Monday, April 4, 2011

The Macabre Jackalope: A Tribute

   When I was in first grade, I was the shy kid.  Yes, I know that this may shock some readers; especially those who believe that the Writing Huntress kicks major ass and takes multitudes of names in a idealistic Chuck Norris fashion.  Today, I am pretty outgoing.  I'll tell anyone anything about my life in the first five minutes we meet and after ten, you've become my best friend.  But, like I said, it was not always this way.

   I was the new kid at St. John's the Evangelist in Greece, NY.  My first grade class, which consisted of 16 kids, was filled with youngins who went to daycare together, years before kindergarten even started.  So, for the new, short, freckled girl, life was a little tough.  I had attended a year of public kindergarten (okay, two; for reasons I'll keep disclosed until I'm really reeling for something to write about) which had unintended consequences.  One being that I loved their lunches.  This problem is only understood if you went to private institutions in Greece, NY; their lunches, to be crude about it, sucked.  Secondly,  I was being forced to make all new friends.  Instead of being a bubbly, freckled, short girl, I was the silent, speckled, vertically challenged girl.  I was terribly shy so it took what seemed like forever until I found a good group of friends who more or less stuck with me right up until college.

   I figured that my shy, hermit self had been done away with forever once I accumulated those friends back in school.  However, I felt the familiar pang of loneliness when I entered the blogging community.  With HLYH, I knew what I was getting into.  Trying twice before with unsuccessful results, (yes, I have two more blogs somewhere on here.. if you find them, let me know) I knew that getting at least ten followers would be difficult, let alone a continual readership; near impossible.  After a month of asking myself, Who in the world would read the nonsensical ramblings of a short huntress?, I began pursuing other blogs for help.

   I found I Don't Wear Pink Camo to the Woods a few weeks after HLYH was born.  I followed, but never really comment on anything, fearing that I would insult or be somewhere I was not wanted.  Feeling silly, I started writing small comments.  Lo and Behold, Kari, author and fellow sister of the bow, followed in return.  We started what would be a short but meaningful blog friendship in the months that followed. While it was a blessing to have a fellow, down-to-earth huntress to talk to, I found that Kari's writing spoke to me louder than anything.  Her blog taught me what it meant to find one's own voice and of course, sticking to that voice. 

   Last month, Kari needed a week off from writing so she approached me about writing a small piece for her blog.  Flattered, I responded that I would do my best. I began writing and then stopped, deleted what I wrote and then began once more.  Unfortunately, the words would just not come so I bade my computer sweet dreams then proceeded to slumberland.  The next morning, I woke up next to my computer, fingers still on the keyboard; a post lay supine, sprawled out for all to see.  Reading through the text, I figured it was good (a little too good, but that is besides the point at this junction) so I sent it along to Kari.  It went a little something like this: 

The Macabre Jackalope

Let me start off by saying, I know many of you have heard the rumors. And yes, Kari’s fantastic readership, they are true.

While I can’t believe that I am the root of the entire scandal, I figured that my secret would come out sooner or later.  Hence, when Kari gave me the chance to come clean on her blog, I was hesitant to say the least.  My secret is one that could ruin my hunting career.  My boyfriend may leave me and even my dogs may hate me.  But when I figured that given my devastatingly good looks and blooming blogging career, procuring a new man as well as canine friends would be relatively simple, I told Kari that I would indeed explain myself here on I Don’t Wear Pink Camo to the Woods. 

First, give me a chance to dispel some of the gossip that has been circulating.  No, friends, I am not best friends with Chuck Norris, although it would be incredible if I were. Also, it is completely unverified that I was the one who lived amongst a pride of lions for three years. While I do have a scar that slightly resembles a lion claw across my face; it was not me. Finally, I did not kill a polar bear with my bare hands.  This notion is completely impossible, as a polar bear is a massive, white angry ball of man-killing fur.  I hate to disappoint those thrill seekers of my fellowship, no I did not get that bear with my hands, it was with my feet.

Now to the stuff that you all came here for; the truth.

And to be perfectly honest reader, the truth is, I am a skilled, successful and deadly jackalope hunter.

I hear your scoffs and gasps of disbelief through my silent computer.  You think that jackalopes are mythical creatures.  Well let me tell you, madam or sir, you are wrong.

Jackalopes are macabre beings which look like rabbits.  They have great, massive antlers that protrude atop their malicious domes.  But do not be misinformed, readers, while they look as cuddly as teddy bears, they are the most ferocious evildoers in the forests in which they dwell. Jackalopes have been known to take down entire herds of antelope, slaughtering whatever comes in their way.  They are the modern nomads of the animal kingdom, meandering from place to place in search of death and destruction. The jackalope has no concrete history as they are so ancient; any real history has long since disappeared.  There are naysayers who believe that the jackalope is a novelty, faux animal that is used for silly mounts.  However, I would love to know what these insane people think of my story.

It is in the essential nature of a jackalope that makes it a difficult animal to hunt. Their constant, erratic migrations make it practically impossible to know exactly where and when the hairy little buggers will show up. Many a hunter is quick to give up; as such odds against actually harvesting their target grow larger as the time to hunt itself diminishes.

Legal hunting times vary. But before getting into the logistics of such an undertaking, you should know that not everyone can hunt this beautiful creature.  Fortunately, I am one of the lucky ones. Obtaining a jackalope hunting license equals the rarity of harvesting a 67-point buck or purple-striped pterodactyl.  Jackalopes were a protected species until their over-population and subsequent fatal destruction forced the powers that be into instituting a special jackalope draft. My granddad was one of the lucky few who took advantage of the 1941 initiative. He put his name in and after signing more waivers than he did during WWII, he received this permit:

After possessing this piece of paper, he was ordered to put it in a frame and carry the whole shebang around with him, wherever he went; even out of season. Those jackalopes tranquilized by his pellets still adorn the walls of the house my nana and granddad shared.  So, I had a big reputation to live up to when the permit was finally put in my hands.

