Traditional Archery Discussions on the Leatherwall

Fireside stories

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DanaC 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
williethebarber 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
talks with crow 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
Salagi 06-Feb-10
George Stamps 06-Feb-10
George Stamps 06-Feb-10
DanaC 06-Feb-10
DanaC 08-Feb-10
DanaC 26-Feb-10
Old Crow 26-Feb-10
DanaC 26-Feb-10
BrownCoIL 26-Feb-10
The Lost Mohican 27-Feb-10
4FINGER 27-Feb-10
DanaC 23-Mar-10
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Whittler 24-Mar-10
DanaC 02-Apr-10
Old Crow 02-Apr-10
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DanaC 08-May-10
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From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

bfulldraw's story got me thinking. And then reminiscing. And then I started looking through the archive. And..

Okay, some background. I used to be a writer, for a local area sports paper in western Mass. I wrote columns about hunting, fishing, shooting, etc. for several years before the paper closed. A few were written during the time frame when I put down the compound and took up the recurve. So I think I'll post them here, and save you the cost of the book (which I never got around to publishing anyway...)

Anyway, the first reply will be about 3-D and the novice recurve shooter.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

"Return To 3-D" Copyright 1998

By Dana Charbonneau

I got away from 3-D archery shoots several years ago. I'd shot for years, mostly as a tune-up for bow hunting. It was fun, but it wasn't. Hunh? What I mean is, the sport was growing, and attracting a lot of 'Serious Competitors.' You know the type, guys who have all the latest gear, who spend 500 bucks every year on the latest ultra- super-mega-hot radical speed bows, hoping to gain that extra 5 feet per second of arrow speed. The guys who bitch and whine every time they miss the 10-ring. With my casual attitude and old round-wheel bow, I started to feel like a dinosaur.

So what got me back into it? A new bow. Not a radical cam, split-limb shooting machine, but a recurve. No sights. Leather fingers and arm guard. Wooden arrows with real feather fletching. Yeah, the boy has gone traditional. There's something about the simplicity of it that really appeals to me. It's a real thrill when you hit the bulls-eye with nothing but hand-eye coordination. Even if your next arrow sails clean over the target into the poison ivy.

In early August, Lou, his son Derek, and I hit the course at the Swift River Sportsman's Club. I wish I could claim a triumphant return to the sport. The results were less impressive than instructive.

At the first target, I confidently drew back, released the whispering shaft, and shot clean over the plastic deer. Hmm, guess I should have practiced more at 25-30 yards. All my shooting at home has been at 10 to 20 yards, because I figure to get close and kill cleanly. That was another reason I got away from '3-D shoots. Grizzly bears at 40 yards? Not in my lifetime. Anyway, I goose-egged the scorecard four times in a row, and finally managed a hit at target 5. My confidence skyrocketed, and we proceeded to target 6, where I buried a shaft in the skinniest tree that ever jumped out in front of a target. I field dressed my kill and we moved on. One of the guys in the group ahead of us was likewise having trouble. He said he was thinking about planting marijuana food plots where he hunts, to get the deer in a real relaxed mood. We all had a good laugh over that.

The troubles continued. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that it was an expensive morning. I lost 3 custom arrows, and shortened a fourth. (My arrow maker, Gary, of Wicked Sticks in Orange, Ma., was also shooting the course. I swear I could hear him chuckling the whole way through the woods. Probably just my imagination playing tricks on me. Probably.)

Finally, after 30 targets, we trudged back to the clubhouse and tallied our scores. Lou, shooting a heavy metal super fast target bow, was a bit disappointed in his score. I was happy just to be in triple digits. (Out of a possible 300.) Derek beat me by 11 points, shooting a compound with no sights. At least he was a gentleman.

Am I disappointed? No way. Shooting brought back a lot of good memories, and I can't wait to do it again. It's less than two months 'til Vermont bow season opens, and I know a few things. First, I need more practice. Second, I need to get really close to a deer. Third, I need to find a really dumb deer. Fourth, I probably should have planted one of those marijuana food plots back in the Spring!

From: williethebarber
Date: 06-Feb-10

Duckwing looked outside his Tipi and saw two feet of fresh snow. He knew he was going to have to hunt because his supplies were very low and there was still a lot of winter left. The day looked promising and the sun was finally out after a two day storm. He remembered last time out he saw some fresh elk sign in the hollow a mile from the village. If they were still there he might be able to shoot one and have enough meat for the rest of the winter. He grabbed his quiver with four of his best arrows and took his best bow. It was going to be tough going to get to the valley with all the snow but if he shot a elk it would be well worth it. He worked up a sweat going through the snow and he could see the valley ahead. He checked the wind and it was in his favor. He braced his bow, a Osage flat bow, his best. He selected his favorite arrow and started up the valley. He moved as only a indian can and soon he could smell the musky odor of elk. He moved a inch at a time when he could make out a nice cow less than twenty yards bedded down. When she stood up he pulled his bow to the center of his chest and shot the cow right behind the front shoulder. She jumped up and the rest of the herd of elk jumped at the action. There were probally twenty elk bedded down in the Aspens out of the wind. The snow was bright red and the tracking was short when he saw the elk laying in the snow. He had his buffalo basket and started to take the hide off her. He had his basket full of fresh meat and he would be back tommorow with some help from the rest of the village. The elk would be totally used. He said a prayer for the cows life and headed back to his Tipi where there was a warm fire and squaw waiting.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

Wilie, that was good! I wrote one a while back about a young native lad who goes on a quest to find his true name. Way too long...

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

"One Old Stand" Copyright 1996

by Dana Charbonneau

One of the pleasant self-delusions I enjoy while hunting is the thought that maybe, just maybe, I'm the first to hunt a particular piece of land. The first man since the days of the Algonquins to walk this place, with bow in hand, searching for a deer.

I was on Buck Hill, near our Vermont hunting camp. It's an obscure little spot, overshadowed by the surrounding mountains. I figured I was being pretty cagey, hunting the small nooks everyone else drives past on their way to the big woods. The back side of the hill was covered with acorns. No surprise, it's turning out to be a banner year for nuts - acorns, beech and hickory nuts everywhere you walk. I made my way along the edge where scrub pines meet the open hard woods. I headed towards the ridgeline where several runs meet, passing by an enormous white oak, fully three feet thick. Looking up, I spotted a couple boards. Aha! I'm not the first person to bowhunt this spot after all.

There were no steps on the tree, gone, rotted away. The remnants of the stand looked very old, twenty years or more. Before I started hunting at all. The spot had been chosen with care. A good run came out of the brush below, passing the stand and headed to the ridgeline. Several surrounding hemlocks provided cover to conceal the hunter. In those days of army surplus camouflage it was a smart way to hunt. It still is.

I found myself wondering about the nameless hunter, who he was, what he saw here, what he may have shot at from this place. Did he hit or miss? What memories did he take from this stand, triumphs or frustrations? Did he sit here in the chill of dawn or on quiet evenings? Through howling wind and rain? Did he hunt for meat or wide-racked bucks? I made up my mind to return, to get to know him better, this other bowhunter from another time.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

“The Contender” Copyright 2003 500 words By Dana Charbonneau

If I’m not the world’s worst hunter and fisherman, I am a top-ranked contender for the title. Oh, I catch the occasional fish. I’ve killed a few deer, a turkey, the occasional squirrel and partridge, but those were mostly accidents. You see, animals aren’t very smart. Sure, they have vastly superior senses, but basically they’re chumps. Easy marks. A fellow with my near-genius IQ, and all the great gear I’ve accumulated, ought to have a freezer full of game meat. So why am I eating Spaghetti-O’s?

Partly it’s timing. Bad timing. Like the year I got laid off in the spring, just in time for the fishing season. So I pulled a leg muscle on my first day out and couldn’t fish for three weeks. Goodbye trout. Hello fish sticks.

Then there was last fall, when I broke my arm a week before hunting season. And how many times have I gotten to my tree stand and kicked deer out from underneath?

Of course, timing isn’t everything. There’s a quality of grace. As in graceful. As in, that quality I lack entirely. I bump into things. I fall down. I’m the guy who always steps on the hidden twig. That fly hanging in the branch over the water? Mine. And how do you slam the car door quietly? Use the fishing rod to muffle the sound.

Then there’s the matter of food sources. Hunt ‘em where they eat, right? Sounds good in theory, but every time I find a new oak grove, the deer switch to apples. Or the trees get logged off the following year and the deer move out. Worse yet, the place gets developed. “Deer Haven Estates.” Damn.

Same problem fishing. If I have a box of Light Cahills, the fish are eating Blue-Winged Olives. Of course the box of BWO’s is safely locked in the truck. With the keys…

I am also a master of losing things. Like fishing reels. And rods. Forceps. Landing nets. Ammunition. Sheath knives, complete with sheath. And why do they call it a pocket knife if it won’t stay in your pocket?

It takes more than all that to be a really bad hunter, though. A total lack of focus is essential. Like when a grouse flushes and you stand there gaping. Until that little voice in your head says, hey, that’s a 20 gage shotgun in your hands, jerk! Dunh!

That little voice. The bad hunter’s true nemesis. The voice that says, Shoot! Shoot! before you’ve had a chance to calm down and aim. The voice that says, don’t worry, the ice looks safe enough. Or, no sweat, I can wade this stretch. Or, let’s get a little closer to that gobbler before setting up. Or, don’t worry, the wind won’t shift. Or, leave the net in the truck, all the fish here are dinks.

Okay, so I lost the biggest fish in the river. At least I didn’t lose the net. (Not on that trip, anyway.) Fish sticks, anyone?

From: talks with crow
Date: 06-Feb-10

Thank you for the stories guys, what a nice break during a rainy Saturday! Dana, write the damn book!!

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

nah, too busy keeping the guys on the straight and narrow on the 'campfire' thread. And for this they shackle my butt up a tree for bear bait!


From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

"My 'Star Wars' Bow" Copyright 1999

By Dana Charbonneau

Back in the 80's, President Reagan proposed adoption of the 'Strategic Defense Initiative,' a complex system designed to stop ballistic missiles. It was to be a system of ground and space-based anti-missile weapons, the ultimate in high-technology. Opponents immediately mislabeled the concept as 'Star Wars' after the mega-hit whiz-bang movie. The name stuck so well that 'Star Wars' has become a pejorative term for high technology in general. (And yes, I've been guilty of so using it myself. I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to the film's producer, George Lucas.)

Now, I have nothing against technology as such. I like cable TV, instant coffee, and I'd never write if it wasn't for word processing software on the computer. But in my choice of hunting bow, I prefer something else. I shoot a recurve bow, using the instinctive aiming method.

I didn't always. Like most bowhunters today, I started with a compound, and upgraded several times, to faster bows, better rests and sights. But the ever-upward spiral of technology left me in the dust. Every year there were a hundred 'new' bows. Faster, more radical cams, split limbs, single cam systems, high-tech releases, 'Star Wars' sights. (Sorry again, George.) Frankly, I couldn't understand it all, and didn't care to spend twenty hours a week to study the field. When I decided on a new bow, I chose a recurve. With wood arrows for emphasis. And a leather glove, too simple to get out of tune.

Limitations? Sure. I can't shoot deer 30 yards away with this outfit. At my current level of skill, 15 yards is about maximum. In time, I hope to master 20 yards. So why give up those 30 yard shots? Because 30 yards is a long shot with a bow, too long even on my best days with a compound. Too many things can go wrong; unseen twigs deflect the arrow, or the deer moves. Result, a miss, or worse, a bad hit.

