Ramblings of an armed wildlife watcher

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Sunday evening I headed to the deer stand with my two kids in tow. My son has proved his accuracy on the range and wanted to take a deer. My daughter tagged along to enjoy the snacks and sights. Driving down, I realized I had not shot a deer personally in three years. My buddy asked, “Can you even call yourself a deer hunter?” 


He had a point. I had become an “armed wildlife watcher.” 

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Our household enjoys wild game meals throughout the week. More evenings than not, we feast on food we have gathered, hunted, or hooked. Dinner conversations are never stale as we think about ways to add to our delectable dining experiences. 


Stories are told about the first deer we took, the big fish we caught, and how yummy the blueberries were this year. 


We may talk about how turkeys are ever present during deer season, but absent during turkey season. We often wonder why you can’t apply for a tag to bag a fresh Thanksgiving bird.


Most of the stories over the past three years have revolved around my wife and son filling our freezer with venison. Mainly because all the venison we have eaten lately has been thanks to them. 


My armed wildlife watching has only filled my mind with beautiful sunrises and sunsets and left our freezer empty. 


Being entertained for hours watching turkeys feed, squirrels fight, and coyotes hunt has made every hunt a success in my book. The anticipation as the sun rises leads to a calm awareness as the world wakes. 


The birds start chirping slowly as the first rays of sun break the darkness while owls hoot to say farewell to their favorite part of the day. 


The only thing more reliable than seeing turkeys in a deer stand is seeing squirrels. Squirrels are most active at dawn and dusk. During these times they will scramble up and down trees and search the forest floor for acorns. 


Squirrels also have the ability to fool me regularly. Many times my pulse has raced as I hear what has to be a deer. As I slowly turn, the deer magically becomes a squirrel, and my hopes of adding to the freezer disappear. 


I have a theory that squirrels are shapeshifters. They can be deer when you are not looking, but just as you turn and their tail flicks, they switch to squirrels. Some may think I’m crazy, but the theory could explain bigfoot sightings. Bigfoots are just another species of shapeshifting squirrels. 


As you can tell, my mind can wander to some weird places while being an “armed wildlife watcher.” 


I was about to finish up the theory on shapeshifting bigfoot/squirrel hybrids Sunday evening when a deer walked out at the end of the field. My son wanted a shot, but he had not proved he could shoot accurately at that distance. 


I figured it was time to become a hunter again and not an “armed wildlife watcher.” With a good shot,  our venison supply is refilled. I can once again add to the story of our food around the dinner table.