This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.
As many of you know, this past weekend was our second annual Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest. A splendid time was had by all. the turnout was smaller than anticipated, which I blame on the current ammo shortage combined with less than perfect weather. I literally had people straight up tell me that they weren’t coming because they couldn’t afford the ammo. Yes, I could have used less wind and another ten degrees of warmth, but it was still a lot of fun. Shortly after we arrived at the range on Saturday morning, with a glitter in his eye, Teen Bot asked me if I packed some 20-gauge shot shells.
Several years ago, I had bought a beautiful little Winchester 1300 in 20-gauge with the coolest youth furniture on it. This was a pawn shop find, barely used (if at all), with a vent rib and winchokes. This was one of those deals where I’d seen the gun previously, and we were going into the shop for another purpose. On the way, I commented, “if they’ll take $xxx for that gun, I’m going to buy it. Then when at the store, the owner offered to sell it for a price significantly lower than my proposed price.
The youth stock and fore end make this gun ideal for smaller statured people and children, which makes it an awesome new shooter trainer for our arsenal. When I bought it, Teen Bot was still small enough that I thought he’d get a lot of use out of it. But for whatever reason, the boy was completely frightened of any shotguns bigger than a .410. He would practice stance at home, and even mount up the empty gun, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with it on the range. Often he’d claim that he’d screwed up the courage to try it today, only to chicken out when we actually got in the open air.
This went on until one day, the three of us showed up on the property with nothing in the car but shotguns, bird shot, and a case of clays. I had Teen Bot operate the thrower for me for a bit, and then he said that he’d like to try that 20-gauge. And then, he was totally hooked. In short order, he was busting clays like a pro. Sadly, this timed poorly with his major growth spurt. He’s now nearly as tall as me, and the youth sized 20-gauge is a little on the small side for him anymore, after him putting a paltry 100 or so shells through it.
Fast forward to Saturday morning. I dug around in the trunk for the 20-gauge with no success. I asked Jennifer if she had packed the gun, and she confirmed that she had not. She’d meant to, but she specifically remembers not packing that case. So, I asked Teen Bot if he’d like to try 12-gauge instead, assuring him that the recoil was not much worse. He tentatively agreed to give it a go. We don’t have a 12-gauge in the house that most people would consider an acceptable clay gun, and the first gun I grabbed was Jennifer’s Defender. Teen Bot shoved seven shells in the magazine and I started throwing clays for him. Again, he was busting clays and having a great time.
The boy is going to need a shotgun of his own. I knew this day was coming eventually. When I bought the 20-gauge, a big reason was so that he could start learning to use a shotgun, but it’s not a gun that I really saw him taking into adulthood as his. So, now I’m thinking about the economics of a decent, multipurpose shotgun. Remington 870s are fairly easy to source for around $400. You can get a brand new Mossberg for $200 or less if you are looking right. And, I still see like new Winchester 1300s between $250 and $350 on occasion. No, I’m not buying him a Kel Tec KSG with an EOTech mounted on it. His birthday is long past, so I’m going to have to figure out some occasion that will be appropriate for gift giving.
On Saturday, as I was handling clay targets, my life-long friend, Rob asked me how much a box of clays costs. I told him that I thought I usually paid around $10. He commented that shooting was an expensive hobby. I didn’t say much to that at the time. Shooting can get really expensive really fast. But, about $10 for a case of ~100 clays, and around $30 for a case of shot shells will keep a family entertained for a day. That’s cheaper than going to a theme park or even the theater, and it’s far better for exercising the body and mind, and bonding between participants. In the grand scheme of things, it probably one of the cheaper forms of entertainment, especially if you consider the benefits! And now, I wish that I was outside shooting clays instead of here at my laptop. Well, there really aren’t enough hours of work time before the weekend anyway.
If you’ve been following my blog, you probably read my musings about building a geodesic dome as a house. If you read the comments section, you know that there’s been some discussion going on. Inventive told me that he grew up living in a dome house that his dad built. I asked for pics and description, and he posted a blog entry of his own with current pictures of his parents’ home. It looks pretty good, especially after the remodel. My favorite is the last picture, where you can see the new furniture on the new floor, with freshly painted triangle panels in the wall behind, with the script “When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart” painted on the wall. Words to live by! Please do go check out his pics and commentary.
