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On The Trail Of a Dear . . .
The Art Of Stealth
by Maricia Mlynek

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I feel it is necessary to give a little background on my hunting experiences. Andy and I have hunted together before, but not for white tails. All of my hunting experiences have been in the middle of the night, and I have been geared up in my bathrobe and slippers. Countless occasions have put me in the position of spotter for my sniper husband as we battled the world of raccoons and opossums. I was armed with only a spotlight, while Andy ended all of the scavenger problems in the region of his scope.

There were numerous times when I would take walks in the field behind our house and meet up with a groundhog or two. In each acquaintance, I would warn them to stay out of range. In each meeting, I would explain how he would send them to meet their maker, but they still came. They still challenged him. I promise you there are no whistle pigs within a country mile of our home, and I am sure that if the animal kingdom has any form of communication, we are on the dark list and a danger zone.

Since all of my hunting has been virtually in my pajamas, I thought it would be a good idea to research more of the official business of hunting. It is my understanding that West Virginia has always been considered the greatest hunting area in the East. According to the West Virginia Web Hunting site, in our early history, the Five Nations of American Indians shared this region as a group hunting ground. Today, we are still known as the “great hunting grounds” of the surrounding eastern urban areas due to proper wildlife management.

What an exciting place to begin! I spent quite a bit of time reading general rules and regulation for West Virginia hunting. To be honest, there are more rules than I could ever have dreamt. I was always told to simplify my rules to two or three basic regulations that cover a gamut of areas. Two or three rules can be remembered. Twenty-six to 30 is almost impossible. I asked Andy to create his own rules for me. Many wives are saying to themselves that I have just stepped into a dangerous territory; however, he is reasonable, and I will do my best to remember his small list.

His list basically states one rule. Unless told differently, I am to be virtually invisible, unheard and unseen. No problem. I can always learn new things. Thus, I began my lessons to become invisible, which was a challenge, but not impossible. I started with little techniques, like sneaking up on the dog and climbing into bed without ruffling the covers. Are these activities symptoms of “buck fever”? I do feel a little weird. The dog thinks I’ve lost my mind, and it takes me 20 minutes to get in bed.

Sarge is getting used to the stealth of his predator.

I wonder if there is a vaccine or medicine available for this fever. What am I thinking? It will be rather difficult to diagnose me, since I am invisible. Now I know why many hunters become absent during the hunting season. It is not that they are purposefully missing work, ignoring appointments, or neglecting important events, they are simply invisible. That really does explain a great deal.

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