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Of Deer and Men...or Thereabouts


By Mark Motz


I've kept this true tale of anti-adventure bottled up inside of me since 1999, and I think it's time to set it loose, with an emphasis on the word "bottle".

My dad was a great archer. He was Ohio State champ in 1967 and 1969. The shelves and closets in our house were crammed with trophies of some sort, some of them tiny little pins, others as big as my mom's potted palm tree. You can guess which one got more attention.

Dad loved bows and arrows and the archer culture so much he would often muse about shooting an apple off of my head, but my mom wouldn't have it. Kill-joy.

Anyway, I set up stand in McCelray's corn field, with permission of course, and will never forget what played out that day.

It was about 2 in the afternoon, and I was getting all hungry and fidgety, ready to throw in the towel, when a doe ambled out of the brush about 50 yards away. I silently notched an arrow and stealthily elevated my bow, sighting the arrow tip on the doe's heart.

Wait...something's not right here...

Our eyes met. The doe wagged it's bushy tail like a Cocker Spaniel, and, nose down, in a gentle, unhurried stride, walked ever so gingerly toward me.

Something told me not to shoot...

The doe walked within 20 yards of me and stopped. I raised my bow and sighted down the shaft once again. A doe in estrus is no pushover. A 90 lb. doe in heat can kill a man with the kick of its razor hooves.

We looked at each other for awhile longer, I dropped the bow again. Al last, the doe's posture became clear.

A lot of houses surrounded the farm where I was hunting, and it was my guess that this doe was a "house deer" that was probably used to getting handouts of bread and crackers from some farmer's wife or daughter, and was looking for a free meal. At ease, I sat down on a fallen Maple log to contemplate this unlikely man-deer moment, the doe and I exchanging glances like strangers in the night. No future in deer hunting for this sorry one-man outfit this day.

After a few minutes, I packed it in. I got up, gave the Whitetail a shoo, and headed back to my car. Looks like frozen cheeseburgers and chicken again this winter. I'm not sure how my dad would have swallowed this tale, but I'm sure he would approved. He was a true sportsman. It's one thing to have a 12 point 200 lb. rutting buck trying to turn you into a martini olive, but not a domesticated doe.

Dad would have given me that easy laugh.

I'm sure mom would have given me that big hug.

Copyright Mark Motz

* * * * *

Mark Motz is an amateur writer/musician based in that Venice of the north coast, Cleveland Ohio.


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