I remember my first kill like it was yesterday.

Tradition dictates that an individual’s first jackalope hunt must be a solitary mission. Hence, I figured out exactly when the full moon would fall and planned my trip to Wyoming.  My nana grew up in the little hovel of Cheyenne so I ventured there first.

I scouted for days. Again, as I said, jackalopes migrate so it was hit or miss as to if they were around.  Fortunately, I met with a discrete group of jackalope hunters in the area.  Gathered in a local greasy spoon so dark it looked like the sun never rose, the group was hesitant to talk to me at first.  An outsider, they figured, that is until I flashed my permit. Suddenly, each hunter yelled to talk over the next; each giving as much advice as they could. One fellow allowed me to hunt on his track of land known for jackalope activity.

In the nights that followed, I baited and set up my blind.  Baiting is relatively simple, as jackalope kryptonite is little bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch with whole milk and a side of zebra muffins. The zebra must be freshly harvested, within the last two weeks. In the same respect, if the milk is anything less than whole, the horned beasts will see it as a threat to their fat reserves, leave the area and never return. 

My bait was set, now all I had to do was wait.  On the third morning before the full moon, I set out to sit in my blind. Normal deer or waterfowl hunters know that blinds conceal by utilizing natural vegetation.  However, these edifices will just spook the jackalopes, so the adage, “more obvious the better” is best strictly followed.  My first jackalope blind was a novice approach; its lime-green, pink polka dotted fa├žade could be seen from space.

Jumping at every snapped twig, I barely blinked as the hours ticked by, slowly but surely toward midnight. As night fell and my little bowls of CTC began disappearing in the dark, the sound of jackalopes resonated through the woods.  Their screeches, whimpers and belches were heard long before their grotesque forms scuttled into view.

It is imperative that when one hunts jackalopes, one must think like a jackalope. Therefore, I ate some CTCs.  This is a tactic employed by many a hunter, as the noise acts as an audible signal to put the jackalopes at ease and illustrate that the cereal is not poisoned. Once the herd took note of my signal, they set upon the food.  Thankfully, the herd was small enough and they ate every morsel.  I set out a large food plot in order to put the animals in a food coma which worked like clockwork.  As soon as the last scrap of zebra was consumed, each jackalope stopped where they stood and fell asleep. 

It is mentioned in the permit that one should use tranquilizer pellets and a slingshot to bag them.  This tactic went out of fashion years ago, as estimating exactly how much tranquilizer to use was tricky as was trying to signal one out who may or may not be female without scattering the rest of the group. My over-feeding of the entire group works better given that I have a couple of moments to chose a male out of the group.  Which is exactly what I did. 

Creeping out of the blind, I had a couple moments before the vibrations of my footsteps roused the angry hoard.  The biggest male, a 4x4 lay inches from my feet.  I netted him as quickly as possible, made the fatal shot, and then ran as fast I could away to the blind.  Behind me, the bloodthirsty assemblage shook off their coma and took immediate notice their leader was gone.  Just as I crossed out of the woods, the group took flight. As with any jackalope hunt, the group is immediately incensed when one of their number goes missing. The beasts will go to great lengths to get the body back so if a hunter values his life, he will run as quickly to the nearest car and drive at least 100 miles away. Which, again, is precisely what I did.

Once my adrenaline stopped pumping I took a gander at my freshly harvested, supposedly “mythical” creature.  I knew my granddad was looking down from the happy hunting ground, proud that his granddaughter finally got herself a jackalope.

Well now that I’ve dispelled the rumors and told my story, I feel a sense of inner peace I’ve been searching for since I began hunting the beasts. And even more so given my public audience.

I do hope that you, Kari’s readership, will explore the more mythical creatures amongst you and begin to dispel rumors even as they hatch.  Simply because that while you may think you know everything about something or someone, it may shock you what lays beneath the surface.

With that, I bid you adieu.  Until next time, dear friends. 

   I Don't Wear Pink Camo to the Woods will be closing down sometime here shortly.  Kari has had a great run, and I was blessed to be a part of her project, even just for a short time.  I wanted to keep this story up as a tribute to a blogging compatriot who helped me find my voice.  This blog will be sorely missed by HLYH and of course, those who follow Kari's blog with the same zealousness as I did.  If you have a moment, be sure to check out her stories before they disappear, you'll be glad you did.


Trey said...

Kari helped me get my start also. She was one of the first to leave me comments on a regular basis. Sometimes I felt like I was writing just for Kari! I hate to see her go and I have told her so. She is one of the most supportive bloggers out there and she will be missed by many!

kmurray said...

Thanks so much for the kind words!

I'm glad I could help you out in finding your voice! Yours is a good one so keep using it and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise!

LB @ BulletsandBiscuits said...

Kari will definitely leave a void in bloggerville... but she will be back! She won't be able to stand all of us having fun without her ;)

heyBJK said...

Nice tribute, LJ! And great guest post for Kari's blog! I hate that she's retiring her blog, but I understand why. I'll definitely miss it as will many others.

She'd better not quit Twitter or we'll have a big problem then. :-)

Murphyfish said...

A fitting post me dear, Kari's outlook and humour will be sorely missed here in Wales, thank god for e-mails and twitter!
Well I guess it's up to you me dear to carry on with her legacy - no pressure then ;-)