The days between Nov. 1 and Jan. 1 in this part of Texas are hell indeed—and not because of the usual onslaught of tourists who do their holiday shopping in our picturesque city.
No, my friends, it’s deer hunting season.
The third highest form of religion around here behind Jesus and football.
Needless to say, we are not hunters. My husband and I like to think of ourselves more as biologists. We like to preserve life, not shoot it. Yes, I know, the deer in the Texas hill country practically outnumber the humans. They need to be kept in check—the deer, not the humans. (But that is a provocative thought). Although….the maniacal drivers do a pretty good job of controlling the deer population, as evidenced by the roadkill we see every time we drive into town.
We dread hunting season for several reasons, not the least being that our local newspaper publishes photos of smiling hunters of all ages posing with their dead deer. The heads of the animals are held up so all can see their cold, dead eyes. (Didn’t anybody watch “Bambi” when they were a kid?)
But the main reason we hate hunting season is not so much about what the hunters take with them, than what they leave behind.
Trash. Lots of it.
Our country roads’ volume of litter goes up at least 100% when the hunters are here. Cans, beer bottles, empty deer corn bags. (For the uninitiated: before deer season, folks who have deer leases put feed out to lure the deer, who then become used to such a spread and hang around so the hunters riding up in their ATVs can shoot them like ducks in a barrel. Ah, what sportsmen!)
And, just today, I saw a large trash bag lying along the road with the carcass of a field dressed deer spilling out on the ground. What a slob.
So here are some handy hints for the mighty hunters who flock to our area:
1. I know y’all aren’t from around here, but when driving the back roads it’s customary to nod or lift your hand in a slight wave when approaching an oncoming vehicle. A little politeness and neighborliness go a long way. Don’t blast by with a scowl on your face. We can see you’re driving a Hummer, but you don’t have to prove beyond all doubt that you are, in fact, an asshole.
2. On a similar note, slow down! You think it’s exhilarating to drive a one-lane, curving road in that SUV of yours, but there are other cars and sometimes people on that road. Also, get the hell over to the side of the road when another car is coming your way. We’ve nearly been run off the road by hunters who think it belongs to them. It doesn’t—didn’t your mother teach you about sharing?
3. Watch where you’re aiming that rifle. We have had “hunters” who illegally hunted on a small, less than five acre parcel next to us. I don’t care to be shot while doing the dishes in my kitchen. Housework is bad enough without having to worry about stray gunfire.
4. And about that trash of yours. If this is the way you treat Mother Nature, I’d hate to see how you live at home. Would it kill you to save that empty beer can, styrofoam cup or candy wrapper and put it in a trash receptacle later? Monkeys at the zoo are more discerning about where they fling their poo than you are with your detritus.
I can’t wait for January 1st to arrive. No longer will I be subjected to the spectacle of camouflage-covered beer bellies at the supermarket.
Until it’s turkey season.
I’ll be rooting for the turkeys—the feathered ones, that is.