Thursday, December 04, 2008


I had my very first hunting experience this year. Before you get upset, let me just say I never saw a deer, and I was not even carrying a gun.

I feel like I have to explain hunting season to the rest of the world, as it is a fairly new concept for me. I was introduced to this phenomenon during my freshmen year of college when my professor announced that there would be no class on November 15th due to it being Opening Day. At that time in my life the only "Opening Day" I knew of occurred at Wrigley Field and it most certainly did not happen in November.

I quickly came to the realization that "Opening Day" in the UP refers to the day of the year when an alarmingly large percentage of the male population (and a much more reasonable percentage of the female population) within a 5oo mile radius flock to the woods to slay Bambi and his entire extended family.

Basically hunting season begins on November 15th as the sunrises and goes on for two weeks, until the deer population of the Upper Peninsula is once again under control. At first I was horrified at this idea, but after I nearly died about 306 times due to a deer darting across the highway, I became more comfortable with the idea. I would also like to add that the deer meat is processed and frozen, and many families use that to get them through the winter. That being said, there is soooo much to laugh about when it comes to deer season.

Did you know that people actually pour a significant amount of time, money, and energy into feeding the deer before hunting season even starts? We're talking truckloads of feed taken out into the woods to fatten up little Bambi until he grows big and strong. For a few weeks there I felt as though the deer were getting better fed than I was.

And deer blinds? Have you seen these? Little plywood shanties strategically placed out in the woods for hunters to freeze their asses off in until a deer walks by. Does no one else find this hilarious? Basically they are sitting in a glorified cardboard box for hours on end, with no insulation in November (which in the UP is more like January for the rest of the world), with nothing but a rifle, and perhaps a space heater. Oh, and I just need to share this one with you...
Redneck Deer Blind

Of course, hunters won't just shoot any deer. It has to have spiffy antlers because you are not a man unless you have a full set of antlers mounted on your wall. Again? Hilarious. For two months I had to sit and listen to one of the guys at work tell me about how he missed an eight point buck last year. The poor guy has not gotten a buck in like twelve years because he's been holding out for one that is at least eight points. If you're not familiar with the points system (because I most certainly wasn't) it is based on how many little offshoots come off of the main antler. This year he hooked a deer surveillance camera (A SURVEILLANCE CAMERA!) to his blind weeks before hunting season started so he could monitor the deer that were coming to eat the bate he was putting out. He actually brought in some snap shots of prospective deer that had been hanging around his blind. Now try imagining me attempting to keep a straight face when he pointed to the snapshot and explained for the 511th time that the one he missed last year was twice that size. He took a week off of work for hunting season this year, and came back empty handed. I guess I get to hear some more about the one he missed last year. Dang.

This post is getting long and I haven't even gotten to my deer hunting experience. How did I find myself sitting in a deer blind at 7:15am on a Saturday morning? I'm a yes girl, that's how.
Tanya: Bridget would you like to come hunting with me?
Me: Eww. No. Maybe.
Tanya: When I shoot one, I'll need help loading it onto the truck. My husband has to work.
Me: Sick! Definitely not. Bloody deer...GROSS! Oh. That's a possibility.
Tanya: I figure you can show up around 7am and we'll head out to the blind.
Tanya: Do you have other plans?
Me: Yes! Sleeping! Nope.
Tanya: Good. I'll make hot chocolate. Here's directions to my house. See you tomorrow!
Me: Wha??!! Ok! Yes, that sounds good.

At 7am I found myself wearing bright orange and trouncing around the woods. We came to Tanya's blind, which for the record is the largest deer blind I've ever seen. Why? Because women don't mess around. There was a space heater in there, magazines, nice comfortable chairs, and Tanya brought me some cold pizza and a thermos of hot chocolate. We settled in for some deer spying, and it was quickly made evident that I'm the worst person in the world to take hunting, and I will never be asked to return again.

For one, I cannot stay still. Impossible. I had to shift position every 30 seconds. This wouldn't be a huge deal, except for the fact I was wearing snow pants (because it was FREEZING!). Every time I moved my pants went SWISH!. Every 30 seconds...SWISH!

Then there was the whole issue of hot chocolate. The thermos of hot chocolate SHE gave me required me to push down this inner circle to open it, which made a CLICK! sound. In order to close it, I had to pull up on the outer ring, which went SNAP! So about every two minutes you could hear CLICK! quickly followed by SNAP! I mean I had to close it after I took a sip, I didn't want it to get cold. Finally, after about the tenth CLICK! SNAP! Tanya turned to me and whisper-shouted "Leave it open!"

The cold pizza she brought me for breakfast was wrapped in aluminum foil. Come on now! After I got yelled at about the hot chocolate, I was too scared to open the pizza. So then my stomach started. If you know me, you know that my stomach is not to be taken lightly. It never politely asks to be fed with a little 'grumble grumble please feed.' It is a lot more demanding than that. In the silence of the forest it roared out, 'FOOOD NOOOOOW!' I shifted SWISH! to try to quiet it. My stomach replied, 'FEEEED MEEEEE!' Another shift SWISH! 'I WILL START THE SELF DESTRUCTION OF YOUR BODY IF YOU DO NOT START EATING RIGHT THIS SECOND!' Shift SWISH! At that moment Tayna unwrapped the pizza and handed it to me. 'VICTORY!' my stomach roared out one last time before I took a bite. Stupid stomach.

Sometimes when I get cold my nose starts to run, and I start to sneeze. This is frowned upon when hunting. As is inhaling hot chocolate down one's trachea causing said individual to start hacking furiously. It is also ill advised to kick the space heater while shifting positions...SWISH! BANG!

I wonder why we never saw any deer?