Assault on Blinky

Nov 11, 2010

Witnessing a father and his son desperately trying to scare Blinky, my mechanical deer, out of a field before someone shot at him had certainly provided a moment of hysterical entertainment for Scott and myself.

Blinky was performing his duties just as we hoped he would.

There was no harm or violation committed by the men's actions. They simply were trying to save a Bambi from getting blown away by a night hunter. Since they lived just down the road, they knew the place was a local hot spot for jackers. Their intention had been to save Blinky from a violent demise. If nothing else, their actions had been commendable.

A few nights later, Blinky was placed in the same spot. He stood in the bright moonlight, a couple of hundred yards away from the highway. Several vehicles traveled through the area early in the evening, but no one had shown any interest in the deer silhouette in the middle of the grassy field.

However, that all changed at about 1:30 in the morning when a vehicle approached. At that early hour, the flow of traffic had all but come to an end. We had been struggling to stay awake and suddenly it looked as if we might have a little action.

As the truck cruised by, its brake lights came on. Obviously, the driver had spotted Blinky. The vehicle slowed considerably and within seconds, the driver turned around and slowly came back for another pass.

Once more, the brake lights came on, indicating the occupant was definitely interested in Blinky. Suddenly that urge to go to sleep had completely disappeared. It had been replaced by a sudden rush of adrenaline in anticipation of what was about to happen. The truck returned a third time — this time even slower and without lights.

“These guys are going to blister Blinky,“ I anxiously said to Scott, as the truck pulled over to the edge of the highway directly in front of us. I expected at any moment to hear a rifle shot or a shotgun blast. But instead, a young man quietly exited his truck and headed across the highway. Very methodically, he crouched low to the ground and slowly continued on a path heading straight for Blinky.

“What the hell's he up to,” I mumbled to Scott, as we intently watched his every move.

It was eerily quiet standing outside and watching the episode unfold. The bright moon kept disappearing behind the dark clouds passing high overhead. You could've heard a pin drop. But then again, at that time of the morning, most normal people were in bed where they belonged.

We could hear each footstep as the man crept farther and farther into the field. He was squatting so low to the ground that he looked like a big slug slowly moving off into the grass. It seemed as if it was an eternity, as he continued, like a snake, maneuvering closer and closer to poor Blinky. He seemed to stop every couple of feet. He was stalking Blinky like a lion about to pounce on its prey for a kill.

He didn't appear to be toting a firearm or any other weapon as he continued on his quest. At times, dark clouds moved in front of the moon, blanketing the area in pitch darkness. It was similar to watching Junior and his son a few nights earlier. We were totally amused at the unfolding antics and wondering what the hell he was up to.

By then, he was perched just a few feet away from the plywood deer silhouette. When the dark clouds cleared away from the moon, it was as if a stage light snapped on and the show was about to begin. The moment had arrived. He suddenly sprang into action  ... and what a show it was.

The deer stalker quickly stood up and lunged directly at Blinky, flattening him in the tall grass. We had all we could do not to hysterically laugh out loud. Who would've thought a plywood silhouette could look that authentic. But, I suppose, in this man's mind, the more he stared at it, the more realistic it became.

Almost as quickly as he'd flattened Blinky, the attacker was back on his feet, standing directly over the decoy and shaking his head back and forth in disbelief. We never said a word; we simply watched as he started back toward his vehicle.

Just as Nathan had done a few nights earlier, he kept stopping, glancing back at where Blinky had been standing and shaking his head in obvious disgust and disbelief.

Crunch, crunch, crunch. The noise of his feet stomping through the field was quite loud. We were standing on the other side, waiting to confront him. He stopped once more in the middle of the road, glanced back toward the field and mumbled something to himself, as he continued shaking his head back and forth.

When he finally reached his vehicle I said, “What the hell were you doing out there?”

You'd have thought he'd just been catapulted into the air by a grenade launcher. He let out a loud yelp that scared the bejesus out of us. He swung his arms wildly in the air as he desperately struggled to maintain some respectable form of composure.

“I was ... I was – tr-tr-tr-trying to sneak up on that *#*-damned deer out there,” he nervously sputtered.

I noticed he was holding a small hunting knife. I said, "What the hell was you going to do, tackle it and cut its throat with that knife?”

Well ... uh ... no ... uh, not really,” he mumbled. “I just wanted to see if I could catch it around the neck and wrestle it down. I had my knife handy just in case I needed it for self-defense,” he tried to explain.

I chuckled and said, “Good Lord, man, if that had been a live deer, you'd have been headed down across that field like a rookie bronco rider at some Wild West rodeo show. Without a doubt, it would've been the ride of your life. We'd have found your sorry arse at the other end of the field much later on."

Arnold just hung his head, totally embarrassed about the situation. Seeing as how no legal foul had been committed, plus the fact that Arnold didn't seem like a bad chap, we sent him scurrying back to Fairfield where he belonged.

He stated he'd been working at the Bucksport paper mill and was on his way home after pulling his shift. “I always wanted to try to tackle a buck out in the field during the night. It really was a dumb move on my part,” he sheepishly admitted.

I knew one thing, I wasn't about to argue with him.

By then, it was time for us to gather up Blinky and head home ourselves. We'd experienced quite enough entertainment for one night.

One of these times, a real poacher was going to come along and commit the cardinal sin of shooting Blinky. Only then would he have served the true purpose for which he'd been created. But it would have to be another time. We needed to get a little shut-eye ourselves before striking out on patrol the next day and into the late night.

Thus far in his young career, Blinky had been screamed at, had rocks thrown at him and had been downright viciously physically assaulted.

He sure was making the nighttime adventures a little more interesting. I couldn't wait for that moment when he'd make the ultimate sacrifice. It wasn't long before he did. But that's a time when another memory of an exciting night on patrol will be pulled from the diaries.

I surely was enjoying the great profession I'd chosen. One thing was for certain; there hardly ever was a dull moment. This night underneath the starry heavens was just one more example.

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