Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Second Annual Gregory Men Weekend

If you belong to the "I believe Bambi was a real live animal and not a cartoon" set, you probably want to stop reading this particular blog at this point and go back to daydreaming about a world in which food magically appears on your plate, it's safe to swim with great whites, and grizzly bears let you pet them in the wild. If however, you understand that the natural order of the planet is that man occupies (if somewhat tenuously) an elevated position in the food chain (by virtue of larger brain-size and the ability to make and use tools), then you are probably safe to continue your waste of time reading this inane accumulation of electronic representations of the caffeine-induced thoughts emmanating from the wrinkled recesses of my grey matter. But, all of you squeamish girly-men (and women) out there have been appropriately warned.

This past weekend occasioned the Second Annual Gregory Men Weekend--an event steeped in the rich tradition of men freed from the bondage of shaving and conversing with women, released from the strictures prohibiting freestyle scratching, and given over to the pursuit of game animals occupying lesser positions on the food chain. My boys and I hunted deer every waking daylight minute of a 3-day weekend--interrupted only by the annual and inevitable ritual of watching the Rebels lose to Bama.

On Friday morning I was perched high in the leafy boughs of a poison sumac-enshrouded (another post will be devoted entirely to rash relief) tree overlooking a small field planted with a mixture of grass and clover guaranteed by its vendor to "attract deer by the droves." After two hours of slowly stiffening into a close approximation (complete with camoflague resembling its leaves and branches) of a large knot on the side of said tree, the one and only deer I was to see for the entire weekend walked onto the field, ambled over to a position front and center of my stand, and provided me the opportunity to draw my bow and miss, again. This, too, has become a well-respected tradition of the Annual Gregory Men Weekend.

Friday evening #2 son was perched in the same tree, and, in his words, was "covered up in deer," one of which he shot at and missed (he claims he was trying to make me feel better about my miss). I was sitting elsewhere, covered up in sumac, and no deer.

Saturday evening #1 son was perched in the same tree, and his aim with a bow was appreciably better than mine and #2's. He found us and breathlessly told us of the buck he had hit and in what direction it had gone. We followed a rapidly diminishing blood trail in the dark for a couple of hours, then lost the trail, and resolved to resume the search at first light the next morning.

The next day we picked up the trail again and followed it to the point at which we had lost it the night before. We puzzled over the tiny blood droplet clues that seemed to indicate that the buck had traveled in one direction, but following that azimuth led to nothing. We back-tracked and found a track that indicated the deer had planted and cut left like a reciever on an out pattern and followed in that direction for nearly twenty yards before we thankfully found the next drop of blood.

During this evolution, I lamented my poor eyesight and color-vision deficiency, but marveled at the ability of my sons to see the tiniest speck of blood and press on to the next. We followed the deer's trail for several hundred yards and then found him where he had expired on a wooded hillside. Much hooting, hollering, fist-pumping, high-fiving, knuckle-bumping and mono-syllabic grunting ensued.

#1 now has his "wall-hanger" and I couldn't be prouder.
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