Sadly, the 2013 Ohio firearms deer-hunting season is prematurely buried.
For me, anyway.
A viral cold that has shadowed me every step of the way this week finally clunked me on the side of the head hard enough. The hacking on toward this morning when the anti-coughing medication had worn off was enough to wake the dead.
Or at least grab the attention of my two Labrador retrievers, each of which trotted into the bedroom in an obvious effort at satisfying their canine curiosity.
Since the firearms deer-hunting season began last Monday I have felt under the weather. Five times I had to exit the hunting blind on opening day in order to locate the base of a tree from which I could convert into a privy. Only after repeated gulps of pink-colored chewable medication was I able to stave off any further late-day cases of Montezuma's Revenge.
That was just the start, though. From the sinuses to the chest, irritation and the filling of the air passages with phlegm led to some nasty coughing. All day and into the night.
Hot liquids and cold herbal cough drops provided some temporary relief.
However, what I really needed was long-term escape for whatever virus I had picked up while visiting our daughter, son-in-law and five grandchildren a few days before the season started.
Since colds typically last either one week with medical assistance or seven days without, I know from the beginning I was doomed.
I was also acutely aware of the condemnation I would encounter from family and friends for even considering going hunting for what I like to refer to as those 'four-legged riff-raff.” Meaning, of course, white-tail deer.
None (or charitably, few) of the comments would come across as kind.
My wife Bev's tongue clicking inside her cheek with a distinctive “tisk-tisk-tisk” proved the most mild of protests and displeasurement over my insistence to go hunting.
Worse were those expressed opinions from my older brothers whose kindest thoughts were “your crazy” and “you don't have to do this.”
Fact is, oh, yes, I do.
Hunting (and most forms of fishing) for me is more than just a pleasurable outing, the opportunity to be outdoors and commune with nature; blah-blah-blah. That sort of thing.
There exists a compulsion to endure biting cold or searing heat, put up with extensive and costly gear maintenance midway through a season of hard use, setting the alarm clock for oh-dark-thirty, and establishing the fact that the likelihood of bagging a deer, goose or whatever was on the slim side.
And those chances of killing a deer during the state-supplied seven-day firearms hunting season increasingly diminished. Strange set of back-to-back contrasting words there: “increasingly” and “diminished.”
Yet this firearms deer-hunting season marked the second consecutive one in which I not only failed to shoot a deer I flunked out even seeing an animal.
Let me repeat that statement so it can sink in - and most of all for my own enlightenment – the last time I saw a white-tail during an Ohio firearms deer-hunting season was in 2011. Not 2013. Not 2012. But 2011.
Ouch, that hurts to admit.
However, I will be bold, quick and honest enough to add that I have taken at least one deer in each of the past two years.
Thank heavens for Ohio's liberal archery deer-hunting season. And praise be the invention of today's easy-to-operate and right-on-target crossbows. Together they've helped to keep the freezer supplied with venison.
Still, I remain displeased with the firearms deer-hunting season. Or better stated, with my lack of success during the past two seasons.
So I will mull over the possible whys and wherefores, study my daily hunting log that I meticulously maintain and think about potential adjustments for next month's statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season.
Even so, I honestly cannot say why I am so inclined to force myself to go hunting when the joints are rusted by arthritis, the gut is struck by some virus that has decided to blitzkrieg its way into my colon or a cold germ determined to take up week-long residence in my sinuses and lungs.
All I know is that I must.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn