Does your husband rub down his gun more than you? Does he go out for hours alone and come home smelling of doe scent? Does he uncharacteristically rise before dawn and sneak out of the house before you wake up? Does he talk incessantly about white-tail?
Your honey may be tormented by uncontrollable impulses. He may have a serious addiction. This debilitating mental illness, once discounted as a simple obsession, recently garnered media attention when a woman reported to Columbia County sheriff's deputies that her husband suffers from a self-acknowledged deer-hunting addiction.
Signs of a serious problem include some or all of the following:
l Engaging in deer hunting interferes with completing activities of daily living.
l Irritability and/or aggression results from not deer hunting.
l Forgoes social activities or family time to go deer hunting.
l Deer hunts to the exclusion of other activities previously enjoyed.
l Puts himself or his family at financial risk by spending large sums of money on deer hunting accessories and apparel.
l Openly admits or hints to self-awareness of an issue.
Differentiating between the regrettably impaired man and the man who retreats to the peace and quiet of the woods under the guise of hunting can prove tricky. For a deer hunting addict, every outing increases the odds that the big one will sashay into the crosshairs. Smaller kills whet the whistle for the elusive 12-pointer. The addict concretely assures his wife that once he hits the jackpot he'll hang up his weapon for the season and fix the loose hinge holding the front door and disassemble the disposal to retrieve the grinding penny, and take out the trash; all he needs is time to study the weather patterns and a few dollars to invest in a grunt call.
A man posing as an avid hunter for ulterior motives is noncommittal to completing household projects and mumbles incomprehensibly when cornered by a woman with a honey-do list. He keeps a bestseller crammed in his ammo bag and he habitually comes home empty-handed. It's the wife and the kids and not an addiction sending him up the tree stand.
Proceed cautiously if you believe your beloved requires intervention. As the Columbia County woman discovered, even when a troubled man asks for help, he may resist treatment. Her husband requested that she hide the key to his gun cabinet. The next day, however, he flew into a rage, afflicted with withdrawal tremens, when she refused to give him the key.
Desperation and panic dominated rationality and reason. He commenced to prying open the gun safe with a crowbar. Charged with thwarting him from surrendering to his addiction, his wife flung herself between him and the safe. This selfless action slammed into his certainty that herds of record-size deer currently grazed on every side of his empty deer blind.
As we all know, addictions cloud judgment and cause people to do terrible things. The man put his wife in a headlock, then threw her down and finished breaking into the gun cabinet with the crowbar. Crumpled on the floor, she dreaded what would happen next. Her husband grabbed a rifle from the mangled cabinet. Giving the gun a quick caress, he ran, wild-eyed, out of the house into the nearby woods.
With a heavy heart, the shaken woman called in sheriff's deputies. She knew conclusively that the demons of addiction grunt-called to her husband; because if he was using deer hunting as an excuse to escape her, he would have also snatched his novel from the night stand before footing it to the forest.
Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson. E-mail Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her Web site, www.IfMama.com.