Cedar arrows are never really, completely, totally, absolutely straight. What they are, all of them, when you get right down to the nitty gritty, honest truth of the matter, is crooked. Some of them are pretty straight, and some are kind of straight, and some are mostly straight. Which means that all of them are, frankly, crooked.
Now, I like cedar arrows. Since I shoot longbows and recurves, it seems wrong to shoot aluminum or graphite arrows, anyway, but I shoot cedar shafts because I like them. They’re like a lot of people – when you just glance at them they look fine, but if you get to looking close you find the flaws. It’s best not to look too closely at people or cedar arrows. You’ll be happier that way.
I was thinking about my arrows being just a little crooked last Saturday, while sitting in the treehouse my boys and I built near my house about ten years ago. Saturday was National Hunting and Fishing Day, and it also happened to be the opening day of bow hunting season. I hate to let a holiday go to waste.
The treehouse has two levels. The first one is about seven feet off the ground, and the second is about 14 feet high. The top floor has a little porch that overlooks a deer trail, so I figured that would be a good place from which to fling arrows toward deer. I rarely hit deer with arrows, but I like to keep them alert. It’s a public service I provide. My contribution to the preservation of wildlife in Mason County.
The treehouse also has a good tin roof, if you’re not too particular about the definition of ‘good.’ It has holes, but if you pay attention to where you sit, you can avoid the drips as long as it doesn’t rain too hard. The best place to sit in the treehouse while it’s raining is somewhere else.
But the main attribute the treehouse offers, as a deer stand, is convenience. The older I get, the less I like to travel on the heel-toe freight line. The treehouse is within rock chunking distance of my back door, although I rarely chunck rocks at it.
The only other thing you need to know about my treehouse is that it’s built in a little oak mott, and has an old telephone pole at each corner. The southeast corner post is a handy spot to mount a Cuddeback brand game camera, which I started doing about midsummer. And found out that I look really funny when I’m squatting in front of the game camera, trying to get it open. I also found that I had several deer sneaking by the treehouse at odd hours of the day and night, and one of them was a pretty nice ten-point buck. Which was another incentive to use the treehouse for a deer stand. I like keeping bucks alert more than does.
The game camera also told me approximately exactly what time of day the deer generally came by. The pictures are all date and time stamped, which tells me exactly when the deer are there, but the camera’s internal clock has to be set correctly for it to do that, which means that, since I’m the one who sets the clock, it tells me approximately exactly when the deer are there. It’s sort of close, but NASA won’t be asking me to calibrate their launch computers anytime soon, I don’t think.
Anyway, I sat in my deer stand/treehouse Saturday evening and watched the ten-point buck and his smaller buddy as they alertly made their way toward me, and when I looked down at my guaranteed crooked cedar arrow, which was nocked onto my bowstring, I wondered when Texas had begun having earthquakes. The broadhead was bouncing around like a pea in a paint shaker. And then I realized we weren’t having an earthquake, I was just nervous about shooting at a deer with a bow for the first time in over a decade.
It’s a little known fact that crooked arrows don’t fly straight. And when you compound that little problem with a near fatal case of buck fever, and you’re shooting almost straight down at a deer 14 feet below your treehouse porch, there’s a better than even chance you’re going to shoot an arrow through your foot.
Somehow I managed to calm down enough to shoot the buck, which promptly ran off with my crooked cedar arrow. I sat down to wait the obligatory half hour before I went and looked for him, and wondered about the probability of a blind hog actually finding an acorn. And while I was doing that some does came by, and I decided to try for one of them.
All I can say is that if there are any blind hogs around your place, you’d better hide your acorns. I managed to hit the doe, too, and she decided to give it up right there. And when I went to look for the buck, I found him less than 100 yards away. I had not shot an arrow at a deer in over ten years, and now I’d shot two deer in 16 minutes. That doesn’t happen. Not to me.
I’d take credit for my great shooting, but the truth is that if my arrows had been straight I probably would’ve missed both deer. That’s what I like about cedar arrows – they never shoot quite straight, but sometimes they miss in exactly the right direction . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who never looks for acorns. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org