Happy New Year! I wish everyone the best for the coming year!
To start off the new year I’d like to tell you a story about a young man that didn’t always follow the letter of the law. This young man loved to hunt deer and after the regular season closed, he and some friends would travel to eastern Virginia where seasons were longer, deer were plentiful, and there were extended doe days. Deer could be hunted with dogs, which kept them moving all day. In most counties shotguns with buckshot were required.
Much of the land available for hunting was planted in pine trees in various stages of growth and was owned by private corporations, but you could easily purchase a permit through the mail. The area the friends chose to hunt consisted of mostly clearcuts but was located beside a wooded state forest. However, you could only harvest bucks on the state forest.
As this story continues, the group of friends got up very early, drove several hours, and parked in a clearcut beside the state forest. Having grown up in the mountains the young man much preferred hunting in the wooded forest. Of course, it would be tempting to “mistakenly” down a doe in the state forest and drag it onto the private land where it could be “legally” tagged.
I’m sure you will be amazed to find that is exactly what happened. The young man walked a way into the woods and found a comfortable place to wait and watch. Dogs could be heard in the distance, and it wasn’t long before there was the sound of movement in the leaves and a deer appeared in an opening. The shotgun boomed and the doe went down.
After field dressing the doe, the young man began to drag the deer back to the clearcut. Just before getting to an open access road within sight of the truck, he stopped and covered the doe with leaves. He would come back to get it later when he was sure it was safe.
This is where our story gets interesting. As the young man stepped into the open road and looked toward the clearcut a short distance away, he was very surprised to see a man in a green uniform standing there looking directly at him. A game warden!!
As nonchalantly as possible the young man stepped across the road and into the woods on the other side, praying the game warden would not follow. Apparently, prayers don’t work when you are breaking the law, because through the trees the young man could see the game warden was headed his way.
Needless to say, the young man was getting more than a little nervous at this point. He continued walking a short way off the road and knelt beside a tree, hoping the officer would change his mind and go away. But alas, it was not to be!
It is pretty much impossible to field dress a deer without getting blood on you. And as the young man knelt beside the tree, he noticed fresh blood on his pants leg, boots, and hands. What to do!? With the game warden closing fast he grabbed a handful of leaves and dirt and rubbed them over the stains hoping they would not be noticeable. A pair of gloves covered the hands.
Just as the game warden arrived, the young man looked down and noticed the biggest, brightest, drop of red blood on the toe of his boot. He quickly switched legs as he knelt, dug the toe of his boot in the leaves, and hoped for the best.
The game warden turned out to be very friendly. He checked the young man’s license and chatted for a while. The young man was beginning to breath an inward sigh of relief when unexpectedly a deer came running through the undergrowth and stopped not 10 yards away.
Now the last thing the young man wanted to do was shoot another deer in front of a game warden. But if it was a
buck and he didn’t shoot, wouldn’t it make the game warden suspicious!? He was relieved when the game warden loudly whispered…“it’s a doe”! I’m pretty sure the game warden didn’t want the young man to shoot an illegal doe in front of him, any more than the young man intended to.
Later, after the game warden had gone and with a lookout posted, the young man dragged the doe he had shot earlier in the day to the truck and the group headed home.
I have it under good authority that the young man followed the straight and narrow from that day forward.