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June 26, 2008

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

The last severe weather strike brought sad news to our home front. There was no loss of life or anything of that nature. As a matter of fact I guess the morose speaks volumes for my values, as something so petty likely is not sad at all to any of you readers.

However I do recall that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach when the phone rang. All of us that have ever received bad news following those telephone tones know exactly what I mean… you feel something is wrong before you ever hear the voice on the other end. My senses were sounding the alarm bell before my wife’s cellular phone ever sang out “Hello moto”.

I could tell by her facial expressions something was amiss. She uttered “When?” in that despondent voice and my fears immediately were fulfilled. “How… what happened?” she spoke into the phone. Now my heart is racing and the worst of the worst is flashing through my mind. When that first tear drop fell from her eye, I could stand it no longer, I had to know.

She must have sensed my concern as she turned to me and told me that the tornado like storm that had passed through the county June 14th had taken a heavy toll at the farm. The winds had blown down one of the old oak trees adjacent to her deer stand, wiping out the hunting hot spot. I’m sure these past three years of trophy bucks flashed through her mind when she got the news.

I guess I should have been relieved. Everyone was okay, no love ones were hurt or ill. I had to leave the room so my wife couldn’t see me break down and cry. While she shed a few tears, I was in the back room completely bawling.

Sure the storm had downed quite possibly the greatest deer hunting spot I will ever know. The old oak tree had housed me on nearly every excursion I had ever written about regarding missing a big deer. I saw the largest deer I have ever witnessed while hunting in the stand. I shared my wife’s first trophy hunt while huddled in that old stand with her.

But I’m not the sentimental type. The waterworks were turned on by fear. Now with that stand gone, would I be shopping for a new place to hunt? I had reluctantly relinquished my most favorite spot so she could get her first deer. Somehow she had managed to maintain possession of the tree stand the following season, and the third year in a row when she killed trophy #3 from the same spot, I was sitting in a ground blind with an eight-year-old daughter quietly wondering if I was going to have any wall space left for the kid’s deer. (I had assumed my daughter had a better shot of getting up in that stand than I did.)

I was hoping my spouse wouldn’t be like a sparrow to a martin’s nest, pushing their eggs out and claiming the home for themselves. I had moved to the other side of the farm, and over the past two years in exile had finally began to build confidence in my new spot.

Trust me, I’ll put on the selfish act, stomping and throwing a hissy fit if she even turns her eye in that direction. While I am defensive of my territory, I’m truthfully more concerned that she might migrate to my other spot and immediately continue her impressive streak of trophy harvests.

You see the way it was, I could always just chalk her success up to the fact that she had claimed squatter rights to my best spot. She was getting lucky in the best hunting stand around and I was being left out in the cold because I was stuck with the seconds. However, if she were to take this case to court and claim legal right to the ground, then I might be in real trouble.

What if Judge Wapner had nothing to do with my “I was there first” defense and granted hunting rights to my second favorite spot to her? Then while I’m busy trying to locate and cultivate my newest stand locations, she continues her impressive annual haul in November. Well what does that make me look like? (besides the guy that had to take a second job to pay his wife’s taxidermist tab.) It will be awfully difficult to uphold this pretense that I’m some sort of hunting and fishing author when all I do is write about my better half. Oh well I guess if the sparrow lands in another one of my nests, I’ll just have to tell her the responsibility for filling this space each week goes with it.

I best just get the chainsaw out and order a load of lumber, head back to my wife’s deer stand and work like I have never worked before to keep her in that very same perch. That way she’ll be happy and I can keeping blowing hot air about it all being about the spot and not the hunter.


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