How to keep your spouse happy

It's November.

Minnesota's firearm deer season starts Saturday. Deer camps open Friday. This year even Gov. Tim Pawlenty will be wearing blaze-orange for the weekend.

At the moment, sales of fox urine and doe-in-heat bottles are probably brisk.

There'll be some 440,000 of us out there in the days ahead and we all want a deer.

But how many deer hunters, at this moment, are thinking of their loved ones?

How can a deer hunter keep the spouse happy and in a contented state of marriage?

How do you avoid spousal chill when you return home after the hunt?

These are questions Ann Landers or Dr. Phil have never addressed. So what's the answer? (A buck snort drumroll, please.)

The solution is: DON'T GET A DEER!

Face it, the majority of spouses dislike venison. Last year when I had no deer to hang in the garage, my spouse was absolutely delirious with joy.

The last time I saw her that happy was the day I gave her a new car with a steering wheel imbedded with diamonds. Then, I left for deer camp.

Trust me, if you want marital bliss after deer season don't bring home a deer. Actually, it isn't that difficult to do.

Tip No. 1: Don't bother to sight-in your deer rifle before season. Don't practice your shooting skills. And don't carry any ammo because you wouldn't want to wound a deer, right?

Tip No. 2: Skip all preseason preparations. In that way, your old deer stand may be ready to collapse as you climb to dizzying heights or perhaps on opening morn you simply can't find where you hunted last year.

Tip No. 3: Head to the deer opener with the right attitude. It's really not a deer you're seeking on opening weekend, it's a hangover.

Tip No. 4: Chose to learn nothing about whitetail deer. Ignore all deer sign in the woods. Don't adjust to the natural sounds of the woods. Stumble from tree to tree yelling for your mother.

Tip No. 5: Never hunt into the wind.

Tip No. 6: Patience ain't a virtue. If a deer doesn't come by before the football games start on TV, to heck with it. Head to town.

Tip No. 7: Road hunt.

Tip No. 8: Before you leave the woods, spend a few minutes shooting at stuff. Blow lots of ammo. It's fun.

Tip No. 9: Be on alert. Despite your best intentions, a deer may pass by within shooting range and ruin your day.

Tip No. 10: If you happen to bring a deer home, throw your hat in the door first.

Ron Schara may be reached at ron@mnbound.com.

Schara's new 250-page book, "Ron Schara's Minnesota Fishing Guide" (Tristan Outdoors; $19.95) is available by clicking here or by calling (888) 755-3155.

October through December 2003, Ron Schara's short feature, "Backroads with Ron & Raven," airs Saturdays on ESPN2 at 7:55 a.m. ET. Click here to view this week's show descriptions.