This morning as hunters go off on their quests to bag a buck, I thought that I’d share this piece I wrote several years ago.
Gray Ghosts of Pennsylvania
I was reminded of these ghostly creatures as I drove home from my daughter Amanda’s home after eating a wonderful evening meal of roast beef, whipped potatoes, and corn. There are several ways I could have driven, but I prefer to take the ones less traveled. At night, headlights from oncoming cars, especially those new bright-white ones, play havoc with my vision.
As I drove along a straight-away that was forested on one side and scattered homes on the other, suddenly one of those ghosts appeared in my headlights, moving at breakneck speed, barely missing the front end of my car. One second it was there and the next, it had disappeared into the darkness outside the beams of my headlights. It was almost as though I’d imagined it, but my racing heart told me otherwise.
My second reminder of these wraith-like creatures came last evening as I drove home after a meeting with friends, fellow writers, and a meal. I was again reminded of them by the sudden appearance and almost immediate disappearance of these woodland wraiths, twice on my journey home. Their reminders occurred at different, separate wooded areas.
By now, you’ve probably guessed the identity of these beasts to be the Pennsylvania whitetail deer. A gentle creature in most folks eyes, but a beast that can wreak havoc with a vehicle, destroy a summer garden, or browse into oblivion the landscaping around homes. Almost silent, these herbivores wander through the forests and suburbs with equal ease.
I do hunt, harvest, butcher, and eat their meat, actually preferring to do that that to purchase what is offered at the neighborhood stores. Their almost silent stealth-mode sometimes makes it difficult to locate them in the brown, leaf strewn woods. Their coloration camouflages them makes them difficult to see in the clutter and debris of the trees. Sleek and slender, juicy and tender, these are the gray ghosts of Pennsylvania.