Monday, December 1, 2014

An Odd Duck, and a Weird Deer

Most of you who read this column on a regular basis know I don’t fiddle around much on a computer. If God only gives us a certain amount of hours on this earth, and we can still hunt and fish and cut firewood and fix a garden and raise a few chickens, isn’t it a real waste of those precious hours to be sitting in front of one of these little boxes that all of us know is evil and deranged and ruins lives? It is akin to sitting in traffic each day wasting that hour or two when we could be doing something productive with our already too short lives.

Gloria Jean says when I get to talking that way she thinks she ought to ask my daughter, the doctor, to have me medicated. Gloria Jean, of course has nothing better to do with her time because she never cuts any firewood or hunts anything other than my other sock. You know how most women do not really do a lot of the physical work that needs to be done, leaving it to the men in their lives.

So Gloria Jean does that ‘Facebook’ thing. The other evening I heard her laughing hysterically about something and I went into the office to see what that was all about.

There it was, for all to see, some lady throwing a house shoe around the lawn, and a big old tame mallard duck chasing it and retrieving it over and over, as fast as he could run! That is something akin to teaching a goat to mow the lawn! I have never seen anything like it. She said it was on something called ‘Your Tube’, or something of that sort.

I went and got old Lightnin’ Ridge Bolt, my Labrador, and brought him in there and had him watch it. It embarrassed him a little, I think, seeing a duck retrieve with much more enthusiasm than he does. Bolt’s job of course is to retrieve the ducks I shoot, and he looked at me as if to point out that the duck would likely not retrieve another duck from ice-cold water.

I suppose that is true, but you never know. I think the whole thing might make Bolt do a better job of retrieving when we are out hunting ducks. Still, it fortifies what I have been saying about computers. They accent what isn’t normal, and that duck, racing around the lawn after that old shoe, certainly looks evil to me. I didn’t laugh, because I see it as a warning of things to come!

So on the last afternoon of the regular deer season, I went out to my little cabin on the creek and walked up over the hill into the woods and climbed up into my tree stand. It is the same one where I had missed a buck at a distance of about 30 yards last week, on account of, I was using my daughter’s rifle, which I wasn’t use to and the sights were likely messed up.

Last week, in a half hour or so, a nice deer walked past me and I put my scope of my other rifle on him, and almost shot an illegal deer. I thought he was a doe, but he had two little 3- or 4-inch spikes sticking up, hidden by his ears. Many hunters, lacking my sharp eyes, would have never seen them.

I sat there for three hours, enjoying myself and watching woodland life take place around me until about a quarter past four at which time a healthy-looking buck walked through the woods before me, representing a good 75-pounds of venison for the freezer.

Across the county line three miles to the south of my cabin you can shoot a buck no matter how many points he has in his antlers. But where I was, that ridiculous four-point law is in effect. The buck I was looking at had lots of points, but I couldn’t count them in that wooded landscape, with lots of small trees and brush between us. It looked like he was either a six-pointer or a twelve-pointer!

In a case like that, using a 3-power scope, it is impossible to accurately assess the number of points on a walking deer. I can’t and you can’t, and neither could the idiots who came up with that law, hoping it would make the MDC more money in time with no other reasoning behind it.

When the buck reached the opening where I knew I could make the shot I needed to make, I only had a couple of seconds to judge his antler size. He was about 110 yards away. This time I did good. I hit him in the heart and he went only a few yards before falling stone dead.

And then came the sad part. He would have easily been a “four-points on one side” that silly regulation requires but his brow tine was broken. The brow tine has to be at least an inch long, and the one on my deer was maybe three-quarters of an inch long if you stretched it. The other antler was all deformed, nothing like I have ever seen. It actually had five or six points but two of the three were skinny and pointy, and also not quite an inch long. Problem was, I had no tape measure!

That demonstrates the absurdity of that regulation! You gotta’ carry a ruler in your pocket! There isn’t a hunter in the state who can tell you if a brow tine is an inch long or not at 110 yards with a three-power scope when you have about two seconds to make a decision and take the shot you have to take. It will eventually be rescinded, when it is realized that it is biologically unsound and does little except to make violators out of people who do not want to break the law.

Of course, in this day and time, you can check a fork-horn buck by phone and claim he has is a ten-pointer if you want. Some just dress out and butcher their deer in the woods and bring home the quartered body, leaving the head in the woods. Our conservation agents do not go out in the woods like the old ones did, they drive to your home in pairs and try to get you to admit your deer had a shorter brow tine than they allow.

I don’t know what they will do with me now, I just hope I don’t get thrown in jail. I could have reported him killed here on Lightnin’ Ridge, where the law allows your deer to have a little tiny set of antlers.

But I did it the way I am suppose to, and as far as I am concerned my buck had nine or ten points. Some just weren’t long enough, because the stupid deer broke a couple off. If he ain’t legal, it is his fault, not mine! I see the day coming when all bucks will be breaking their antlers off just to be illegal!

If you want to see the antlers from my deer, one of the oddest I have ever seen, go to my website to look at the photos. It is

Venison is really good meat, and in next week’s column I will tell you how I work up deer meat here on Lightnin’ Ridge, to make it taste as good as beef or pork, and to waste very little of it. If you intend to kill a deer, then spend the time to utilize the meat, all of it. It might get you away from that evil computer.

Our winter magazines are out. If you would like to know how to get one, call my secretary, Ms. Wiggins at 417-777-5227. You might even catch me here if I am not out cutting up firewood or cutting up deer. My address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613. Or you can email me at

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