I am, not by trade but by choice, a hunting widow. Every weekend for a few weeks a year I give up my husband and farmhand and take on all chores and family responsibilities so he can hunt. I embrace my inner pioneer and support his effort to bring in a winter’s bounty of meat. Yet, time and time again…well…nothing. No deer. While driving they leap out in front of his car as though they are extras in a driver’s ed video. Yet once he is in full camouflage, armed and in the woods, the deer are nowhere to be found. I wish I could tell you that this has only been his experience since hunting in Vermont. Sadly, this luck as followed us across the country from our home state of California.
Early on in our marriage my husband found my favorite Ralph Lauren hunting jacket that I’d had since college. He explained that it was an authentic hunting jacket meant to hold a variety of paraphernalia one might need when out in the woods. It has been his ever since. One morning, wearing my jacket, he left to go deer hunting just before daybreak when the Northern California tule fog was thick. He was gone all day. Late that evening when he finally pulled in the drive I saw the empty bed of his truck and knew the day had been a bust. Ever the optimist, I asked “How’d you make out?”. He answered, “Not bad” and went on to pull a sorry little dead creature from every pocket of that Ralph Lauren hunting jacket. That night we feasted on a 3.3 oz of mixed grill of assorted vermin and fowl. The deer rested comfortably in the woods of California that entire season.
The truth is, my husband is a skilled marksman. If the deer were to emerge while he was in woods, we would surely eat like kings all winter. Maybe he smells like the predator he is and they keep their distance as they should or maybe they graze at his feet and he just watches them. Whatever the reason, he loves to hunt, looks forward to the season year after year, enjoys the camaraderie with his mates, and truthfully I don’t think he could care less if he bags his buck.