Field and Stream

Posted: September 20, 2013 in Uncategorized

This is the third in a series of stories about my father that I wrote a year or so ago.  

Field and Stream

A few weeks ago, my company purchased for me a new work vehicle. A new shiny white pickup. It is equipped with all the options, you name it, AM FM XM radio, chrome bumpers, four wheel drive, a nice fiberglass topper. It even has electric adjustable seats, mirrors and windows. I spend a lot of time on the road traveling between assignments. Although I really loved it, after over 215,000 uneventful miles in the old Tundra, a new vehicle was a welcome break and change of pace.

Unfortunately, with only 3500 miles accumulated on this new beast of burden, I had a fatal encounter with a deer. Fatal for the deer that is. Thinking about how the accident happened, I really don’t believe I killed it.  It was broad daylight, it ran out of a deep ditch and squarely in front of me, neither of us had a chance. She was killed on contact and the contact caused a little over 5,000 dollars in damage to the new, shiny white front end of the pickup. I firmly believe that the animal committed suicide after choosing the first fast traveling passing vehicle. I certainly didn’t want to hurt it so I must place some of the blame on the deer. But it did bring back an old memory.

When I was young, I had a memorable encounter with the white tail deer. Growing up in a Field and Stream family, I learned to hunt and fish from my father and older brother. Wild game was a staple of our diet. Fish, rabbit, pheasant, quail and squirrel were not unusual in the freezer or on our dinner table. We always hunted and fished legally, never exceeded the harvest limits and always respected the natural habitat. I saw many deer in the wild and along the side of our roads. The deer population was not as many as it is today. Then the occasional spotting of a small herd of deer was considered a treat or even an event.

But I only remember hunting deer one time with my father. On that occasion, after spotting the deer in the distance and ready to shoot, my father paused looking over the barrel of his slug loaded shotgun and quietly whispers to me, “He sure is a good looking animal, he’ll live for another day” and brought down the heavy Savage 12 gauge to his side. Taking turns, we watched the big magnificently racked buck through our binoculars, letting him slowly wander out of range back into the thick timber of hickory, oak trees and raspberry brier. We never hunted deer again. Some may call that buck fever or weak sentimentalism, I saw it as a father showing his son respect for another living being.

Since then, I have gone on deer and elk hunting expeditions with acquaintances, but in other states where I didn’t have a resident or nonresident license or carry a gun. In places where the shot animals had to be hauled out on pack horses. But I’ve never really hunted, I’ve only observed. So now, after over 50 years, I can say that I have killed my first deer. Not with a slug loaded shotgun or high powered rifle but by the chrome bumper, fender, grille and hood of a shiny, new, white 2012 Silverado Chevy. Not that there is much glamor in either. And certainly not as memorable as it was in the late afternoon on that crisp chilly fall day in southern Iowa when my Dad without shooting, unshouldered his heavy old Savage shotgun while whispering “he’ll live for another day”.

Such is the life of John.

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Comments
  1. Marcia says:

    Reblogged this on thirtythousanddaysblog and commented:
    I just had to share this!

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love this story. My first husband is a meat cutter, so, when he hit and killed a very young deer, he brought it home and we had venison all winter.

    There are huge herds of deer in Southern Vermont. Not so much up north, although some mornings in Waitsfield the back yard snow is full of hoof prints.

    And once, many years ago, while camping on Cape Cod, I encountered four deer on an early morning walk. I rounded a bend on the path, and there they were, 10 feet in front of me. They considered me for a very long moment before walking calmly off into the undergrowth. It was magical.

    S.

    Like

    • Hi S. So very glad you are here and liked this. That encounter would be magical, I can’t remember being that close to them in the wild. We were at a rest area in Colorado and got close to a couple but they were practically tame from mooching food from humans passing through. So glad you found me!

      Like

  3. Very nice story! I loved it. 🙂

    Like

  4. Thank you for sharing this! I especially liked reading about your father. 🙂 I think deer are so sweet and majestic…yes, Bambi-like. 🙂 I feel honored when I see them.
    One week both my daughter and my daughter-in-law had deer run out in front of them and sadly the deer got hit. 😦 But they ran away. The cars were damaged, but my girls were okay.
    I’m glad to see you here! I enjoy you on Xanga!
    HUGS!!! (adamswomanback) 🙂

    Like

  5. I shall “follow” you! Do you feel like a leader of a cult? Having followers and all!? 😉 😀

    Like

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