Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Fought the Law

Sometime between 7:30 and 9:30PM on Saturday night I rolled over onto my back in a briar thicket and thought “So, this is what its like to be a criminal.” I didn't think it very loudly though - the Game Warden was far too close for any sort of loud thinking.

I arrived at the deercamp this weekend to find it in uproar and disarray. After several abortive attempts at storytelling I left Seth to find My Uncle John and get it straight. It turns out: the GAME WARDEN had crossed over onto our property late that afternoon and had mistakenly identified a neighboring hunter’s encroachment on our property line with “bait” as an illegal activity on the part of our club members.

Now I don’t need to tell you, gentle reader, that we would never associate ourselves with individuals of such inauspicious character as the sort to “bait” for deer. However, GERALD PARSONS(478.955.0222) when questioned by the GAME WARDEN on the situation merely replied “Oh, I don’t know. It must be that tall brown-headed boy from Atlanta.”

Apparently that sort of thing passes for “humor” in his neighborhood.

The four-wheeler noises started at approximately 6:01PM. By approximately 6:14PM the four-wheeler noises were accompanied by a distant dirt-bike noise. By approximately 6:14:15PM I was pasted to the side of my clip-on deerstand shaking so hard the tree I was in was whipping like it was in my own personal windstorm.

Now, I'm not typically afraid of four-wheelers as a rule. I got on one with Watson Moulton once and ended up violently terrified of that particular four-wheeler, but other than that isolated pants-wetting I've had fairly good experiences with four-wheelers in general. What bothered me in this instance was the knowledge that Mr. GAME WARDEN often traveled accompanied by a female Ms. GAME WARDEN on a dirt bike.

Putting two and two together, I realized: “I don’t have my license with me. It is in the truck - so the GAME WARDEN is going to write me a ticket for hunting without a license. Then, GON is going to put me in the HALL OF SHAME files in their magazine. Then, someone is going to mistake MY name for DAD’s name and the Governor is going to personally fire DAD for unethical hunting practices. By the time it’s all sorted out; it’ll be too late - somebody else will be in Dad’s job. So, to summarize: if I get caught out here without a license I’m going to get a ticket and my Dad is going to get fired and it’s all going to be Gerald Parson’s fault.”

The game was afoot.

After determining that the noises I was hearing were indeed the GAME WARDEN and his assistant the GAME WARDENATRIX; I took stock of myself.

After a short while I realized my stock was “not too good” about the same time the four-wheeler noises shut themselves off in the vicinity of my pickup. My truck has an Atlanta tag – identifying me to the GAME WARDEN as “Atlanta Boy: known violator. Recently sold downriver by a member of his own crew.”

Now, if there is anything worse than a four-wheeler GAME WARDEN noise it’s a four-wheeler GAME WARDEN noise that has just stopped nearby; because then you know there’s a GAME WARDEN nearby, but suddenly he could be anywhere – the tops of the trees, sneaking through the thicket, riding a horse, in an airplane: ANYWHERE.

Is that a squirrel? No, it must be the GAME WARDEN. Is that a dog barking? No, it must be the GAME WARDEN alerting his GAME WARDENATRIX partner. Is that a woodfire I smell? No, it must be the GAME WARDEN smoke-signaling my location to the GAME WARDENATRIX.

During my stock-taking I identified my deerstand as a potential source of metal-on-metal noise: a sure path to the GAME WARDEN stockade for yours truly. The metal ladder makes noise when one shifts weight on it, so I knew I must sit perfectly still for as long as it took – all night if need be. Dad’s income depended on it.

Then, a deer walked up and bedded down directly underneath my stand and began to gently lick itself. It looked up directly into my eyes. I blinked and it jerked its head up into the wind. I knew if I spooked the deer – the deer would alert the GAME WARDEN creating a new path for me straight to the stockade.

So, I closed my eyes.

After approximately 1.5 hours the GAME WARDEN cranked his four-wheeler back up and continued to ease around my location; stopping every 150 yards or so and shutting off his four-wheeler to listen for sounds of me attempting to escape.

I opened my eyes. The deer was gone. I didn’t realize it because my eyes were closed. It was very dark. I couldn’t see. I still had my safety belt clipped on. I couldn’t find my rifle. I dropped my Outdoor Life magazine. It made noise. I panicked. The four-wheeler started again.

Suddenly, as quick as thought, I leapt from my stand; unsnapping my safety harness in mid-air as I slid as far down the ladder as I could: stopping mere inches from certain metal-on-metal noise, incarceration for me, and poverty for Dad.

I breathed a sigh of relief. The four-wheeler started again and I took one last tentative step down the ladder…SKKKRREEEEEEEEETTT!!!! METAL NOISE! CURSES!

The four-wheeler stopped and I began tabulating my fine.

After several breathless minutes of cringing at every sound I slowly picked up my BudFannyPack and began slowly creeping through the moonlit thicket. I tiptoed across country for 2 hours, stopping only to bury my .17HMR armadillo-shooting pistol, flashlight, and empty shell-casing to avoid suspicion of illegal activities.

2 hours later I emerged near my truck, jumped in it and drove away: wallet and license held high for all to see.

I went back the next day to look for GAME WARDEN tracks. There weren’t any.

Turns out - the GAME WARDEN was really just the guy across the creek riding around on his four-wheeler to check on his cows.

Now, if only I could find where I buried that pistol....

I fought the law...I thought....

4 comments:

Jenni said...

So in other words ... you were hunting when a four-wheeler drove by. You were thankful it wasn't the game warden cuz you didn't have your hunting license on you. ... And they say girls are longwinded!! ;) Just kidding, Jimmy. You know I think you're the best storyteller ever. Keep the stories coming. I live for them.

EmJ said...

Hmmm...just one more elaborate (but hilarious!) story to explain why no deer were killed.

Anonymous said...

i have enjoyed these stories ever since i was given the site. as an older and very wise relative, here is my advise-- always remember to wear clean underwear as you never know where you may end up; such as the inside of the local magistate's office in a small mid georgia town. this may not seem like such wise advise, but just ask anyone's grandmother for the most important thing they told their children and this ranks up at the top of the list.
keep up the good work and someday i will ask for a first edition signed copy of your work
ruth in SC

Anonymous said...

i have enjoyed these stories ever since i was given the site. as an older and very wise relative, here is my advise-- always remember to wear clean underwear as you never know where you may end up; such as the inside of the local magistate's office in a small mid georgia town. this may not seem like such wise advise, but just ask anyone's grandmother for the most important thing they told their children and this ranks up at the top of the list.
keep up the good work and someday i will ask for a first edition signed copy of your work
ruth in SC