Navigating a hunter's lexicon.
Accidentally walking into an outdoor shop during hunting season is like accidentally wandering into the Miami public bus terminal: everyone’s speaking a different language, and there’s a strong possibility of getting shot. So read up on the following hunting lingo to stay out of the line of fire, and remember, “dude” is not a complimentary title in this sport.
Bachelor Group: Bucks and bulls that congregate separately from does and cows anytime other than the rut. It’s also what you call the entirety of the male population in Bozeman.
Blunt: An arrow tip that is not pointed. Usually used to hunt small game or to stump shoot. Also, a stealth marijuana cigar wrapped by a tobacco sheath.
Bugle: The haunting call male elk make to attract females during the rut, and a delicious snack cracker available in six flavors, that may or may not attract females, depending on whether they’re Co-op food snobs.
Cackle: Type of call a pheasant emits. Also, the type of utterance that the chain-smoking old lady at the casino calls laughter.
Camouflage: Coloration that helps an animal or hunter blend into the surrounding environment. In this region, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, and Prana are the prevailing camouflage manufacturers, helping even the least outsidery of us to blend in, necessity be damned.
Carrion: The flesh of dead animals, and redneck slang for packing a concealed weapon: “Heya Buckshot, you carrion?”
Doe: A deer. A female deer. Re, a drop of golden sun…
Ivories: The two teeth on the lower jaw of an elk, or the most ticklish part of a piano.
Party Hunting: An unethical and usually illegal practice of pooling several hunters' available tags, which allows one hunter to shoot game for the others. It’s also what freshman MSU students do on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. And sometimes Wednesday afternoon if “Film Appreciation 101” is cancelled.
Poacher: A person who kills game out of season or shoots more than the legal limit. It also applies to someone who steals your girlfriend, your powder line, or your last frozen burrito.
Rack: A set of antlers—the bigger the better. Or crude slang for women's breasts—ditto.
Slug: A large bullet fired from a shotgun. Not to be confused with the slimy, hermaphroditic gastropods in your garden, which make very poor ammunition.
Stock: The part of a rifle or shotgun that the user braces against his or her shoulder. Also a term for useless pieces of paper that will become valueless once Armageddon hits. You should invest in guns instead.
Trophy: A mature buck or bull with a large set of antlers, or that gold plastic phallus you won for taking third place in a hot-dog eating contest at the Billings fair and that’s been proudly displayed on your mantle since 1997.
Wild Flush: When a game bird flushes far ahead of the dogs and/or out of gun range. Also, the rare but unpleasant experience of having a urinal flush forcibly and unexpectedly mid-pee, discharging a fine mist of God-knows-what directly onto the peeing party.
Magazine: An ammunition feeding device on a gun. Also, this printed and bound physical vessel of casual entertainment, timely news, stunning photographs, and the sharpest wit and humor the world has ever seen.