I think this cockamamie scheme of ours might actually be doable! I showed my scribbles of brainstormed floor plans to my parents on Saturday and they seemed pretty excited about it. We discussed location, and we’re pretty sure where we’re going to build it – for now anyway. There’s still plenty of time to change our minds. With the kit that we’re looking at and the floor plan we’re thinking towards, we’ll have lots of space for house guests. That will be a first for us, and we’re pretty excited about the prospect! Of course, I’ll publish more when I have more to report.
Let me start this by saying that it’s been particularly painful to do the research for this entry and run across pics of the victims of the recent school massacre. How many gifts under trees will never be opened? How many parents promised their child activities for after school that they will never be able to deliver? “I wish I’d hugged him once more, a little tighter and a little longer.” “I shouldn’t have been so picky about her finishing her vegetables at dinner last night.” “We really should have taken that vacation last year instead of picking up those extra hours at work.” “Why were my last words to him ‘you’re going to be late’ and not ‘I love you’?”* I can’t even imagine. I thank God for the safety of my family and ask Him to bring comfort to the survivors of this horrible event. When this happened, I had no intention of jumping into the fray with the politics and the debates over rights. However, it is clear that the enemies of freedom know no rest and will exploit these deaths no matter what we do. Therefore, we cannot remain silent. We must be vigilant and firm, and put the blame where it belongs – on the perpetrator and his depravity, not his upbringing, not his mental condition, and not the tools used. Evil exists and it cannot be contained, explained, justified, or prevented.
The Obama administration has been hedging toward a gun ban since they took the White House four years ago, and it’s been no well-kept secret that he has a problem with handguns and at least some long guns. In 1934, those that would limit our liberty pushed through the National Firearms Act, appealing to people’s emotions, based on the violence enacted by gangsters and prohibition-era bootleggers. In the modern day, the War on Drugs is the equivalent of alcohol prohibition, and the Mexican drug cartels are the booze gangs in our world. The incorrectly called ‘assault weapons’ today are in effect the same whipping boy that the ‘gang guns’ were then. Just as they were able to enact such massive limits then, someone connected to the current administration thought that if they could prove that the drug cartels were being armed by the United States gun market, they could pass sweeping legislation, using the politics of the ’30s as a model. Since that wasn’t true, they had to make it true. And then Fast and Furious blew up in their faces.** Since manufacturing their own straw man didn’t work, they had to wait for the right crisis to happen on its own. The 1934 NFA was not the first law to limit firearms in our country, it was just the biggest and most far-reaching to date. In 1934, automatic guns a.k.a. ‘assault weapons’, silencers, and short-barrelled rifles and shotguns, were demonized and prohibited from private ownership without an expensive tax and an arduous process of paperwork. Riding on the same momentum, they were able to pass the Federal Firearms Act in 1938, which required gun dealers to hold a government-issued license, and permanently closed the ‘gun show loophole’ that the antis still complain about seventy-five years later.
Since the gun control advocates can’t make a case based on facts***, they ram legislation through on emotional appeals and knee-jerk reactions. This is what they did when they passed their second large piece of legislation, the Gun Control Act of 1968, appealing to people’s sense of hurt and loss from the tragic assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert F. Kennedy. You see, when people are upset enough, you don’t have to use facts to convince them to take action. The 1968 GCA extended the 1938 ban to grenades and bombs, and replaced the regulations laid out by 1938 FFA with far more strict regulations. There were even murmurs following the shooting of Senator Giffords in 2011, but it didn’t stick. My guess is that the administration, already on thin ice because of a poorly performing economy, didn’t want to risk losing reelection because of a controversial if not unpopular gun ban.
