the best ones this way.
A few deer have been hunted for years, and even generations. Some have names and live longer than any biologist could dream. Old ironsides, ghost, wall hanger and others, escape hunter’s efforts every year.
In today’s world a good story is hard to find, too often the stories we hear are of crime, human rights, and the weather, with the weather, being worst of all. A deer hunter enjoys stories; he is a master of telling how the big one came in. Or at least he knows it was” just inside the heavy cover.”
We are known to sit for hours, waiting to shoot the buck of our dreams. What we really do is think about our family and friends, and our loved ones who have walked on. We think how peaceful life was a 100 years ago quite often. Mostly we try and figure out a way to buy more new gear. Of course, this thought comes after the loved ones and friends most of the time.
I miss a lot of the older hunters I have known; their stories were better than mine are. I think they lied better, having grown up with less. Or did they just not watch so much TV?
Deer hunters in the coffee shops, talk of far away places today. Western Canada, Ohio, Kodiak Island are some of their destinations, whispered in the diners. Why they are whispered I don’t know. Most never go, and those listening can’t afford to travel too far.
The conversation goes up about 150 decibels when they talk of the wall-hanger in their back forty. They take great pride in letting everyone know they have a big buck on the land. Of course this is coffeehouse talk, horns get bigger as the pancake pile gets smaller. By the time most finish eating they leave you with the impression that all the deer on their 40 have Boone and Crocket racks.
I know of several people who go to diners just to listen to the hunting talk. You can see them holding a paper up pretending to read it. Some linger at the register looking for the pennies they pretend to have. They are all just too proud to sit and listen, they sneak the story. Of course any good storyteller knows when ALL the patrons are tuned in. How can they not be? The teller is the loudest voice there.
Even in a strange restaurant I can tell the storytellers and the owners apart. The owners always look worried afraid the patrons may be non-hunters and never come back. A good deer hunting storyteller knows this and says they missed cleanly, sometimes, leaving the non-hunter assured, the proper seed stock was left.
Oh there is always a swamp so thick, or ridges so dangerous that not all could even try and venture to it. Those that do get lost in the middle and are found half dead the next day. Or at least that’s how the stories go. I have hunted in some of the story woods and swamps. Hoot owls send chills up your back and shadows play tricks on you. the deer never seem to show themselves either. I prefer wooded ridges not to far from a two track, now. Although, they make for a bland story.
The ballistics of the average bacon and eggs gun would impress any of the generals in our armed forces too. Shots range from 300 yds to the next DMU. They all hit right where they are aimed every time with out fail. I tend to miss at 45 yards on a regular basis; I also never talk with food in my mouth, so I am safe at the diner.
I do hope to someday become a great coffee shop deer hunter. I first have to travel a bit more and eavesdrop on some experts more, first. I’ve got the clothes and the days old stubble down pretty well. Of course that’s me year round. I have thought of making antler handled knives, as a way of explaining, the lack of racks in the garage. My buddy is a county dispatcher so getting venison is easy to do. Road kill wraps up just as nice as any deer shot.
Don’t get me wrong I enjoy hunting, but a good story is best served the way you want it, just like your breakfast at the diner. So,” You got a big twelve- point running back by the old orchard again this year, Bob? ”
“Oh Miss, Could I get a refill? And I’ll pay for Bobs also.” Thanks.