Fall’s here and many a (young and not so young) man’s fancy now turns to grabbing that gun he “clings to” while snarling bitterly against “people unlike himself” and hitting the woods. Fall also brings reports of an epidemic of deer-car collisions. Few of these issue from Louisiana, or Dixie in general, precisely where people are most prone to “cling to guns.”
An incident a few years back helps explains why so few deer "infestations" bedevil us in Dixie. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife put a plastic deer with luminous eyes beside a well-traveled bayou highway, planning to stake the place out that night and maybe nab some night-hunting poachers.
When they came back a little later for the actual stakeout, that deer was already ... remember Bonnie and Clyde at the end of the movie? Remember Sonny Corleone when they trapped him in that toll booth?
Well, they got off easy compared to this deer. Plastic deer confetti is what the agents found. The thing had been blasted to smithereens by every caliber bullet and conceivable projectile. We take our cuisine seriously down here.
So the game agents came back with another plastic deer, put it out and stayed this time. The agents reported, about half the vehicles – everything from pickups to limousines – stopped and had a go at the deer with armaments ranging from standard rifles to shotguns to pistols to crossbows. One guy charged it with a pocketknife, cheered on by his wife. Another guy was observed belly-crawling toward the deer clenching a tire iron! The game agents said they almost needed respirators on this fascinating assignment. Their midriffs ached for days.
Even the “Mamma Grizzlies” (and their daughters) get into hunting down here. Indeed, females make better deer hunters than males. Trust me here. I’ve witnessed it time and again. They’re more patient than males, pay more attention to detail and – seriously, according to medical studies – spot contrast and movement better than men.
I decided to cash in on this. My chum Artie Boudreaux made me a custom deer stand that accommodates both me and my daughter Monica. We were in it the dawn after Halloween last year with the horizon already pink. Daylight seeped slowly into the creek bottom and the squirrels and birds came alive. It was nice – cool but not cold. No bugs.
Monica was still, alert and vigilant. Wish I could claim the same. By 8:00 I was drowsing. "Wake me if you see something, honey.”... Then I dozed off ... and dreamed...
Humberto Fontova holds an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and is the author of four books including his latest, The Longest Romance; The Mainstream Media and Fidel Castro. For more information and for video clips of his Television and college speaking appearances please visit www.hfontova.com.