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Jessie Veeder, Published November 10 2012

Coming Home: Embrace deer-hunting season

Ladies, did you wake up before the sun on Friday to find a strange man who looks a little like your husband, only with a beard and camouflage pants standing in your kitchen?

Do you suddenly have Busch Light chilling in your refrigerator, muddy boots in your entryway, a stack of poker chips on your table and an unreasonable amount of blaze orange laundry to sort through?

Yup, it’s deer hunting season, girlfriend. Welcome to it.

And for those of you who aren’t right there in the thick of it, sporting your own blaze-orange vests on your quest for the trophy, I’d like to take this opportunity to offer a bit of advice to the women who wish to abolish the phrase “Hunting Widow” from their vocabulary all together and, well, go along.

So to help them prepare I have compiled some hard-learned lessons from my years of experience trudging silently behind two of the most serious and accomplished sportsmen in western North Dakota – my father and my husband.

It’s under their guidance and consultation that I present to you the 10 Commandments for the Hunting Widow”

  1. Thou shalt not wear swishy pants. (If you don’t abide by any other commandment, for the love of jerky, abide by this.)

  2. Thou shalt not call any animal “cute” or “adorable.” You are now the predator. You heard me. Pre. Da. Tor.

  3. Thou shalt not complain about having to pee but will squat behind a proper bush and be quiet about it. And while you’re at it, thou shalt wear enough warm clothes so you’re not cold, eat enough food so you’re not hungry and do everything in your power to remain comfortable enough so you have nothing to complain about, because really, thou shalt not complain.

  4. Thou shalt not be the first to comment on husband/boyfriends’ shortcomings with any weapon. You will instead provide only positive reinforcement. My favorite is a whispered, almost silent “Woo Hoo” and high five when he makes the shot. If you need a visual on this just turn on the Outdoors Channel and wait about three seconds. You’ll see it.

  5. Thou shalt not whine about how blaze orange and camouflage are not your colors and wear the seven-sizes-too-big clothing like Pamela Anderson would. Because if a sexy woman like you can’t pull off this color combo, no one can.

  6. Thou shalt kick it in gear, power-walk style and show husband/boyfriend what it means to really get somewhere while increasing your heart rate, burning calories and spending quality time with your man. Because women invented multi-tasking for crying out loud.

  7. Thou shalt understand that while on the hunt you may be required to sit or walk for several hours at a time in complete silence. Sweet lover of the outdoorsman, this is not a time for discussion about what color to paint the kitchen, where to send your unborn child to preschool or how much your dearly beloved spent on that gun slung across his back.

  8. Thou shalt bring your own snacks and pay careful attention that the wrappers do not make crinkling noises. If you need to bring a granola bar I suggest you un-wrap the thing. Because when man is on the trail of the big one, all he wants to eat is the big one. He’s not thinking about, nor does he appreciate that Snickers bar or bag of potato chips you packed for the picnic you are most certainly not having.

    Because you are hunting.

  9. Thou shalt accept that during the hunt there is no house, no kids, no basement renovation and no work on Monday.

    And last but not least my soon-to-be ex-hunting widow:

  10. Thou shalt understand that if you cannot abide by the above nine commandments, thou will never again be invited along. Ever.

    Which may or may not be a bad thing, you know, depending on how it all turns out.

Now take off those swishy pants, grab that camo cap and go get ’em, girl. The view alone is worth it, if you know what I mean.

Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.