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deer prudence

My new girlfriend is awesome. Smart, funny, caring, and totally hot. We’ve been going together since this past spring. We like the same music, the same bands, the same movies, you name it. It’s been a great summer, and I know I’ve never ever been in a relationship where I feel more comfortable and happy. I’m pretty sure she’s happy, too.

Anyway, the other day I discovered something about her that I never would have imagined. Turns out she’s an avid hunter. I came over to her place the other day, and she was on the computer ordering a license for deer season. Now, I don’t have any problem with people hunting, but it’s not for me. My Dad took me hunting when I was a kid, and I shot a deer. The experience was not good. I vaguely remember a lot of blood in the snow, but not much else. I never went again.

She wants me to go hunting with her. Says it would be romantic if we got a cabin in the Southern Tier this winter and got in touch with our primal selves. I’m all about getting the cabin and exploring our primal selves, but I don’t feel like getting geared up in camo and spreading deer piss in the cold, gray woods to attract some unsuspecting buck to kill. It’s not like we need the food.

But I’m afraid that if I don’t, she’ll go anyway. She has a lot of male friends she’s hunted with over the years, and it may be stupid but it kinda makes me jealous. Do I go or not?

—Stuck in a Rut

The Lost Weekend says: There are two acceptable routes here, as I see it. First, you can go to the cabin but not take part in the hunt. My sister’s old boyfriend used to be a hunter but quit shooting animals years ago. But he still goes out to some shack in the woods each fall with his friends. While they slog around in the cold, he stays by the fire, drinks too much beer, and cooks dinner for the rest. You could try that. If your girlfriend is disappointed with that, then, well, both of you have a problem.

Alternately, you could say no way to the whole deal. Tell her what you just told us, leaving out the part about being jealous. Tell her to have a nice weekend, and that you’ll miss her while she’s out in the woods, and line up something to do that weekend that you’re better off doing without her. Tell her about those plans, too, in case she entertains any guilt about leaving you behind. Then remind yourself that, where there’s a good thing going, jealousy is worse than stupid: It’s demeaning, both to you and to your partner.

Dining Out says: Even though you and your girlfriend have similar tastes when it comes matters of pop culture, your Eve has a very different vision of what Eden entails. Her Paradise is a barren snowy forest filled with fuzzy-tailed mammals that can be stewed, grilled, and boiled after they’ve been hunted down and massacred. Are you by any chance having an affair with Sarah Palin? If your Paradise is more mainstream, say an island surrounded by sandy beaches and clear blue waters that serves more of an Asian-Pacific theme menu, try finding an Eve who is better suited to your Adam. There are plenty of physically fit women out there who love to scuba dive, snorkel, and eat seafood they haven’t harpooned with their own spears. In fact, it’s rare to find a woman whose ideal winter break consists of toting around a shotgun at the North Pole and setting up animal traps. If it doesn’t pain you too much, be a good sport and set this woman free. She’ll be much happier roaming the open planes with her hunting posse and wild animals.

The Rifleman says: I been huntin’ all my life, and I’ll tell you somethin’ about deer. Most people don’t know that bucks grow their antlers every year. While they’re growin’ they look fuzzy. Then, they starts to itch, so they rub off the fuzz on the trunk of a tree. Plus, they spin around in circles and piss in the hole. That’s how they mark their place. Now, little by little, the does come sniffin’ around, and by and by, they come sneakin’ up to piss there too. It’s all coy at first, but soon enough, the buck gets the scent and the chase is on. And deer, you see, are polygamous. That’s just the way it is in the woods. When they’re ruttin’ they got their minds on one thing, and one thing only. It’s the sex drive. Makes ’em all kinda crazy and they off and do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do the rest of the year. That’s why it’s the best time to shoot ’em. I don’t expect you to know all this kinda stuff, living in the city. Just that there’s lots and lots of stuff us country boys know about that we hardly never tell. And it’s been my happy experience that country girls are pretty much the same way.

That in mind, you do as you like.

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