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Your conscience calls at strange times

My son, Damon and I were cutting wood again last Saturday. There must be something wrong with people that spend most of their free time thinning out the dead timber, but we enjoy it.

My son, Damon and I were cutting wood again last Saturday. There must be something wrong with people that spend most of their free time thinning out the dead timber, but we enjoy it.

The temperature was hovering around 10 degrees below zero, so I had on enough clothes to mount an artic expedition. Damon was afraid if I slipped and fell, I would not be able to get back up. I looked like the Pillsbury dough boy, but I was warm. Eventually, the exposed skin of my face started to become numb. It was time for a break.

We jumped in the truck, shed a couple of layers of clothes, and let the warm air of the heater blow over us. It took a few minutes for my face to re-gain full function. We thought as long as we were burning gas to warm up, we might as well drive around, check on the wildlife and scout out old trees that need to be converted to firewood.

I was surprised at the number of animals that were out enjoying the sunny but brutally cold day. We saw a pair of squirrels, chasing each other around and scampering up trees not seeming to notice the cold. Next to the long hay field, a group of turkeys were scratching through the three or four inches of snow to get to the dropped acorns or the last of the grass and weed seeds buried beneath. There were 10 or 12 of them, all gobblers, working in what appeared to be a fairly well-organized line. We did not seem to bother them as they pecked and ate, but I bet they will be a lot more cautious in April.

At the end of the hay field, I stopped and looked into the timber off to our right. A whole herd of deer, mostly does and fawns, were just over the break of the hill. I know they saw and heard us approach, but they all stood still, watching and hoping we had not seen them. Doe season is still open.

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We have all seen someone who is really getting into the music play the air guitar. Hunters are not that much different. When a person does not have a gun with them and sees the perfect shot, they pull up the air rifle, pretending to shoot what can not be shot, due to the lack of anything with which to shoot it. I had just pulled up my pretend weapon of choice when Damon's cell phone range. He knew I would soon be yelling "BANG, BANG" at the deer and signaled for me to be quiet while he answered the phone. No matter how old your children become, parents are still able to embarrass them, especially if the parent is leaning out of the truck window yelling "BANG" when the son is trying to talk on the phone.

One sentence into his conversation was enough to bring a giant smile on his face and an urgent signal for me to be quiet. A friend of his, who also happens to be the local Department of Natural Resources game warden, was on the phone. I was in the midst of pretending to break the law by shooting a pretend gun out of a vehicle and got caught. I was never meant to be a criminal. I know I could not break the game laws if I tried. My conscience would get to me, even if it came on a cell phone call.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.

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