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Outdoor Life - There are many reasons we outdoorsmen hunt and fish
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I’ve hunted and fished all my life and have been lucky enough to come under the influence of sporting gentlemen who taught me that you don’t do these things for trophies or glory. It’s the chase, the challenge, the fresh chill of morning air in your lungs and the beauty of natural settings.
    Yeah right.
    That’s the line you feed your wife or girlfriend, and if they go for it you’ve got a keeper.
    The sporting gentlemen previously mentioned actually go on extended hunting and fishing trips but have somewhat different motives than those wholesome, untainted and ridiculous ones listed above. I will now give you a brief outline of what I have been taught by some of the greatest gurus the hunting and fishing world has ever known. These boys wrote the book on proper techniques in the field. You may have noticed these on the shelf at your local Barnes and Noble. "Hunting and Fishing for Dummies" has sold millions of copies and led to many a successful trip, as well as being a major contributor to the divorce rate.
    First off, the boys always counseled me to remember to bring plenty of money with which to play poker. Before you pack any piece of gear, always remember to pack your billfold with plenty of twenties and sharpen up your dealing skills. If you can’t deal efficiently off the bottom there is every chance that you will come home with a much lighter wallet. Along those same lines, the boys also taught me to be on the lookout for post-trip loaded questions. If your wife asks upon your return home, “Have any luck?” you must be careful not to say, “Yep, won a couple of hundred." That is a dead giveaway and must be avoided at all costs. These guys know where all the potholes are.
    Next off, I learned to always bring a pair of loafers and a suitable ensemble in case there was a honky tonk near the fishing/hunting camp. It is poor form to go into one of these fine establishments wearing camouflage or a bright orange vest. Of course, it goes without saying that these items should be packed securely at the very bottom of your sack so as not to draw attention before you leave home. As a reminder, you should never slip up and wear those loafers home once the trip is over. That oversight will most certainly be noticed and an interrogation will ensue.
    Another thing the boys taught me early on was to never, under any circumstances, forget to bring plenty of properly iced down beer so as to avoid dehydration. Becoming dehydrated far from civilization can be hazardous to one’s health. There’s nothing like coming in from a long day of fishing in the hot sun without being able to replenish those necessary bodily fluids. Come to think of it, there’s nothing like coming in from a cold day of hunting without the prospect of replenishing those bodily fluids. You get the idea.
    One other necessary item to bring along is a complete inventory of all your newest jokes and stories that cannot otherwise be told in civilized society. There’s nothing like a little humor to spice up those campfire discussions. We hunters and fishermen get tired of conversations that revolve around mundane subjects such as small children, how the stock market is doing and the newest research on non-invasive proctology procedures. We are on vacation here.
    My outdoor mentors have also taught me that some things about hunting and fishing camps are vastly overrated. These include foodstuffs such as potted meat, canned anchovies, Vienna sausages and especially pork and beans. There are numerous reasons not to bring these items, the most important of which is that sleeping quarters in these camp settings are notoriously tight. Snoring can’t be helped and, even if unwelcome, is universally accepted as an occupational hazard on these trips. Undue gastric distress is another matter entirely.
    One myth about these camps is that the actual campfire is integral to a complete cultural experience. Campfires are a lot of work what with cutting wood and all. Good, old kerosene heaters are much more efficient and nightly discussions can be just as entertaining and enlightening around the old heater as ones around the fire.
    So you see there’s a lot more to learn about outdoor life than meets the eye, and it takes years of experience to figure out the fine points of how to successfully execute hunting and fishing trips. The key is to get involved with guys who know what they are talking about and pay strict attention to their philosophy and methods. I’m pretty sure most of you will catch on quickly.
    Now that I’ve learned all these things I can’t wait for the next chase, the next challenge and the feel of that cool crisp air in my lungs.

    Alvin Richardson may be reached at