It was a dark and stormy night, actually more like an insanely early morning, when they pounded on my door. It was Turk, Rusty and Mark standing on the deck blanketed by fog and all dressed out in their hunting camos like true guerillas in the mist.
They had arrived for our annual pre-hunt meeting armed with piles of hunting regulations, permit applications, maps and long range weather predictions. I advised them to go around to the basement door lest their $300 “Silent Stalker Sneaker Boots” left tracks on the carpet, thus turning them into the hunted when the lady of the realm awoke and discovered muddy imprints on her new rug.
After the backslapping, punching and “Yo Bro” macho ceremony concluded we swiftly laid out the guidelines and maps to plan our grand strategy for bagging a bull or two.
Turk was in charge of interpreting the morass of regs while Mark would line out the hunting units and sundry boundaries. Rusty was the logistics man and I was there to make up plausible excuses for never nailing anything.
“OK, let’s get started.” Turk mumbled. “What unit looks the easiest to get to Mark?”
“Unit 75/106-bfa75.” Mark replied.
“Let’s see,” Turk said as he perused the directives pertaining to the zone. “Nope that’s just a few miles from here. Only hunters from Hoonah or Skagway riding Clydesdales can hunt there.”
“How about Unit 17.7/:99000AF?”
“Maybe, but that would be a tough go.”
“It says here you can only take a bull which’ll dress out between 600 and 603 pounds or has over a 110 inch rack spread, anything else?”
“There’s this huge gray zone but it’s all owned by a corporation. You gotta purchase a $1500 permit and are limited to only taking dwarf albino moosettes… Hmmm … they have added a one-time-only berry picking option for $75 for this year. Half the price of 2011.”
“Can we get into 111.888o/b?”
“Only if you have relatives in Barrow, Nome, Sitka and Downtown Spenard plus you must prove your hunting skills by showing proof that you have harvested a moose within the city limits of Kodiak for the last seven years.”
“That hunt is over, remember? It was last Tuesday between 2 and 2:15 pm on the east side of the Salty Dawg Saloon.”
“&*^%$#!” Turk groused. “The next thing they’ll do is restrict us to moderately disturbed male yearlings with unicorn spikes swimming west in Cook Inlet.”
“That’s already included in next year’s rules according to one outdoor mag,” Rusty quipped. “Oh, by the way did you hear what old Skeeter did to that Cheechako who blasted one of his Holsteins into jerky strips then showed him his cow permit? The doc had to add an extension to his proctoscope to retrieve the paperwork.”
“Look men, we digress.” I said. “Due to the myriad of growing bureaucratic speed bumps we are encountering from the state, feds, wannabee land barons and corporations may I suggest that we go with last year’s game plan?”
They looked at each other for a moment and then bellowed, “Affirmative Bro” while manly ramming custom skinning knifes into my defenseless card table to emphasize their approval.
“It’s settled then,” Turk growled, “Rusty’ll order four sides of local beef, cut, wrapped and delivered then we’ll look into getting on the bumper moose roadkill list.”
We high-fived each other satisfied that we had, once again, successfully fulfilled another hunter-gatherer obligation for the year then stormed for the steps to catch the morning’s pre game show before the Seahawks took on the Cowboys.
Unfortunately our testosterone level took an unexpected dip when we were temporarily stymied in our quest for chips, brew and further male bonding as a razor edged voice sliced down from the loft.
“That thundering herd stampeding toward the den best hit the top of the stairs in their stocking feet!”
Even in a semi man cave there are rules.
Nick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if he isn’t busy in his storm cellar trying to keep his buds chilled while they’re frantically designing an ark.