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George Little: No shows about “real life” hunters

December 06, 2013 at 04:32 AM

The State Journal-Register

These days, if space aliens are receiving our television transmissions, their impression of the American hunter would be quite different from the ones I know.

Aliens would be watching:

Outdoor show hunter/personalities working hard to be “one of the guys.”

Men and women who speak in whispers and always say the right thing at the right time.

People with a keen eye for product placement. After all, sponsors keep the shows on the air.

People who camouflage their eyebrows and do end zone dances when they “discover” a buck they already know is down.

Yes, I understand that hunting programs are part of the multi-million dollar deer hunting industry. They are entertaining, sometimes informative, and very popular. And, they often highlight equipment and techniques that have some value for hunting enthusiasts.

The real life hunters that I know, like those who gather at the Ruttin’ Buck Lodge and Resort each deer season, don’t watch much hunting TV. All of them have learned from experience. They do their homework, practice their shooting, and do their scouting on foot and with trail cameras.

They know the lay of the land. They know that every hunt doesn’t end in a fist bump. Sometimes you get cold and wet. Sometimes you spend all day in a tree stand with squirrels shelling hickory nuts over your head, watching deer move through the next farm – the one marked with “posted” signs.

No camera crew has them in focus — which might be a blessing the night before opening day at the cabin.

Their equipment has several seasons attached to it, and if it doesn’t break, it will be used next year, and probably the year after that. Their boots are scuffed. Orange hats are sweat stained. Coats have a tear or two. In a pinch, both gloves might not match. I’d bet after night three in the cabin, the same could be said for socks.

During the November shotgun season, the number of deer harvested statewide was dramatically down from a year ago. At the Ruttin’ Buck Lodge and Resort, it didn’t really matter that deer were scarce, or that the north wind was gusting to 25 miles per hour and early morning temperatures bottomed out at Tony Romo’s uniform number. Everybody there understands that harvesting a deer is only one part of the hunting experience. That’s why after 20-some years, the original eight guys who built the first cabin are all still in the group and hunting together at the Ruttin’ Buck Lodge and Resort.

Whether a big deer is hoisted on the game pole, or toasted as one that jumped the fence, the temperature in the cabin never changes. Those few November and December evenings that I get to spend there, are more important to me than any deer over the fireplace.

It might be a good thing if the aliens aren’t watching. If they did, they’d want to beam down to get a firsthand look at what real hunting is all about.

Contact George Little at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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