As today’s saga opens bow hunters and those who enjoy dove hunting are frothing at the mouth because those seasons are might nigh upon us. It is that very excitement and the accompanying adrenaline rush that I am addressing today because those very attributes can cause the brains of hunters to become fully dysfunctional. That dysfunctionality can severely impair judgment and result in problematic situations. So my purpose today is to fire a warning shot over the bow to calm their nerves and inspire thought prior to action.
I am eminently certified to give this advice because of long and painful experience in the field. Perhaps a few examples of my misadventures can help steer you away from making similar mistakes and might at least keep your early season hunts enjoyable. In extreme situations this guidance may even keep you out of the hospital or perhaps even the local pokey.
To start with, there are the garden variety mistakes such as forgetting to get a license, having too many foreign species of seeds on the ground in your dove field or too many birds in your pile. These are not life-threatening mistakes but can be ruinous to the first hunt. You certainly don’t want to be put in time out by a DNR ranger or worse, have your field closed up just when the action is heating up.
We now move on to a little advice that might help you avoid what might be termed as major pitfalls.
Many years ago one of my brothers (who will remain nameless) was getting fired up for bow season. At that point in time he was young and immanure (or is that immature?)
His adrenaline was rushing headlong to his brain as he fervently practiced his archery shooting skills on the backside of our farm. As luck would have it, a stray dog came along about the time his brain was completely overwhelmed with blood lust. I know precisely what his thought process was.
“Here’s a perfect opportunity to hone my skills on live game.”
So before thinking the matter through, he nocked an arrow and let her fly. His aim was off slightly and the arrow found its way into the canine’s hind leg. The unfortunate beast howled and lit out back across the field. Regrettably the “stray” turned out to be a neighbor’s dog. To make a long story short, when the neighbor came to complain and the truth was elicited from the perp, daddy immediately and unequivocally canceled bow season for my brother who has hence been known as Robin the Hood.
Moral of the story: One must moderately curb your enthusiasm at all times.
In another situation we were in the middle of our opening day dove hunt and had done everything right. The field was legal, the birds were flying and we were busting dozens of shells. Needless to say adrenaline was awash all around. Out of the blue, a guy walked into the field with two large, mean and obviously aggressive dogs complaining that we were making too much noise and some of our shotgun pellets were tinkling down on his roof.
Well big whoop.
The real problem turned out to be that my uncle, who was not accustomed to strangers invading his property, got severely aggravated. He whipped out his trusty pistol and, in a beautiful rendition of Don Corleone (The Godfather) assured the gentleman that, either he and his dogs would soon be exiting the premises, or the field would quickly be littered with some dead dogs.
The moral of that story is three fold.
1) Always expect and be prepared for the unexpected.
2) Never walk into another man’s dove shoot with a bad attitude or mean dogs.
3) Always carry your pistol — you never know when it might be useful.
These are just a few examples of situations that might come your way. Of course, every hunting trip can present a unique problem that calls for creative thinking in order to solve. Nevertheless, those early season hunting excursions can be especially bothersome because of over-eagerness, acting before thinking and the dreaded adrenaline rush of blood to one’s head.
It is my most earnest opinion that nearly all the aforementioned obstacles can be overcome in one of three ways.
1) Keeping a cool head
2) Using logical thought processes, or
3) Being in possession of a loud pistol.
One of those should work.
Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.