Two weeks of intense gun deer hunting in Wisconsin, it’s wear orange, hide in the house or go to town for non-hunters. Advertised as very safe because of hunter safety programs and it’s true that the number of hunters being shot by themselves or other hunters has declined, and the number of people falling out of tree stands has also been reduced – yeah, cis boom bah – who knew that harnessing in worked so well?
Thousands of hunters come out to tramp and perch in the woods and fields. Most of them don’t come out much any other time. Those of us who live in the rural areas either join em or take cover, just like the deer.
Even if we didn’t read or listen to the radio, it would be easy to tell that gun deer season was coming by the number of rifle shots heard in the last two weeks, its that or war has been declared with Canada and we all know how friendly Canadians are, so really. After work, all those gun sights being zeroed in, so when a deer shows up, bang! on target. It’s just amazing how those deer know when to take to the deep marshes and hide (they must be psychic).
Since we do read – we see there are all sorts of hunting widow events scheduled including Chippendale’s Review at a local bar (hmm haven’t seen them in a while), a hunter’s ball and shopping extravaganzas and since we do listen – we hear deer camp songs “The Second Week of Deer Camp” and “Thirty Point Buck” by the Yoopers playing more often than you’d think necessary, we know it’s time to hunker down or head into the city.
What does a non-hunter do when surrounded by hunters? Well, first I don’t go hiking in the woods – no hiking, no horseback, nothing that might appear deer-like. Sure the hunters are supposed to know what they’re shooting at, but I’d just as soon not be an ‘oops.’ I wear orange and I don’t wear tan or white…you know white-tailed deer (moving white, tan fur). The dogs wear orange vests if we go anywhere out of the yard, like walking down our gravel road. The horses are in the small paddock that is near buildings and not out in their fields. Bad hunters, frustrated hunters sometimes shoot at things they shouldn’t and bullets can go pretty far. My cat is an indoors cat, but if he weren’t, he would be indoors only for deer season. Odd how much cats look like deer.
People in town don’t seem to notice, except as a marketing ploy, or change their clothing, except if they are a hunter. Then its full hunter regalia. However, real hunters want to keep their stuff from smelling so human. So there are lots of orange coats and pants hanging outside on trees or a clothesline right now.
The first weekend is the most dangerous for accidental shootings. Later everybody settles down, oh heart attacks still take their toll – the benefits of one time a year exercise, but a lot of people just quit hunting altogether – ya know, they did their annual duty and hunted the first weekend.
Drinking is a big part of Wisconsin culture, some deer camps tend to take that culture to an extreme. Whoo-whee, booze and guns, thank you very much.
Hunting is a tourist-type economic engine and having more deer is considered good; hence most likely scenario, car hits deer, car needs repair, people injured? yes – clinic visit, insurance, police report, reported in local paper, deer tagged? yes, processed at the meat processors, meat shared with everyone who likes deer meat and if it had a big rack it needs to be mounted or if not the hide needs tanning anyway. Or otherwise hunter baits deer, more food = more deer, concentrated population, CWDspread, lab testing, specialists, advertisement to drive new people into hunting. Or hunters don’t see deer on deer hunt, oh oh, not enough deer; blame wolves, blame DNR, blame lack of baiting, buy their own hunting land, drive up local land prices and there are still just not enough big deer so deer farms offer fenced in hunting experience, but farmers with deer and bears eating lots of their crops need wildlife abatement funding. Or best scenario – hunter comes from out-of-state (higher fees, travel, and hotel/lodging/food/booze/entertainment), of course they know less about our rules or where to hunt or anything about the local culture, but money, money, money.
So hunting is good, range fed wild healthy game meat – corn field food plot fed, it’s tradition!
So yes, I’m hiding out, going to the city and wearing orange – which is not my best color. I hear that some deer are doing hiding out in the city too, not wearing orange yet. See me on the other side of the season, I hope.