Last Sunday morning, I took Elaine on her first-ever deer hunt, and quite frankly, she was not very impressed with one of my favorite outdoor sports.
As you may recall from a previous column, after years of trying, I finally drew a rifle buck mule deer tag for hard-to-get, Management Area No. 194-196.
That 194-196 area is west of U.S. 395, north of U.S. 50 and south of I-80, all the way to the California stateline.
Included in that general area are the mountains directly above Carson City, where I have deer hunted since I was a young lad (many, many years ago!).
My rifle season actually opened on Saturday, Nov. 5, but due to a number of conflicts, I could not go hunting until last Sunday morning. As it turned out, I should have stayed in bed.
Sunday morning, we got up at "Oh Dark Thirty" (That's hard for a wife who has never gone hunting before).
Elaine did not shower or put on perfume (That's hard for a wife who has never gone hunting before).
We both dressed in multi-layered, warm clothing (That's hard for a wife who has never gone hunting before).
We had a quick cup of coffee.
Then, we took a "To Go" cup of coffee with us, jumped into the little red pickup and drove, way up the old King's Canyon Road for a morning of deer hunting in the mountains high above Carson City.
We found my favorite parking spot at about 6:15 a.m., parked the truck and that was when the morning's "fun" started.
Elaine had a hard time accepting a number of Don Q basic hunting rules.
HERE ARE SOME rules:
Don't slam the darn truck door, you'll spook the wildlife away.
Don't talk so much (That's hard for a wife who has never gone hunting before).
Don't talk out loud, just whisper.
Don't step on anything that will make any noise (That's very difficult for a wife who has never gone hunting before). At times, it sounded as if there was a gang fight or a parade marching behind me.
Always be on the lookout for deer (That's very, very difficult for a wife who is constantly looking down for snakes on the ground, instead of looking for deer).
(Note: In a zillion years of hunting in this mountain area, I have never seen a snake).
Don't ever walk in front of the guy with the loaded gun.
The wife (AKA Elaine) always carries the heavy-loaded backpack with all the goodies (extra bullets, spotting scope, tri-pod, skinning knife, deer bag, rope, extra clothing, food, drinks, etc.) and the "Hunter" (AKA me) only carries the gun.
(Note: That's a new rule I made up that morning and it worked!)
When sitting on a rock, instead of glassing the area for deer, do not look for snakes, all around you. I don't care how many times you look, there aren't any.
When sitting on a rock, instead of glassing the area for deer, do not look through the field glasses at Carson City to see if you can see our house (I need you to locate deer, not our house!).
When taking photos with your digital camera, do not wander off, too far, from the "Hunter." Your sense of direction is absolutely miserable and you could get lost quicker than the blink of an eye.
(Note: Elaine got lost in a grocery store in Hong Kong, China on our honeymoon. It's true!)
Do Not bug:
Most importantly, do not bug the frustrated "Hunter" with unending, very-hard-to-answer questions such as:
"Where are all the deer?"
"Why don't we go some place where the deer are?"
"Why did you pick this particular place to hunt?"
"Why did we have to get up so darn early this morning, if there are no deer here?"
"Why do you carry so many bullets, when you always tell everyone that you only need one shot to get your buck?"
"When are we going home?"
"Do I have to come with you, next time?"
Sigh, would you like to guess who saw the one and only buck of the morning?
Yep, Elaine had wandered off to take another photo of Carson City, when a small buck (2x2 antlers) stood up in the brush about 80 yards in front of her and got his picture taken.
The "Hunter" (AKA me) saw nothing for the day. Nada!
Geez, deer hunting with your wife is fun. I can hardly wait for this weekend, to try again.
n Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what other wildlife I have seen in that area.
If he grins and says, "Don has seen numerous coyotes, bobcats, a mountain lion, lots of blue grouse, wild turkeys, chipmunks, squirrels, etc.," he could have been on one of my many previous hunting trips.
n Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.