Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So Where Would You Hide A Deer?

So where would you hide a deer? My friend with the deer had a problem, pointedly an out-of-season buck. What he told me was something that I would have never thought of doing.

Actually in the days when I was hunting and hunting was a religious experience, I would sometimes go without taking a shot after searching all weekend for a legal deer. Unlike a lot of other parts of the country, California's terrain of thick woods and hilly country can make finding a deer sort of tricky. So most of us hope that luck will be on our side when hunting season rolls around. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't!

There was one winter back in the early 1990's that I worked up in very unfriendly Monticello Minnesota for a few weeks. I was only there for a little while working at the power plant during an annual planned outage.

Driving to the plant was always interesting because snow was coming down very heavily and none of the native population acted as though they ever drove in snow before. I'd never seen so many people spin out in my life. It was incredible to watch.

Yup, outside of the plant was colder than a polar bear's backside. And yes, inside wasn't much better. Inside the plant, almost no one was at work. I wondered why for a few minutes before a guy walked by where I was working, so I took the opportunity to ask what was up with only having a skeleton crew on duty?

"So tell me pard, where is everyone?" I asked while hoping he was different than everyone else that I had met in Minnesota.

"You must not be from here, right?!" he said completely dashing my hopes that he was different as soon as he opened his mouth.

"Right!" I admitted to him. "I'm not a local. I'm out here from California. So where is everyone?"

"Ah California! It figures! Out here men hunt! Today is the first day of Deer Season! No one works today if they can get it off. I'm out of here later," he answered.

Thinking that he might be nicer if I told him that I hunted also, I was wrong as soon as I asked, "I deer hunt in California, so tell me, how tough is it out her?"

"What's tough about it? The deer are brown and the snow is white! I shot one yesterday outside my bathroom window. I bet you never shoot one just after ...."

Just then the noise of the plant picked up and I really couldn't hear what he asked, so I just shock my head no and went back to what I was working on.

Now friends I can honestly say that up until that point in my life I'd never met anyone who has taken a rifle to the bathroom with them or has ever shot a buck from their bathroom window, either standing or sitting.

Over the years I've been told a lot of hunting stories, some funny and some strange. I remember a friend telling me once how he was still in his sleeping bag when a big old buck walked through his camp. Another friend once told me about a deer he shot on a slope across where he was only to find out that the downed buck was actually on the other side of a river unknown to him. I remember him saying how he had a heck of a time getting it across and what a pain that was.

Then of course there are those people who've told me about shooting and loosing this or that deer after taking their shot.  Most say they'll never know whether they missed it, or whether it was just wounded and the deer disappeared in the thicket.

Knowing the guys who've told me this, I can honestly say that they probably missed.  Poor shots as they were, it wouldn't surprise me.  I know some guys who can't shoot real well unless the buck is big and close, almost standing right in front of them. Other than that, they probably couldn't hit it even if they were using a rifle. And God knows how they'd be with a bow?

So friends over the years very few hunting stories surprise me. And now with times getting tougher with gas prices at almost $4 a gallon again, and of course food and especially meat prices climbing as well, I personally don't have too much of a problem with someone taking a deer out-of-season to feed their family. To feed their family makes it OK in my book.

I'm not advocating poaching or breaking any laws, especially to the extremes that some people do break the law. I'm talking how I can understand how someone can take a deer because of economic hard times out of necessity to feed your family. I believe there is a difference.

You can call me wrong, or whatever else, but I can't help but wonder how many other folks out there understand and maybe agree with what I'm saying here. It is a man's first responsibility in life to provide for his family. So for me, hunters taking a deer out-of-season these days just doesn't surprise me one bit.

Maybe that's why when my friend was talking about shooting this buck, and just how terrified he was that a Game Warden was going to come down on him like a hammer, I understood both the reason he took the deer and how he'd have good reason to be so concerned.

Game Wardens have a lot of authority. If a Warden finds that you weren't within the Law, then a Game Warden can fine you, confiscate your gun, and even jail you.

