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And if it quacks like a deer

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POSTED: September 28, 2010 11:17 a.m.
Last night I was sitting at an intersection and a fellow pulled up beside me on a motorcycle wearing a Viking’s helmet with huge horns on it. I thought to myself how dangerous it was to dress like that this close to deer season ... wearing horns and riding a motorcycle. My next thought was to let him get way out of range.
Now I realize it was night. But we do have night hunters who will fire from pickup trucks. And I realize he was on a motorcycle, but if a horse can be mistaken for a deer (even with a kid riding it) then I’m thinking a motorcycle falls into a similar venue of mistaken identity. But the most dangerous aspect is that this guy is wearing horns.
Of course cow horns and antlers are two different things. But given the fact that some novice hunters can’t tell the difference between a milk cow and a buck, just the fact that something is growing out of the head puts the bearer of those extremities in harm’s way.
Also, the fact that we were in the city limits could not be perceived as a comfort zone either. Deer cannot read city limits signs. And I’m guessing that some of those guys who erroneously shoot other stuff after mistaking them for deer can’t read those signs either. In fact, they obviously can’t even look at the pictures and paint a few words.
Yep, it’s that time of year when I offer my annual warning to anyone walking in the woods or even if they are in their front yard and their wife calls them “dear!” Not a year goes by that we don’t hear about someone or some thing getting shot because an adrenalin-pumped hunter saw the bushes move or some guy still in costume was walking home from an Elks meeting and snorted like a deer.
Now there are a lot of very responsible deer hunters out there who will identify their prey before they shoot. Those aren’t the ones you have to worry about. So beware of the fellow who has on new camouflage, new boots, has a new rifle and his favorite movie is “Rambo.” This may be his first venture into the woods, not counting theme parks.
Over the years, lovers have been shot because the bushes moved. Cows, horses, dogs, hikers, vehicles and lawn ornaments have been shot. The circumstances have varied widely.
One of the most bizarre mishaps was when an alleged hunter shot a horse with a little girl riding it. Both the horse and the child survived with only minor injuries. Notice that I use the word “alleged” to describe the hunter, not the incident. Because in my book there are “hunters” and there are “shooters.” A hunter knows that deer don’t typically wear saddles. A shooter only knows that a deer and a horse both have four legs.
So let me repeat a few warnings before you go for a walk in the woods or even in your yard if the woods are close.
• You might try singing as you walk, just to help that novice hunter distinguish you from wild game. Perhaps a Merle Haggard song or a show tune would be best. I would not sing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.” A novice hunter might think it’s a conspiracy.
• If your wife is hiking with you, ask her to please not call you “dear.” Wear bright colors, preferably orange. But don’t wave a flag, the hunter might think a deer is surrendering.
• And if you are going to ride a motorcycle wearing a Vikings helmet, make sure to have your headlight on. Even Rudolph’s nose didn’t shine that brightly. You also might want to tailgate a semi. Maybe the crazy shooter will go for the bigger trophy.

Walden is editor/publisher of The Moultrie Observer and can be reached at 985-4545 or dwain.walden@gaflnews.com.
 

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