Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sitting Still Ain’t Fun Anymore


The older you get, I think, the less a dead buck appeals to you, and venison isn’t as good to eat.

My daughter Christy with a buck she killed last year

     It has been a long time since I was not out in the woods somewhere as deer season began, but truthfully… I never did enjoy it much. The idea of an orange costume, and sitting and waiting with a scoped high powered rifle that you can hit an acorn with at 200 yards doesn’t thrill me much. I am impatient, and I like to be moving slowly and seeing new things when I am outdoors.

      Same way with fishing. I don’t like sitting in one place in the lake tied up to a tree or anchored when I can be floating down a beautiful river casting a lure to a new spot all day. Of course if you are hauling in crappie or big bluegill hand over fist that changes things. Sitting and waiting for a bite any longer than 20 minutes isn’t very appealing to me. The exception to that is watching a bobber.  Bobbers on a still surface mesmerize me. I expect there are many of you out there who feel the same way.

      Seeing a bobber dip and dance a little brings excitement and anticipation. And when it just disappears beneath rings of surface water reacting to the swiftness of a hard strike, you can hope the fish beneath it is a lunker. But even if it isn’t, you are happy about pulling it in. If you are that way, you got that way most likely go back to a time when you sat on some pond bank watching a bobber with anticipation that is hard to explain unless you have been there. When next summer gets here, I will do a lot of fishing, but I will certainly spend some time sitting in a shady spot watching a bobber. There is an addiction to it.

      There is anticipation too when I sit in the woods and watch for squirrels in the treetops, or sit with my back to a big oak waiting for a deer to appear, or a gobbler to gobble. It is great to be in a tree-stand watching for a buck, but a friend of mine defined deer hunting that way as fifteen seconds of excitement brought about by three hours of boredom. I cannot possibly sit three hours in a tree stand, waiting. I can handle an hour of it, but no more. I want to walk, moving slowly against the wind, hoping for a miracle of a buck with nice headgear stupidly following a doe. That has happened lots of times, because a buck in mating season, with his neck swollen in a heavy ‘rut’, is dumber than a stockyard steer.

      I learned all about that as a kid when the old veteran deer hunters came in on a cold November night and bragged about their deer hunting and the latest set of antlers.

        It was old Bill Stalder who filled me in about that, when I was only 11 or 12. He hunted with what he called his ‘guvamint forty-five seventy, a military rifle with a stock most of the way up the barrel. He hunted in deep woods, brush-country usually, watching a deer trail and facing into the wind. Bill wanted a rifle that would shoot through a one inch sapling and would still be just as effective if it fell out of the bed of his truck, or spent a day or two in a pouring rain, or a mud-puddle. None of those old timers used a scope. What an insult that would have been if they had been accused of such a thing. Few ever took a shot that wasn’t within fifty yards.

      In Bill’s long-past years, deer were not at all plentiful. When he was in his twenties they were almost all gone, because times were hard and folks who didn’t own free-ranging hogs or cattle needed them to eat. They restocked whitetail deer for years just after I was born and opened the season again when Ol’ Bill was in his forties. He was ready for that. He was my grandfather’s trapping partner and he knew all about the outdoors. He said there wasn’t much to know about deer, and he was right.

      I can tell you one thing, the situation was far different then because deer didn’t become nocturnal after the opening weekend of the season as they do today. Call that evolution maybe. At any rate, it just isn’t rewarding anymore to hunt deer and I am done with it, except for using my camera. I’ll bet I will shoot two or three nice bucks that way, but I know a great deal about transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, what they call ‘chronic wasting disease’ in deer, and what I have learned makes me want to never eat venison again.

      I hope to get the word out about that disease, and the word out about using the telecheck system and what it might result in for innocent hunters, by directing readers to my website, where much information is given on each that cannot be printed in newspapers. That internet site is But I am not through hunting at all I will hunt ducks as hard as I can with my Labrador this year, maybe go pheasant hunting in Iowa. When the duck season closes I will chase around after a pair of beagles. And on some warm winter day I’ll go fishing even if I can’t catch a thing.
      If you wish to get more information about my upcoming Christmas magazine, just call my office.. 417-777-5227, or email My post office address is Box 22, Bolivar, Mo.65613

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