Spectacular Story…Or Urban Legend?

Every so often I get one of those e-mails from a friend that makes me raise an eyebrow with that suspicious look of wonder.   You know what I mean…a spectacular story usually involving a couple of idiot hunters who made some poor decision while afield.   In most cases, I’ve determined, it’s a story that deserves a closer look.

Take, for instance, this story sent to me today by my buddy, Jeff.   Unless you’re some newbie to the Internet…I’d be surprised if you haven’t read some variation of this tale in your e-mail.   Take a read:

“Two hunters from Minnesota (true story). The story was heard on a radio program, a true report of an incident in Minnesota:
A guy buys a brand new Lincoln Navigator truck for $42,500 and has $560 monthly payments. He and a friend go duck hunting in winter, and of course all the lakes are frozen. These two guys go out on the lake with their guns, a dog, and of course the new vehicle.
They drive out onto the lake ice and get ready. Now, they want to make some kind of a natural landing area for the ducks, for the decoys to float on. In order to make a hole large enough to look like something a wandering duck would fly down and land on, it’s going to take a little more effort than an ice hole drill.
So, out of the back of the new Navigator truck comes a stick of dynamite with a short 40 second fuse. Now, these two rocket scientists do take into consideration that they want to place the stick of dynamite on the ice at a location far from where they, (and the new Navigator truck), are standing. They don’t want to take the risk of slipping on  the ice when they run from the burning fuse and possibly go up in smoke with the resulting blast.
They light the 40 second fuse and throw the dynamite. Remember a couple of paragraphs back when I mentioned the vehicle, the guns, and the dog??
Let’s talk about the dog: A highly trained Black Lab used for “RETRIEVING”.  Especially things thrown by the owner. You guessed it, the dog takes off at a high rate of doggy speed on the ice and captures the stick of dynamite with the burning 40 second fuse about the time it hits  the ice.
The two men yell, scream, wave their arms and wonder what to do now. The dog, cheered on, keeps coming. One of the guys grabs the shotgun and shoots the dog. The shotgun is loaded with #8 buckshot,  hardly big enough to stop a Black Lab. The dog stops for a moment,  slightly confused, but continues on.  Another shot and this time the dog, still standing, becomes really confused and of course terrified, thinking these two geniuses have gone insane.
The dog takes off to find cover, under the brand new Navigator truck. The men continue to yell as they run. The exhaust pipe on the truck is still hot, so the dog yelps and drops the dynamite under the truck, and takes off after his master.
Then –BOOM– the truck is blown to bits and sinks to the bottom of  the lake in a very large hole, leaving the two idiots standing there with this “I can’t believe this happened” look on their faces. 
The insurance company says that sinking a vehicle in a lake by illegal use of explosives is NOT covered. He still had yet to make the first of those $560 a month payments!!!”

Sounds spectacular, right?   Imagine…those idiots will be making payments on a new truck for four or more years and not have the pleasure of even driving it during that time.   Makes you feel much better about climbing into that ‘95 Suburban that looks like crap but has long since seen any loan payments, huh?   Well hold it there just a minute!!   If you believe this story then I have a self-guided snipe hunt out in the Dakotas I’d like to offer you.   Often things are not as they might be promoted on the Internet.   After all, we all know the lakes are almost always frozen enough during the Minnesota duck season to drive vehicles out on the ice…who needs a boat!!??   Yea, right!

Whenever I hear a spectacular Internet claim my first stop is to www.snopes.com to verify if the statement is fact or fallacy.   Check it out.   You can read hundreds of Internet claims that are often de-bunked as a wild stretch of the imagination.   Far too often people put too much credence into what they read on the Internet, so don’t be one of those who gets constantly fooled into thinking a story is real just because you read it.   More importantly, don’t be one of those e-mailers who gets caught forwarding a piece of fiction without first properly checking it out for validity.

There are enough humorous stories that have happened to outdoor enthusiasts without making them up or sensationalizing them.   I just happen to believe a story is that much better when I know it happened for real and not in someone’s imagination.   Heck, it’s another two months away until April Fool’s day.

