I feel like I need to give an explanation of my history with hunting. I was very confused when I first heard the argument that “hunting is not a sport because the human has an unfair advantage.” By my calculations I have a very significant disadvantage when I hunt.

My dad hunted all throughout my childhood, but only when there was more grocery money to be saved by buying a deer tag than by working the number of hours that would be spent hunting. I was never extremely excited by hunting, it was just a thing that you did to get food. This is why I was halfway through high school before I took hunters education and got a deer tag. Unfortunately, I realized that I had waited one year too long, and was no longer able to shoot a doe as a minor.

I spent the next few Novembers carrying a gun through the woods searching for a buck, that was my hunting for four years. During this time I saw a single buck, which bounded, at full sprint, from thick brush on the right hand side of a gravel road, touched its front, then it’s back feet in the middle of the road, and disappeared into the thick brush on the left hand side of the road. By the time we had skidded to a stop in my dads truck the buck was across a partially-frozen swamp and halfway up a mountainside, still running. I’ve often wondered what could have spooked that deer so much.

With such bad luck at finding something that was even legal to shoot at, I eventually gave up on buying a hunting license. It isn’t worth $50 in licenses and tags, $50 in gas, and countless hours of unproductivity to sit in the cold hopelessly.

For three years I didn’t buy a license, until last year I decided to give it a try again and hunt with my wife. We have since mutually realized that we should never hunt together. I’m like “Dear, let’s find a tree and sit under it until a deer walks by.” She’s like “I saw a flash of white half a mile away and moving fast, maybe it’s a buck. Grab your gun! Run after it!”

So why did I decide to start hunting again? Because last year for the first week of hunting season shooting white-tail does was legal. However I hadn’t heard of this before the season started last year, and therefore hadn’t put any time aside to hunt.

But this year, 2017, I was ready. I set out, gun in hand, hunting skills as rusty as a mines whistle, to finally shoot a deer. Or not, I mean, old habits die hard.



An anniversary and some recovery from my many failed hunting trips will need to be dealt with this week, but I do have some excellent stories of deer trying to kill me (you read it right) and the great outdoors trying to convince me that I’ve spent too many years living in town. So please be patient, good tales await… 🙂


100% of Proceeds Go To…

A few days ago I found myself in Arby’s, looking to grab a small bite to eat before heading out to dinner at a fancy restaurant with small portions. I thought I was lucky when I walked in, there was only one person between me and the cash register.

Unfortunately, though, he was an old man who had some trouble explaining what he wanted. He was near the end of his order when I walked in, and would have been on his way fairly quickly if the teenager behind the counter hadn’t asked “Would you like to donate a dollar to the Montana Children’s Charity today?”

The old man said yes, but then immediately asked “But tell me, does all the money go to the kids?”

“Yes.” The teenager replied.

The old man said “Well in that case I’d like to donate five dollars,” as he reached for his wallet.

However, after the money had been handed over the man must have began to think about the short answer the teen had given, and it unnerved him.

“Just how do I know that all that money makes it to the kids?” He asked, and the conversation went like this for the next several minutes.

When I finally got my food and sat down I glanced at the old man and thought of what he said. I wonder how many people don’t give to charities because they think that a good portion of the money gets spent on the bureaucracy of the organization itself. It brought to mind a friend who said he had to stop going to the Church he attended, and a good portion of his grievances were about how they would spend more money on new microphones and flowers than on charity or Bibles.

I was happy to be able to tell him that my Church had never had that type of issue, in fact it was sporting the same coat of well-maintained yellow paint that it’d had when I’d started attending there as a two-year-old. I would expect that all institutions dedicated to helping others should be similar. If our local library had done a drive to update a few shelves of reference books, rather than to refurbish their reading room, I may have donated some money. If a children’s hospital or animal clinic had an outdated building then I would assume that they’re efficient at passing along donations, and be willing to give more.

But of course, outdated buildings and reference books and yellow paint don’t look very impressive. I feel like the facades charities present are mostly so that the donors can say “Look at what I was a part of,” and receive respect. I personally have very little respect for those who give not to help, but because it’s popular. Of course, some of them don’t realize that their motives may not be right, and some charities don’t realize that they’re not actually helping the poor by planting expensive flowers ‘to bring in more donations.’

I would just ask that anyone reading this take a moment to deeply consider the institutions you support or are involved in. Are they misallocating the money on their organization? If so, how can you help them pass along the money more efficiently? Consider your thoughts on the matter a donation to them, maybe.

Taking Offense

It bothers me when people say that we don’t have to deal with race issues in Montana because there aren’t very many African-American folks here. What, race issues can’t come up with Native Americans and people of Asian descent, of which we have many? But let’s assume for a minute that we don’t know how to deal with race in Montana. We still know how to deal with people in general. You just treat everyone decently and let them mind their own business unless it infringes on yours (like kicking your dog or fooling around with your girlfriend.)

