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The Buck Stops Here
Rick Reilly
October 25, 1999
America's deer came up losers again this year on opening day of hunting season, getting trounced 11,476 to 1. The lone victory for the deer came outside Stump, Ohio, when a 33-year-old accountant was accidentally shot 17 times by his friends despite wearing an orange hat, vest, pants and boots plus a sandwich board that read, IT'S ME, STAN.
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October 25, 1999

The Buck Stops Here

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Tell me about it. You know, I hear all these guys talking about the "sport" of hunting. I heard a guy say he never apologizes after he fills one of my guys with a bucketful of lead, but he always remembers to "thank the deer for the contest." Wait a minute. What contest? This ain't a contest anymore than the Exxon Valdez versus shrimp was a contest. Hey, you hunters want a contest? Hunt us with spears or knives. Hell, we'll give you rocks, too! I'd love to see one of these Stay Puft marshmallow men comin' at me with a Ginsu in each hand. My old lady would be cookin' humanburgers for a month!

Coach, there have been rumblings in your locker room about needing a change of leadership. What's your reaction to that?

Look, I'm not trying to pass the buck, but I can't think for our guys. Hunters are out there trying to pattern us—you know, keeping notes on where we hang out, where we eat, where we like to rub the old forehead now and again—and our guys are lettin' 'em do it! A lot of our guys are in a rut. What we need to do is pattern them. You know, follow a guy around. Where does he play golf? Where does he work out? Where does he stop off on the way home from work? Surprise one of these sonsabitches outside the old corner tavern with a 12-pointer right in the keister, the rest of 'em will think twice about coming into our backyard, I'll guarantee you that!

Any chance for a comeback?

We're not totally out of it yet. It's a long season. I'll tell you something, though. It would help our morale a damn sight if you guys would cut us a break once in a while.

Who?

The media. Do you know how depressing it is to pick up Field & Stream and read about hunting "success rates"? I mean, success is kind of a sticky word, ain't it? And talking about the deer "harvest"? Harvest? Hey, I know lots of farmers, and I ain't seen one of 'em yet use a gross of .280 shells to bring in the corn, you with me?

All right then, we'll close on a high note. How about that lone opening day win? Is there at least some satisfaction in that?

Well, it was kinda lucky. But ol' Stan'll look good over the fire-place at the union hall, won't he?

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