by Kevin Tate | V.P. of Media Productions
Art may imitate life or life may imitate art, but hunts definitely imitate the life and art of those doing the hunting.
“Y’all are making entirely too big a deal out of this,” my wife told me as she reluctantly put on some of the gear I handed her to wear. “It’s not even cold.”
She’d hunted deer in the past and had shot quite a few, years before I had in fact, so my offerings of knowledge were not necessarily welcomed with open arms. She’d not deer hunted in some time, however, when she announced an intention to go this past Thanksgiving.
Her dad and I insisted the temperature would be much more noticeable after she’d sat motionless for a couple hours and watched the sun begin to set.
“It’s a lot colder when you have to be perfectly still, and about the time you get thoroughly uncomfortable will be just when you need to be most still,” I said, tucking heated insoles into her boots. “These remote-controlled foot warmers will be handy to have when it gets chilly. You may be hot in that coat right now but, once you’ve been still for a while, you’ll get cool and won’t be able to move around and warm up.”
She refused the pair of insulated overalls I begged her to wear, and made pure mockery of my warm hat. After insulated overalls, my warm hat is my most treasured cold weather possession.
Several years ago, some friends began hosting an annual neighborhood party in the theme of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I accepted the challenge to dress up as Cousin Eddie and acquired an ear flap hat to complete the look. It’s actually called a trooper, trapper or mad bomber hat, by the way, if you’re seeking one of your own.
As it turns out, the hat is perfect for snowy or icy weather, maybe the only insulated gear you’d need for such in Mississippi, and I put it on any time there’s a prospect of uncomfortable cold in my forecast. I offered her the use of this and was soundly ridiculed for my trouble.
Her personality tends toward complete competence and efficiency, and her hunting is expected to follow suit. I said we’d soon be cold, uncomfortable and at pains to sit still. She insisted we wouldn’t be out there long enough for any of that to take effect, that we’d go, she’d shoot a deer and we’d come back before any of that happened.
She was right.
She did finally put on a warm hunting coat and a toboggan. I dressed for extended polar exploration – coat, insulated overalls, rubber boots with thick socks and insulated gloves. I wore my Cousin Eddie hat too, so I’d have it to give her when she got cold as I’d projected.
Twenty minutes after I put all this on, she and I were seated in an elevated box stand. It was much warmer there than I’d anticipated. As we got settled, a bead of sweat ran down through my right eyebrow and I quietly pulled off my hat, hoping to avoid notice. While I wiped my face she practiced moving the rifle onto the shooting bag in the stand’s window, checked the feel of the stock and made sure she had a clear sweep of the area, then secured the rifle inside and took iPhone photos of the two of us in the stand, of our setup and of the scene.
Twenty minutes after that, a nice buck walked out and she promptly shot it, anchoring it to the spot. We’d been hunting roughly 30 minutes and sunset was whole hours away. I was still hyperventilating from buck fever when she handed me the rifle to bear from that point onward.
“I think y’all like to imagine more drama in this than is necessary,” she said, referring to me, her dad, the guys she works with and every male, North American deer hunter from the dawn of pre-history to date. “Now let’s go get my deer.”
What could I say? It’s hard to argue with success.