Remember what I wrote above about F&F under the current administration? The anti-gun crowd will never hesitate to act shady and underhanded to get what they want. In 1986, Senator William J. Hughes slipped an amendment into the Firearm Owners Protection Act which prohibited new automatic or select fire guns to go to private ownership by import or manufacture. The FOPA genuinely did set out to protect gun owners from overreaching legislation, and yet it severely limited full-autos, not immediately, but it did set the beginning of the end. Today, a law-abiding citizen can go through the proper channels and legally obtain a new short-barreled rifle or shotgun, a silencer, and several other highly-restricted items, but not a new ‘machine gun’. If a private citizen wants a fully-automatic gun, the shopping list consists of the finite number of guns that were already registered to private use in 1986, and these guns are all over twenty-six years old. Those that have been lost, stolen, broken beyond repair, or mis-registered and thus seized by the ATF are out of the game and no longer available to private ownership. Therefore, these guns are incredibly expensive, rare, and essentially a rich man’s toy. Of all legally-owned automatic guns, there have only been a couple incidents where one was used in a criminal murder, one of which perpetrated by a police officer.
There have been many smaller gun regulations passed since this time, most notably the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban. WARNING – the link goes to a liberal, anti-gun website. Again, because of a rash of mass shootings, people were scared and anti-gun legislators were able to slip in this beast of a law, with the stipulation that it would expire after ten years, at which point, it could be reevaluated for renewal. As it turned out, the AWB didn’t have any redeeming effect on crime or violence and was allowed to sunset in 2004. This bill criminalized magazines that held more than ten rounds and rifles with certain aesthetic features. This is what politicians refer to when they call for a ‘new’ or ‘reinstated’ assault weapons ban. The rumor mill says that military-pattern semi-automatic rifles would be out, as would magazines that hold in excess of ten rounds.
As I’ve mentioned(***), I will come back and post numbers and comparisons that show that none of these laws have done any good, but have only put more of a burden on law-abiding citizens. Stranger cites that there are well over 20,000 gun control laws currently in effect in the United States. Both he and Linoge have a lot of good documentation proving that gun control does not work. There are a lot of people doing a good job collating this data, but these two come to mind now.
Any measure of gun control is not about public safety. Period. There are two types of gun control advocates – those who aren’t aware of this fact and those who do know this fact. That is to say that among gun control advocates, you have the ignorant and the wicked. I asserted this on twitter over the weekend and had quite a bit of blowback because of it. They are rallying the troops. This is it, folks. The issue at hand is not whether the Sandy Hook shooting was horrible or not. And the issue is not guns, and what is or is not permitted by our current laws, and yet that’s what they are trying to make it abo
I never got to go hunting growing up. In fact, my parents only took me target shooting a couple of times. Literally, I can think of about two occasions when my dad threw his .22 pistol and 12-gauge shotgun in the car with the tent when we headed out to the woods. Back when a two-liter bottle had the black plastic cap on the bottom, I remember wedging what was left of the bottle of Pepsi from the previous night in the fork of the great tree that no longer stands there, aligning the sights of that Mark I, and pressing off a round. I remember feeling disappointed when I saw no change at the receiving end, and approached the bottle for a closer look. And, I remember the glee and self-satisfaction that came from seeing a stream of Pepsi flowing out of the new hole in the bottle. For a long time, I was not a gun owner. I’ve been a firearms enthusiast since I was a young boy though.
Wee Bot (now Teen Bot) received his first gun for his tenth birthday. It was an older model 10/22. We had him in a competition air rifle class for some time. We took him to Appleseed. Before long, my kid could rock a rifle with a set of good iron sights as well as anyone else I knew. Nonchalantly. It wasn’t even like he was going target shooting so much as picking up a tool to hit the target with it. He has always enjoyed his 10/22, but began to get gunlust for an AR15 of his own. He had shot S&W’s M&P15-22 before it even hit the shelves. S&W’s CEO was even witness to that, in fact. So, we probed him on whether he would want a .22-caliber AR or an actual .223. We let him know that the centerfire ammo was a lot more expensive, so he wouldn’t get to shoot it nearly as much. He said he’d like the centerfire, as he already had a good rimfire rifle. And at that, almost a year ago, he got a brand new, M&P15 Sport for a late Christmas present.
