Time of year to get outside and kill something

By Mike Murphy

Ah, autumn.  This is my favorite time of year when the mountain peaks and canyon walls reverberate with the sound of gunshots exploding from every direction.  Yes, there is nothing like blood speckled car bumpers and limp corpses dangling from pickup beds for the kids to ogle as they pass by on the highway.

I myself bought a Gilley suit—you know, the camouflage costume that looks like it over dosed on Rogaine—thinking that I could take up bear hunting as a retirement hobby.  So you can imagine how disappointed I was when I discovered through research that you don’t actually hunt bears, you lure them with a rotten, smelly, fly-infested animal carcass which, to a bear, is like an Omaha Steaks tenderloin. Then the “hunter” assassinates them.

Still I was going to keep the Gilley suit because with a string of lights and some tinsel I could replace the annual Christmas tree, but every time I wore it around the house the dog peed on my leg.  Besides, after a year of retirement, sitting around letting my hair grow and not bathing, I will look like this anyway.  When I finally sold it, I asked the guy what he was going to do with it.  He slyly replied, “Well shucks, if I told you, then I couldn’t sneak up on you!” which made me a little nervous.

Apparently some animals are more difficult to hunt than others.  Wolves are particularly elusive.  So much so that the success rate is quite low despite camouflaged weapons, camouflaged binoculars, camouflaged coats and hats, even camouflaged jockstraps and brassieres although, normally, both are not worn by the same hunter.

Is this possibly due to the fact that wolves have been educated using the Common Core Standards and, thus, have much more analytical minds than the average hunter?  Perhaps, but it’s more likely the result of wolves not being easy to sneak up on when one is driving a roaring high-powered 4×4 tank-like truck.

It’s somewhat similar to the elk shortage situation that hunters claim is due to so many wolves running around out there.  Isn’t it likely that there are just as many elk as ever, but many of them have purchased those Duck Dynasty Halloween costumes that are so popular this year?  Add to that elk carrying Duck Dynasty water bottles, lunch boxes, and backpacks, and it’s pretty obvious why the elk are so hard to distinguish from the average hunter.

Our country’s obsession with hunting is apparently the only justification for the popularity of the Duck Dynasty reality television show.  Ratings indicate that millions of people are fascinated watching a group of men who look like ZZ Top in camouflage say stupid things.  The show gets its name from the fact that the stars’ parents were Donald and Daisy Duck although I suspect that Daffy slipped in there somewhere.

Actually the family is associated with a company that makes duck calls.  With their custom-made calls, hunters can imitate a flock of different ducks such as a wounded duck (“Quack, call 911!”), a duck insurance agent (“Aflac! Aflac!”), odd ducks (“Tea party quacks!”) even an Oregon Duck (“Quack, hut! Quack, hut!”).

Another factor explaining hunters’ difficulty in finding a deer or elk is that, instead of walking, many hunters seek their prey in the comfort of an ATV which isn’t exactly a stealthy contraption.  Even I, with the keen senses of a slug, can hear one approaching as soon as it crosses the state line.

Of course wearing a bright orange vest doesn’t help matters.  I’m sure the dumbest elk can probably figure out that what he’s looking at is not a large walking pumpkin.

Nevertheless, you should wear orange to avoid being shot while doing your best imitation of an elk.  While camping earlier this fall I heard a guy practicing elk calls and they sounded exactly like a cow giving the mating call.  So real in fact that if I was the hunter I would keep a watch on my backside in case a raging, slobbering bull elk snuck up from behind.

It is also helpful while hunting to cover your scent by splashing on a variety of exotic colognes such as Acqua Di Moose Urine, Armani Doe in Estrus, or, my favorite, Calvin Klein Skunk Odor.  You might even spray some on before crawling in bed that night since it will probably be better than your body odor after a hard day crawling around in the brush.

Final hunting tip: if you see peanut-sized scat it is an elk; if the scat is a bit smaller it is likely a deer.  However, if you should spot a big pile of poop, it was left by either a bear or another hunter being chased by a bear.

Mike Murphy of Pocatello retired after a 35-year teaching and coaching career and hopes to win the lottery so he can afford to buy gas and take a trip in his recently paid off ’94 Dodge van.