Thereís a crispness in the air and a twinkle in Leeís eye that letís you know WV bow
season is soon to start. Heís checking his bow once and heís checking it twice, making
sure the arrows fit all sturdy and nice. Rhyme sounds sort of familiar, doesnít it? Forget
it, this isnít a Christmas story.
Heís visiting his hunting buddies more regular then usual, practicing trial runs because Lee
hunts in a pack, a pack of goats. Like the wolf of long ago, Lee gathers his bow, his
arrow, and his hunting pack of goats to victoriously bring home the grub.
We are overloaded with deer on our place. One evening we counted fifty in one of our
three acre fields. They eat down the hay fields, the pasture, and the garden. In
self-defense we asked bow hunters to come to our place to hunt. We thought that this
would handle the deer problem.
All we got was complaints. "Every time I go out into the woods, your goats hunt me
down. You know, that billy stinks to high heavens!" Another frequent complaint was,
"They all bedded down around my tree stand. I had to wait an hour for them to get up
and move off before I could get down."
Camouflaged or not, our goats could find them. It wasnít unusual to see our goats moving
along the hill hollering, bells ringing, looking happier then all get out. When I focused in
on what they were following, it was always a dejected deer hunter, in camouflage, black
on his face, sort of dragging his bow.
It was obvious that these guys werenít going to help us with our deer problem. So, my
brother pestered Lee to start hunting again. He even gave Lee an old bow that he didnít
need any longer. Lee use to hunt and fish a lot until he met something more interesting.
Me. Now it was up to him to defend our farm and his loved one (me) from marauding
deer, determined to eat us out of house and home.
I can remember it like it was four years ago, because thatís when it was. Lee gathering up
his bow, arrows, going out into the chilly morning air, perfectly confident that he could
slip past our goats and get to hunting. It wasnít long before he heard a shrill "baaaa,"
which translates into, "There he is, guys!" and at least thirty goats rushing him. The rest
would have followed, but they were in different pastures and bitterly complaining because
Lee wasnít in their pasture.
Giving it up as a good try, Lee decided to just go for a walk. All the deer have been
scared from the area with the goats hollering, bells ringing, well, you get the idea. Wrong.
The deer were still in the area and they were ignoring Lee! They were use to the loud
goats crashing through the brush, the brisk, pungent smell of the billy. They didnít see
anything out of the ordinary, not even that one particularly tall goat. Every now and then
a deer would spot Lee in the herd, but the goats start butting heads, eating the brush, and
the deer relax, use to the commotion of the goats. That season Lee got his quota of deer.
Now Lee gathers up his bow and arrows, gets a warm vest on, and announces, "Going
hunting. Be back in a few minutes." He strides out to the goat pasture and hollers for
Daisy, the lead nanny (canít say doe in this article because youíll get confused if I mean
deer or goats). She brings the herd and with his hunting pack around him they start off.
The goats happily voicing what fun this is.
Gun season presented a different problem. The goats had to be penned up for fear that a
"hunter" would accidentally shoot one of our goats. Lee had to put on his orange outfit
and go out into the closed goat pen, throw open the gate, and have his buddies follow
him. Gleefully, they went. But, the first time Lee shot the deer rifle, if there had been one
rock present all the goats would have went under it. Instead, they scattered in sixty
different directions even though there was only thirty goats.
By that time Lee would have got his deer and surprisingly, the goats got use to the big
boom of the gun. When he would go out to their pen, they would eye him like they were
saying, "hmmmm, wonder what we are shooting with today." Soon it didnít matter if it
was with a bow or a gun; they got to go for a walk with their buddy.
The one problem with hunting with goat buddies is that at the wrong moment theyíll want
to come up and rub their head on you for a petting. Itís hard aiming when your gun is
getting jiggled around. And, sometimes Lee is standing there all poised, ready to shoot,
and the goats spot a good bush and wander off, leaving Lee out in the open. But, when
Lee wants to bring his hunting buddies home, I donít mind a bit.