Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 10-17-11
Hunting season is upon the land. Which means mighty hunters are upon the land. Manly chests are being thumped. Orange is the de rigueur fashion. Testosterone is permeating the air.
When the phone rang this morning, I answered it.
“Are you up?” asked a voice.
“No,” I replied.
Turned out the owner of the voice was a friend – an individual of the male persuasion. He and another of the same ilk had arrived in my neighborhood hunting the wily antelope. Turned out, the guys were not only in my neighborhood phoning me, they were standing in my corral staring down into a draw in which a batch of antelope were bedded down. Their question:
“Will it panic the horses if we shoot?”
“Probably,” I answered.
Long pause ensued. Then the voice continued, almost choking back tears. “But the antelope are in the draw just past the east snow fence …”
“Well, don’t shoot at the horses!”
“Oh, no, we’re careful.”
“Go for it,” I said and hung up.
Further sleep being out of the question, I arose. Shortly I heard the report of two shots. Leisurely, I did my morning ablutions, got dressed, made a pot of coffee, donned my chore coat and went outside where my faithful four-wheeler sat ready to roll. And where my faithful cowdog, Bailout, leaped about also ready to roll.
With Bailout racing ahead, I drove to the corrals. As I topped a rise, I could see over that-a-way to my left, two figures wearing hunter orange and camouflage outfits. Each man was bending over a critter. They were not petting them.
I continued on to the corral where I tossed out some hay figuring that would keep my equines busy in one location just in case any other mighty hunters lurked about. I remounted the four-wheeler and drove up and around and down into the coulee where two happy fellas had their hands deep in bloody innards. (Blood and testosterone seem to go together).
Bailout, the cowdog, got busy stealing and burying bits of antelope. The guys’ van was parked a longish distance away on the other side of a fence. The challenge was to drag the two critters up out of the draw through the barbed wire and then hoist them into the back of the van.
So, the nice person that I am, I offered the choice of loading the animals onto the back end of my four-wheeler and drive the bodies out of the draw. Subsequently, two dead antelope lay flopped on said four-wheeler. While one man walked to the van to retrieve it, the other rode shotgun with me back to my house.
The mighty hunters used the outside hose to wash out the blood from body cavities (and off themselves), then hoisted the carcasses into the van. Two more than pleased fellers would be hard to find. They’d got their antelope. Their next plan was to return to home base, skin out the critters and “hang” them.
After that, oh, life was good. It was Monday. Monday football on TV. There’s no one quite as supremely happy as a man having got his hands bloodied halfway up his arm in the process of harvesting his winter meat, followed by watching a football game between two rival teams while ingesting good food, adult beverages and recapping the exciting tale of the HUNT!
What do I get out it? I’ve been promised a selection of herb-seasoned and packaged (first wrapped in plastic to seal in freshness, then enclosed in butcher paper and frozen) antelope steaks.
All in all, it’s been an excellent hunting season.
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that work on climate-smart agricultural policies should take place in the next two years so that Congress has experiences from which to learn before writing the 2023 farm bill.