In the spring, when we had Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Schutenfest, we set up a CRT computer monitor on the rifle range. It was about a 17-inch screen, and we set it out at 50-yards. Kiddo fumbled with the controls on his new rifle. I assume that this was in part due to excitement and also because it had been quite a while since he had really worked with a Stoner platform. I helped him out, of course. Once he was in battery and ready to go, he raised the rifle to his face and put his first shot through the center of the monitor, and giggled. I told him to give it another. The second shot struck within two inches of the first. Once he had emptied his magazine, he had knocked out the center of the glass on the monitor. As previously promised, he hasn’t gotten to shoot his AR as much as his .22, but when he has, he has handled it well.
Over the last year or so, we’ve gotten more into hunting. Indeed, Jennifer made a New Year’s resolution to get closer to her food. Hence gardening and hunting and stuff. This has led me to regard .22 lr and short in a whole new light as a hunting round. Also, it has caused me to memorize many of the hunting regulations of our state. It also influenced me to shop and purchase a compound bow. Keep in mind that neither Jennifer nor I knew anything about hunting. We’re total noobs. We’ve made some pretty hilarious mistakes along the way, actually. I owe a lot of my knowledge and most of my success to advice that I’ve received from my friend, Daniel S.
Well, when Deer Archery season opened this fall, I bought a couple of deer licenses. And, we also picked up a Youth Deer Gun license for Teen Bot. This weekend was Youth Deer Gun season. It opened on Friday, thirty minutes before sunrise, and closed yesterday evening, thirty minutes after sunset. While at Academy, I picked up a couple bags of deer corn and perused the aisle of deer attractants. I was looking for something to mix in with my corn. They had all kinds of products with graphics and fonts on the packages that read like a monster truck rally radio announcement. “SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SOMEDAY! ATTRACT THE ABSOLUTE BIGGEST BUCKS!” They had deer acorns, deer feed, deer crazy. But, I wanted deer crack. I asked one of the employees who I have had good interactions with in the past and he recommended a product from C’Mere Deer. So, I bought it and took my new wares home. On Wednesday, I began to organize everything I thought we would need for our expedition.
That’s when I discovered that Teen Bot was about 20% behind in his core classes. Thursday was the first day of Fall Break, but not for Teen Bot. It was the end of the nine weeks, and he was too far behind to start his vacation. “If you are still behind in your classes, there will be no Youth Deer Gun for you,” I told him. He worked hard. At approximately 9:30 on Thursday night, when we were eating dinner (squirrel stew), I asked him if he wanted to give up and not go out or if he wanted to press on and finish his work. We had arranged for my brother to come with us on Friday. It was a little late to call and cancel on him, but not outside of my willingness. Teen Bot expressed that he still wanted to go out and that he would finish his work. I told him that I wouldn’t accept the attitude that usually goes along with a tired kid. I’m sorry, but I will not be punished like that. He agreed. He finished his school work at around 1:00 a.m.
The alarm went off at 5:00. I thought I was going to die. I reset the alarm for five minutes. JUST FIVE MINUTES, I SWEAR, THEN I’LL GET UP. Much to my surprise, I did find the will to get up at 5:05. My head swam with exhaustion. Shower. I needed a shower. I couldn’t have been in the shower for any longer than fifteen to twenty minutes, but it felt like an eternity. By 5:30, I was dressed and waking up Teen Bot. Usually, I only have to reach in his door, turn on his light, and tell him “good morning”. I only wish getting up had ever been so easy for me. The night before, I had loaded the car with pretty much everything except the valuable stuff. I had a hot-bag with Thermoses full of leftover squirrel stew and another Thermos containing ten shots of espresso – I was going to need that. We threw the guns and my bow in the car and headed to my brother’s house.