More importantly, I just plain love getting close, really close to a deer. At 5 to 10 yards, your heart pounds like a drum, and you worry the noise will spook your prey. You have to develop your skill to a higher level to get this close with any consistency. Then the timing of your shot must be perfect. That's the real challenge of the stick and string.

And when you do get that close, you don't need stabilizers, multiple sight pins, peeps, release aids. You need a bow that is smooth, silent, quick, one you can shoot without the distraction of conscious aiming. The recurve (or longbow if you prefer) is ideally suited for these close-up opportunities.

In the original 'Star Wars,' the elder Jedi knight Obi-Wan contrasts his 'old-fashioned' light saber to a modern gun, describing it as "an elegant weapon, for a more civilized age." It is the elegant simplicity of the recurve that makes it ideal for my style of hunting. When you are 5 yards from a deer, an elegant weapon is all the 'Star Wars' you need.

From: Salagi
Date: 06-Feb-10

Dana, if using you for bear bait on the campfire thread gets you to share these stories with us, we will be bear baiting a lot. Thanks!

From: George Stamps
Date: 06-Feb-10



George M Stamps

The area was known as the Little Delta region but I was beginning to wonder if it shouldn’t have been called Little Hell. I had spent the day walking in a circle due to losing my compass somewhere while trailing the biggest moose I had ever seen, hoping to get a shot. When I discovered my compass was missing I wasn’t too alarmed at first thinking I would have no trouble backtracking to camp on Forgotten Creek but it’s amazing how much this country looks alike when you’re down one compass. I always considered myself an above average woodsman but I made the mistake of not taking notice of landmarks as often as I should have. I had enough gear to spend a couple nights out but with evening shadows what I would do after that weighed heavily on my mind. I had spent the day in a steady drizzle climbing the surrounding hills trying to spot a recognizable landmark. Soaked and tired I spotted a fallen spruce that would help block the wind and give me a place to stretch the tarp I carried to keep the rain off. I gathered the drier branches lying underneath the trunk and using dried needles and smaller twigs I soon had a fire going to dry out. I was eating some of the jerky and trail mix I had taken with me when I left the cabin and was thinking I would need to pick off a grouse or two tomorrow. I was listening for anything that sounded like a bear in the darkness and soon discovered that everything sounds like a big Brownie when you’re out in the wilderness alone. I was trying to fight off sleep when I looked up and saw him standing just outside the light given off by my fire. “Mind if I share the fire?” he asked. “Where in the hell ...I mean sure be my guest.” I replied. “Had any luck?” “No for the last two days I have been los...I mean kinda scouting” “I see. Good way to get to know the country.” He said while picking up a branch and poking the fire. Realizing I was carrying on a conversation with someone whose name I didn’t know I stuck out my hand and said “Name’s Glenn good to meet you.” “You can call me Fred.” He replied. “You know I used to hunt up here with a fella named Glenn” He added almost as an afterthought. Still not wanting to confess my predicament I casually asked what he thought the best route to Forgotten Creek was from here. Picking up a stick, he drew a rough sketch in the dirt of the most direct route to the creek. I felt immense relief having met this stranger who seemed to be as much a part of this area as he was in it. I excused myself to step in the bush to relieve myself and as I was coming back I started talking to Fred once I was in earshot of where I had left him. “You were asking about the hunting well I saw the biggest….” As I came in sight of the campfire he was gone and at first I though maybe he had taken his own trip into the bushes but it was then I noticed the hat he had been wearing lying on the ground with a note stuck in the brim. Picking the paper up I read what he had wrote before leaving. I was noticing your bow you should try a Kodiak. Happy Hunting FB.

From: George Stamps
Date: 06-Feb-10

Wow it ran together

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 06-Feb-10

Yeah, the joys of html. I figured out that you have to hit 'return' twice between paragraphs when you paste it, or 'crunch!'.

Anyway, good story!

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 08-Feb-10

“Ten Minutes” Copyright 2000 By Dana Charbonneau

Yesterday, for ten minutes, I was fully alive. It was the second day of bow season in Massachusetts and I was deer hunting. The previous day I’d still-hunted all morning and sat a stand ‘til dark, seeing nothing but a grouse.

This day was different. I headed out to a remote patch of oaks where I’d seen deer before. I was moving slower, maybe calmed down from the opening-day jitters, or maybe just because it was steeper going here. As the old tote road leveled off and turned right I thought to myself, here’s the spot. Immediately a deer bolted in front of me, disturbed by my less-than-stealthy approach. I quickly crouched down and froze.

The deer bounded along the road, finally turning into a small swamp two hundred yards south. I wouldn’t be following her there. Then I heard it, steps. Close. Too loud to be anything else. Another deer, behind and to my left. She must have been following the first one but hadn’t seen me.

As she slowly meandered along, I stepped forward. The ground was dry and the leaves were crunchy. The deer was forty yards away, walking parallel to the road, but I’d have to move too, to have any chance for a shot. Ten yards further the brush thinned enough that I might be able to close the gap.

My eyes picked out a relatively quiet path, and I began to move one step at a time, easing toward the more open spot. After every step I’d look up from my feet and relocate the deer. She was browsing along slowly, but no deer ever drops its guard completely. Five minutes later I had a halfway clear look at the doe, but she was still thirty yards away, screened by twigs. I needed to be at least ten yards closer before I’d risk a shot with my recurve.

Someone once wrote that moving straight towards a deer is easier than moving sideways, because the deer are better at detecting lateral movement. It sounds good in theory, but now it was crunch time.

After a few more cautious steps, the crunch came. An unseen twig snapped under my foot. The quarry immediately lifted her head, her radar-dish ears turned towards me. She went through all the classic deer moves. First the head bobs (the better to see you, my dear,) then the front hoof stomps, to startle an intruder into betraying himself. Sorry, hon, been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I stayed stock-still, but it was no use. A big doe like this is naturally paranoid, and she decided to bolt, blowing loudly all the way.

I was grinning like an idiot. I’d blown yet another stalk, yet I was happy. Glowing. Alive.

I recently read another article, where the hunter lists the many and varied reasons we hunt – for meat, trophies, companionship, appreciation for fine weapons and their skilled use. The working of a good dog, the quiet times afield, the high beautiful places our steps take us to, are all good reasons, yet not the complete answer. There’s more.

In that short encounter, I became more than a job-holding cog in the machine. I felt every hint of breeze, while praying that my scent would not betray me. I heard the chirps and tweets of birds, and hoped they would not be alarmed by my presence. I marveled at how the dun gray-brown of the deer’s coat blended into the woods so well, causing me to nearly lose sight of her several times. I felt the heft and balance of the bow, my shoulders tensing in anticipation. Maybe I’ll get to shoot… I heard my footsteps like thunder. I was more than modern man; I was a sleek, stealthy jungle cat.

Okay, maybe not. I’m still a big, clumsy, middle-aged lion-wannabe. King of the jungle? Hah! But in those precious minutes, I was fully awake and aware, a rare moment in our TV/internet/video game culture. Later, as I slipped back out of the woods, the yellow of the poplar seemed brighter; the orange of the oak leaves seemed deeper. The scents of pine needle and leaf seemed purer. The brook below the trail rang like silver bells. I know why I hunt.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 26-Feb-10

"Autumn At Last" Copyright 1996 by Dana Charbonneau

In 'Habit of Rivers,' Ted Leeson says that every year, "in some incidental event, you sense abruptly the first tinge of Autumn." The first day of Fall is just a date on the calendar, but it is not the true start of Autumn. Nor is it when the first maple turns colors. (There's usually one showoff wearing scarlet by Labor Day - definitely not Autumn unless you're a school-age child.) For me Autumn truly arrives with the first southbound flight of geese, as heard from a Vermont hillside.

It will be the first Saturday of October, opening day of the Vermont archery deer season. Months of planning, scouting, practice and anticipation have brought me to this point. Up at four AM to cook the camp breakfast, then the slow walk under the stars to whatever magical spot I've chosen for the first vigil of the year.

The day unfolds slowly. My eyes adjust to the dim light. The first squirrel scampering in the leaves has sent the first rush of adrenalin through me. A flock of chickadees has visited me among the branches. The air slowly warms as the sun climbs the other side of the mountain.

Eight AM now. I've gotten comfortable in the stand. Then I hear it, the faint 'whonk, whonk, of the first vee. The geese, who spent the night on Lake Bomoseen, or Otter Creek, have resumed their southward flight over this northern end of the Taconics. I strain my eyes heavenward, searching through the canopy for a glimpse of them. There, to the West, I see them now, furiously winging south ahead of the cold. The sound fades as the flock moves on. I settle back in my stand, content, complete. It really is Autumn at last.

From: Old Crow
Date: 26-Feb-10

DanaC, yep, I agree with Salagi, you are looking better as bait, you should wrote those stories!

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 26-Feb-10

Heck, I haven't done anything to you guys (yet). If I wrote the whole campfire story there'd be human sacrifice and me being nominated to the SCI hall of fame >;-)

From: BrownCoIL
Date: 26-Feb-10

Thanks George and Dana...great stories to relieve my cabin fever!

From: The Lost Mohican
Date: 27-Feb-10

Great Stuff Dana, and George, TLM

Date: 27-Feb-10

Talented folks here on the wall...Thanks for the stories...4finger

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 23-Mar-10

"Failure and 'That Small Possibility'" Copyright 1999

By Dana Charbonneau

"(Hunting) With the bow, the possibility of failure is so ever-present that you become obsessed with that faint hope of success...that small possibility."

Jay Massey, "A Thousand Campfires"

There are degrees of failure. Sure, tag soup at the end of bow season is a bigger failure than, say, losing a game of 8-ball. But there are countless possibilities for success in the woods, of which taking an animal is only one. Of course, it's the big one. We're carrying a tag, a weapon, years of experience, endless hours of practice, hope and dreams. We want that big buck, that freezer full of good meat. But there is so much else for us to gain in the woods, it's a shame if we fail to come away happy.

I'd like to think I'm focused in the woods. I'm not. When a flock of geese wings overhead, I look up. I should know better. I've been on stand for two hours, sitting still, my eyes scanning the hillside, head movements glacially slow. Then the first faint 'whonk, whonk' of a southbound flock pierces my concentration. I snap my head up, rubbernecking through the canopy of leaves like a hick tourist among the skyscrapers of New York City. The bright morning sun catches them, seemingly too high to be so loud. For a moment my heart soars with them, until I sink back to my silent vigil. It would be a real failure if I didn't look up, didn't fly with them for that brief moment.

There is a modest sized mountain behind the camp. Deer wend their way from the pastures below up the sides in the morning, spending the daylight hours bedded high. It's open on top, too open for effective still-hunting, but I try. At several points you can look out across the valley to the distant Adirondacks, your vision taking in a thousand square miles. Hawks soar on thermal currents, clouds move in stately procession, bringing the next batch of weather. After soaking it all up, I turn away, walking too fast, and spook two does bedded further along the ridge. I resolve to slow down, to move as quietly as the hawks, alert, predatory. It's no use. A quarter mile further there's another outcropping, another view, nearly the same, yet subtly different, so it, too, must be taken in. And maybe there are deer bedded yonder, too.

