November 19, 2007
Meditations on the Whitetail Deer
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
What follows was meditated in a tower blind in northern Maine this past week. It was interspersed by reflections on Ms. Beau Garrett, a particularly wonderful-looking young actress who appears in a dopey movie called Turistas.
I saw on the Discovery Channel a few weeks ago that tele-transportation, as practiced by the Starship Enterprise, is not possible. Well, it may not be for humans, but whitetails do it all the time. You can stare at a spot where there are no deer, and in less time than it takes to blink your eyes a deer will materialize. Obviously, their molecules are disassembled, projected elsewhere, and reassembled by some force that is denied to us.
Like the Shadow, the old radio thriller character, whitetails have the power to cloud men's minds. One of the hunters in camp, a 70-year-old who has taken a great many big deer and is a fine shot, was out with a Remington pump gun when a mildly retarded but very big buck strolled into sight not 40 yards away. Since this gentleman was in a truck and his rifle had to be kept unloaded, he unassed the truck, shoved a round into the chamber, and slowly, softly, so as not to spook the deer, ran the fore-end forward.
Now if you know from Remington pumps, you're aware that they are to be racked back and forth with great violence or else they don't work, and that's what happened. He pulled the trigger and…nothing. And then, despite the fact that he knew it was the wrong way to work the rifle, he did the same thing twice more. Finally, he slammed the action shut--and missed. The next day, using his old familiar .270 Model 700, he took a much more difficult shot at a nice buck and killed it deader than world peace.
There are animals that are bigger than the whitetail, more exotic, more impressive on the wall, and better to eat, but for some reason whitetails are able to make grown men addled, and I think this is why we love to hunt them so much.