© 2006 Jim Braaten.  All Rights Reserved.   No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Online Auctions Exclusively for Sportsmen

There’s no doubt about it…the Internet has really changed the way many of us enjoy our lives. From the ease of using directory portals such as Yahoo or Google, to conducting online banking or stock buying, the Internet has literally changed the way many of us live.

But the Internet has had a tremendous impact on outdoorsmen, too. You can book hunts, check on fishing reports, buy your licenses, in effect you can accomplish almost everything leading up to the hunting or fishing trip itself. You can talk with other sportsmen on message boards, follow the migration of waterfowl, view aerial land photos and maps…just about everything you could hope to do short of pulling the trigger or casting a plug.

Today, however, I’m going to focus on two web sites of particular interest to sportsmen. Both of these sites seem to be patterned after the very successful on-line auction site eBay, but these sites perhaps go a bit beyond what is typically allowed on the world’s number one auction site. Still, before we get on to these sites it should be pointed out that eBay is a tremendous resource for almost everything hunting, fishing and the outdoors…but, it has limitations as you will see.

One of the things you cannot purchase on eBay is firearms. To some extent you can buy firearms components, such as magazines, stocks, parts and accessories, but when it gets into purchasing working firearms those are strictly forbidden on eBay. But not on GunBroker.com. This web site has become one of the fastest growing online auction sites, of particular interest to sportsmen and gun aficionados.

Part of the reason that GunBroker.com works is the involvement of your local Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer. You see, when you bid and eventually win a firearm if you are not an FFL dealer than you must make arrangements with one to receive the firearm and ultimately complete the paperwork for legal firearms transfer. Click here to enter your zip code to find a willing FFL dealer, if you do not already know one. Likewise, if you plan to sell a firearm you must send the firearm to an FFL dealer whom the buyer of the item has designated. The fee the FFL dealer will charge to make the legal transfer is usually quite reasonable ($20 – $30 additional to your purchase price).

Even if you are not currently in the market for a new gun I find GunBroker.com interesting because it will give you a good idea just how much that family heirloom is actually worth. And if nobody is selling a gun similar to what you have, there are specialized services to look up the gun’s value and even have it appraised, for a nominal fee.

Furthermore, GunBroker.com has much more than just guns. The best way to equate it is like a virtual gun show where you browse the aisles looking at knives, books, war memorabilia, etc. by simply clicking on the mouse. Imagine, you can do all of this from the comforts of your home while sitting in your underwear at the computer.

The second website does not have the proven success as the first, but I give this one an A+ for the concept. HuntMyLand.com is the brainchild of a Michigan sportsman whose dream was to use the internet to connect sportsmen with landowners. Simply stated, the web site’s goal is to give sportsmen the ability to search and make connections with landowners and then bid on those rights in the form of a property license. The land license issued by the landowner can be for a week, a month or even the entire hunting season.

The main problem I see with HuntMyLand.com is the fact it has been operating for over two years and currently (at the time of this writing, anyway) there are no properties being offered up for auction. The web site, however, boasts of over 800 registered users looking for a place to hunt. This tells me that for this concept to succeed the owner of the site, Mr. Mike Bazzle, must place greater effort toward getting landowners involved…and that appears to be what he is doing by advertising in agricultural medias.

I applaud this effort because the day will come when more and more sportsmen will need to find creative ways to open up new tracts of hunting land. On the other hand, many landowners are not opposed to hunting but they would like to be paid for granting these special privileges. This web site could nicely cover both goals. Personally, I see web sites like HuntMyLand.com as a positive step toward making connections between sportsmen and landowners when those opportunities likely would not ordinarily be available.

Finally, as with all online auction sites, I cannot emphasize enough that the buyer needs to beware. If a deal seems too good to be true then its prudent on the buyer to dig a little deeper to discover why. Before you place your bid ask yourself why hasn’t anyone else considered that item to be worthy of your contemplated bid price? Remember, your next deal might just be a steal…but make sure it’s for the buyer and NOT for the seller.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.