Back in Massachusetts, last day of bow season. I've spent three hours climbing over inhospitable boulders, to hunt another open ridge with sparse sign. The area is new to me, and you find the good spots by eliminating the bad ones, right? I'm circling downhill, back towards the truck, getting the lay of the land. I spot movement below. Another hunter. He moves left, right, left again. I know this dance.

"Hi, how's it going?"?

I hit one a while ago, and I'm looking for my arrow."

"Good hit?"?

"Maybe a bit far back."

I join in the search. A short while later we're standing over his four point buck, the arrow having indeed hit well and killing cleanly. We drag the deer back to the parking area, shake hands, two new friends. I head home. It's been a good season, even if I'll be cooking up a pot of tag soup this afternoon.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 24-Mar-10

The Second Day

By Dana Charbonneau

We all know the thrill of opening day, when months of anticipation have gotten us worked up to a fever pitch. We arrive at camp the evening before opening day and everybody is talking at once, excited about their plans for the morning, the deer they saw while scouting, the sign on the ridges. we catch up on each other's doings, check out each other's new gear, razz each other about the scores at the last pre-season archery shoot. Everybody finally gets bunked down, but nobody sleeps well. (Except for that one guy whose snoring could wake the dead.)

All too soon, the alarm clock goes off, and the camp becomes a beehive all over again. Everybody gets under everybody else's feet, coffee and pastry disappear, and finally, the hunters troop out for the walk to their stands. Maybe you're in an old, comfortable stand. maybe you've hung a portable in a promising new area, In any case, the anticipation is the same. Each new sound is a promise of excitement, as the woods come alive in their autumn splendor.

Time passes, two hours, three. It slowly occurs to you that maybe your opening morning strategy isn't going to pan out this year. Maybe it's the wind, or you weren't quiet enough getting to your stand, or the deer have changed their patterns in the two weeks since you last scouted. Doubts pile up, until you finally decide that a second breakfast and some rethinking are in order. You head back to camp, your spirits taken down a notch. But you remember late-season successes from years past, and, after all, it is a waiting game.

Back at camp one of your gang is all excited. He's hit his first deer with the bow, and wants help trailing it. Second breakfast forgotten, you all head out to his stand. The blood is dark on his arrow, so you feel confident that he got a good hit. A short but tricky job of trailing, with a few false starts, and you yell over to him, your deer's right here. It's a young doe, looking slender and dainty under the pine where she last lay down. You can't help thinking how small the deer is, but then you remember that hunt not so many years back, when you shot your first with the bow, no bigger than this. It is indeed an important moment, a trophy not to be forgotten, and you shake his hand in congratulation.

Evening post is another bust, your stand on the edge of a pasture doesn't pay out. Back at camp the mood is still good, after all, it isn't every year there's a deer hung on the first day of the season.

The following morning, it's just a bit harder to get out of the bunk. You sip your coffee a bit slower, feeling the chill outside. A quick glance at the thermometer tells you it's 15 degrees colder outside today than yesterday. Going to be frosty in the stand. You pull on heavier boots, an extra shirt. Stepping outside, you notice the stars aren't quite as bright this morning, and that uphill walk seems a bit steeper today. But you finally get to your stand and settle in. Again the lightening day brings myriad noises to your ears. Far overhead, the Canada Geese are winging south, below your tree, the squirrels are scuffling the leaves in their quest for acorns. You settle in for a long season of patient hunting, knowing that there's no substitute for putting in your time in the woods. An hour passes slowly, and you shift position to keep the circulation going. The excitement is gone, and the tedium takes over.

Then, you glance down the run that you've spent long hours finding, tracing, watching, and a grey-brown form materializes from the clump of pines 50 yards below. Heading right past the stand if he stays on the run. Beautiful. You get ready, and as you draw the bow back, you think to yourself, after all, it is a waiting game ...

From: Whittler
Date: 24-Mar-10

Thank you for the great reading, I enjoyed very much. Hope you keep them coming.

I would love to be in a hunting camp and hear your stories.

Thanks again.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 02-Apr-10

Posting this one after reading the 'beaver fever' discussion.

Giardia MA by Dana Charbonneau

I was poking along on some secondary roads in the Berkshires, looking for the headwaters of one of our lesser-known trout streams. I'd heard a rumor of some beaver ponds that held nice brook trout, if you could stand the mosquitoes. The sign by the road said "Giardia, Massachusetts, Population 462." Now, I love maps, and sometimes spend hours looking at them, tracing out roads and rivers, but I'd never heard of "Giardia."

As I pulled into town, I noticed the Giardia Library, Giardia Volunteer Fire Department, and the Giardia Village Store. All the signs were freshly painted. It looked like folks here took pride in this place. I pulled into the store for a cold drink.

The first thing that caught my eye was the bottled water. There must have been 200 six-gallon containers stacked to the ceiling along one wall. An older gentleman in a shop apron, clearly the proprietor, was stacking still more bottles in the middle of the floor. As I got a soda from the old wooden cooler, he mopped his brow with the apron and scurried behind the counter to the old cash register. He looked glad of the interruption. As he made change, I observed that he had an awful lot of bottled water.

"Yeah," he said, "I sell a lot of it these days."

"Could you tell me if there are any beaver ponds around here?." I asked.

"Beaver ponds! Hell, mister, there's beaver ponds in every brook and stream for ten miles. Pick a direction!"

"Why, thanks. Say, this is a pretty nice little town you've got here. How come I've never heard of 'Giardia'? "

"You never heard of it 'cause it's brand new."

"Brand new? This store looks to be a hundred years old!"

"Oh, it ain't the town that's new, just the name."

My curiosity was piqued now. An old town changing its' name? In New England, where 'tradition' carries the same moral weight as 'sacred'? Mighty weird.

"New name?" I asked. "What did they call the place before?"

"This used to be the village of Beaver Meadows. And it ain't such a nice place anymore. Cost of living's gone up, folks getting sick, crime rate is up, and the road repair costs are breaking the town budget."

Beaver Meadows. I'd heard of it before, even seen it on a map. This was the trout hot spot I'd been told about. I asked the old gent what had happened.

"Well, sir, a couple years back they up and passed that 'no trapping' law. It about killed this town."

"Killed the town? How?"

"Beavers, is how! Used to be a nice little local industry up hereabouts, trapping beavers. The local kids would run traplines and make some decent money. A few folks from other towns came, too. Gave the local economy a shot in the arm after hunting season. Nowadays, the kids just hang around the street comers smoking pot and getting into trouble. And the damn beavers multiplied to where they're a real nuisance. Half the roads in town get flooded every year. The state won't let us dynamite the bastards out. Say we got to hire a professional trapper to move 'em. Hell, after fixing the roads there just ain't enough money left for that. I tell you, mister, this town's gone straight to hell!"

"I see what you mean," I told him. "But what about the name change?"

"Well, sir,'the last straw came when the Smith family, they live on up Meadow Road, they all come down sick. Doc said it was from their well water being contaminated by the beavers."

"So the town..."

"Yep. We took a vote, sort of to spite the furry bastards and the bunny huggers alike. The name 'Giardia' didn't exactly win, though. But after the votes were tallied, folks had second thoughts. Nobody really wanted to live in a place called 'Beaver Fever'!"

From: Old Crow
Date: 02-Apr-10

DanaC, that story(Giardia, Ma) really hits the "nail" on the head, and now days and times, stories like this could be absolute true, when the government thinks it's doing great things, but actually causing more harm!!!! MHO

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 03-Apr-10

OC, I wrote that one not long after the infamous 'Question One' passed here in Massachusetts. It was a referendum that effectively ended trapping and hunting bear with hounds.

Since then beaver problems have gotten worse, with towns spending a LOT of money to install 'beaver-proof' culverts, or in some cases to hire expensive 'wildlife control' experts. We warned them...

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 08-May-10

Hope this posts, it's kinda long...

“Two Monarchs” Copyright 2003 By Dana Charbonneau

Deep in the woods of New England you often encounter old stone walls and foundations. What is now forest was farmland a hundred years ago, alive with rural vigor. The walls marked the boundaries of pastures and property, with double rows to indicate where the roads once ran. The old farms themselves are a hunter’s delight, with thickets sheltering partridge. If you are lucky a few apple trees still bear fruit. Such places will always attract deer.

Today’s remaining farms are often just a shadow of their former selves, struggling to hold the line as the forest reasserts itself. Most farming now is done further west, on richer, more level ground.

Along the old roads and walls you sometimes find the biggest trees in the woods. Stately maples were left to mark property lines and provide shade for travelers. In spring they yielded syrup for the farm breakfasts. Today the old trees stand as reminders of the past, kings in the forests of lesser trees and saplings.

Whitetails were scarce when those trees were young. Years of unregulated hunting had taken a toll. More importantly, the land changed. The woods were cleared to make room for sheep pastures, corn and cattle. Deer were displaced by the need for stove logs, ship timber, houses, paper, wagons, rifle stocks, furniture, all the products of good wood and industrious New England hands, mills and machines. Today, as farming declines, and wood is replaced by steel, aluminum or plastics, the forests have returned, and deer are abundant.

Deer hunting as a sport is quite popular throughout New England. While often associated with the vast wilds of Maine, the Green Mountains of Vermont, or the Berkshires, the sport is also enjoyed in the smaller woods of Rhode Island, Connecticut, and even the suburbs of Boston. Deer populations are healthy throughout, with most states increasing season length and bag limits. Annual harvests are growing in many areas.

Of course, many deer taken are young animals, spikehorn bucks or small racks. The woods are filled with blaze orange during open season, and few deer survive long enough to grow to regal proportions. A few do, however, in remote areas or by virtue of superior survival skills. Trophy class bucks are taken in a variety of areas, including a few genuine ‘Boone and Crockett,’ or record class bucks. These deer are seldom seen, existing as much in our dreams as in the woods. Occasionally one of those dreams comes true.

The old buck was cautious. Every sense was fully attuned to his surroundings. Although the rut was in full swing, he was not scurrying about in the frenzied pursuit of willing does. The years had mellowed him a bit, and hunting season had opened yesterday. The latter didn’t bother him too much; he had evaded the red wool and blaze orange armies for the past six seasons. At this time of year he traveled only the thickest areas, never venturing into the open until dark. His domain was the entire mountain, about four square miles, plus a few adjacent hills and the lowlands between. He ranged from the old orchards at the north and south ends of the mountain, to the ridge-top oak groves, to the cow corn and pastures below the west slope.

The real reason for his caution was a younger buck, a brute he had encountered a week earlier. The upstart had moved up the mountain from the large swamp by the lake to the east. Bulling through the swamp, and a rich diet of lowland browse had given the four-year-old formidable size and strength. He was fully the equal of the monarch in both. Sparring when they met, he had surprised the older buck with the forcefulness of his attack. They had fought to exhaustion, with neither gaining a clear victory. Now the old buck was no longer certain of his supremacy on the mountain.

The old buck had another problem, one he wasn’t aware of. One very cautious hunter knew of his presence in these woods. A man some said had ghosts behind his eyes, Kevin was looking for something more than just another deer. He had seen the monarch two years earlier, while glassing a pasture late one evening. After that he had spent a lot of time in the surrounding woods. He tracked the buck partly by rumors, stuttered tales of a monster seen in fleeting glimpses. He found the occasional large track and other sign of the big deer in scattered locations, and methodically marked possible travel routes on a topo map. He couldn’t find the concentration of sign that would allow him to dope out the buck’s rounds with any certainty.

