Break it up

Pictured is Bob Speirs with a Cheyenne River whitetail. Courtesy photo

OPINION —  Its been years since I had to break up a really good fight.

They seemed, at least in my clouded memory, a common occurrence on the playgrounds and bus stops of my youth.

Two young men would build up a head of steam over a disagreement of some sort, a shared interest in a young lady perhaps or the merits of a favorite sports team, and square off.

Each would begin to hyperventilate, expanding their chests with deep breaths that increased in frequency until they were on the verge of passing out.

Rather than fall over before any favor could be claimed, one would suddenly lean in with an attempted head butt and fists would begin to fly.

Unless there was alcohol involved, and occasionally there was, the fights never lasted for very long.

One side would build up some advantage that gave onlookers the impression that they were the better man that day.

Perhaps a series of knockdowns that would have ended the average fight, and folks would rush in with their arms outspread in an attempt to prevent any real damage from occurring.

Nearly all would take advantage of the interruption to reevaluate their position in life.

Was this really the girl they needed to take home that night or were their other options?

On the very rare occasion, when love was truly involved or liquid courage had been added in strong enough doses to remove caution, there would be an animalistic blood letting that folks would talk about for years to follow.  

I watched two mulie bucks line up this morning in just such a confrontation.

My back pasture had been filled with whitetail only moments before when the pair emerged from the brushy bottoms in pursuit of a calmly doe.

The temperatures in the valley below my hilltop home were just cool enough that every breath the bucks took began to shoot out of their nostrils like geysers from a steam engine.

They locked eyes and began to stalk each other looking for an opening.

The hair stood up on the backs of their necks in a fashion that seemed to add thirty pounds to their shoulders.

All the deer in the valley stopped what they were doing.

Most such fights are pure show with little harm coming to either combatant, but when the fur is actually about to fly, every creature on God’s green earth can tell the difference and puts down their knitting to come watch.

There was a taunt barbed wire fence between the two.

The Speirs family has owned and operated Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service since 1996.

It should have been on both of their minds.

There was no good that could come from locking horns through the steel strands, but they had lost caution and couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

When the unspoken line was crossed, both lunged in with deadly intent.

Fur flew, hide was lost, the fence screeched in protest as the two gave every effort they could muster to fight their opponent through a barrier that they had never even noticed was there.

From out of nowhere my saddle horse mares galloped in to put an end to the fight.

Like a pair of playground monitors on an ego trip, the two thundered down on the mulies giving the impression that they could easily bite down and toss either buck clean over the fence.

What was looking to be a real barn burner was ended with one deer tucking his tail between his legs and charging off with the unproven victor in hot pursuit claiming victory even though he hadn’t earned it.

On the prairie last weekend there were no mares to intervene. I had rattled antlers together imitating a skirmish all morning and into the early afternoon.

At every setup bucks raced in to watch or take part in the fight. None were the mature deer I was searching for.

Finally, after a long climb up out of the Cheyenne River brakes, I discovered a hidden champion and his doe.

Twenty inches wide and large enough to discourage his rivals, he had settled into the tall grasses to enjoy his victory when my intrusion abruptly ended his campaign.

Life is like that, just when you think you have the election won, along comes an unexpected twist that snatches victory from one and hands it to another.

While most of us haven’t seen a good fight in a long time, like the deer in the valley,  we can feel when one is coming.

The Speirs family has owned and operated Crow Creek Wildlife Management Service since 1996.

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