Although I hate to get up early, I love to be up early. I’m an extremely isolationist extrovert. I love to be with people, but they’ve got to be the right people. I hate a crowd at the mall and I hate traffic. At o’dark-thirty, nobody is out. The roads that are congested in rush hour are completely clear. The air is crisp and the stars shine. Headed down the road with the windows down and the stereo blaring over the open exhaust was quite stimulating. The coffee didn’t hurt any, truth be known. When you’re up that early, you have the whole day to work with. Sleeping in until noon on a Saturday discourages me. It makes me feel like I’ve wasted something valuable. Like when you’re saving a piece of food for an occasion, but then it goes bad in the freezer. There’s too much life to live to sleep it away.
We arrived at my brother’s house just after six. No surprise to us, he wasn’t ready. My brother’s house is more towards the edge of town than ours, and it shows at times. On that Friday morning, standing on his porch in the dark, I saw an owl swoop down out of the shed at the north-east corner of the yard and soar across the two acres and up into the trees at the south-east corner. The bird must have only cleared the ground by about five feet between the two points. From the trees where it landed, I heard the loud, warbly call of the barred owl. After it hooted and gargled several times, I could hear others of its kind answer the call. There were at least three or four of them that answered from different directions. I knew that owls lived on that property, but that was the most that I’d been able to observe them. Teen Bot and I got a kick out of that.
Once my brother was finally dressed, we loaded his stuff in the car and headed toward the family farm. We parked the car on the private road that leads down to the hollow where we’ve had the trail cameras set up. We hiked down with the stuff we’d need. It took about ten minuted to pitch the blind, set up chairs, and spread the corn mix. Then, we sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And, there was nothing. Granted, it was a little on the windy side, but we saw no animals. At about eleven, we gave up for the morning and broke for lunch. I have spent some time procuring good insulated containers and found that the squirrel stew that I’d packed the night before was still quite hot. My brother complained about the amount of jalapeños in it, but that didn’t keep him from eating his share. After lunch, we wandered around the property, explored the woods, and looked for squirrels that needed to be dispatched. Still, we saw no signs of life. As it turns out, my brother hadn’t gotten to bed much earlier than we did. By mid-afternoon, the three of us were feeling pretty exhausted and discouraged, and I still needed to pick up Jennifer from work, so we headed on home.
Friday we went to bed early, with the intention of getting up early again on Saturday. On Saturday morning, we felt a lot more refreshed. Jennifer and I each had a double shot of espresso, but I felt no need to bump the dosage up to ten. We actually made it to the property a little earlier than the day before, most likely due to not having to wait for my brother. Again, we parked the car on the road and hiked our gear into the hollow. And again, we pitched the blind and chairs, spread grain, and parked. Again, we saw nothing in the morning. When we broke for lunch, I checked the SD cards in the game cameras, and paid special attention to time signatures. It appears that among the deer we have, we have evening deer and not morning deer. Interesting… We had packed bread and ham and mayo and a bag of potato chips for lunch. That was a really amazing ham sandwich. What is it about eating outdoors? During the day, we followed some game trails and wandered around where we’ve seen animals in the past. We saw no animals, but we did see signs of them. We found very fresh coyote droppings and the bones of several animals; turtle shells, a cow skeleton, and a raccoon skull.
At about 16:30, we returned to the blind. It was hot. We were set up on the east border of the hollow, so it had been pretty cold in the morning. After spending the afternoon in direct sunlight, it was fairly sweltering in the blind. At first, we left the door and all the windows open. At about five, we started to hear more birds and saw a few squirrels playing in the woods behind us. We slowly started closing the door and the non-essensial windows of the blind. And we waited. And waited. I was never so thankful to have spare batteries for my android phone. Teen Bot was pretty good, all things considered, but he did get restless and began to fidget several times. I had to remind him to be still so that he wouldn’t make noise. At about 18:30, we heard what sounded like footsteps in the woods behind the blind. It was too thick to see even if we hadn’t already closed our rear-facing windows. We sat and silently listened in anxious anticipation.
Legal shooting hours are thirty minutes before official sunrise until thirty minutes after official sunset. On Saturday, official sunset was at 18:49, which gave us until 19:19 before we had to give up for the day. It was right about 18:55 when Teen Bot spotted the deer entering the hollow. It was a nice looking doe and two yearlings. He pointed toward them and turned to face me, his mouth agape in a gasp, and his eyes lit up in excitement. We had just traveled through time. My son was six again, and this was Christmas morning. We watched the three deer wander into the hollow and begin their nightly exploration, that I’ve witnessed in digital pictures so many times before. I tapped Teen Bot on the shoulder and pointed to his rifle, sitting on the stool in front of him. I’m not sure the three of us even breathed for a good three minutes there.