In this part of Vermont big bucks were relatively scarce. Heavy hunting pressure had created a lopsided buck-doe ratio, and scraping activity was sparse. The monarch marked a wide territory, but seldom very much in a single spot. He left few clues to his presence.

This year Kevin had gotten lucky. Late in the October bow season a large buck had thrashed several trees at one end of a thicket at the base of the ridge. Kevin had happened through the area and had been amazed at the wreckage. Trees from sapling size to six inches in diameter had been torn up. If the conditions were right this might be the place for a ‘painfully slow’ still hunt.

Unknown to Kevin and the monarch, the younger buck had been shot the previous day. He had been hot on the heels of an estrus doe and had walked into plain sight of a novice hunter with a 30-30. The young man had been posted on a side hill by his uncle, in a spot not too far from the road. It was an unlikely place for the youngster to get in trouble, the uncle figured. He was mighty surprised when he returned to pick up the boy for lunch. The kid had gutted the deer and dragged it to the road, and was practically dancing with joy. Pretty soon half the county knew about the big deer, which dressed out at well over two hundred pounds. The kid had a good chance of winning the local big buck contest hands down.

Kevin had heard about the big deer this morning over coffee at the diner. He was disappointed that his quest seemed to have come to an end. He even knew the lucky youngster, a neighborhood kid who used to shovel sidewalks for pocket change during the winter. If it had to be anybody…

Well, a day in the woods beats a day at work, he figured. He still had a tag, and there were younger bucks on the mountain. A fat spikehorn would do nicely for the freezer. Or maybe that forkhorn he’d passed up last year was still around. He’d go a hundred fifty pounds now. Kevin rose from his stool and drove up into the hills.

Arriving at the farm on the mountainside, he pulled on his coat and hat. He had a decision to make. The top of the mountain would be well covered by the guys from the deer camp above the farm. To the south, some of the locals would be doing drives in the pines and logging slash. The small cover behind the farmhouse held possibilities, but the wind was wrong today. No, he’d have to still hunt through the thicket at the base of the mountain, then circle the pasture. If he moved slowly enough, he might get a shot at a deer before they made their way up to the bedding areas on the shelves by a network of steep trails. He knew those trails well. During the bow season he had watched several from a portable tree stand. He’d passed up several does, including one who looked to go 150 pounds, a real cow in this area. Only one buck, a spike, had come by. Kevin had let him walk, hoping for something better. He’d been hoping to encounter the monarch. Well, might as well get out there. Finishing his coffee, he pulled on his fanny pack and headed across the field.

This morning the monarch was bedded at the base of the North Ridge, in an area that had been logged several years ago and which had grown up into a tangle of brush, saplings and blackberry vines. It was his favorite security cover. More than once he had stood perfectly still only fifty feet from a hunter walking the faint remnants of the skidder trails. He had long been aware of the tree stand nailed up in the big oak below. He had altered his pattern forever the day it was built. That hunter had seen the monarch once, caught in his headlights one night a few years earlier. He would never know how close, and yet how far he was from killing the big buck.

So far this morning the deer had heard the stand hunter enter his perch in the maple, approaching on the same logging trail he always used, and a truckload of hunters entering the woods from the pasture below. Two men had walked by him less than a hundred yards upwind, hurrying to climb the ridge to their posts. There they would wait for the deer to ascend as the lower woods filled with activity and scent. It was a tactic the big buck evaded easily. He knew the open hardwoods above provided little cover and too many opportunities for men with guns. He visited the ridge in September, when the first white oak acorns dropped, then avoided it until the quiet days of winter. Then, the meager warmth of the afternoon sun exposed patches of grass and a few leftover nuts.

Bedded down, the monarch was all but invisible. Dried ferns and slash broke up his outline. Only the tips of his ivory-hued antlers rose above the cover. He was drowsy from the sun, but awake to any change in the wind or the scents carried on the breeze.

Kevin crossed the low pasture and slipped into the pines. Allowing a few minutes for his eyes to adjust to the change of light, he pulled his hat down low over his eyes to keep the sky’s brightness out. It was an old trick, one he’d learned in a far-off jungle as a scared young man. It had served him well then, and since.

He slipped along quietly, alert to every dry twig on the ground. It was impossible to be totally quiet, but he tried. One step, two, one, three. Never a rhythm to alert the woods, never a hurry. His eyes scanned the shadows of the pines, sorting out branches, ferns, the leaves of the odd sapling.

Nothing in the pines today. He passed an old tree stand, one built years ago by some unknown bowhunter. It was a good place, hard by an old apple tree that produced fruit every few years.

When he reached the edge where the pines butted up against the slope, he was tempted to cut back towards the small swamp below. However, the wind was not quite right. Instead he opted to follow the edge, heading north toward the thicket at the corner of the property. He slipped ten feet back into the pines, resuming his slow pace northward. He could see out into the strip of maples that ran along the base, dense clusters of saplings punctuated by majestic old trees that stood in a long line. They looked like a picket fence erected by giants. Every now and then a rub caught his eye, gleaming white against the vertical gray stripes. He remembered those hadn’t been here two weeks ago when the bow season ended. Good, good. Two hundred yards from the northern border of the property, he paused. From here the going got worse, briars and slash from recent logging mixed together with what saplings had survived. There was one huge old maple the loggers hadn’t touched, a monster almost four feet in diameter. The tree stood alone, surrounded by thick cover. Kevin stepped to the edge of the pines and looked out. Binoculars in hand, he scanned the brush for five full minutes. Nothing. He turned to go, then stopped.

Down by the corner of the property there was a slight commotion, a blue jay spitting invective at some unseen disturbance. Kevin looked north, then caught a hint of motion out of the corner of his eye. What the… Looking back, he made out a vague silhouette forty yards into the brush. Disturbed by the racket, the deer had risen from his bed, unsure whether to stay or move on. Kevin raised his binoculars again, slowly peering into the thicket. Yes, antlers! He couldn’t judge the size of the rack, but after all, this was a meat hunt. Raising his rifle, he looked for a gap to shoot through. Not a chance, he thought.

Below, another jay added voice to the ruckus. Jim must be leaving the property-line stand, Kevin thought. He knew the other hunter from town, a regular at the diner. Jim was one of those methodical guys who put in his time at one spot until something came by. He was also one of those guys who ate lunch at the diner during deer season. That stand below had a well-worn path in and out. Kevin knew the stand, having passed by it during bow season two years ago.

The big deer had had enough. Slowly he started walking south, keeping to the saplings. Kevin breathed slowly, trying to calm his racing heart. Yes, up ahead, there was a gap he could shoot through. He held the rifle as steady as he could, waiting. The monarch stepped into the lane, and just as he centered the crosshairs on the chest, the hunter was halfway conscious of how big the antlers were. He fired.

At the shot, the deer hunched, then bounded forward. He crashed through the saplings as Kevin hurriedly worked the bolt of his carbine. Then the deer slowed, right under the big lone maple, and stopped. His legs collapsed, and his head slumped slowly onto the carpet of leaves.

Gasping for breath from reaction, the hunter slowly approached. He heard the last breath shudder from the deer, and then all was silent.

The deer was huge, bigger than he’d seemed through the screen of cover, with antlers almost too big for his massive bulk. Kevin recognized him instantly, Him, the one who had haunted his dreams for two years. It was real.

Kevin knelt at the side of the deer. In a minute he’d start in with his knife to deal with the messy details of life and death. Right now he was numb, stunned at having succeeded at last. In the back of his mind were little voices saying, “two-twenty dressed, easy,” and “record book.” He ignored them all. Such concerns seemed just a bit tasteless in this place, this moment. Maybe later he’d care about all that again, but not now. This was special, like being in church, and though he’d stayed away for over twenty years, he could almost hear his mother’s voice shushing him from the next pew.

The big deer lay still at the base of the great maple, one monarch at the foot of another, two kings whose lives had so often intertwined. Soon, perhaps, the maple would lie fallen too, victim of rot, or the chain saw, or a gale wind on a cold and lonely New England night. Just now it stood vigil over the great deer, whose ancestors had taken shade under its branches, and whose descendants would polish their antlers on its own. It stood watch, too, over a man who had climbed out of the shade of relentless effort into the sunlight of success. A man who knelt in the leaves and smiled for the whole world to see, alone in the woods.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 14-Aug-10

"Hunter Sues Deer!" Copyright 1997

By Dana Charbonneau

Today in Berkshire District Court, frustrated hunter Fred Smith filed suit against "Bambi," an eight point buck reportedly residing in the woods near Smith's home. In a sworn affidavit, Smith claimed that despite rumors of Bambl's existence, he had never gotten so much as a glimpse of the deer. He complained that the deer's cruel failure to materialize had caused him intense mental anguish, considerable monetary loss, and the near destruction of his marriage. He is suing Bambi for two million dollars in damages.

Also named in the suit were several co-defendants. The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife was first on the list. Smith swore that claims by the department of numerous deer in the woods had led him to an unreasonable expectation of success.

"It just ain't fair," Smith said as he left the courthouse. "A fellow hunts for fifteen years and never even sees a deer. The whole thing is rigged!"

Also named were the Mass. Audubon Society and the Humane Society of the US (HSUS) for "perpetuating the myth that killing a deer is easy." Smith claimed that this unrealistic depiction of hunting had contributed to his lowered self-esteem, while subjecting him to the ridicule of his fellow hunters.

When asked about the lawsuit, defendants gave several responses. A spokesperson for the Mass. Audubon Society stated that their organization was considering a counter suit against Smith. "Imagine, setting a lawyer on poor Bambi. That's worse than a bullet!"

The HSUS issued a press release stating that while they were not worried about the merits of the suit, they found Smith's use of a lawyer, "deplorable, even worse than a leg-hold trap."

Meanwhile, the Mass Div. Of Fisheries and Wildlife offered to settle out of court, promising to initialize a five-year study of why Smith had never shot a deer.

Bambi was unavailable for comment.

From: DanaC Professional Bowhunters Society - Associate Member
Date: 25-Dec-10

Closing Day Copyright 1996 By Dana Charbonneau

As much as I love opening day, the beginning of each new season, the end of waiting, there is still something special about closing day. What I feel isn't sadness, as in the end of something I love. It isn't regret for not having been successful. Success, after all, is measured on many different scales. I don't know if there is a word for the emotion.

Trudging up the mountain on the last day of the season, I'm struck by how open everything is. Where, several weeks ago, red and gold leaves covered the trees and littered the ground, now there is only the gray of tree trunks and boulders, and a dull brown carpet of dry leaves. Even the green of the hemlocks and pines is subdued in the flat light, more cold than colorful.

Higher up, where you can see distant farms and lakes, the very blue of the sky seems too deep to hold warmth. Only the clouds are bright, but you know they lie, and behind their bright smiles and half-promises, they mutter threats of snow. Soon, soon.

I'm not terribly hopeful today, too many pre-dawn walks, long hours on stand, hard drives and clever deer have worn down my optimism. I'm here not so much because I want to be, but because I must. To quit early is to spend long winter months knowing that you didn't give it your best shot. You'll kick yourself many times before the next opener, vowing to hunt harder, and perhaps you will, but it's not the same. This could have been The Day.

This closing day is cold, another reason I like to put in more time during the early part of the season. Better scouting, or shooting, or just a bit more attention to details, and maybe I'd be home now, with venison in the freezer and the football game on the tube. But, no, Lady Luck hasn't been on my side, and now I can only hope she relents.

