Tis That Season Again

John Ramsey Miller

Tomorrow (that would be 2 days ago in Blog time) around three AM I am going to drive 11 hours into the much deeper South for a weekend with my old hunting buddies. Opening Day in Mississippi. I’ve worked my enjoyment of hunting into several of my books because it is a part of my life that is just plain getting back to my basic nature. I now the Bambi lovers (I actually am one) are cringing, but only those who have never done it before. I’m not going to say deer are happier dead, but I am happier when I have a freezer full of venison. It’s the other red meat.

A few days before I go, I start getting things together. Yesterday I rewired my trailer with new wires and lights. During the year I use the trailer around the place and beat off the lights. On the trailer I have my four-wheeler for tough terrain, and to keep from walking. Also I put the deer I harvest (kinder image than knock down) on the back. On the trailer I also have a five-foot tall galvanized, three-dimensional steel rooster which I will drop off in Nashville. Long boring yard-art story.

The best part of the annual hunt is that I get to spend quality time with my old friends. There is wine and scotch involved. We tell stories around the fire, and then go inside.

I don’t many authors who hunt, but the time I spend sitting alone in the deep woods is something I can’t imagine living without. It charges my batteries. I have talked with both my editor and agent while I was watching deer graze. I do write in my head as I sit in my stand.

Shooting is no challenge. I’m a good shot and I go for a clean shot or I don’t shoot. I eat what I shoot and that is why I only hunt deer.

Anti-hunters have all sorts of reasons why I should let the slaughterhouses handle this end of the food chain. I won’t get into why that is worse than taking an animal that is in its environment when it goes and not in a line of panicked beef that… Remind me to tell you the story about visiting a commercial slaughterhouse when I was a cub scout.

So, what I’m saying here is I find my trips invigorating, stimulating, and when you read this I’ll be in one of my stands watching and listening and living my life. No apologies offered.

8 thoughts on “Tis That Season Again

  1. As a vegetarian, I can’t applaud the hunt. As a comerade who lives and open, honest and fulfilling life, I say, You go, boy. Live the Life You Love!

    Hope your time away brings everything that you need, John!

  2. I love this post, John.
    My husband I have hunted deer since I can remember, and I do that too – weave the woods and the hunt and that communal time with other hunters around the campfire and the scotch into my writing.
    It’s hard to explain to other women why I like all that, so most often, I’m with you – no apologies offered. We’re responsible hunters, keep to the game laws, and peacefully enjoy that part of our lives.
    My favorite rifle is my Winchester .30-.30 lever action, and the sights on that thing are dead-on. Knowing that rifle like I do yields credibility and lots of creativity to my characters who find themselves with guns in their hands.
    Enjoy your hunt.

  3. ahhhh, yes. deer hunters. kept my northern michigan emergency room going for the lull between summer tourists and skiers/snowmobilers. tho’ the snowmobilers top hunters 10 to 1. we could double that if we could get the snowmobilers up in tree stands!!

  4. Kathy,
    There’s nothing that compares to sliding twenty feet down a Georgia pinetree backwards in the dark. Makes respecting that safety strap really important.

  5. Hope you had a good hunt John. Likewise, I hunt too. Moose, ptarmigan, rabbits, and a whole lot of salmon in the summer. Oh yeah, the salmon’s fishing. But the point is only what I eat. I don’t hunt bear, cuz I don’t like the meat.

    Kathy D. – I wonder if its the population density difference, but when I was an EMT I don’t recall any hunters we picked up. Snow machiners (what we call snow mobilers) on the other hand were a regular line of business. Could never figure out why they thought they could do 90 mph in the dark on a frozen river and expect there to be no ice heaves to through them in the air.

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