I’m still digesting all the information from the speakers and exhibitors at the Yankee Sportsman’s Classic held this past weekend, from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, January 18th – 20th. I won’t go into what products I bought, publications I subscribed to, or organizations I joined because there is always the chance, remote as it is, that my wife could start reading my blog. Let’s just say I did my part to defend our Second Amendment rights and I will be receiving at least one extra-large publication from Maine once a month.
It was great seeing a lot of kids at the show. Many of them were trying their hands at target shooting, archery, and fishing. Some kids were enjoying themselves by running around with a skunk skin over their arm pretending it was alive and scaring (I mean startling) older sportsmen . There also seemed to be many spontaneous reunions between old classmates, neighbors, and friends.
As of Sunday night, I failed to win two raffles. I’m OK with that. I have my sights set on the “TWO ALL-EXPENSE PAID MANITOBA, CANADA TROPHY WHITE TAIL DEER HUNTS & TIMBER WOLF HUNTING.” If I win I will, of course, declare the value of hunt to the IRS and pay taxes on it. I guess I’ll have to if I write about it! I got two tickets, one for me and one for my dad. I told my dad I’d take him if I won. I’m hoping Dad will reciprocate the favor. The drawing is on April 30th. (I understand that even if you decide not to hunt timber wolves in Manitoba that is no guarantee that they won’t hunt you. Seriously.)
I had the pleasure of interviewing several of the seminar speakers and vendors. Those interviews will appear in detail in upcoming blog posts. Here is a quick summary of what I learned:
- Fanatical outdoorsmen are just plain interesting. They have spent thousands of hours more than you (or least me) studying their craft. They also probably tend to support the Second Amendment more than your average citizen.
- If you love your job it doesn’t seem much like work.
- If you are a self-employed lodge owner and guide in Maine you work awfully hard.
- A professional game call maker can blow through a handheld pencil sharpener and make it sound like a hen turkey or mallard duck. So when you buy the barred owl call, don’t be surprised that it sounds like a constipated goose (not that I really know what that sounds like). Becoming proficient with anything requires practice and lots of time spent with your dog launching himself at you each time you blow into the call.
- If you are going to rattle for deer in the Northeast, rattle for at least a half hour. And real antlers work better than a rattle bag…unless they are from most Vermont deer, then just rub two pencils together.
- The best week for rattling success is the second week in November. The best time of day to rattle is between 10 AM and 2 PM. (This will make Dick M. happy and reduce our chances of ever taking a midday break at the local diner.)
- The best day to take a Boone and Crockett buck is on November 11th. To be safe, you should probably hunt other days as well.
- When hunting in Manitoba, always load your gun 300 yards from the road – the minimum legal distance. You may not be hunting wolves, but that isn’t a guarantee they won’t hunt you.
- Bucks grunt while fighting. A doe rarely comes to a buck call. A doe usually responds to a doe call. Husbands usually respond to the “dinners ready” call.
- Never bait coyote using an entire cow carcass.
- Never have a frozen cow carcass dropped into the bed of your pickup truck – it could break out your back window. (I suppose you should also mention it to your significant other that you intend to bring a cow carcass home.)
- Deer are just a fancy, glorified goat. They will climb up to 3000 feet to avoid hunting pressure.
- Beagles don’t bark around the house if you run them 9 miles a day. Swim them if it is hot.
- Snowshoe hare have two uteruses (or is it uteri?), just the does, and are almost always pregnant, even when nursing a new litter. Unlike rabbits, hare kits are born with fur and able to see.
- March is the best month to hunt hares in Maine.
- Wood ducks are the best tasting ducks.
- It is no wonder that collecting hand-carved decoys becomes an obsession for some.
- It is possible to try hunting waterfowl without going broke.
- Passion for the outdoors and wildlife is infectious…and not easily treated (even under Obamacare).
|Brian and Leo at their booth|