Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tis That Season Again


John Ramsey Miller

Tomorrow (that would be 2 days ago in Blog time) around three AM I am going to drive 11 hours into the much deeper South for a weekend with my old hunting buddies. Opening Day in Mississippi. I've worked my enjoyment of hunting into several of my books because it is a part of my life that is just plain getting back to my basic nature. I now the Bambi lovers (I actually am one) are cringing, but only those who have never done it before. I'm not going to say deer are happier dead, but I am happier when I have a freezer full of venison. It's the other red meat.

A few days before I go, I start getting things together. Yesterday I rewired my trailer with new wires and lights. During the year I use the trailer around the place and beat off the lights. On the trailer I have my four-wheeler for tough terrain, and to keep from walking. Also I put the deer I harvest (kinder image than knock down) on the back. On the trailer I also have a five-foot tall galvanized, three-dimensional steel rooster which I will drop off in Nashville. Long boring yard-art story.

The best part of the annual hunt is that I get to spend quality time with my old friends. There is wine and scotch involved. We tell stories around the fire, and then go inside.

I don't many authors who hunt, but the time I spend sitting alone in the deep woods is something I can't imagine living without. It charges my batteries. I have talked with both my editor and agent while I was watching deer graze. I do write in my head as I sit in my stand.

Shooting is no challenge. I'm a good shot and I go for a clean shot or I don't shoot. I eat what I shoot and that is why I only hunt deer.

Anti-hunters have all sorts of reasons why I should let the slaughterhouses handle this end of the food chain. I won't get into why that is worse than taking an animal that is in its environment when it goes and not in a line of panicked beef that... Remind me to tell you the story about visiting a commercial slaughterhouse when I was a cub scout.

So, what I'm saying here is I find my trips invigorating, stimulating, and when you read this I'll be in one of my stands watching and listening and living my life. No apologies offered.

8 comments:

  1. I can certainly understand how communing with nature recharges the creative batteries. Have a good time with your friends. Hoping the weather favors you.

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  2. Great piece, John, as always. Hope it's a great trip for you.

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  3. As a vegetarian, I can't applaud the hunt. As a comerade who lives and open, honest and fulfilling life, I say, You go, boy. Live the Life You Love!

    Hope your time away brings everything that you need, John!

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  4. I love this post, John.
    My husband I have hunted deer since I can remember, and I do that too - weave the woods and the hunt and that communal time with other hunters around the campfire and the scotch into my writing.
    It's hard to explain to other women why I like all that, so most often, I'm with you - no apologies offered. We're responsible hunters, keep to the game laws, and peacefully enjoy that part of our lives.
    My favorite rifle is my Winchester .30-.30 lever action, and the sights on that thing are dead-on. Knowing that rifle like I do yields credibility and lots of creativity to my characters who find themselves with guns in their hands.
    Enjoy your hunt.

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  5. ahhhh, yes. deer hunters. kept my northern michigan emergency room going for the lull between summer tourists and skiers/snowmobilers. tho' the snowmobilers top hunters 10 to 1. we could double that if we could get the snowmobilers up in tree stands!!

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  6. Kathy,
    There's nothing that compares to sliding twenty feet down a Georgia pinetree backwards in the dark. Makes respecting that safety strap really important.

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  7. Hope you had a good hunt John. Likewise, I hunt too. Moose, ptarmigan, rabbits, and a whole lot of salmon in the summer. Oh yeah, the salmon's fishing. But the point is only what I eat. I don't hunt bear, cuz I don't like the meat.

    Kathy D. - I wonder if its the population density difference, but when I was an EMT I don't recall any hunters we picked up. Snow machiners (what we call snow mobilers) on the other hand were a regular line of business. Could never figure out why they thought they could do 90 mph in the dark on a frozen river and expect there to be no ice heaves to through them in the air.

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  8. Had a great time. Did not kill anything.

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