I think treating everyone like this, regardless of their skin color, should go a long way to stopping any sort of racial conflict. Maybe I’m wrong though. Today at the grocery store deli I was talking with an African-American fellow as he sliced some pastrami for me. He wasn’t very happy because I had come in in later in the evening and he would have to wipe down the slicer machine again. In any case, he misheard my “…went and mentioned…” as “lynch-end”. I don’t know how that makes any sense, but I do speak with a slight accent and there was a fan going, so he probably did truthfully hear that. Anyways, he flew off the cuff with things like “Saying lynch to a black guy!” and “That’s what I get for trying to be nice!”, even though as soon as I realized what he’d thought I’d said I insisted that I hadn’t, and explained that there had been some sort of misunderstanding.

He had someone else come and help me, then kept going on about it to the lady he went to help. I scurried out of there as soon as I got my pastrami, incredibly embarrassed, and wandered the aisles just trying to get my food and leave as quickly as possible. I’ve never been accused of something like that before, and I found it really confusing. For starters there was nothing I could say to right anything, and on top of that I was outraged that he would think I would say something like that, we had talked pleasantly in the past and I rather liked him. I’ve felt crushed for the rest of the night. I’m a massive introvert, it’s work for me to go out and talk to people, it saps my energy. Tonight I feel so drained, after that accusation, that I wish I could trek far away and avoid people forever. After all, what’s the point if folks will jump to hating you for something like a misspoken or misheard word?

I like my posts to have a point, a moral, something you can take away from the story other than the fact that the author is a pathetic sissy. For this post, please try to think of how your outrage will affect others. Put yourself in their shoes. What if they didn’t mean any offense, how will they spend the rest of their night feeling?

I feel like crap, so this will be the only post for tonight.

Born in a Town Where I Never Lived

My parents decided to move to Montana while my mom was pregnant with me. They bought a property located ten miles up a dirt road from the highway, and there my dad started building a cabin. One day he had an accident with a chainsaw, cutting his hand badly and needing to go to the doctor.

The doctor lived in a small town about fifteen miles from my parents property, and I will never forget the description I got of him. My dad is not a poetical man, he doesn’t use metaphors and tends not even to exaggerate, rather he calls things as he sees them. The doctor of that town was apparently “a drunken horse doctor”. He was the town veterinarian and medical doctor, and I believe when they arrived he was actually across the road in the mercantile/tavern getting a bit of lunch.

In any case he stitched up the cut on my dads hand, but refused to cut away the damaged skin. This kept the wound from healing, and my dad had to go in again to have the dead skin removed and the hand re-stitched.

I say all this to explain why, when my moms water broke late one night, she insisted that my dad did not drive her to the doctors office fifteen miles away, but instead drive to the one sixty miles away, in the nearest major town. This meant first navigating the ten miles of dirt road to the highway, then following it’s winding course for fifty dark miles. As if this weren’t enough, my parents encountered a road construction crew resurfacing the last ten miles of the highway, literally out burning the midnight oil. Even with all of that my mom arrived in plenty of time, but I’m told that the ride was quiet slow and nerve-wracking.

At the hospital my moms labor lasted for hours, and the doctor passed the time by reading a book in a chair at the side of the room. Needless to say my mother was not impressed with this doctor either, and afterward had all her other children by midwife, at home.

But that’s the tangled story of how I, a backwoods recluse, came to be born in the ritziest little town in Montana.

On the Topic of Calling in Sick

Today I had to call in sick to work, because a stomach flu kept me in the bathroom all night. That’s about as much as I want to say about the sickness itself, but staying home from work was difficult. I don’t usually sleep for long hours, and today I was awoken at two o’clock, after seven hours of sleep, by my sister-in-law asking if I wanted to come help a relative move. I declined.

I couldn’t fall back to sleep after that. My stomach hurt. I was hungry but knew that if I ate anything I would regret it. Eventually I bought and started downloading an audio Bible. Then I made a cup of tea, listened to a podcast, finished reading ‘The Hobbit’, put away laundry- anything to keep me from going insane.

The only thing worse than being too sick to go to work is being just barely too sick to go to work. If I were laying on my deathbed with a pounding headache, running nose, and constant fever I wouldn’t feel bad about calling into work. But because this illness seems to be mild stomach cramps punctuated by waves of sickness, I feel like I should be productive during the hours I’m able to walk.

Instead of going to work or helping with the moving I’m trying to settle for writing a few blog posts and downloading this audio Bible, which is more of a task than you would suppose. On the bright side, if I do loose my mind to boredom I don’t suppose anyone would notice the difference.