Minnesota Writer’s Deep Woods Workshop…

…Fails Big Time!

So there I am, November, 2011, sitting in my hidey hole in the north woods up on a granite ledge overlooking a clearing. The previous year I’d shot a twelve point buck from this spot. So I came back and remodeled the site. I put up a rough frame with overhead cover, added a desk platform and brought in a camp chair.

The weather tending moderate I figured I could get some work done.

So I was hunched over my notepad scribbling away when I caught movement from the corner of my eye. My rifle was propped up on the far side of the blind. And I was so taken with my little condo in the woods that I didn’t use enough brush for camouflage, which in effect had Comp 1 (0.00.00.00)me reaching across a picture window. Mr. Deer, who had much better eyes than I did, just stepped off the trail and by the time I got the rifle on line all I saw in the scope was a flash of hindquarters disappearing into the Superior National Forest. See picture of empty meat pole.

Last season I tossed out the writing desk and the chair and paid more attention. Eight point buck.

Lesson learned: When you write write. When you hunt hunt.

Footnote to the 2012 season. I was hunkered down on the morning of November 6 and my cell phone buzzes because they just put up a tower across the lake. It’s 8 a.m and the Republican National Committee is asking if they can count on my vote? I told them I was in the woods with a loaded rifle hunting white tail deer and I’d already voted the other way. In the next month I would regret the cavalier remarks juxtaposing guns and politics.

While I’m not much of a gun guy, I believe that deep woods venison is better to eat than some poor cow that was fattened on corn and spent its last days on a feedlot knee deep in manure. So I fired the rifle six times in Minnesota during 2012. Four times at the rifle range to check the zero. And twice in the woods. Then I put the thing away –  after removing the bolt and storing separately –  until next year.

Bottom line, the heated arguments about the second amendment scare me off. The left side is usually ignorant about weapons and too many times the right side is waving a bloody flag in your face – a flag with someone else’s blood on it in most cases.

Guns and rhetoric are far too easy to come by right now in our country. Less obvious is the common sense insight that gun ownership, coupled with a political stance and a firearms safety course, does not confer skill in the chancy business of gunplay. Recall the scene in the movie, Glory, when the crack-shot squirrel hunter is braced by an officer and put under real world pressure and falls apart?

Maybe there’s a reason why veterans are portrayed as going careful around replacements – who certainly show up in a combat zone better trained than anybody buying self defense courses on the wide open market. The “FNGs” – the effing new guys – ain’t been out where the targets shoot back yet.