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Got a question? You just might be sorry you asked

Sitting in a deer stand uninterrupted for more consecutive hours than it takes to bake a bowling-ball sized Thanksgiving bird, one's mind ponders many questions -- would you like to hear some of them?

Do you think it matters to me if you don't?

If you answered 'yes' to that last one, you don't know me very well, do you?

Anyway, is that a huge whitetail buck standing down there in the swamp grass about 120 yards away?

Don't you think it would have moved in the last two hours?

If it isn't a deer, and I shoot at it anyway just to be sure, would you consider it reckless?

On the other hand, if it is a giant buck and I don't shoot, and it runs away after I've watched it for two hours, will you come visit me in the mental health ward?

If you do, will you bring me cookies?

Will they have oatmeal and raisins in them?

If so, would you just give 'em to the guy next to me?

Did you know he has PTSD from watching too much of the impeachment hearings on TV?

About this deer hunting thing I do every November, did you know I've been at it for 42 years already?

Do you have any idea how many hours I've spent in a tree stand just like this one with my mind swirling aimlessly with no coherent train of thought?

Do you think it's from breathing too much doe estrous scent?

Do you think maybe I shouldn't bathe in it anymore?

Do you think all this modern gadgetry like estrous drips and trail cameras and scent-free clothing helps a guy get a deer, or is it just dumb luck?

Why isn't there such a thing as smart luck?

How is it that a gray squirrel, which weighs a pound or so, can sound so much like a 150-pound deer when it's sneaking behind you in the dry leaves?

Do they practice walking like deer?

Or are their nuts that big?

You do know I was talking about the acorns they carry in their mouths, right?

Did you know that while hunting deer I have also seen squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, porcupines, racoons, badgers, fishers, woodchucks, foxes, coyotes, bears, turkeys, eagles, hawks, owls, pileated woodpeckers, bluejays, nuthatches, geese, ducks, weasels, grouse and bobcats, but never a wildebeest?

Does that surprise you?

Did you think I was hunting in Africa?

Do they even have whitetail deer there?

Or did the lions eat all of them?

Did I tell you I had a dream the other night that I had shot my deer, but when I walked up to it, it was actually a tiger?

What do you think that dream says about my mental stability?

Do you find it disturbing that people like me are allowed to roam the woods with large-caliber firearms with no supervision?

Do you mind if I change the subject?

Did you realize that venison is one of the healthiest red meats there is?

Did you know that saying 'healthiest red meats' is like saying 'least infectious tuberculosis strains?'

Were you aware that venison -- which hunters like to say is 'free meat' -- actually costs more than $30 a pound after you figure in the cost of your gun, your ammunition, your blaze orange clothing, your truck, your gas to the woods, your hunting license, and the amount of cash your wife burns at 'Hunters' Widow' craft sales?

What, don't you think she's entitled to a little fun, too?

I mean, isn't marriage supposed to be an equal partnership in which you share everything down the middle?

Isn't it hypocritical of you to be mad at your lady because she spent $12 on a Christmas doily after you blew $28,500, plus tax, title and registration, on that new UTV?

And are you really going to take marital advice from a dude who's divorced twice and sleeps with his pump-action .270 Remington with a black synthetic stock?

I know, ain't she sexy when she's all oiled up?

Can we change the subject again?

Are you aware that 99.3 percent of the time one spends deer hunting is dominated by nearabsolute boredom, frozen toes, snot seeping into the fabric of your blaze-orange face mask, and a rock-hard sandwich that you want to eat at noon but realize you dropped to the ground 20 feet below at about 7 o'clock?

And why didn't I take up knitting instead?

Was it 'cuz I was afraid I'd jab a needle through my spleen while purling into the stitch below?

Did I just impress you with that little piece of knitting technique jargon? What, did you think all I know how to do is kill critters and turn their flesh into tasty burgers? Is that what my mommy told you? So anyway, if 99.3 percent of hunting is a yawner -- and it is, I just told you that -- then doesn't it make sense that the other .7 percent is heart-banging, adrenaline-pumping, spit-flying high enjoyment? I mean, have you ever felt buck fever when that trophy of your dreams (OK, so mine is a tiger, what can I say?) comes out of the brush, and you settle your scope on its boiler-maker?

Have you heard the stories of hunters shaking so hard they couldn't hold their gun, or forgetting to release the safety and almost bending the trigger trying to pull it, just because Bambi was coming their way?

Don't you believe them?

If not, do you want to see a photo of the stains in my shorts after the first time I shot at a buck when I was 15 or so?

And can we change the subject just one more time?

Did you know it's a state law that you have to ask all men at this time of the year, 'So did you get your deer?'

Did you set aside the next three hours of your life to hear their dull story if they did get one?

And, if they did not get their deer, do you have any plans for how you will console them?

Could you maybe offer them some cookies?

Are they oatmeal and raisin?

For cryin' out loud, don't you have any snickerdoodle recipes?