It's quiet today, you don’t have the opening day crowds on the farm below, no sounds rise from the valley, even the ducks and geese are long gone, leaving the marshes in peace and the waterfowlers to their own dreams of next year. Up here on the ridge there are no grouse or turkey hunters tramping through, pushing the deer around. Only a few squirrels, gathering last of the acorns for their caches, disturb the forest floor.

Suddenly, there is a flicker of movement to my left. I turn with deliberate slowness; long hours of waiting have broken me of the early-season tendency to jerk my head toward every sound or motion. There, still half hidden, but too big to be anything else. I don't see the whole animal, but I know, from that unique shade of brown-gray, the curve of the brisket, the faint outline of the back. Yes, and that dull ivory gleam of antlers. He's not alarmed, just cautious after months of dodging the influx of two-legged predators in his domain.

Now hers moving, a few more steps and he'll be in a clear shooting lane. As I pick the spot, all doubt, weariness, cold, boredom and frustration drop away, and the promise of opening day is fulfilled at last.

From: DanaC
Date: 12-Oct-11

Been a while, and season opens next week, so...

“Dreaming The Rack” Copyright 2000 By Dana Charbonneau

We’re a society hung up on numbers, and the bigger the better. The TV constantly bombards us with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NASDAQ composite. We ooh and ahh over the astronomical salaries paid to athletes, actors and CEO’s.

We anglers and hunters are not exempt. Outdoor gear gets fancier and more expensive. There are still bargains out there, but the amount you can spend goes up and up. Five hundred dollar fishing rods, shotguns going for four and five figures, and I don’t even look at boats anymore. Even a really good canoe can set you back a grand. (And of course you’re going to want a pair of fancy wood paddles for that sucker. No cheap aluminum and plastic, nosiree.)

And our dreams come with numbers these days. Time was, we just wanted to go out and catch a few fish. Now we want a twenty-inch trout, or a ten-pound hawg bass, or a forty-pound salmon. We dream of the perfect fishing trip by inches and pounds.

Deer hunters have it even worse. Not so long ago the typical hunter was happy just to see a deer, any deer, especially if he had one of those precious few doe permits. Antlers, sure, please, at least 3 inches so he’s legal to shoot. 8 points? Scarcely worth dreaming about, since the odds are better that you’ll hit the lottery.

Things have changed. The deer herd has grown almost everywhere, to the point that in some places there are too many for the land to sustain. Doe permits go begging for hunters, seasons are longer, bag limits larger. And so are our dreams.

Now, I have nothing against the idea of ‘bigger’ as a goal. I dream, myself, of that huge trout, that rack buck. It’s what gets me out there in the rain and cold and snow and cold and wind and cold. (No, I’m not a big fan of ‘cold.’) If the fishing is better in the rain, I’m out there, but I’m not looking for dinks. I want a lunker, a pole-bending, reel-screaming, tackle-smashing monster.

Likewise, when I hunt for deer, I want a whacker, a mossy-horn, a rocking chair. I want the Lord of the Swamp, the King of the Mountain, the Rack-atollah, the one that pops eyes at the checking station.

How big, exactly? Well, I’m not going to put a number on him. It’s become fashionable to discuss bucks purely in terms of their rack measurement, sometimes to an obsessive degree. It’s gotten so it shapes desires, expectations, even dreams. I’ve heard guys say, dead serious, how they were heading to Illinois or Saskatchewan, or wherever, to hunt ‘150-class’ or ‘180-class’ bucks. As if a dream, a trip-of-a-lifetime hunt for most of us, could be judged a success or failure by some magic number, calculated to the eighth-inch with a tape measure.

Back when rack measuring began, it was in tribute to the animals themselves. A huge animal was admired for the strength and cunning to grow old enough to develop those massive beams. Today he’s been reduced to a number, a status symbol, like the bamboo fly rod and the $40,000 4x4 that never leaves the pavement. It’s a measure of us, more than the animal itself, more even than our capacity to dream.

Maybe I’m too old-fashioned. Maybe I’m too naïve. Heck, you can actually make money shooting big deer and endorsing hunting products. But that’s not what fuels my dreams. That’s not what gets me out on those frosty mornings, or sends me up the ridge, through the swamp, into the thickets. Numbers aren’t what keeps me in a tree stand on a windy day, or at the rifle range beating my brains to jelly, or at the practice butts flinging arrows ‘til my shoulders scream. I want the beast I glimpsed in the laurel two years ago, the bark-peeler on Restaurant Ridge, that ten-pointer who’s been making a fool of half a nearby town. I want to hang that huge set of horns on the wall, stare at ‘em a while, then start dreaming about the next one.

From: sdoowkcab
Date: 12-Oct-11

Its Thrilling knowing those big ones are are lucky if you see em twice...Just to watch em in there domain...I get "Elvis" leg and start hearing my heartbeat while breathing...Man if I can pull this one off Id be 1 happy hunter...that wideracked 8pt watch me move on the "Booner" and blew...what a moment in time I shared with 2 majestic deer...words can't describe...I live to hunt...God Bless the LeatherWall

From: The Lost Mohican
Date: 12-Oct-11

Dana, Perfecto! Always enjoy your posts. Best of luck this season to the leatherwalls' own "Coureurs de Buis"! TLM

From: sadie jones
Date: 13-Oct-11


From: DanaC
Date: 25-Dec-11

"Brand X"

Copyright 1999

By Dana Charbonneau

As a writer I'm sometimes torn by the decision to use brand names or not. We've all read articles that sound like TV info-mercials, with brand names in every sentence. Nobody pays me to use or endorse their products, so my choices are dictated purely by taste and budget, more often the latter. (Then again, if they offered me money or free stuff, I'd probably perch on a tree limb and sing like a canary.) At any rate, when I do use brand names, it's just what works well for me.

Now, a lot of you out there stand a chance of whacking a really good trophy, and might like to climb on the endorsement band-wagon if the opportunity presents itself. You may not, however, know how to tell your story so as to maximize your chances of doing so. As a public service, I've written this detailed account of how I got my deer in '98, to serve as a template of sorts if you should get real lucky this fall.

Morning started with a hot cup of Brand A coffee. Then, after dusting myself with Brand B unscented talc and applying Brand C unscented deodorant, I donned my Brand D camo and Brand E boots. Grabbing my bow, I hauled up to the ridge. Soon I was settled into my Brand E (oops, F) tree stand, held securely by my Brand G safety belt. The morning passed quietly, and I headed back to camp around noon.

That afternoon, I realized that the wind had shifted to the south, unusual for this time of year. I decided to hunt an old stand near the north end of the pasture. I packed my Brand H tree camo outfit into my Brand I backpack and headed out. Approaching the stand, I applied a liberal amount of Brand J deer lure to my boots, and circled the stand, laying down a scent trail. I climbed into the old maple tree, strapped in and pulled my bow up with my Brand K bow retriever. Then I pulled on my clothes and my Brand L face mask, hung my Brand M binoculars around my neck, and settled in for the evening vigil.

An hour later I spotted a large doe in the field, forty yards out. She meandered away, but it was still early. A half hour later, another deer appeared, right at the corner of the pasture. She hit my scent trail and immediately started towards my stand. I watched as she quartered ever closer to me, not yet presenting a good shot. Finally she passed a mere six yards away and below, and I commenced my draw. She caught movement out of the corner of her eye and snapped to attention. Luckily she didn't look up. After scanning the area, she dropped her head, still intent on the deer lure. Immediately I drew back my Brand N custom recurve, and sent a Brand O arrow, tipped with a Brand P broadhead, clean through her. She took off at a dead run, crashing through the thick pines to my left.

After 20 minutes, I had calmed down enough to descend from the tree. I marked the spot where she stood at the shot, then proceeded to look for blood. Darkness was falling, so I took out my Brand Q flashlight and made my way back to the truck.

I spent a nervous evening in camp, wondering if I'd made a fatal hit, and worrying about coyotes finding her first. The following morning I set out in the direction the deer had taken. I found her piled up about a hundred yards form the stand, laying peacefully. I donned my Brand R plastic gloves, and field dressed her with my Brand S knife. Then I attached my Brand T deer drag to the carcass and began the long trudge back to the truck.

Halfway back, I ran into my friend Bill, who had come to see if I needed help tracking. The sun was getting hotter, so I doffed my Brand U hat and tucked it into the cargo pocket of my Brand V hunting pants. Together we dragged the deer to my Brand W truck and loaded her in. Then I reached into the cooler and retrieved two bottles of cold beer. We toasted the deer, the hunt, and the beautiful October day, giving thanks for luck and success. Oh, the beer? A Mexican brew, Dos Equis, which I believe is Spanish for 'Brand X'.

From: The Lost Mohican
Date: 25-Dec-11

Dana, Great story. Merry Christmas. TLM

From: Old Crow
Date: 29-Dec-11

Dana C, Great story and how true. Seems these days everyone is talking about "their" brand of hunting equipment. I saw a video on TV , where the "hunter" started talking about his gun, ammo,blind, and scent, that I first thought he was stocking the shelves at a sports store!

From: dire wolf
Date: 29-Dec-11

One of my all time favorites was done by a fellow we knew as Dewayne..:) Elk Rasslin' tips 101:here it is..:) Jim

A guy on another archery site posted this. Apparently it is making the rounds on the www in an e-mail. From the reactions it got I had no clue that so many archers/bowhunters had never read it. The old-timers on this site will vividly, and fondly, remember it, and its author. I know it jostled a few thoughts from the cobwebs of my brain. Some of the threads, and the guys on here, are simply unforgettable. Enjoy my fellow stickflingers.

Author: Phoenix Subject: Elk rasslin tips 101

First off many of ya are aware I recently had a goround with a critter that resulted in my endin up in a hospital.

Now for those of ya who Darren notified of my accident I want to say thanks for your prayers, Those what don't know what happened well I shot me a 1200+ pound elk bout a week ago, 25 yards thought it was a double lung hit but snow was commin down pretty good an as later discovered the arrow actually went right between the lungs clipped the heart an exited just ahead of the right shoulder.

It took me an my partner about an hour to locate the critter piled up in the bottom of a narrow ravine, I gave David my bow while I went to pose for a picture with the critter, well that big ol'fella wasn't much into havin his picture took cause when I was bout 5 feet from him he come up off the ground an started arguin with me bout it, I tried to get him to look towards the camera by grabbin his antlers an twistin his head around a lil but he didn't care for that either an forced me to kick his front leg an wrestle him back down to the ground, now this has always worked with cow critters so I didn't see a problem, we was discussin the picture takin idea when my partner gets a lil over excited an whacks the elk with MY bow not once but several times (that indian just ain't never learned ya can usually talk anyone into posin for a picture long as ya don't whack em with a bow)

Well the elk critter got mad over bein whacked an decided to hook me a couple times with his antler whilst pretty much layin atop me, this forced me to have to remind him of the age old adage

"Never take an antler to a gun fight" o.k maybe ya white folks ain't never heard that one but its very popular amongst us indians. I yelled at David to stop whackin the elk (and subquently me) with my favorite bow an get clear, at the same time I reached around mysellf an got my .357 mag outa the holster aimed it as well as I could towards the critters head (try aimin a gun behind your back sometime while layin on that arm its great fun) fired 4 or 5 shots, well the elk died pretty fast with most of his head shot off, but one of the bullets richocheted an hit me in the pevis bounced round to my hip an somehow ended up in my butt (least thats the excuse the doctors gave me for them puttin 15 stiches there) well after tryin to talk the elk into posin for the picture I was pretty tired an decided it was a good time to take a nap, I had the strangest dream of an indian draggin me behind a horse over every rock an tree he could find while I was nappin I know it was a horse couse even on his worse day Dave ain't never farted as bad as no horse.

