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Oh Deer, What to Wear This Fall?

22 September 2009 Stories and Appreciations 5,165 views 3 CommentsPrint This Post Print This Post Email This Post Email This Post

I don’t need to hear what fashionistas are proclaiming this fall’s “in” color. I already know.

At my home in Wisconsin, it’s orange. Blaze orange, just like it is every fall. I see it in all of the local stores. I see it hanging from trees and porches as I drive long stretches of country road. I see blaze orange jumpsuits swinging in the breeze, airing out in anticipation of the upcoming deer hunting season.

Now, as I tell my husband on a regular basis, “I did not grow up around this kind of stuff.” But I have learned how important hunting season is to some people, and I’ve learned how I must adapt my lifestyle to accommodate it.

The season starts with the annual Hanging of the Jumpsuits, quickly followed by the countdowns to opening day by the local TV news anchors. Parents send notes to school, excusing their children from class to spend time in the woods tracking Bambi. Homeowners adorn the fiberglass deer in their front yards with fluorescent hats and clothing — not to be funny or cute, but to spare the poor things from being unnecessarily targeted.

At a potluck one fall evening, I met some farmers who spray-paint their livestock blaze orange. Even though their farms are not far from the highway, the farmers aren’t taking any chances with their horses and cows. After hearing that, I started looking for something neon to wear myself. Walking to my mailbox to retrieve Carol Wright coupons and Victoria Secret catalogs could be considered a dangerous mission.

I truly realized the importance of hunting season at, of all places, a childbirth class. We had to go around the room sharing our due date. When one woman announced hers, everyone in the room gasped in recognition. Heads were hung, sighs were drawn, and a faint “oh, no” was heard from the back. Opening weekend. The woman’s unfortunate due date was opening weekend for deer season.

“My husband will be in the woods that weekend,” she said, quickly adding, “but I have a backup plan.” I hoped so. I could only imagine the woman dressed like a prize-winning pumpkin in her blaze orange maternity sweatshirt, waddling into the wilderness. “Wrap it up, honey,” she’d say. “I just lost my mucus plug.”

It does seem like people are born and raised into the hunting lifestyle. I was not, which is why it is so foreign to me. When my children were toddlers, my husband and I decided to attend a Positive Parenting class. A question was posed, “What did you and your siblings fight over when you were kids?” My husband and I came up with the typical topics: toys, shared bedrooms, and parental attention. The next speaker said, “My brother and I used to fight over who could shoot more squirrels.”

“And how did your parents handle that?” asked the unflappable moderator.

“They’d give us more ammo.”

Not exactly the familial conflict resolution I was used to, but it seemed to work for him.

I don’t know if I will ever understand the thrill and excitement some have for deer hunting. I just know it is a longstanding tradition where I live. And so I will accept that for approximately ten days in the fall, the evening news will feature the “Big Buck of the Day” at the top of the hour. I will expect to see deer staring blankly at me from the beds of pickup trucks as I gas up my minivan at the Mini Mart. And rather than gawk at a lifeless animal hanging from a tree, I will instead focus on the beautiful fall foliage of the trees.

Hmm. Come to think of it, a lot of those leaves are orange, too. Blaze orange. Which, some may say, is fashionable, practical and “in” this fall season.

Kobi Shaw


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  1. Glad to hear orange is getting it’s due… even if it only rhymes with an obscure place in Wales. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blorenge


  2. I made the supreme mistake of reading this at my desk during lunchtime. I think I may have hurt myself more than once trying not to laugh out loud! Great job, Kobi!

  3. […] Monkey Goggles Klassics: “Oh Deer, What to Wear This Fall?” by Kobi Shaw […]

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