It’s 10:50 A.M., Dec. 7.
The seventh shotgun blast of the morning just emanated from the woods. The deerslayers are about on schedule. It is, after all, the first day of “Shotgun”, that hallowed annual rite when local hunters take to the woods looking to drop that ten-pointer they’ve been watching for a while now.
Alas, it is the first day of “shotgun season ” for deer. Truth be told, few of them survive to ten point maturity. When one does, the ooing and ahing is audible betwixt the deerslayers.
Where does that expression come from anyway? Originally, I haven’t a clue. I first heard it from my high school algebra teacher, Maggie Carpenter. She called the hunters, deerslayers.
This was in the day when the sun rose and set solely for the first day of deer season. Absence on the part of a student hunting deer on the first day was excused.
Meanwhile, Maggie seemed a bit forlorn for the deer. Her term “deerslayers” intoned a perceptibly derisive edge, but, to her credit, she never voiced opinion. She was well aware that she taught in a school nestled in a corn field. A contrary outlook toward deer season was “non grata”.
How about me, you ask. For two very different reasons, I never hunted deer.
First, Dad was never particularly interested, so certainly it wasn’t a tradition that was handed down. We were expected to be in the dairy barn, anyway . Period. Our freezer was well stocked, with beef, not venison.
In later days, (reason #2) as a custom abattoir, we processed deer for the locals to the point of delirium. It got to the point that I didn’t care if I ever skinned another deer, EVER. Why would I would I go to the woods and get another?!
So, for all of my neighbors who wish to hunt deer, have at it. I understand. I’ll have that buck dressed faster than your knife is out of its sheath… if I was so inclined. But, I’m not.
I also understand Mrs. Carpenter’s point of view.
Ah, to sit in a tree, freezing cold, pitch dark, 5AM, snowing . Does it get any better than that ?
I’d rather be in algebra class !