In Oklahoma, we don’t have game that is very big. Indeed, there’s not a thing in the state you can’t legally hunt with a rifle that they won’t let you hunt with 55-grain .223. Our whitetails are pretty small, actually. Teen Bot’s M&P15 has a 1:8 twist rate, and he had a seven-round magazine loaded up with 62-grain, semi-jacketed Federals. The deer got closer. The doe stopped probably 40-yards from our position. My heart was pounding in my ears. My bow lay on the stool in front of me, and I knew that there was no way I could nock an arrow without spooking the deer that were so close now. It was all up to Teen Bot. I made eye contact with him and gestured wildly for him to shoot the doe. He sighted it in but then dropped his rifle to low-ready. The doe raised her head and sniffed the air, staring directly at our blind. She stamped a little bit and then settled again, this time at about thirty yards away. She stood with her side presented to us, head down to sniff the grain mix. Again, I wildly gestured for Teen Bot to shoot, this time with more desperation. He looked down the sights and whispered, “I don’t think I can get a good shot from here.” Are you kidding?!!!??!?!? That’s a gimme shot! Perhaps because of the whisper, or perhaps just because of the sheer energy of the situation, the doe rared up, snorted several times, and bounded off into the woods on the other side of the hollow. The yearlings hesitantly followed her. It was very clear that they wanted that corn. I was disappointed and a little peeved.
We waited out the remaining twenty minutes until we could no longer legally take game. Then, we called time and began to gather our things. Jennifer suggested that we leave the blind in place to normalize the deer to it so hopefully we would have a better chance the following day. We agreed that this was a good plan and hiked back up to our car. Along the way, Teen Bot attempted to explain why he didn’t take the shot. I cut him off, telling him that we should remain quiet, but that he could explain on the way home. As I approached the car, I saw a tractor parked next to it. It was very dark and I was having a hard time seeing it. It was hitched to a flat bed trailer, and was parked in such a way to pin in our car on the path. As I strained my eyes in the dark, I saw two figures sitting on the trailer. “Hello?” I asked.
“Hi there,” my greeting was returned. The one speaking had a white beard and I recognized him as my mom’s cousin, B.J.
“Oh, hey guys!” I said, approaching them.
“Hello,” said B.J., clearly having trouble in the dark, himself, “Who am I speaking to?”
“It’s me, Evyl Robot,” I identified myself.
“Oh, hi there Evyl,” B.J. said, and we shook hands all around. The other one on the trailer is one in B.J.’s family who I have met before, but his name escapes me. I get the impression that he regards us as the city slickers that don’t deserve that piece of land as inheritance. I could be wrong, and he may just have a brusque personality though. I noticed that he had a bolt-action laid across his lap and so I stepped to the side of its muzzle. We chatted for a few minutes. B.J.’s family has kept an eye on the property for years, running off the riffraff, who have apparently been a bigger problem than I ever imagined. He requested that I give him a call in the future when we’re headed out to hunt so that he won’t disturb our hunt. He also asked if we were going to hunt muzzle loader. I told him that we weren’t going to, but that I’d be working with my bow. Muzzle loader season is only two weekends, and the week in between. I told him that I could leave the hollow to him for those weekends. He defensively said that I could hunt anytime I wanted. The land belongs to my side of the family and not his. But, as much work as he does on it, I’m not going to pull a monopoly on the harvest there. He asked about my parents and brother. We talked about the deer and about the local people. Soon thereafter, we parted ways.
