By L.A. Kohl
October 23, 2006
(published in the 11/15/06 edition of "The Bullseye")
With the coming of fall and cooler weather, some inborn desire emerges within my husband to grab his bow and go sit in a deer stand during the wee hours of the morning. As he often explains, he does it more for the sake of having a story to tell than for anything else.
In previous years, the moment dad begins telling all of the sights and sounds and near misses of the morning, the children – especially the youngest ones – have all kinds of advice and words of wisdom for their dad. This year was no exception, as he returned from a recent bow hunting outing to an expectant little audience at the breakfast table.
“Did you shoot a deer?”
“Well, I shot AT a deer,” came his regretful reply.
“Did you take your gun?”
“No, not yet…I have to use my bow.”
“Well, you should use a gun, it works better.”
“When it’s gun season, then I will – until then, I’ll use my bow.”
“But maybe you could try a spear!” was our boy’s enthusiastic idea.
“Now that’s something I hadn’t thought of,” came dad’s patient reply.
“Just don’t get the baby deers; ‘cuz they like me and I don’t want you to kill them.”
At the mention of “baby deers," dad explained to them about the new law in Missouri, banning the shooting of any buck with less than four points on their antlers. Then he went on to tell them about the first deer of the morning that he kept watching, trying to count the points. Finally, after much time and scrutiny, he figured out the sad truth – only three points.
“And that’s when I was seriously tempted…should I shoot it or not?” he began to say, planning to explain a life lesson about honesty and making right choices. But before he could utter another word, the five year old piped in.
“Yeah – shoot it!” she enthusiastically replied, with no sense of guilt or remorse. (We’ll have to keep an especially close eye on her as she gets older.)
He then went on to tell how he had walked to a different area, trying to find a bigger buck. As he meandered, he couldn’t resist the temptation to try a little target practice on a squirrel up in a tree. That ended with nothing more than an arrow stuck in the trunk of the tree. He told us that it was too high for him to reach, so he was planning to take a ladder out later, to retrieve his arrow. That brought on a rapid series of safety rules:
“Dad, don’t pull too hard on the arrow, or you will fall off the ladder and die.”
“Dad, you should not hold the arrow when you’re on the ladder, or you might fall on it and die.”
“Dad, you should never point the bow towards you, or you might shoot yourself and die.”
After all these imminent threats of death and destruction, our five year old came up with one final safety rule. I have no idea what it has to do with bow hunting…but it was very sensible advice, and I shall close my article with her words of wisdom.
“You should never run when you are carrying a pitchfork.”