Listening to a case of mounting tension

Last updated on May 04, 23

Posted on May 04, 23

2 min read

Words hurt. But, often, the people that utter them, don’t realize how much. I’d like to think that was the case with Jenn, when she looked surprised and said, “You shot that?”

Out of context, it seems inconsequential. But when you consider that this is what she said after pointing to the white-tail buck mount I was about to re-hang on the wall of my office, I think you can feel my pain.

After all, she was referring to the one and only piece of taxidermy I own – the head and shoulder mount of a 275-pound whitetail buck, a 10-pointer that I shot many years ago near North Battleford, Saskatchewan.

We had just refloored and painted the basement, my new place of exile, where I write important things like this, when I said, “I guess it’s time to put my buck back on the wall.”

Jenn winced involuntarily. Then she said, “Why are you putting it back up? You didn’t even shoot it.”

I staggered and gasped.

Then, I wasted no time correcting her. But the emotional damage had already been done.

Aside from the implications of that statement, it also occurred to me that in our many years together, I have been accused countless times of not listening to her – or at least I think that’s what she said. Meanwhile, I have recounted the story of how I outwitted that magnificent buck every year on our anniversary, in what I thought was a romantic gesture to Jenn. Heck, this year, I was also considering recounting it on Jenn and my anniversary too... as soon as I remember when that is.

The point here is that Jenn, had not been listening all these years.

Otherwise, she would know that I shot that buck as he was chasing a doe. And now I realize that I saved that big boy a world of hurt, because the doe he loved probably wasn’t listening to him either.

Oh sure, they say they are, and they even nod their head and smile, but just try to get her to recount what calibre rifle (.308 Win.) and range (175 yards) you shot that deer at and see what that get’s you.

Heartache, that’s what.

Look, I have harvested deer in 11 of the 12 years Jenn and I have been together. And, admittedly, I tend to bring home “good eaters” rather than huge bucks. But that’s no reason to suggest that I am incapable of doing so. Especially since, I have had proof of this, hanging on the basement wall for the last 12 years.

The fact that she thought I hung another hunter’s buck on my wall for the last 12 years makes me wonder what false life she thinks I was living. I mean, if you believe that, what other criminal activity do you think I am capable of? Secretly liking tofu?

More practically, this means that she hasn’t been telling the other non-hunting partners and wives about my big buck whenever they get together to discuss the hunting exploits of their spouses, which I assume is often.

It’s sad, really.

In any case, I now have the head and shoulders of that huge buck hanging on the wall of my basement office again. And Jenn has once again been informed (for at least the 20th time) that I was the one who harvested that deer.

I know she heard me. She nodded and smiled.

; ;

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Steve Galea

Hunter, angler, outdoors writer, humour columnist -- man of leisure and, formerly, leisure suits. An editor at Ontario Outdoors, he sidelines for The Observer writing humour about the great outdoors.