So when my friend told me that as he was opening his front door that he heard a police siren closer than he'd like and that he panicked, well I understood real well how he could have gotten a little rattled. Then when he said that after hearing the siren that that made him run over to his truck and grab up his deer and he decided to hide his deer in his house somewhere, well I have to admit that that was new!

But friends, when he said that he hid that deer in his shower with the water running and the radio on just in case the Game Warden came knocking on his door, well my friends what can I say that's definitely something you don't hear about everyday.


  1. This was funny and informative, making a life or death decision for your family, too. My husband and I were in your area, I think, this last weekend; in Downieville. Eventually we were on 395 at highway 70, then went north to Redding. I was thinking about how Idaho and Nevada are on the radars of many people wanting to leave the high regulation of California. Well, Idaho is getting crowded with Californians now. So I thought about Nevada, so desert-like, but suddenly attractive because of the freedoms allowed by the Constitution, and not removed by state government. I looked at so much emptiness on the California side, so close to Nevada's emptiness, and thought how attractive the land is because of the freedom and lack of regulation. Maybe that's why the few are there, especially nowadays. Thanks for this post!

  2. I love your story about deer hunting, Tom. I've got a funny for ya. I call this one, "Randy and Al Hide A Deer". Two lifelong friends, Randy and Al, decided to go deer hunting in North Carolina. Randy and Al make the trip from Georgia all the way up to North Carolina where they decide to rent a cabin. Randy says to Al one day, "Hey Al, let's go hunt some deer." So they hop into Randy's 1978 Dodge pickup and they drive down this dirt road. Mind you, the cooler is full of their favorite beer, Coors Light. The radio station that they're listening to is Sirius XM Outlaw Country. Every once in a while, they stop in order to pee and call their wives. Then, they spot a deer that could easily pass for Bambi. Randy takes careful aim with his sawed-off shotgun and "BANG!" drops poor Bambi dead. One bullet above the right eye was all it took. Al says, "Hey Randy, what do you think we oughta do with him?" Randy says, "I think we better take him back to the cabin and hide him." So Randy and Al take poor old Bambi, now bleeding and dead, back to the cabin. They hide him for three or four days until they decide to carve him into juicy steak. After enjoying their venison, Randy and Al decide to go hunting again. This time they see a whitetail buck. Randy takes careful with the shotgun once again and "BANG!" brings him down like he did the other one. And just like with the other one, Randy and Al decide to hide the deer for a couple of days but unlike the other one, they don't eat him. They do however place the raw meat into a Ziploc bag and mount the head on the wall while the hide is placed in the back of the truck. They then decide to go hunting the following morning and they catch two whitetail bucks. Randy gets one with his shotgun while Al gets the other with a flintlock pistol. They then decide to go back to the cabin with the deer and hide it. This time they don't do anything with it. They don't skin it, they don't mount the head on the wall, nothing. Randy says, "Hey Al, let's go catch us some more tomorrow". Al says, "Alright, Randy, but this time, let's get three of 'em". So the next day, Randy and Al go hunting and that's when they spot five huge bucks. Randy takes careful aim and "BANG!" drops one dead. He takes careful aim again and "BANG!" drops the second one dead. Then he aims again and "BANG!" drops a third one dead. At this point, Randy is in sniper mode. Then Al tries to bag one so he aims his shotgun at a young buck, pulls the trigger, and "BANG!" But by the time he fires, the young buck takes off and is already gone. Al becomes agitated and throws his shotgun on the ground. He then jumps up and down on the gun, smashing it to pieces. "Darn that deer!" Al says. "Now I can't get 'em!" Randy says, "Why not?" And Al says, "My gun is broke!" Randy says, "Try my gun!" Al says, "Alright, Randy." So Al borrows Randy's shotgun and takes careful aim at a baby deer. He pulls the trigger and "BANG!" But by the time he fires, the little baby deer hops away. Al says, "I'm gonna reload and try again". Randy says, "About that, Al. You can't." Al says, "Why not?" And Randy says, "Because I left the rest of the ammo on top of the TV back in the cabin!" Haha.


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