The doctors decided they wanted some pictures of me (I don't understand why seein the elk wasn't in none of the pictures they took) so they flew me around Oregon lookin for a camera to take pictures with (I coulda told em there was a Wal-mart just down the road if they woulda just asked) I did notice somethin suspicouse in one of the pictures of my head thoough, when the doctor turned the picture backwards I coulda sworn them wierd marks on my head were the letters PSE now this is a very intriuging clue seein as how my bow has them same letters on it, I will discuss this with David when I'm feelin a lil better.

All said an done I got a busted wrist from shootin from a bad angle a few cracked ribs several bite marks 6 or 7 antler holes 1 bullet hole the holes account for a grand total of 147 stitches an a major headache, my bow got 2 busted cables a cam was lost an the cams axle mount is all busted up, my favorite .357 just needs cleanin, my elk got mostly ate by critters but David did recover alot of the meat an my antlers I do need some tips though bout how to best glue the antlers back together one of the bullets blew off a whole branch an Dave busted off many of the tines while field testin my bow for durability now ya taxidermist types would know if super glue will work for puttin em back together again.

I'm doin alright (got me a bunch of pain pills) I blew the quitin smokin after I got here since I strongly believe the critter just didn't want to pose in a picture with a non smoker, this has brought me to another thought I think I'v figured out where it is them elk are when we can't see em......they is hiding havin them a ciggarett I'm sure of it so folks instead of the usual deer style blind set ya up a ciggarett stand an they'll come runnin I betcha. For those who actually read this whole thing I will now reward ya with some prime elk wrestlin tips:

1. Elk are not impressed with how much martial arts training ya'v had so save your breath.

2. Do not kick an elk in the nose this will anger him.

3. Do not attempt to throw the elk prior to tying, the antlers hurt when they land on ya.

4. Do not let a life long recurve hunter use your compound they may become dissorientated and confused by the two extra bow strings an revert to cave man tactics of beating the elk with your bow as opposed to shooting it.

5. Elks cheat! They are not above biteing.

6. Carry more than one gun (2 ankle holsters, 2 hip guns and 2 shoulder rigs should be sufficient if ya don't mind feeing under armed) Use Magsafe ammo it won't richochet like hollow points will if they hit an antler.

7. This is very important, never never shoot yourself in the butt! .

If the above fails a nap is good.


From: DanaC
Date: 30-Dec-11

LOL, Dire wolf, I love it!

From: dire wolf
Date: 30-Dec-11

Thanks..not many remember the humor of Dewayne 'Stormrider' back in the early days of these forums.. What a hoot!

Some have accused the indian Iktomi of writing that and me of being the fellow with the recurve bow..but ain't so..:) Jim

From: dire wolf
Date: 30-Dec-11

Iktomi, I can sure picture YOU in that story...:) maybe a few years ago..:) But not me..I'd never use a compound bow as a club on a kickin' bull elk..:)Jim

From: DanaC
Date: 22-Sep-12

Losing One

by Dona Charbonneau

Losing one stinks. A deer, hit, bleeding, unrecovered. Dead, or alive? Healed over, or crippled, doomed to a slow death from winter's cold and the savage mercies of the coyote clan.

It was late November, the last week of the Massachusetts bow season. I got in the stand a bit late that afternoon, stopping to put out some rut lure. Bow in hand, arrow nocked, I settled in for the evening vigil. A few short minutes later, he came out of the brush right in front of me. Six points, maybe 150 pounds, bigger than any deer I'd ever shot.

As his head passed behind a tree, blocking his view of my movement, I came to full draw. He stepped forward and I released the arrow. Even as I shot I called my error, failing to follow up, lowering the bow arm too soon. The arrow creased him low. He crashed off, circling back uphill to the bedding area above. I was disgusted with myself.

The next morning we followed the sparse blood trail up the hillside. The deer had bedded down, not bleeding much, then vanished. We spent several hours inspecting the area minutely, but found no further trace of him. That bow season ended on a bad note.

Over the years I've seen other deer lost. My friend Ren shot a nice seven pointer in Vermont. Unfortunately, the 30-30 slug ranged forward, creasing the brisket and breaking the offside foreleg. We looked hard, to no avail. Later we learned that the buck went half a mile, all of it uphill, and was shot by a hunter from the camp above ours. We were unhappy because our camp hadn't gotten the deer, but felt better for knowing it's fate. We congratulated the successful hunter and thanked him for putting the animal down cleanly.

I learned from this incident that there are more important things than simply 'getting' a deer. I came to value the sure knowledge of what happens after a good shot. I also learned to marvel at the sheer tenacity of living creatures, as exemplified by a crippled buck who managed to climb a hill that, then and now leaves me gasping for air.

My buddy Don hit a nice eight pointer a few years ago. He lost the blood trail and couldn't find the deer. Another hunter tagged it the next morning, after practically stumbling over it. The 12 gauge slug had indeed done its job, but sometimes more is required.

A sure, killing shot is never a luxury in the deer woods. It is a stark necessity in a stark reality, the reality of death or cruel injury. The rushed shot, the too-far shot, bad form, lack of practice, have no place in the woods. The hunt is exciting, opportunities are few and fleeting, the sight of a good deer can reduce us to a trembling mess. But for that moment when we unleash death, we must be cold, hard, in complete control of our hearts, our minds, our triggers and arrows. We must control the power we wield. To do less is to dishonor our prey.

The deer I lost? Two weeks later I saw him again, on the next hill over. He fooled me completely, putting the rising sun in my eyes and my wind in his nose. He stayed out of range that day, and survived again. I was glad when he bounded away, still strong and wild.

From: DanaC
Date: 23-Sep-12

I posted the previous, written some years ago, as a reply to the 'lost bull elk' topic. I've spent that sleepless night tossing and turning and kicking myself. It's a regrettable part of hunting, hopefully we learn from it.

From: DanaC
Date: 02-Feb-13

"A Real Outdoorsman" Copyright 1997 (1009 words)

By Dana Charbonneau

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time hiking and camping out. This was back when I was a lot lighter, and thought nothing of a ten mile hike. (Since the legs carried less weight, they could carry farther. Simple physics.) I was especially fond of hiking up the hills of the Holyoke Range for overnighters, enjoying the sunrise, then showing up late for work. (Again, this was back when 'uphill' wasn't a four letter word.) I got to thinking of myself as a fair outdoorsman, until I met the old guy.

It was in October, on a beautiful afternoon. I'd lugged my tent, sleeping bag and assorted stuff up to the lookout tower for a night under the stars. He'd claimed my favorite spot, but no big deal, it's a mountain, plenty of room for everyone. I walked a hundred feet past and set up on a ledge where I'd have a good view in the morning. As I was brewing a pot of coffee he came over to chat.

"Good evening. Nice tent you got there. Expecting rain?"

"Hi, " I answered, "Uh, no, I just figured to keep the bugs off me."

"Son, there was a frost up here two nights ago. Bugs are all dead."

I was a bit embarrassed, especially since I'd hauled the rain fly up, too.

"Anyway," the old guy continued, "your best bet for bugs is a bottle of repellent and a few cheap cigars. Don't weigh diddly, and it's only your head that sticks out of the sleeping bag. "

"Um, yeah, I never thought of that. Care for some coffee? And my name's Dana."

"Don't mind if I do. I'm Jim."

I poured him a cup of coffee, rummaged through my pack and came up with a small bottle of brandy. I tossed a shot into my own cup and passed it to Jim. "Hope this is okay, I forgot the cream and sugar."

Jim smiled and poured a dollop into his own cup. "That's quite all right, son. Up in the hills there's luxuries and there's necessities, and a lot of folks who can't tell the difference. This here cough medicine and disinfectant is also a fine fire starter in an emergency. Shows foresight."

As Jim spoke, I was busying myself with starting a small teepee fire, nothing big, just a tiny bit of tradition left over from my Boy Scout days.

"Now you take that fire, there," Jim went on. "Lots of folks carry them little backpack stoves like you got, and they work fine, but did you ever try to sit by one and think? They're efficient but they ain't always sensible. Besides, making a fire is a useful emergency skill. Always will be."

Then he got a real serious look on his face. "Dana, do you know what the most important thing is to carry in the woods?"

"Uh, no, Jim." I was thinking back to those campers lists from the old Scout manual. I never was much for memorizing lists. "A knife? A piece of rope? A canteen?" I figured if I guessed fast and hard enough I might get it right.

"Nope, nope, and nope again. One more guess."

"Matches?" I'd saved my best for last.

"Nope. It's something you use every day of your life."

"Okay Jim, I give up. What is it?" I was stumped. Surely he didn't mean my toothbrush.

"Dana, the mark of a real outdoorsman, the one true test of preparedness, is whether he carries toilet paper."

My face must have looked even dumber than usual. "Toilet paper?" Jim, I can see that it's a pure luxury, but 'the mark of a real outdoorsman?' I don't get it."

"Tarnation, boy! You ever use a handful of leaves? Cold, wet leaves? Or worse yet, a handful of snow? Geez, my teeth hurt just thinkin' about it! "

I admitted, I'd resorted to leaves on several occasions. Didn't like it much, but I knew what poison ivy looked like, so...

"Son, it's more than the obvious use. It's great tinder for starting fires, even better than that brandy. Speakin' of which..."

I passed the bottle. "Well, Jim, I can start a fire with pine needles, or birch bark, or something. I don't need paper."

True enough, but convenience counts too. And try those things on a cold wet day. No sir, dry toilet paper is the thing. And trail marking. You ever blood trail a deer that's been hit with an arrow?"

I'd just started bow hunting the year before. I told him so, and that I'd had no opportunities.

"Well, son, just mark every bit of blood sign with a square of paper, and you'll be able to figure where he's going easy enough. Just watch out in case he doubles back. They'll do that. And when you find your deer, if you can't drag him yourself, you can flag the location right easy, too."

With that, Jim thanked me for the coffee and headed off to bed.

When I woke up the next morning, he'd already broken camp and moved on. After my morning coffee, (hold the brandy,) I discovered that I hadn't packed the paper after all. Luckily there were leaves handy.

I took Jim's advice, and never ventured into the woods again without a zip-lock bag full of dry paper. A few years later, on the same mountain, I ran into Jim again. After we renewed acquaintance, and settled in with coffee, Jim smiled and asked, "Dana, what's the most important thing you can pack into the woods?"

I smiled back and tossed him my zip-lock. He ceremoniously took out a sheet of paper, got a pencil stub from his pocket, and wrote, "To Dana, a Real Outdoorsman." We both had a good laugh over it.

I still have that piece of paper. If anyone asks, I look 'em right in the eye and say, "Hell yes, I am a real outdoorsman. " I've even got it on paper. (And you know what you can do with that!)

From: DanaC
Date: 02-Feb-13

Been a while, it's 'fireside reading' weather here, and the recent 'essential backpack items' topic reminded me of that old article.

Anyone else got a good story?

