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From Left Field: The thrill of the hunt

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By The Staff

The thrill of the hunt

I send my girlfriend Cindy a copy of The Springfield Sun each week, and not too long ago, she was flipping through the sports pages and noticed a collection of dead deer photos featuring kids who had shot each deer.

Although I grew up in West Virginia, and was used to the idea of hunting, I think it took Cindy aback a little to see kids around the same age as her seven-year-old granddaughter posing proudly over the deer they had shot.

I'm wondering if she had visions of little Savannah stalking Bambi in the woods and having the nerve to pull the trigger for the kill shot.

I, on the other hand, am a big fan of horror, blood and gore, so my only regret is that we don't publish the dead deer photos in color.

Cindy fancies herself a country girl, although she would go crazy without her amaretto coffee. She's perfectly happy to go camping and do some fishing, but drag home a bloodied rabbit or deer and she'll tear up like she's watching a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.

Cindy does all of her big game hunting on the highway. She's quite talented at contributing to the roadkill tally. In fact, not many people are quick enough with the steering wheel to run down the elusive turtle on the side of the road. She swears that she tried to steer away from it, but she still managed to get him.

Then there was the "suicidal" rabbit that was in the other lane. All he had to do was run into the median and he would have been safe. But once Cindy got within striking distance, this poor rabbit threw himself in front of the car to end his misery. At least that's the story she tells. I need to get her a stencil for the side of her car so she can track her enemy kills.

I never got into hunting personally, partially because my parents were divorced and my father rarely did stuff with me other than birthdays or Christmas. My step dad was more into fishing, which I did a lot with him. When we were living in Chesapeake, Ohio, he and I would make regular journeys to Sky Lake, a small pay lake in town.

I did more goofing off than fishing, I never had the patience for it, so I spent most of my time frog gigging. Sky Lake was a haven for me because it was the only place I could get Teem soda.

The most I ever shot a gun was while I was in boy scouts and we had a rifle range at summer camp where we could shoot .22 rifles. If I was to buy a gun now, I'm sure I'd have the wrath of Cindy to deal with. But then again, what she doesn't know won't hurt her.

Dogs are an important part of some forms of hunting, although my own feeble attempt at training my border collie has at times left me aggravated, frustrated and exasperated. He's very eager to chase squirrels, rabbits and ducks, until a plastic bag blows across the lawn, and then he hides behind me for protection. I now know that I have the canine equivalent to Don Knotts.

If anything, I can at least get out into the great outdoors and enjoy the sights and sounds of mother nature, whether or not I have a gun, bow or fishing rod in my hand. Yeah, that's it. I'll be on the big hunt for solitude in the wild. I'll be the one with the nervous dog.