That’s right…I should be hunting or doing something fun outdoors this Saturday, but instead I’ll be spending all day indoors honing my blogging skills. Great annual event. This will be my fourth conference out of five years. Try not to miss it. Much to share after the event…I promise. Stay tuned.
Utter ridiculousness…that’s what I call it. Unnecessary commercialism at the very least.
When a fellow outdoors communicator recently wrote the following piece it left me shaking my head. Not in disbelief, but rather, in disgust that seemingly everything to the outdoors has to be tied to some product these days. Here’s what I’m talking about:
Honestly, there wasn’t one item in that list that was truly “essential” to being a hunter—whether male or female. Now, I get it when you can afford to hunt with nice equipment that is a luxury to be thoroughly enjoyed. Yet, when you create a laundry list of accessories and pawn them off as being critical equipment that is a completely different subject.
To be perfectly clear there is only one piece of equipment necessary to call yourself an uplands hunter and that would be a shotgun. And technically speaking, even that is not “critical” as many falconers will tell you.
The point is articles like this one, in my opinion, do a big disservice to hunting. It lists over $900 of equipment that some might perceive to be a barrier to taking up the sport. Honestly, if your perspective was someone coming into the sport and you read that laundry list it would not inspire you to take up a sport…quite the opposite, it would discourage you.
Hell, if you were taking up the sport of upland bird hunting you could buy all this gear and you would still need to invest in a gun. Hunting is not about equipment. Oh, sure, when you have nice equipment it can make it easier and perhaps even inspire confidence for some individuals, but the truth is very little equipment in hunting is necessary.
It is not shameful to hunt upland birds in blue jeans and tennis shoes. I’ve done it before. Is it always practical or even most comfortable…no, but that isn’t the point. A person should enjoy the sport of hunting not for the designer clothing they wear. Certainly that can come down the road when your pockets are deeper and a hunter has some maturity under their belt. Yet, to call out certain items as “essential” and promote them as such is just plain wrong.
Maybe I am hung up on the word “essential,” but that was the author’s word not mine. I think it carries with it a very strong connotation that needs to be carefully considered when describing the outdoors experience.
In summation, outdoors communicators need to choose their words more carefully. When I read articles like the one in question it conjures up one thing in my mind…and it’s not a very pleasant thing. What I see is promotionalism that simply doesn’t need to be there. Providing a list of specific clothing items speaks to me how the author is somehow indebted to those manufacturers and is trying to pay them back for a favor with a mention. That may or may not be the case in reality, but that is my perception.
I’m certainly not saying it is wrong to like specific clothes or gear and to mention them as having great utility value in an article. I have done that and will likely do it many more times to come in writing this blog. What is wrong, however, is framing the entire article in such a manner as to set a high standard that truly is not necessary and then calling it “essential.” Every hunter who takes to the fields or forest should feel good about what they are doing and not feel inadequate by what they perhaps can’t afford to wear during the experience.
Can’t say I love them. Yet, I don’t have the desperate fear of the existence like some folks I know. My wife, in particular.
If you enjoy the outdoors the time will eventually come when you must deal with mice. Granted, they can be a real pain in the ass. Take, for instance, the mice that invaded an old hunting truck I used to own. One day I was driving along with the heater blasting to take the chill out of the air. Suddenly, what once was nice comforting heat transformed to smoke and a truck that was in serious trouble. I immediately turned the truck off suspecting an electrical problem of some kind. Nope…just mice that built a nest that started on fire. Little bastards!!
I’ll never forget a bear hunting trip about 25 years ago with a close friend staying in an old (mostly abandoned) farm house. The house seen human occupants just a few weeks each year during hunting seasons. On the other hand, the full-time residents were various vermin ranging from mice to…well, I don’t care to dwell on that. Suffice it to say sleeping at night was interesting. You could hear the faint pitter patter of feet across the old linoleum floor all night long. Even worse, those little rascals had no regard for a person sleeping as they zipped across the bed sheets tickling a person’s torso.
Yeah. Mice are sure fun. The only good mouse is a dead mouse used for fox bait. And trying to eradicate them from anywhere can be challenging as any hunt you might take on. I’ve used snap traps, poison, ultrasonic sound, even pails with spinny pop bottles to teach them a lesson. To some extent all those methods work, but none of them is the perfect answer.
Particularly frustrating for me is keeping mice out of my boat during winter storage. I’ve used moth balls, I used packs filled with dried mint leaves. Nothing is foolproof. The little rascals get in all my compartments and make a mess. In my glove box they shred anything that is chewable and seem to have a good time doing it. Worse yet, they pee and poop on everything. Once they stake their claim to your property nothing can be deemed clean anymore.
Yet, to many people mice are much more than just an occasional nuisance. I’ve known women AND MEN who shriek at the mere sight of a mouse running loose. Somehow their life can be in perfect control one minute, but add a mouse to the picture and all chaos breaks out.
Case in point, two years ago we went on a family vacation to a resort for some fishing and relaxing for a week. That goal was achieved until about the 5th night in when a mouse was witnessed scurrying along a wall. The next morning when the office opened my wife was complaining how our cabin was overrun with pestilence. Amazingly, we had existed in the cabin for several days with no sightings…but eventually all good things come to an end.
Yup, and so did the trip. We were packed and on our way headed back home a day early thanks to a furry little mammal weighing a few ounces. Indeed, the mere presence of a mouse can profoundly impact many good plans.
So, tell me about your adventures with mice. Do you have a good story? How have mice or other rodents impacted your outdoor experiences? In particular, if you have a funny incident we absolutely must hear about that.