From: WV Mountaineer
Date: 02-Feb-13

Ever year in the cranberry back country I run into a 55-60 year old guy that walks up the mountain like I walk flat ground. He is stealth by definition. He always gets his deer and he always covers 10-15 miles a day. I imagine he is a lot like Jim. God Bless

From: DanaC
Date: 24-May-16

A turkey tale from 20 years ago.

"Saved by the Belle" Copyright 1996

by Dana Charbonneau

I had played this Vermont bird three weeks ago. That day held vanished like smoke. I wasn't sure held be in the area, but I decided to walk to the corner of the farm. On the way in I spooked a few hens off their roosts. They headed down the gully between the field and the hill. Great, there are still birds in the area. maybe he's hanging around. I edged towards the corner, my crow call not getting any answering gobbles in the early light. I had just about decided to circle the pasture to my right when I thought I heard a hen yelp. It was faint, well back down the gully. Probably the two I'd bumped. Then, from below and right, I heard the tom gobble. All right!

I quickly set up, and let out a soft yelp on the slate. He gobbled again, straight across the gully from me. Geez, he's moving fast. I let out another call, he responded, but he's still charging towards the hens. Damn. Another gobble, further away now. I decide to go up to the pasture and circle back, hoping to get ahead of him.

When I get back to where I'd bumped the hens he sounds off, right below me in the gully. Ten minutes of back-and-for i calls later, he's definitely moving away, uphill to the left. Damn. I know this hill, steep and steeper, but I don't plan to quit just yet.

I cross the gully, angling slightly away from where I last heard him, and start climbing. A bunch of crows take loud exception to my presence on their hillside, and I'm surrounded by harsh cawing. Finally they tire of the game and move off. Then I hear the tom again, still above and left, still gobbling.

Ten minutes later I'm on the ridge, level with him, my back to a big oak. He's maybe two hundred yards off, sounding off every thirty seconds. Now, do I want to call aggressively, or play sweet and innocent. I decide on a few soft yelps and purrs, as if to say, "I'm afraid, I've never done this before." (Hey, it works on me, even when she's divorced with kids.)

I call. He responds. I wait for him to gobble again. My plan is to let him gobble two or three times for every time I call. He does, but he's not moving. Finally, after a few dozen gobbles, he starts coming closer. I purr softly, little girl lost and lonely. He's just over the ridge now. I expect to see him any moment, when movement to the left catches my eye. What the ... oh,. hell, one of the hens has come up the hill. She waddles over the ridge, right to him. I mutter several pointed remarks about her lack of morals and wanton behavior. The woods get quiet. Too quiet.

A few minutes later, two deer amble over the ridge, probably disturbed by the mating rituals yonder. I watch them disappear, then shoulder the twelve gage and start back to camp. The tom not only staves off death, he gets sex in the morning. In my head I can hear Rod Stewart singing, "Some guys have all the luck." Too right, mate.

From: HillbillyKing Compton's Traditional Bowhunters
Date: 24-May-16

Some Great Reading Thanks Guys !!!

From: RonsPlc
Date: 25-May-16

DanaC Thank you for re-igniting this thread, I spent the past 2 evenings reading all the stories told. I enjoyed them all.

I truly hope you will be adding more to it in the near future.

From: DanaC
Date: 15-Nov-18

Okay, this thread has been dormant for way too long!

A couple weeks ago I was looking through a tote full of old stuff. Hadn't opened it since I moved five years ago. Bunch of junk, and hard copies of half dozen stories about a fictional friend/ mad genius inventor. I thought these 'Jim-Bob chronicles' were lost, as I'd never put them on my own computer. Lately I've been scanning them and cleaning up the errors that the software likes to add. The first one is about a special camo pattern -

Jim-Bobs New Camo by Dana Charbonneau My' buddy Jim-Bob is one of those rare people who can come up with new ideas at the drop of a hat. Occasionally these ideas work out, and he makes money off them. Most times though they fail for one reason or another, probably because Jim-Bob doesn't think ‘em all the way through.

There was the time he decided his 4x4 needed more power for the back roads. He bolted an a turbocharger from a wrecked foreign car and let 'er fly. It nearly did. No tire company makes treads that'd grip loose dirt well enough to keep it down. Then there was the wildcat cartridge he whomped up a few years back . It was severely overpowered, to the point that the first twenty rounds about tore the rifling out of the barre1.

( However, the Department of Defense paid him quite well for the rights to it. Said it might be just the ticket for shooting down satellites and missiles and such.)

And then there was the new camo pattern he developed. I was in on it from early on. Jim-Bob asked me to field test the stuff during the bowhunting season. (The state politely asked him a while back to refrain from ever, ever going into the woods with a bow again, but that’s another story.)

I hesitated at first. (I was in the passenger seat during the turbo test.) However Jim-Bob patiently described his new theory of camouflage, making it sound not only harmless but downright attractive to game. I'm not at liberty to describe the exact process involved in manufacturing the stuff , but it involves a special 3-D effect and ultra-realistic details. The initial batch was made to exactly match the oaks I hunt during archery season. The bark background is perfectly colored , with a special textured thread woven in that helps achieve a natural shading effect. So far, so good. Jim-Bob took the stuff a step further though. He figured that since white-tails liked acorns so much he'd incorporate acorns into the pattern. Fat juicy 3-D acorns that look ready to drop in the slightest breeze. Acorns to actually make the deer come in towards a standing hunter . He called it ‘active camouflage. '

Opening day found me in a large oak tree up a way above the railroad. We knew there was a good deer trail below the lip of the ridge, and this tree was well positioned to cover the activity. I got into the stand and readied myself. An hour into the day , I hadn’t seen a deer yet. No problem, I've had good action here later in the morning. A bit later I heard a noise. Deer? No it was a big gray squirrel. He was looking for acorns in the leaves below. I calmed down and resumed my vigil. All of a sudden the noise below stopped. l heard the squirrel climbing up my tree. Okay I've been here before, they get curious sometimes. He’ll inspect me and then move on.

The sound got closer as the squirrel climbed nearer. There was none of the usual hesitation, he walked right up past my feet, stopping inches from my head. l could feel his tail tickling my ears. At this point I was mightily impressed with Jim-Bobs new camo!

I was mentally composing a ringing endorsement for the stuff. Then the squirrel climbed onto my shoulder and started down my shirt front.

I looked dawn and noticed that the camo pattern placed two large juicy acorns right over a very sensitive part of my anatomy! The squirrel was intent on them. I quickly swatted him off, and he ran out on a limb and started chattering has confusion and anger to the world. A loud noise from behind me jerked my head around . I'd never heard that buck approach, and now he was high-tailing it out of the area. When I saw Jim-bob again I asked him what in blazes he was doing putting those acorns in that particular spot . "That's the secret,” he said . "The camo uses natural body contours to enhance the features of the pattern And what better place is there to put nuts? " Well, I couldn't argue with his logic but I never wore the stuff again. I don't eat squirrels, and besides, my new girlfriend says she hopes to have kids someday!

From: RymanCat
Date: 15-Nov-18




From: DanaC
Date: 20-Nov-18


by Dana Charbonneau

All hunters are familiar with Murphy's famous Law: If anything can go wrong, it will. Any experienced hunter can give ten examples off the top of his head of the dreaded Law in action. (As we will see, it was actually a hunter who invented the accursed Law.) Hunting has also provided hundreds of corollaries, or variations, of the original Law.

Actually, the original "Murphy" was not Irish at all. The name is a corruption of the original name "Morphi." He was one of the minor deities of Norse mythology. Morphi rode with Odin and the other gods in the Wild Hunt, but never managed to bag anything. He once borrowed Odins' favorite spear and broke the tip off the blade. Enraged, Odin put an eternal curse on him.

Morphi borrowed Thors' mighty Hammer and dropped it on his foot. In agony, he asked an old wise woman for something to ease his pain. She gave him a concoction made from opium which worked very well, but had the unfortunate side effect of being extremely addictive. Morphi spent six months in rehab. Today we call the stuff "morphine" after its first victim. (This same incident gave the old wise women, or "wicces," a bad reputation that lingers to this day. Murphy's Law of Consequences states that "No good deed goes unpunished.")

The first important corollary of Murphy's Law is the Law of Timing, or, "Anything that goes wrong will do so at the worse possible moment." My buddy Don fell victim to this on opening morning of the Massachusetts deer season. He had fired his shotgun the previous Saturday to double check the sights. On Monday, walking into the woods, he loaded some slugs into the magazine and worked the pump. The gun would not go into battery. Period. It was ten minutes until legal shooting light.

Ever lowered your bow from a treestand just before a buck walked by twenty yards away? Had an uncontrollable urge to sneeze just as game appeared? Had the wind shift at the wrong moment? Those are just a few examples of the Law of Timing at work.

Murphy's Law of Isolation states that no matter how deep into the woods you go, you'll run into somebody to foul up your hunt. We had a great place to bowhunt, accessible only by walking half a mile down the railroad tracks. Or at least it looked great. Track workers would come by at dusk. Trains would obscure hearing, allowing the deer to slip past. The smell of diesel fumes overpowered our buck lure.

I've had bird hunters walk past my deer stand. Escaped livestock, neighborhood dogs, hikers, bikers, you name it, they'll find you. It's a pretty safe bet that the deeper you go, the louder and clumsier the intruder will be. (If my home state ever opens a season on joggers I have a hot spot all picked out. My shooting lanes are already cut.)

Murphy's Law of Accuracy is a real menace to hunters. It states simply that accuracy is affected by the desire to hit the target. Or, the more important the shot, the lousier you'll shoot. On the target range you'll zip your bullets into the bullseye. Your arrows will fly true, with tight groups at longer ranges than you would shoot at game. Then you see a deer at close range. You miss. You. miss an elk, a bear the size of a two-hole privy, a moose the size of a two-car garage. Arrgh! Back at the target range you hit the bullseye with mechanical precision. Must have been the range estimation. You find yourself buying a Weatherby magnum rifle or a radical cam bow and lighter arrows. Equipment manufacturers make a lot of money from this Law. They offer sacrifices to Morphi on moonless nights.

This ties in with Murphy's Law of Distance, or, the distance is always wrong. Range estimation is critical, especially for the hunter. He overshoots. He undershoots. He places his stand three yards from a likely run, or in the "perfect" tree that happens to be 45 yards off. The deer are too far to hit. Or worse yet, so close that the least movement, like drawing the bow, spooks the best buck he's ever seen. Then there's the matter of directions. If a fellow hunter tells you that a stand is two hundred yards up the ridge, you can figure it will be somewhere between fifty and seven hundred yards. If he invites you on a "nice, easy, half-mile drive" you can count on a mile or more of hard slogging. Offer to do the standing and let him push.

Another expensive one is Murphy's Law of Camouflage. In a nutshell, it states that you will never, ever be satisfied with your camouflage clothing. Every time you get a new suit of the latest, most realistic pattern, somebody will invent a "better" one. You will immediately experience feelings of panic.

"Ohmigosh, I must stick out like a sore thumb!"

Twenty years ago archers were killing deer in a pair of green Johnson wool pants and a GI surplus jungle camo shirt. In the bare November woods. Today they're convinced that the deer will spook a hundred yards out if they're wearing oak-leaf camo in a maple tree. This causes ulcers and marital discord, especially when the hunter criticizes his wife's shoe collection.

Incidentally, an old Norse myth tells how Morphi got lucky with a maiden one night. She bore him triplets, three sons named Krumli, Jorrdun, and Hahz. Coincidence? Maybe. Most scholars dispute this tale anyway, believing that Morphi NEVER got lucky with women.

