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What’s a non-hunter to do on a hunting trip?

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Patsy Pridgen

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By Patsy Pridgen
Telegram Columnist

Sunday, November 19, 2017

I don’t remember asking to go. Or being asked to go. I think an offhand remark sealed the deal. Something along the lines of, “If you ever take this trip again, I’m going with you to guarantee you don’t drive the entire 15 hours straight and wind up in the hospital with another blood clot.”

Maybe that’s why my husband included me in his booking for a weeklong deer hunting trip to Mount Sterling, Illinois, this November. For only $500 more, he told me, you can tag along and stay in the hunting lodge, meals included. It would cost considerably more if you wanted to hunt, he explained, laughing as he knew I’d be the last person on the planet who would opt to sit in a cold deer stand for 10 hours a day waiting for a big buck to show up.

So what will I do to while away my time at the lodge? My original plan was to visit Chicago, a city I’ve never seen. After all, I will be in Illinois. This idea was shot down pretty quickly when my husband informed me that (a) it wouldn’t be safe to explore such a big city by myself, (b) Chicago is more than four hours away from Mount Sterling, and (c) even if Chicago were safe and only a few miles away, he would need his vehicle to get to the woods every day.

Well, I’ll just have to hang out in – what’s the name of the place again? Oh yeah, Mount Sterling. I was then informed that the town, population 2,025, consists of the hunting lodge, a nearby winery, and a prison. When I googled Mount Sterling on Trip Advisor, I received the message, “We couldn’t find that location near Illinois. Please try another search.”

Oh dear. So much for seeing the sights. Apparently, other than the winery, there aren’t any. I’ll pass on the prison. So on to Plan B. I will treat this trip as my own personal retreat. I can pack my laptop and try writing the great American novel. I can take my most recent travel photos and finally organize my Spain and Portugal scrapbook. I’ve never made a cross-stitch pillow for the new grandson, who is now a year old, so I can gather all my supplies and have craft time.

I have been assured the lodge has Wi-Fi, so when I take a break from writing (or more likely, when I procrastinate to avoid writing), I can binge-watch Netflix on my laptop. I’ve got a list of shows I just haven’t had time to tune in, but it sounds like in Illinois, I’ll have plenty of that – time, that is.

Maybe there will be hiking trails around the lodge, and it won’t be too cold to go outside for some exercise. Perhaps there’ll be another deer widow on the premises, and she and I will get to be best buddies. Maybe she’ll even have access to a car and want to go to Chicago! Hey, a non-hunter stuck in a hunting lodge can always dream.

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