Before I write any further, let me state that I had no hand in the following events other than that as innocent bystander; albeit an embarrassed one whose only participation was as a combination counselor and leader of the rescue. That stated, I prefer if no further reference is made of my name in regard to this matter and will vigorously thwart any attempt to bestow accolades upon me, no matter how well deserved.
Further preface is necessary so that all readers may fully understand the futility of the folly that follows. Our state's Game and Fish Department annually issues deer gun licenses several weeks prior to the first day of the season. It is a courtesy that allows hunters to plan ahead for that coveted time of the year.
In an effort to be as helpful as possible, Game and Fish also issues multiple advisories targeted at all deer gun license recipients well before the season opens. The message is aimed at reminding hunters to check and double-check their licenses to make certain they have the proper credentials for their intended deer hunting unit. Another more obvious purpose is to make certain deer hunters know where the heck their license is after having received it several weeks earlier and placing it in places long forgotten.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN - - Mike Raasakka, North Dakota Game and Fish Department district game warden, enjoys a laugh while issuing a replacement deer license just prior to the opening of the deer gun season.
Kim Fundingsland is a staff writer for The Minot Daily News.
As the following sentences will clearly illustrate, knowing where your license is and taking it with you are entirely two different things. Based on my recent experience, the details of which I am about to reveal, it has become glaringly obvious that Game and Fish now needs to give serious consideration to contacting all deer gun hunters moments before they leave the door on the way to the hunt. This would be for the purpose of issuing a "final, final reminder" that you put your darn license in your pocket and not leave it at home. I'm thinking this could be done by some sort of computer program somehow connected to a phone line. Telemarketers should probably be consulted on this.
Now to the business of explaining fully how none of the following was my fault. I was, you see, enroute to the wonderful Badlands of western North Dakota on the opening morning of the deer gun season. Once there, I would find and interview savvy deer hunters, take stirring photographs and otherwise bask in the glory of our great outdoors under the guise of capturing the essence of deer hunting for display elsewhere on these pages.
I had no luck in the draw and therefore had no deer license. My unnamed nephew did have a license. I consented to accompany him to his hunting unit, which could also be counted upon to provide suitable subjects for a riveting story about the opening of the deer season. Midway to the hunting unit in the far west, with the sun shining brightly and the noon hour opener fast approaching, he suddenly struck the dashboard with both hands and exclaimed, "Oh no!"
This, I immediately assumed, meant he forgot to put on his socks that day or had neglected to pack the proper ammunition for his vaunted firearm. It was worse. Much worse. The deer gun license that he had placed in a place where he would be certain not to forget it ... was forgotten!
To my infinite amusement he began rattling off a myriad of excuses as to why his license was now 100 miles distant. None are worthy of repetition here. Soon his voice began to lack confidence and there was visible trembling as he sunk deeper and deeper into the seat in which he was sitting.
Fearing for his very health, I suggested he call a state game warden to request a replacement license. This, I warned him, might be a lengthy process due to the other duties of the day that a busy and dedicated warden must perform. Nevertheless, with the wonderful help of Tribal Game and Fish in New Town and a finely functioning computer, my sullen companion was soon armed with several phone numbers that could possibly lead to a solution that would allow him to legally remain in the field.
After adding immensely to his cell phone bill, the only viable options appeared to be driving to Dickinson in the hopes of securing a replacement license, or returning home and missing the opener entirely. Our troubled hunter's troubles were relieved when a friendly game warden returned a phone call and consented to assist. This involved considerable back-tracking and time, but eventually resulted in the acquiring of a replacement license.
Now, pressed for time, we continued on our merry way until such time as it became necessary to find a quaint little roadway, away from busy pavement, where we could let our dogs relieve themselves and stretch a bit. The day was to be an outing for them as well.
It was during this otherwise pleasant stop that the dogs chose to roll in something so furiously odoriferous that words cannot adequately explain. Since they were in kennels inside our vehicle we were forced to endure the unimaginable until we reached Watford City and secured an ample supply of soap. I admit to being somewhat culpable here, having removed my dog emergency kit from my vehicle a few days previous. However, it was not I who directed the dogs to endeavor to imitate a putrid polecat.
Yes, opening day proved to be one filled with less-than-fond memories, no memory, and a newly found appreciation for breathable air. I wonder what next year will bring.