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Sometimes the best hunting tales hardly involve hunting

Deer hunting is here. Now is when the best part of deer season starts. Now is when hunters get their $27 worth, spinning yarns about how they got their deer.

For the hunter, deer hunting is really a 12-month season, minus the time they hunt. There is the six months preceding deer season, when the hunter incurs the obligatory duty of reciting any deer-hunting story he has heard in his life that happened to anyone even remotely connected to him.

Then, in the six months following deer hunting season, there is the required duty to tell this season's hunting tale, only better each time it is repeated. But, like they say, truth is stranger than fiction, and a good hunting story is often even better in truth than it is in exaggeration.

Take for example the picture that ran in a recent paper in the area, showing a fillet knife entangled by its leather thong with complicated knots in a deer's antlers. Now how did that happen? Stranger than fiction.

Probably one of the most expensive deer hunting tales I've heard of came from a local auto body shop a couple of years ago.

The weather that fall was cold, so cold that the two women needed a warm-up. They had one of their husband's four-wheel-drive pickups. Rather than unload the rifle outside, the hunter on the passenger side elected to unload her rifle inside the truck.

Her fingers were cold. She was shivering. She dutifully kept the barrel pointed at the floor, just in case that one in a million thing should happen. It happened. I'll bet that a large caliber rifle going off in a pickup is loud.

It was not only real loud, it was real devastating, from the truck's point of view. The bullet first killed the heater core, which you will note was the only thing these hunter's cold fingers really needed.

On its journey through there, it got the AC evaporator. Then the slug deflected ever so slightly, and it winged the alternator, tearing out a few little bits of pretty necessary wire.

Then it blew a hole through the air conditioning condenser, which had the misfortune of being sandwiched between the radiator and the transmission cooler. They also suffered the same fate.

Finally, just to add insult to injury, the bullet also put out one of the truck's eyes, which shattered and destroyed the grill.

Total cost, not including towing or future spousal harassment or having a story anyone would want to tell for the next six months, ran close to five thousand dollars.

I get to tell this story because I was the guy who restored the air conditioning. What a great deer-hunting story to tell.

And I didn't even have to buy a license.