I fancy myself to be adept at most things country. I’ve hunted, although I am no great slayer of deer, I could feed myself something better than squirrel if need be. I don’t like gutting deer, but I know how to field dress them effectively without cutting the belly. I hunt from a stand now and then and killed my first deer that way. I’m a fair shot for not practicing enough.
Living on a farm, it’s not unusual to find wounded wildlife from time to time. I sometimes carry a gun on the property, but never when it turns out I might need it. I happened to be out unarmed a week before opening day of shotgun season emptying the spreader one evening. That’s when I found Ricky Ricardo. No idea why I called him that, it just popped into my head. Ricky was a little buck and he had obviously gotten hung in the fencing and broken his foreleg up high.
I ran back to the house, full on adrenaline rush, and came back out with my shotgun. I’ve killed a deer with one shot from considerable distances reasonable for my weapon. But there I was that night, creepin through my pasture like Elmer freakin Fudd at dusk lined up on frightened deer that could hardly move but drag himself a few inches. In retrospect, I went too close to him and should have come in from behind. Hindsight. That’s a whole different blog.
I’m going to be honest now, not because I am proud of what followed, but because it’s a story and stories should be told. I didn’t want to miss and I wanted him to die fast. I shot Ricky a total four times. Yes, I reloaded. Laugh, it is ridiculous. My first shot was shaky, he moved, and I hit him in his already broken shoulder. The last three were perfect head shots. Ricky just didn’t die straight off like I wanted him too and I couldn’t stop shooting at him until he did. He twitched, for a while. It would have been less disturbing to go beat him to death with the butt of my gun. The neighbors didn’t speak to me for about two weeks, because all this went down right next to their backyard.
Now I am traumatized and alone with Ricky Ricardo looking like he lost a gun fight with the Russian mob. My dad and a friend of mine have all the good cutting up deer knives and it’s a week before opening day and they were both traveling. I called my friend’s wife and she called a friend who owns a butcher shop. Cue crime scene clean up.
I don’t know why, but my friend and I put Ricky Ricardo in the spreader rather than the bucket of the tractor. The whole affair was a comedy of errors. We struggled to get him in the truck with a homemade landowner tag on his tiny rack and off we go. This should be the end of the story, but remember, there are a bunch of seasoned hunters waiting for us at the butcher shop.
The owner gutted Ricky for me in the shop, something he won’t do for just anyone. The overkill was obvious and he could barely see what he was doing through the tears of laughter. Ricky Ricardo was the only named deer to date to grace the freezer at the shop and he will never be forgotten. All I have to do is walk in and say babalooooo, because I’ll never be forgotten either.
The moral here: A deer on the ground is worth two in the bush but may require therapy.