On the way home, we talked to Teen Bot about the day, and why he didn’t take that shot. As it turns out, the yearlings with the doe bothered him. He didn’t want to shoot some babies’ mom. It’s nice to see that level of empathy in the kid. We explained to him that those were not baby deer, but they were more like college deer. They’re practically grown and will be out on their own soon, one way or another. We also explained that deer are simple creatures and won’t be emotionally scarred by the loss of one of their own in the same way that we would be. He also expressed a concern for shooting through the blind material. I told him that I can get camouflaged duct tape that will patch a .22-caliber hole with no problem. By the time we got home, he seemed reassured, confident, and perhaps a little silly for giving up such a great shot. I’m proud that he thought about his actions so thoroughly before pulling the trigger.
That night was a blur. We went to bed and slept in some, with the intention of going to church in the morning. Since we’d just had two days in a row where we had seen nothing in the morning, we decided that it would be a good idea to take Sunday morning off. Sunday morning, we got dressed and went to church. I chuckled at the thought of myself in my Armani suit, handmade Italian peccary oxfords, and a pair of S&W Performance Center revolvers, singing in the church choir, only to go home and put on my surplus BDUs and hike out into the field with my bow, hopefully to put venison in the freezer. It is like leading a double life. After church, we changed and loaded up the car, and headed to my parents’ house for our weekly, Sunday lunch. We had homemade spaghetti and meatballs, and discussed all the recent goings on. At around 16:00, we got back in the car and headed back out to the property.
It was hot. The previous afternoon had been warm, but it was hot and humid at this point. I was melting in my t-shirt and BDU pants. I was trying to drink enough ice water to cool myself but not so much that I’d need to leave the blind. I was sweating enough that I could smell myself. I only hoped that it would cool down enough when the sun dipped below the tree line that we’d dry off before the deer came in again. No such luck. At around 17:20, the same doe as the previous day wandered into the hollow from one of the game trails. She only made it to within 75-yards or so before she caught our scent. Figures. She began to snort and stamp, and she retreated back into the woods, shaking her head with her tail held high. Queue simultaneous sigh of disappointment from three people in a deer blind. Still, we waited.
We were about to give up. It seemed that the sun had long since sat and it was still hot. We heard footsteps and sniffing at the back of our blind. The doe had doubled around on us to investigate in the dark! Again, she snorted and stamped and took off. If it had been gun season, I would have just ended her with my M&P45, right then and there. My Bowtech Assassin isn’t nearly so nimble. A few minutes later, the two yearlings wandered out into the hollow, investigated a little, and wandered off again. Checking the time, it was exactly 19:19. We called time. It was officially the end of Youth Deer Gun 2012, not a bullet fired. We packed up our things and headed home again.
On the way, Teen Bot expressed regret for not taking that shot on the previous day and that he hadn’t put meat in our freezer. I reassured him that he did the right thing for not taking the shot when he wasn’t sure it was right. We had come closer to bringing home venison than ever before. For three people that don’t really know what they are doing, it was an impressive degree of success! His deer tag is still good for Deer Gun season from November 17 through December 2. That will give us a full three weekends that we can try again. In the meantime, I’ll have to see if I can take one or two with my bow. My archery tags are good through the end of the year. I haven’t seen our buck in any recent pics, but he may still be out there. I understand that once the rut starts, strange things start happening.
I want to grill up some deer steaks so bad. The other day we had a small pronghorn tenderloin for dinner. Then, there was the aforementioned squirrel stew. A couple months ago, we bought meat from a traveling salesman with a refrigerated truck. We’d purchased from him before, so we were happy to buy his beef pack and his pork pack. We have just now depleted what we purchased from him. It’s not like we’re out of food, but the frozen meat has gotten more sparse than I’m comfortable with, and things are lean as they ever are this time of year. I hate to admit that I really had my heart set on venison. Oh well, upward and onward. I think Jennifer and I are going to take the afternoon off on Friday and head back out once more before muzzle loader season starts on Saturday, just the two of us. The forecast looks like it will be quite a bit cooler than it has been, so that should help with scent concealment. As close as we’ve gotten already, I see it as only a matter of time and persistence before we do have a freezer full of venison. Wish us luck!
Teen Bot – “I don’t know why I’m showing a zero on this quiz. I didn’t even take this quiz.”
