Now, that's silly! Gee Woodsie, folks come here looking for real advice.
Seriously, I'm trying to wrap my head around my own simile-- is a buck like a lounge lizard? I'm thinking. I've never been a lounge lizard, at least not for major parts of my life. However, I did know a guy-- well, he wasn't a lounge lizard exactly, but he DID teach me how to eat for free. This was about the time I started deer hunting too, so I guess you can call this a formative time in my life.
Ralph, my buddy, decided I needed to learn how to eat for free. Ralph was in his 40's. I was in my early 20's. It was odd, but I had a lot of close older male friends in those days. They are the guys who got me into shooting, into deer hunting, into a whole lot of things. They're all dead now, except for Ralph and Big Bob. Ralph was in early retirement due to health-- he'd been an exec at a large company before his heart attack. I was just breaking into data processing. I guess I complained about my grocery bill once. Ralph decided he could fix the problem.
It was true. You could eat for free every night of the week in Cincinnati in those days. You needed to know where and when, but there were free buffets at a lot of nice places during Happy Hour. Ralph would call me and tell me to meet him at Caddy's, or The Windjammer, or the Bombay Bicycle Club or some place like that. We'd have a drink, get our fill of potato skins, chicken wings, egg rolls or whatever and go home. Sometimes we'd find something cute to take home with us-- Ralph was much better at that. He paid more for his suits. He wore a Rolex. Over time, I learned a lot from him, and by the time Ralph left town to take up his new career as an international man of mystery, I was well on my way.
I'm thinking back now at these important lessons.
1) You never knew where Ralph and I would show up. Our two favorite haunts were Downtown or out on Chester Road, but we might be anywhere inside the I-275 loop.
2) The food situation changed constantly. We might show up at a joint that had been consistently serving good wings, and find the wings had run out. We would leave and not come back for months.
3) There were lots of female lizards out there, and some were vile. If we ran into a mouthy lush or a bevvy of skanks that would not leave us alone we might not come back ever.
See, one of the things being an unfettered self-published writer, is that I can get away with stuff like this. Let's see if the shaman can tie this confession of depravity and hedonism back to deer hunting.
My point here is that this is what putting out a free buffet buys you. Guys come by, check out the chicks, fill themselves and leave. They may buy one drink, but they don't stay for the evening. There is not going to be any consistency with the pattern. Food was not enough to hold guys like us, at least not so you could pattern us. Think about this too: if you're a barkeep and two guys in suits keep coming to your place night after night and stuffing themselves with your free food, how long is it going to last? Guys like Ralph and I had to keep moving, shifting our patterns just to preserve the illusion that we weren't freeloaders.
This last idea is kind of subtle. I don't know if bucks have that kind of awareness, but dogs and cats know when they're stealing food. I don't see why a buck would be any different. Ralph and I knew we were playing a system. You could not hit the same joint 5 nights in a row without the expectation of waitress or manager saying something. For as often and as long as I remember playing this gambit with Ralph and later alone, I don't remember the same waitress twice. I cannot say a buck sees a corn pile the same way Ralph and I saw a buffet table, but you can bet they notice that something is up. A skewer of barbequed shrimp doesn't show up like magic-- know what I mean?
One other thing: you can bait all you want. However, understand that bar owners have been putting out free lunch for generations, and been getting pretty much the same return on their investment. Ralph and I were eating $20 worth of food for $5 worth of drinks. The only place where you could ever pattern Ralph and I consistently was in our own bedrooms, and at my place on the weekends. My Friday night parties were awesome, and if you ask my friends from that era, they'll tell you the shaman's place was THE place to find interesting, intelligent women. Free food? I usually had a budget of $10 for the weekend. The rest was strictly BYO. The draw was this: if I wasn't deer hunting or turkey hunting, my door was open on Friday nights. Folks knew they were welcomed and they could plan their week around being there.
The lesson? Make your place the most consistently available, safe place to be-- especially for the doe. The rest will follow.