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The thrill of the hunt
(for man and woman)

by Ann Ipock

Seeing as how we just stuffed ourselves at Thanksgiving and are now hurtling toward the Christmas season, an amazing conclusion recently came to me: We humans are all born hunters — not just men. It’s true.

All across America, men and women are preparing right now for their particular hunt: Men are buying hunting licenses —depending on the locale and date, it might be for deer, quail, dove or duck — but women are also preparing.

The slight difference is we women aren’t searching for wild animals; we’re searching for wild bargains! And though we don’t have a paper hunting license, we often have a plastic hunting license: a.k.a. Master Card, Visa, American Express, and Discover Card, followed closely by our debit cards. And, when all else fails — cash.

I’ve noticed that this male hunting frenzy can be complicated or simple. Case in point: A few days ago, a friend described to me his upcoming trip to a hunting club which was once a rice plantation. By day, he and his friends dress in hunting attire to hunt for quail. By night, they “dress to the nines” when dinner is served promptly at 8 p.m.

They also have comfy rooms, each with their own full bath and wet bar. They are waited on hand and foot, and want for nothing. Out in “the wild,” they are led to their prey by hunting dogs and/or horses.

Though my husband, Russell, is not a hunter — he’s a golfer — my father is, so I’m familiar with Dad’s routine. He has spent winters past in Gunnison, Col., hunting for elk; and in Sheridan, Mont., hunting for antelope. Dad has to “apply” for these hunts a year in advance, by way of a lottery — a smart and sound environmental plan, which ensures the wildlife population is not depleted. If he is lucky enough to be selected, Dad pores over Cabelos and L.L. Bean catalogs, ordering the latest gear and gizmos to make his journey complete. He awaits the big day much like a child at Christmas. These are examples of complicated hunts.

On the other hand, my brother-in-law, Keith Huxley, just calls up a hunting buddy late on a Thursday night, and make plans over a cold beer and a fat cigar. Twelve hours later, Keith is driving to the duck blind (in his rusty old pick-up truck). Later, he’ll be heard saying to his friend, “Sheezam! Ju see that?” Then they come home stinky and sweaty, bleary-eyed and exhausted, but proud of their “prize:” a duck, a quail, whatever — which they promptly stick in their freezers and their wives promptly ignore, because most of the women I know have no desire to cook that stuff. Ever.

Running parallel, the female hunting experience can also be complicated or simple. Some women mark Thanksgiving as the beginning of the season. They make plans months ahead to fly to New York, D.C. or Atlanta with “the girls.” While there, they dine at their favorite four-star restaurants, take in a play or two, and map out their strategy to hit the Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue sales. All shopped-out, spent-out and worn-out, they return home with their “prizes” — Christmas gifts.

On a simpler scale, I call my friend Carolyn the night before and say, “Did you know Tuesday Morning is re-opening tomorrow?” In less than 12 hours, we’re inside the store, bumping into the other dazed-and-crazed shoppers, filling up buggies faster than you can sing the first line of “Silver Bells.”

This activity is, of course, followed by a gourmet lunch. (See, that’s another thing men and women have in common. We love to eat, but we love for someone else to do the cooking.)

Another notation within this hunting arena is that women and men seem to have the same goals: To spend quality time with good friends, enjoy exciting and fun conversation, and come home with something we’re proud of. Call it a hobby, R&R or downtime — but we all need a diversion from the hustle and hassle of stress from work, family, health and financial issues.

I have noticed, however, one major difference in the male/female hunting comparison, that being the lingo. For example, they’re standing in duck blinds and we’re standing at sidewalk sales. They’re loaded for bear and we’re loaded for bargains. They’re staying at the hunting club and we’re staying at the Holiday Inn. They’re wearing Rocky boots and we’re wearing Reeboks ’cause — everybody hear me now — ‘WHEN YOUR FEET HURT, YOU HURT ALL OVER!’

They’re sporting a “Remington 30-06 and we’re sporting a Ralph Lauren 20” x 30” pocketbook. They might bag a deer, but our bag also holds something dear. They’re talking “the thrill of the hunt” and we’re talking “the thrill of the sale — 70 percent off of half-price, plus a 20 percent markdown at the register (before 11 a.m.), and a coupon for 10 percent means “’I SAVED HOW MUCH?’”

Yeah, the more I think about it: Men may be from Mars and women may be from Venus (to borrow the title of the book by John Gray) — but this is also true: Men may like hunting and traipsing through the woods, but women like shopping and bringing home the best goods.

Happy hunting, all!


Ann M. Ipock, author of Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In The Southern State of Reality) can be reached at amipock@sc.rr.com.

Ann is a biweekly humor columnist with the Georgetown Times, South Carolina’s oldest newspaper.

Whether we are hearing about Ann’s unspeakable accident—the time she got the mayor’s mustache caught up in her dental hygiene polisher, her view on prissy Southern women who actually resort to toothpicks after meals—(those thick fake nails just can’t possibly remove spinach from one’s front teeth), or her frustration with sticking to a budget—the normally-$100 supper club night she hosted which turned into a $2400 remodeling job (blame it on the new carpet), we can only think of one thing to say, “Tell us more!”

Life Is Short, But It’s Wide (In the Southern State of Reality) is Ann’s second book of humor columns. Published by Carolina Avenue Press, the book was released in September, 2003. Her first book was entitled What Was It I Was Saying? She is a regular contributor to Sasee Magazine, and she also writes for Pee Dee Magazine, Strand, and Gateway Publications. She is active in community theatre, where her favorite role to date was that of Truvy Jones in Steel Magnolias. Her day job consists of being a home-based, self-employed medical transcriptionist for twelve years.

Visit Ann’s WEB SITE to read more of her delightful columns.


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