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July 16, 2009

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Proud parents often pack around that portfolio sized photo album to share images of their kids with anyone that will take a gander. I guess Iím a bad dad, because thatís never been my style. I always tossed the vinyl picture sleeves that came with a new wallet.

I hope it is because my kids are with me everywhere I go, and there are very few folks that I interact with who havenít seen my children in person that would need to see a photo. Well that and Iíve always been leery of back problems that can be caused by sitting on an overstuffed wallet (never had too much money in them to worry about wallet thickness.)

I never realized my photo shortcomings until the other day when my oldest daughter dropped this bombshell on me. She suggest I might like my deer better than my kids, since I have a memory stick filled with my latest trail camera shots that I take everywhere with me.

Instead of bragging about the big bucks Iíve caught on film, she questioned why I wasnít showing everyone pictures of her home run, or Katie after she lost her first tooth?

I thought I might have to hire a defense attorney, but ultimately she was swayed by my presentation of evidence including the mass quantity of portraits and digital picture frames that are present in our home. When more than half your computer hard drive is being used to store pictures you have taken of your children, itís a safe bet that they come before the deer.

As far as my enthusiasm for the recent deer images, I attempted to justify my fervor with seasonal concepts. With a relatively short time frame for capturing these bucks on film, it might seem like I am obsessed with these recent photos. While I may spend more than their fare share of time on the deer images over the next few weeks, they are virtually ignored the other 11+ months of the year.

Someone that couldnít see what I was talking about might even suspect I was displaying images of my children. Right now Iím actively comparing the photos from the previous couple of weeks, pointing out ďhow much they have grownĒ. If they canít see the picture, I may be getting credit as a good dad, instead of the realization that Iím measuring the incredible amount of antler growth that occurs in such a short amount of time as the velvet racks reach maturity.

Another thing I have going for me that may keep me off family serviceís list is that my oldest daughter is becoming a deer enthusiast as well. I suspect if the source of her lost face time was anything but our mutually admired antlers, she might be more jealous than she has let on.

I know Iím not alone in my shortcomings, but I still feel guilty. To make matters worse, while most kids can count on good old mom to make up for dadís imperfections, in our case mother may be even worse when it comes to the trail camera addiction.

I tell the girls not to worry too much. She doesnít have a picture of me in her purse either. Then again, Iím just happy my carcass isnít hanging on the wall with her three trophy bucks. Sheís a skinner, so the girls are believers when she says to stop it our she will tan their hides.

All kidding aside, if you donít have your trail cameras in action yet, get them out ASAP. The deer have been actively grazing the mineral licks we have close to our cameras, providing us with lots of looks. Rumor has it there may be some fish guts put in place as props in one photo shoot with hopes of getting a second look at what appeared to be our first bobcat caught on camera.

The bucks caught on film are in full bloom. Weíve seen several nice sets of horns made better by the knowledge they still have roughly 30 days to reach full growth.