From headless deer to mountain lions
by Bob Fala
The gargantuan opening of the annual gun buck season is upon us (Nov. 19). It’s the largest single sporting event of the Mountain State calendar. And what a traditionally rich one it is at that. Though whittled away by both new and old hunting implements from stick, compound and crossbows to in-line and scope mounted muzzleloaders; it’s the rifle or “gun” season that still rules the roost in the all-time annals of West Virginia deer hunting. That being said, it’s also high time to let the tales begin!
And we did say tales not tails, as in the flagging white ones on the south side of the north bound quarry and namesake white-tailed deer that most hunters are quite familiar with, particularly me. We’re talking about the story type tales that go hand-in-glove with such long standing events. Some may be true, some false, some garnished and others so strange they might actually be false as well. What better time to delve into them however than the joyous week of deer hunting and Thanksgiving, one and the same in these parts.
And it’s especially joyous this year with the debates and elections thankfully over and the fiscal cliff far enough down the road that it doesn’t even merit mentioning at camp. The Banner then as merely a matter of public service is providing a sample tale or two that might be plied on the young, the middle aged, the old, the new, gullible or any other camp member worthy of such abuse at this time of year.
In other words, any hunter that takes up arms in the quest of deer shall not be safe from the wrath of another hunter’s distribution of practical jokes, tall tales or other such deer season shenanigans. This is the part where you might politely interject, “Have you ever heard the one about the headless deer?” Better yet, follow up quickly before anyone answers with this one. “If one encounters a headless deer, is it legal game.”
With deer seasons specifically for antlered or antlerless animals, how does one go about handling the ones without their head? After all, haven’t you seen the headless versions as road kill along the highways and byways out there? You don’t have to mention the fact that these deer had their heads prior to being struck by a vehicle. With a test for living deer unavailable, WVDNR staff removes the heads in the post-mortem for brain tissue samples to be tested for chronic wasting disease.
Or better yet, to garnish the headless situation with yet another follow up comment, you might point out that some of these deer had met the guillotine, a French-style head lopping for their unruly behavior, surviving just long enough to be mercifully finished off by a moving vehicle. If none of this meets the truth test, I swear, you might consider moving on to the subject of mountain lions.
With recent confirmations of mountain lions by the various DNR’s of Michigan, New England and now Illinois just a couple weeks back, who’s to say they’re not here. And who’s to say you didn’t see what you thought you saw and all that. It’s that time of year for seeing stuff, to tell those tales, some old, some new just to see what kind of a post-election response you might get. After all you’ve been out there hunting haven’t you?
Yep, it sounds like deer season 2013 is upon us. Let the story telling roll and have a good one! PS Bob Fala’s new book Ramblin’ Outdoors features historic outdoor accounts and photos from the Banner files and elsewhere. It is available at the Banner Office or on-line at Woodland Press.
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