married some 40 years ago. I only went a few times but I gave it up
when I mistakenly took a girlfriend along.
The words “girlfriend” and “hunting” should not be used in the same
sentence unless the girl is what you’re actually hunting. Painfully,
this incident took place some 45 years ago before I met my wife,
Christine. Therefore, I can tell this tale without fear of retribution
because it does not include her.
In South Carolina where I grew up, deer hunting was sort of a rite of
passage. It was as all American as high school football and going to a
beer joint named “Berley’s.” It’s what guys in the little town of
Lexington did with their free time.
I mistakenly took an old girlfriend along on my last deer hunt ever. I
was maybe 19-years old and I thought this was the way to win her
heart. Big mistake!
Guys who hunt do so with gusto. We put on the camouflaged gear from
head to toe. We have our favorite deer stand and rituals that make the
entire process valid.
As we were driving along, my dear sweet date Mary decided that she
would act as our faithful navigator. She went off the deep end when we
came to very first sign that said “Beware Deer Crossing”.
“We’re here!” she proclaimed as if the sign was the entrance to a deer
camp. “Isn’t that where the deer are?” she asked incredulously, as if
to imply that deer can read. “No sweetheart, I have a special place we
go to hunt.”
We proceeded down the road to my favorite stand. The mood of the
moment was downright sexy. There I was with my camouflaged pants,
jacket, hat and my thirty-aught-six Springfield with a laser scope.
Mary, on the other hand, showed up wearing a bright white jogging
outfit with her yellow tennis shoes. I could live with that part of
the outfit. It was her Louis Litton purse that threw me off. Why would
you take a purse along on a deer hunt, even if it was the most
camouflaged thing on her being? She must have thought the deer were
interested in hitting the mall with her.
We crawled up into the stand to begin our morning in darkness. If
you’ve ever hunted, 90 percent of the fun is the mood of the moment,
being in the open air early in the morning. This was the perfect kind
It was dark and there was that special crispness in the air, throwing
of steamy breath. You take deep, abiding breaths and drink up the
moment. This is the life.
Squirrels and other wildlife scamper along. In the distance you can
hear a turkey greeting the day. In short, it’s the perfect time of
day… quiet and peaceful.
From the peace of the deer stand comes this long sigh followed by a
quiet whisper. “When are the deer coming?” she whispered. “I’m not
sure,” I responded sarcastically. “They didn’t RSVP my invitation.”
Five minutes of quite passes and along comes another deep, enduring
moan. “I have to go to the bathroom!” she declared. “What do I do?” I
wanted to tell her to visit a bush below or use her empty coffee cup.
But my prayers were about to be answered because just over the crest
appeared a 10-point buck, standing proud and begging to become the
next ornament on my office wall. I literally had it mounted in my own
Out of the clear blue, she screams out “Ain’t she cute?” I finally
found the heart to tell her that she was actually he. “I wonder if
he’s Bambi’s daddy! You remember Bambi in that movie. He could be
Bambi’s daddy. You can’t shoot him!”
I responded “Why in God’s name do you think I brought this gun?” She
responded, “For protection?”
Now she’s screaming to the top of her voice… “Run Mr. Bambi… Run, Run, Run!”
I almost shot a woman that day. If only I could have made it look like
a gun accident…
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for
this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at