PAT NEAL COLUMN: The end of hunting season

AND SO ANOTHER hunting season passes astern.

I hope your season went better than mine, a washed up shipwreck of failure and blame.

Things started out OK. This was the year I was finally going to get a deer.

I read a lot of outdoor magazines to get ready. They said you should do some preseason scouting to get a really big buck.

So I watched a number of low-budget hunting videos that stressed the importance of setup, execution and being on a private ranch in Texas, where you can shoot baited deer like rats at the dump from the comfort of your heated blind.

That sounded good to me. Unfortunately deer hunting on the North Olympic Peninsula is seldom like that.

I used to enjoy good deer hunting in the Olympic Mountains, but that has been ruined.

I blame the government. By failing to address global warming, they have allowed the glaciers to melt.

The decreasing weight of the glaciers, with the collision of the tectonic plates deep beneath the Earth’s crust, have caused the Olympic Mountains to rise and become much steeper and higher than they were in my younger days.

Hunting the lowlands is no picnic either.

I had some equipment failures.

I tried some of the new hunting clothes that trap the human odors inside so they don’t leak out and spook the deer.

Unfortunately, when you combine an odor trapping suit with a double helping of deer camp chili, you have a recipe for disaster you won’t read about in any outdoor magazine.

The last day of deer season found me driving around looking like a pumpkin in an orange vest. That’s how you can spot the real losers.

Hunters are legally required to wear tacky orange accessories. It makes it easier for the game wardens to spot them.

Anyone still wearing hunter orange on the last day of the season is a dud as a hunter.

It was OK. Hunting is all about family to me.

On the last Sunday of deer season, I went and sprang Granny from the care center. I told the warden we were going to church.

Granny didn’t care where she was going as long as it was out on the road.

She didn’t seem to mind when I told her we were going to do a little road hunting through the suburbs of the Dungeness Valley on the way to church.

“I thought people went hunting in the woods,” Granny said.

“Too many poachers in the woods,” I said.

Then I told her about the plate tectonics thing, but Granny never cared about science.

Just then I spotted a trophy deer. It was a three point if you counted the nose and both ears, bedded down in someone’s front yard.

I told Granny to go knock on their door and ask them if “Sonny” could shoot their pet deer, say they were running low on fresh meat at the Home, or something.

Granny thought that was a bad idea, until I said we could go to the casino once I got my deer.

What was I supposed to do? Ask for permission to hunt myself? Take a look at the mug at the top of this page.

Now picture cute little Granny, all dolled up in her Sunday-go to-meeting best. Who is more likely to get permission to hunt?

There’s a hunting tip you won’t get in a magazine.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of anti-hunter attitude out there. I didn’t get my deer.

I took Granny to the casino anyway. She won enough money to buy me a steak.


Pat Neal is a North Olympic Peninsula fishing guide and humorist. His column appears every Wednesday.

Pat can be reached at 360-683-9867 or, or see his blog at

The “Pat Neal Wildlife Show” is on radio KSQM 91.5 FM ( at 9 a.m. Saturdays, repeated at 6 p.m. Tuesdays.

For those who want to see Pat in person, he’ll be signing his “WildLife” books, cards and CDs at Sequim Wrap and Parcel Post, 489 W. Washington St., No. 11, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

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