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How to See Deer (in Devine, Texas)
TaylorC

After Philip Booth

Forget trying to track.
 1
Go nowhere expecting
 2
anything to happen,
 3
 
 
but bring the gun
 4
just in case; you never know.
 5
Go out close, but quietly,
 6
 
 
to the deer feeder, with its corn
 7
spilling and shooting out on a timer,
 8
feeding the white-tails.  Get inside
 9
 
 
the deer blind.  Be careful
 10
with each step.  Sit
 11
without any noise, none
 12
 
 
at all.  Pull your rifle
 13
into position, and
 14
use the scope to spot
 15
 
 
the hungry, spooked does
 16
and sometimes their
 17
feeble fawns, whose hooves
 18
 
 
slip in the loose dirt
 19
and scramble for balance,
 20
mouths searching for corn.
 21
 
 
There’s not much sport
 22
left in hunting anymore,
 23
with feeders and blinds.
 24
 
 
Anyone with a rifle can
 25
prop up on the wooden planks
 26
and nab the biggest buck.
 27
 
 
Hopeless situations tend
 28
to favor the prepared—you,
 29
with your prepaid
 30
 
 
venison investment:
 31
feeder, corn, blind,
 32
gun, boots, clothes; time.
 33
 
 
But for all time
 34
in the foggy mid-dawn
 35
you see what you see
 36
(no guarantees).
 37

31 Aug 05

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Comments:

I love this...I'm a hunter, so it hits close to home for me.  Just well writen.
 — SaleenDriva

anyone else?
 — TaylorC

I've never touched a gun myself, but my one grandfather hunted cougar for bounty, and my other grandfather has quite the gun collection.

I liked the voice of the poem giving orders to the reader; it helped me put myself mentally into a situation that is completely alien to me. I liked the break between the fourth and fifth stanzas: "none" (break) "at all" seemed to capture that heartbeat of time when you're focusing on making no noise.

I'm wondering if this poem has a hidden anti-hunting agenda, what with lines 22-23 talking about the decline of sportsmanship in hunting, and the entire setup seeming to put does and fawns in the most danger (although of course they are protected by law from actually being killed). "Prepaid venison investment" in lines 30-31 also seems to undermine this type of hunting as a sport and spotlight it as a coldblooded commercial "thrill ride" activity.

But then that's undercut by the beginning and end of the poem telling us that no matter how much you try to control the situation with your fancy gear and with stacking the odds against the deer by baiting them and lying in wait, you really never know what you'll see out there.

--Should the plural of "hoof" be "hooves" in line 19?
 — leukothea

revised.
 — TaylorC

Stark and sad, can't see killing for sport.
 — wamblicante

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