Deer season opened yesterday, and whether you bag Bambi or not, you're sure have a great time at deer camp.
I don't know if you could call it stress management, but it is my decided opinion that a few days in hunting or fishing camp is an excellent way to unwind from the rat race.
No fighting the traffic on Ritchie Highway or the Beltway, no telephones and no frustrations of the work place -- just you and the great outdoors.
I don't know how you could explain this experience to a non-hunter or fisherman, but there's a beer commercial that sums it up: "It don't get any better than this."
The humor of deer camp is not something that you would see on "Saturday Night Live"; it's more subtle.
I think of some of the funny things that have happened to me -- usually I've done them to myself -- that at the time were considered minor disasters.
Like the time my space blanket caught fire as I was watching a big buck sneak down the hill in front of me.
Of course he spooked when I beat out the flames, and of course he was the biggest buck I ever saw.
How did my blanket catch on fire? Well, that's a story for another column; however, it's nothing compared to what happened to a hunter in West Virginia a few years back.
After a number of requests, I present the story again for your enjoyment.
1 a.m. -- Alarm goes off
1:45 a.m. -- Hunting partner arrives to drag me out of bed
2 a.m. -- Throw everything possible into pickup truck
2:30 a.m. -- Leave for deep woods
3:45 a.m. -- Drive back home to get rifle
4 a.m. -- Drive like hell to get back to camp before sunrise
5 a.m. -- Set up camp and realize I forgot the tent
5:30 a.m. -- Head for the woods
6:10 a.m. -- Spot eight deer, one a magnificent buck
6:15 a.m. -- Take aim and squeeze trigger. Click!
6:20 a.m. -- Load gun while I watch deer disappear over hill
8 a.m. -- Head back for camp
9 a.m. -- Look for camp
10 a.m. -- Still looking for camp
Noon -- Fire gun into air three 12l times for help
12:15 p.m. -- Eat wild berries out of desperation
12:30 p.m. -- Fire gun again; run out of bullets
12:35 p.m. -- Eight deer show up again
12:45 p.m. -- Stomach pain; realize I ate poison berries
1 p.m. -- Finally rescued and rushed to hospital
2 p.m. -- Stomach pumped
3:30 p.m. -- Arrive back at camp ready to hunt
3:40 p.m. -- Leave camp for the woods
3:45 p.m. -- Walk back to camp for bullets
4 p.m. -- Squirrel bugs me; empty gun at it
4:45 p.m. -- Back at camp, see deer grazing near pickup
4:50 p.m. -- Fire gun three times. Hit pickup. Deer vanish
5:30 p.m. -- Hunting partner returns dragging nice buck
5:35 p.m. -- Resist urge to shoot hunting partner
6 p.m. -- Stumble, fall into campfire
6:05 p.m. -- Beat out flames, change clothes
6:30 p.m. -- Take pickup, leave hunting partner in deer camp
6:45 p.m. -- Pickup overheats from bullet hole in radiator
7 p.m. -- Start walking. Meet bear
7:15 p.m. -- Fall in mud while running from bear
7:30 p.m. -- Climb tree. Mess in pants 8 p.m. -- Shoot at bear. Gun blows up from mud in the barrel
9 p.m. -- After bear leaves, throw gun over hill
Midnight -- Home at last
Sunday -- Watch football game on television while slowly tearing hunting license into small pieces, putting them in an envelope addressed to the DNR with specific instructions on where to place them.
See you afield!
Bob Spore is a Coast Guard-licensed charter boat captain from Pasadena. His Outdoors column appears every Friday and Sunday in The Anne Arundel County Sun.