Me – “Could it be that you were supposed to take it and received no credit because you didn’t?”
Teen Bot – “Oh right… But, the teacher said we were on Unit 8 and I got caught up through Unit 8.”
Me – “Teen Bot, that was a week and a half ago. Surely the class has progressed some since then.”
Teen Bot – “Oh.”
This goes so far beyond a simple facepalm. This year, they’ve integrated some high school classes into his cirriculum, which is good. They expect the HS kids to be more responsible with keeping up with their work, and not have the parents spoon-feed it to them like the younger kids. Which is also good. However, there was one page I could go to last year and see at a glance if he was missing anything. Not so this year. So, periodically I’ll have him show me where he needs to be and where he actually is. Sometimes, he’ll start telling me that he’s all current and I’ll have to remind him, “show me.” Funny that when he’s most confident that everything is going great is when he’s most likely to be behind. Youth Deer Gun Season is this weekend. We’re planning to go out, but not if he’s not current in school. Fall Break starts tomorrow in the system, but he may be working, depending on what he gets done today. That’s the best. Thing about virtual school. It’s really easy in the schedule.
So, this Ukrainian chick decided that she needed to look more like an anime character. Mission accomplished, I suppose. I don’t really know what else to say. I hope that makes you happy, because you look like a freak. Anime girls are cute because they’re in anime shows and movies. When you pull that into the real world, the effect is nothing short of creepy. So although I feel compelled by your tiny waist and large eyes, It’s not really a positive admiration so much as not being able to look away from the freak show. And, just so the rest of you don’t have to claw your eyes out now, here’s a little tidbit that’s oddly compelling for a whole different set of reasons:
Happy Tuesday everyone.
Me: Well, I guess it’s official. I’ll be shooting in a dress.
Teen Bot: Wait what?
Me: I kind of told my readers that if my KTKC donations got to a certain point that I’d wear a dress to the range.
Teen Bot: So, you’re going to wear a dress?
Me: Seems that way.
Teen Bot: That’s so weird.
Yesssss! It’s not easy to weird out Teen Bot. Speaking of my dress, I finished the armor that goes with it today.
Five years ago today, I broke ground on my blogger blog. It was actually five years ago to the minute that I published my first blog entry. A couple of you remember that blog. We’ve come a long way, my friends, and it’s been a wild ride. I’m going to try my best to make the second half of the first decade infinitely better than the first. Will you come along for the ride?
Of course I will never forget. Although, April 19, 1995 was far closer to home; and September 11, 2001 had me feeling “Oh no, not again.” The images on the television and the reports on the radio were eerily reminiscent of the bombing in Oklahoma City. I lost friends in the 1995 bombing though. I had close friends that lost family, and in fact, I provided much comfort to one dear friend who lost a father. My beloved wife, who I had not yet met, was entirely too close to that explosion.
And yet, life does go on. Things happen and scars fade. Years ago, everything I hold dear was threatened and I was helpless to an onslaught that I dare not detail in these pages. Oh September 11, 2004, the nightmare ended. It wasn’t the lid on the coffin so much as the light at the end of the tunnel. After personal events in 2004, September 11 has ceased to be a day of mourning to me, and has instead become a day of hope and joy, of new life and thankfulness. My heart and sympathy go out to all of those who carry deeper scars from that perilous anniversary than I do. I will always remember the hurt, the injured, the killed, their families and loved ones, and the rescue workers that sacrificed themselves to save others.
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
However, to me, September 11 will always be a day of celebration and victory, for personal reasons and in the broader, because the tragedy brought out the best of what Americans have to offer: Bravery, selflessness, empathy, and love. We showed the world that we will not be brought down by even the most brutal of attacks. On the contrary, it only made us stronger. I have much regard for the fallen, but I choose to honor the brave, and I choose to be thankful for the blessings I’ve been granted.
In remembrance this evening I plan to eat grilled pork, drink alcohol, and hug and kiss my wife and son, and thank God for all that He’s given me. I will also say a prayer for all those who have been affected by terrorism, but I choose to focus on the positive and not the negative. God bless our liberty, God bless our families, and God bless America.