I have come up with another really good idea for a Christmas present for your wife or girlfriend. If you are a duck hunter, simply cut the legs off a couple of mallard drakes at the first joint, ones that are bright orange, and join them together with the feet flat on a table surface, each one pointing a different direction. Either glue them together or tie them together with some clear monofilament fishing line and stand them up with the top part of the legs sticking up and the feet down. Then find a little candle to sit on the top of them. What woman doesn’t like candles? And tell me one lady you know who has a mallard leg candleholder? You could use three deer legs the same way to make a little higher platform that your wife could sit a bowl of fruit on. But you would definitely have to let them dry outside for some time, so they wouldn’t be ready for Christmas. Maybe Valentines Day. I’m sending both ideas to Martha Stewart.
There are other ideas I have talked about in years past, like the ear-rings and necklaces made from wild turkey spurs, but lots of ladies fortunate enough to have husbands who are turkey hunters already have those. There are problems with those. I remember one year when I went to church on Sunday just after Christmas and you could look around and spot different women with turkey spur earrings hanging down. It is best to use the spurs from two year old gobblers, as the ones from older turkeys get very sharp, and can scratch or puncture a lady's neck.
You may never have thought of this, but if your deer antlers are not very large in diameter as all of mine aren’t (usually about a half an inch at the base), you can cut cross sections out of each antler about a quarter inch thick, drill a hole in each and make a necklace out of those, which is very similar to a pearl necklace with really big pearls if you polish them. If you are creative, you can make all kinds of Christmas gifts for a wife or lady friend out of deer antlers, things like back-scratchers, etc. but you need to recognize that anything made from a deer antler of any size, such as a back-scratcher, can be used as a weapon.
If I were attuned to this Christmas commercialization nonsense, I would shamelessly advise ladies to buy one of my books for their husbands, or maybe a 10-year subscription to my magazine. But I am not stooping that low. You might do such a thing for your husbands on Valentines Day, but I do not expect ladies to do what one did just this morning, when I received her request for a magazine gift subscription for her husband complete with a card saying, “..For my wonderful husband, whom I will love forever.” I hesitate to use her name, but that is no joke, a lady actually did that. When he gets that magazine and the card with it, her husband is going to figure he has the best wife in the whole world. But I am not saying all ladies should do the exact same thing. If you want to go get your husband some little trivial meaningless gift instead of one of my magazines or books, I understand.
I have little advice for ladies at Christmas time because I am a regular grizzled old outdoorsman who knows little about shopping malls and ordering stuff through the innernet, or what the heck ever you call it. I only go shopping once a year, on Dec. 24. I advise the grizzled old outdoorsmen out there to do the same thing, on account of, all the stores will throw everything they have a lot of on some kind of special sale. That is due to the fear they will have a bunch of stuff left on Dec. 26. On Dec. 24, there may be a few things gone, but not many.
Mostly, in anticipation of getting rich, stores get way too much stuff and then don’t know what to do with it all. So after hunting ducks on the morning of Dec. 24 and then picking ducks ‘til late afternoon, I go Christmas shopping for my daughters and Gloria Jean about three or four in the evening, and there are bargains galore.
For the two ladies who work for me, Sondra and Dorothy, I buy a $10 gift card to the Dollar General store, where $10 will buy more than anywhere else in the Ozarks. I do that because I do not want one thinking that I spent more time on one gift than the other. You cannot make two deer antler back-scratchers exactly the same, and you can’t make a deer antler necklace for one that is exactly like what you made for the other. Green-eyed jealousy intervenes and then it takes months for the two of them to be civil to the other during the workday. Last Christmas, Sondra took that gift card and bought two months worth of toilet paper and had enough left over to get a gallon of milk. I think Dorothy bought a whole gallon of perfume.
I hope this has been of help to the thousands of men and women who read this column on a regular basis. Mostly I recommend that you stay the heck away from town, cut yourself a cedar tree off the neighbors place and build a nice fire on the stove and make some fudge. Speaking of neighbors, it is nice to remember them at Christmas, and it is easy to have a half dozen more deer antler back-scratchers if you have that many neighbors. Send a nice card along too, with a piece of fudge in it.
Remember that if you just get completely stumped about Christmas presents, you might consider the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Magazine or one of my many outdoor books, which I will be glad to sign and inscribe and deliver to wherever you live. That’s not a real problem, as we have never had to deliver many in the past. Here on Lightnin’ Ridge, we hate this Christmas commercialism, so I am anxious to help with your Christmas gift dilemma. I will have a few extra deer-antler back scratchers and necklaces, a couple of pairs of turkey spur ear-rings, several jars of canned green beans from my garden, and some persimmon jelly. In addition, my basement is full of antiques. Call in advance or I might be out in the woods.
Write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo 65613 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org The website is www.larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com
Last week I wrote about chronic wasting disease which is the dreaded “mad deer disease” in wild deer. I received a call from the executive director of a deer-farming group who wants me to look into some things before finishing the subject in another column, so I will do that, probably writing about it again after Christmas. I have information from an employee of an Ozark deer farm who says the operation frequently treats bucks with a two very toxic chemicals which are not to be given to food animals, and then within days, gives the meat to the Conservation Department’s program which distributes deer meat to needy families. If this is happening, it needs to be stopped, as those chemicals could do harm to anyone who eats the meat. More to come on all of this, as soon as I can look into these things.