I will never forget driving up to visit with my grandmother many years ago sporting a new car.
Well, it was new to me even though it was a 10-year-old Chevy. She immediately commented, “You’re getting might fancy aren’t you?” Of course, fancy to her was indoor plumbing and air conditioning. I stammered around and tried to convince her that I wasn’t putting on airs but she was thoroughly convinced that I was indeed showing off in a most-undignified manner.
I believe it is safe to say that the modern outdoorsman has fallen into this same trap, and today we shall approach this subject as we do all our topics — using the scientific method based on current examples.
First and foremost is the clothing that hunters, fishermen and campers (to name only a few) buy in order to be suitably dressed for their particular sport has reached ridiculous proportions. Just look in any passing boat, deer stand, or campground to see what I mean. If you had rather, just take a gander at any of the dozens of catalogs that cater to these people and you will quickly see that outdoor apparel and the price tags on these items are utterly out of control.
Here are a few specific examples. You can buy hand-stitched safari breeches with cargo pockets and leather inserts on the thighs. I assume they are selling hunting britches and just don’t know how to spell, not to mention that we don’t go on safari in Georgia — we just go out hunting. You can purchase this absurd item for under $129, and if you ever go to Africa you would be the envy of all the villagers. I hate to say this but if I paid $129 for a pair of pants I’d only wear them to church on Easter.
Also available for purchase are fishing shirts in teal blue, wine red, garden green, and daffodil yellow. They are considered a bargain around $85, and you will look exceptionally dignified in one of these sporty models. My problem with it is that it would be a shame to get fish blood or guts splattered all over that pretty man blouse. If I showed up to go fishing in a get-up like that my partners would hoot at me unmercifully and spread the word all around town, thus ruining my reputation as a sportsman.
Another line of outer wear for outdoorsmen is called “shooting clothes.” I’m not sure of the difference between those and regular old hunting garb but there is a whole list of stuff here. Shooting gloves, shooting vests, long- and short-sleeved shooting shirts as well as a complete selection of shooting hats. An all-inclusive outfit will cost you no less than $300, and I assume you need to wear your loafers with that ensemble.
There are river shorts (for wading?), scent-control clothes (for those who forgot their deodorant?) and a very specific type of vest for turkey hunting. Not just any old vest will do I guess. There are wool boxer shorts for the cold-natured hunter, cargo pants for those who have a lot of stuff to tote around (I suppose), and pre-washed (but hopefully not pre-worn) long underwear. It’s the truth.
And you would absolutely not believe the clothing line for the lady outdoorswoman, but I’m not going there.
I could continue this rant but just one last thing on clothing: It is easily discernible that the people in the catalogs modeling these items have never been close to a lake, forest or seen the inside of a camper. They are most likely from some concrete jungle and live in a downtown condo. And by the way, I’ve never seen a fisherman or hunter with hairdos like some of them have.
OK, let me move along here to some other stuff that is “mighty fancy.” You can buy game calls for every animal, from a crow to an elephant, that are guaranteed to get results or your money back. There are dog-proof raccoon traps, no- bark dog collars, a dozen different kinds of deer urine in a bottle (yep) and a complete line of paraphernalia for ice fishing like drills, tents, and sleds. Those boys are hard up to wet a hook.
Anyway, you catch my drift. Outdoorsmen in general have gone off the deep end but I promise you (just as I did my grandmother) that I will never be guilty of getting “too fancy” when it comes to my clothes, and equipment for hunting and fishing. Just give me an ancient reel and rod, a rusty gun, and some stinky old clothes to wear. That will do me just fine.
(Note: Send pictures of your outdoor experiences and ideas for stories to my e-mail address. Only one or two pictures at a time please.)
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.