Probably the worse variation is Murphy's Law of Hunting Boots. Simply stated, hunting boots are never able to do what is asked of them. Light ones are cold. Warm ones are heavy. Boots with good ankle support are cold. Warm boots that also have good ankle support are heavy and hideously expensive, if you can even find any. And they all leak. The hunter acquires seventeen pairs of boots. He curses every pair at one time or another. He fights with his wife for closet space. His feet are never happy.

Legend has it that after Morphi's incident with Thors' Hammer he bought a pair of steel-toe work boots for hunting. The following hunting season he lost three toes anyway, to frostbite. Murphy's Law.

From: DanaC
Date: 21-Nov-18

Finally got another Jim-Bob story into this computer...


by Dana Charbonneau If you read about Jim-Bob's new camouflage pattern you may recall how d mentioned that ol’ Jim-Bob was no longer allowed to bow hunt. I figure it's about time to come clean about how Jim-Bob’s bow hunting career ended. I guess I’m partly to blame because I didn't stop him at the time. After all he is my best friend.

It all began when Jim-Bob decided to invent a new bow. He was already using the latest, hottest set-up money could buy . He'd made some bucks off another invention, a light weight attachment for his 4-wheel ATV. The Army got a look at it and immediately classified it Top Secret. They gave Jim-Bob a whole pile of money for the patent. Oops I wasn’t supposed to mention that. Forget I said anything.

Anyway, Jim-Bob was getting about 320 FPS with his hunting arrows and decided that he could improve on that some. He decided against lighter arrows, said it wasn't challenging enough. No, he wanted something that would really spit heavy arrows out.

After a month in his workshop he came out with a new “bow" that had to be seen to be believed. It looked a bit like a short cam bow, but it had this THING grafted onto it, some kind of space-age plastic bazooka tube about four inches in diameter. It sat on the riser and extended out about twenty-five inches. There was a plunger thing that attached to the string, which would ram into the back of the tube when the string released.

The tube was topped off with one of those huge red-dot scope sights like they use in combat pistol competition nowadays. The front of the tube had what appeared to be a fairly conventional arrow rest.

Then he showed me the arrows . They had fletching right up behind the broadheads and the nocks were cut clean off . There was a plug inserted about an inch into the back end of each arrow.

"Jim-Bob, “ I said, "what in sam hill is this getup, anyhow?”

“Well," he replied, "I was looking at my air rifle and this cone to me . The air rifle uses a plunger to compress the air which squirts that pellet out at some pretty hot velocities. So, I adapted the principle to the bow. The string rams the plunger into the compression tube, and when the pressure peaks it activates a valve which lets into the arrow."

"How fast do you figure it'll shoot?" I asked.

"Well, I expect to get about eight hundred feet per second at sixty pounds pull," he answered.

“Eight hundred?“ I was sure as heck impressed. Jim-Bob may pull a few goofs now and again, but if this took off the compound bow would go the way of the dodo bird.

“Yeah, well I been thinking about putting a hotter cam on it, dropping down to sixty-five percent setoff to boost the velocity a bit further.”

“Jim-Bob," I said, "I don’t think it’ll matter.”

That was my mistake right there. I should have known better than to drop the subject so easily. Jim-Bob gets an idea in his head, it’s worse than a bear in a honey hive. Instead I reminded him that the following Monday was the opening of archery deer season and that we had to be at the reservoir early. We’d gotten permits to hunt a tightly controlled watershed area, one that had just been opened to bowhunters for the first time, and we had to check in early.

Monday rolled around , and we got to the reservoir plenty early. l had a spot picked out, a saddle in a ridge that looked to be active. Jim-Bob had different plans.

“ Are there any open hilltops?" he asked the game warden at the gate .

"Open hilltops? Most of the deer will be down low in the thick stuff," the guy replied. “Well, I like to see 'em a long way off,” Jim-Bob replied.

"Suit yourself, buddy. They logged over on Spruce Knob this summer so it's wide open. You’ll have it all to yourself.“

“Thanks,” Jim-Bob replied. "What gives? " I asked him as we drove in past the gate.

“Well, with this new bow I expect I'l1 be able to make same pretty long shots."

“Oh yeah, I'd forgotten about that. "You practice much with it?”

"Nah! with this thing its like shooting a laser gun. You don’t need but to pull the trigger and watch the fur fly."

Okay, I figure Jim-Bob knows what he’ s doing, after all, he’s gotten money FROM the government and I sure haven’t, so who' s smarter? We wished each other luck and split up to hunt.

I settled into a blowdown in the saddle and gotten comfortable. A small doe passed by me, but I was hoping for something bigger, and maybe a decent rack for the wall. This place had trophy potential, I figured.

About nine AM a nice eight pointer came in about fifty yards out, and moving slowly. He was feeding and not spooked at all. Great, I thought, he’ll do just fine. As the deer moved behind a tree thirty yards out I started any draw . All of a sudden there was an enormous KABOOM!! from the next hill over . It rattled the leaves and I do believe the ground shook. I looked around and then back at the deer. He was standing there looking kind of stunned, but I couldn’t see his antlers. What the heck? After a few seconds he recovered and bounded away. I walked over to where he’d been, and there were his antlers, laying on the ground. I'd never heard of a deer shedding his rack in mid-October, nor so suddenly.

I sat for another hour but the deer weren’t moving any more . Discouraged , I walked back to the car. Jim-Bob was nowhere to be found. I lit up a smoke. All of a sudden an ambulance roared by me on the fire road, heading up the hill. About ten minutes later it came roaring back down, lights and sirens going like crazy. Strange, I thought, but wasn't that the hil1 Jim-Bob was hunting?

I got real nervous about then and drove back to the gate. A crowd of angry looking hunters was milling around. The game warden was trying to calm them down.

"What's up?" I asked a guy on the edge of the crowd.

“Guy blew up some kinda new high-tech bow on the spruce hill.”

I got real worried at that. ”Was that the explosion I heard ?”

“ Yep."

“ How bad was he hurt? "

"Well, they said he got some shrapnel in his arms and a bad concussion, but that ain’t nothing compared to what he’ll feel if I get my hands on him!”

“What do you mean? "

"Heck," the guy says, “I was just drawing down on a sure Pope and Young buck when the explosion went off . Shock wave knocked the antlers clean off him!”

The way my jaw dropped must have told him at had happened to me too . I couldn't say a word.

"Yeah," he continued, "it happened to all these guys. There ain’t an antlered buck in these woods now. That old boy is in deep manure if we get hold of him!”

"Son of a bitch!" I managed to get out.

"Mister , you said a mouthful.”

Well, I visited Jim-Bob in the hospital the next day. His face was bandaged, and his hands shook a bit under the sheets.

“Jim-Bob, what the heck happened up there?"

"It was the modifications,” he groaned.


"Yeah, I went with the radical cams and cranked the limbs up all the way. I been working out so I figured I could draw it okay, and the extra velocity wouldn’t hurt.”

"So what went wrong?" I asked.

"The compression tube couldn’t take the pressure. It blew out. I was drawing on a nice buck three hundred yards off and when I let go that sucker exploded. I’m lucky I wasn’t killed!” “What about the deer?” I got out.

“Funny thing," he replied, "just before I blacked out I looked over to where I was aiming and the buck was gone, but there was the biggest danged doe l ever saw standing there. Looked like a cow elk!”

I left the hospital, and didn’t see Jim-Bob for a week. Finally he came over while I was doing some yard work.

“Well, you look better with them bandages off,” I said.

"Yeah, well, I’m okay, I guess,” he answered.

He ooked a little dawn in the dumps, so I asked what was the matter.

“I’ve been banned from bowhunting is what the matter is!” he said. "Can they do that? Legally, I mean?” I was curious. I’d never heard of such a thing.

“Well, the warden said he didn’t have the legal standing to do it but he convinced me sure enough.”

“Convinced you? How?“ I asked.

"He said he’d publish my name and all the details in the newspaper if I ever went bowhunting again. Said there were fifty or sixty mighty angry fellers looking for me and he’d let them work out the legalities themselves! What do you think of that?"

I just shook my head in sympathy. Jim-Bob is my friend after all, and even if I wanted to get in on the lynching myself them other guys might figure I had a hand in it and string me up too. Anyway I now bow hunt alone and I have to say, it's a whole lot quieter!

Date: 21-Nov-18

Love the Stories!...Keep Em Coming! Thanks...4finger

From: DanaC
Date: 22-Nov-18

The third chapter of the 'Jim-Bob Chronicles' -

Jim-Bob' s Tree Stand

by Dana Charbonneau After Jim-Bob's other attempts at revolutionizing the sport of bowhunting ended in failure, most people would have given up. After his super-charged bow blew up and his new camo pattern failed, Jim-Bob was running out of ways to make money off all those guys out there. Jim-Bob may be a bit off plumb in same ways, but when money talks his ears flap just fine. I got myself into this particular mess when I mentioned to him that I wasn't terribly comfortable in my portable tree stand. Most guys would have just nodded in sympathy, but to Jim-Bob it was a challenge to his ingenuity. So I suppose what happened was partly my own fault. Anyway a few months went by and he came by the house all excited. “I’ve got it! I’ve got it! " he was saying over and over. “Well for pete’s sake keep it away from ME !” I hollered.

A few of Jim-Bob's ideas have been downright scary. Like that new dog he'd bred to hunt bears. He’d crossed a German Shepherd with a dachshund for their burrowing ability, and mixed in some wolf blood for ‘guts’. Plus he’d crossed in some retriever blood. Well, that dumb dog went after a bear in its den and dragged the critter out by the scruff of the neck. We were mighty impressed until the dog dropped one very disturbed bruin at our feet.

We managed to shoot the bear but the dog got clean away. Anyway Jim-Bob managed to get me calmed down , assuring me that " it " wasn't alive or dangerous. Finally my curiosity got the better of me and I asked to see whatever " it " was . “You're gonna love this. It 's my contribution to the comfort of bowhunters. I call it Jim-Bob’s Ultra-Deluxe Portable Tree Stand," he proudly proclaimed.

That should have been a big red warning sign to me. Anytime Jim-Bob calls something 'Ultra-Deluxe ' it means he’s put a whole heap of extra thinking into it. But my butt was still sore from the previous bow season so we trooped around to the back of his pickup to have a look.

My first impression was that Jin-Bob had forgotten the first rule of portable tree stands, namely that they gotta be portable. The thing looked like a medium size lounge chair upholstered in tree camouflage. There were some weird things sticking out of back, and some big straps crossed over the front. “Unh, Jim Bob” I started "how are you supposed to get this here monstrosity into the woods? " “That's the first super feature of this here stand. It’s actually built around a small ATV! “

He raised the camo fabric and underneath , sure enough, was a small ATV with the handle bars replaced with some kind of linkage setup.

I’m no whiz at mechanical stuff myself. Jim-Bob had once invented a logging robot machine that would have made men with chainsaws as obsolete as the spinning wheel, except the thing got loose and ate some old guys log cabin. The guy filled the robot full of buckshot and dam’ near did the same for Jim-Bob. Cost him a pretty penny to settle out of court and Jim-Bob still gets the tar beat outta him by lumberjacks every now and again, but that’s a different story.

"How's it steer?" I found myself asking . "That's easy. These here footrests that swing out , they double as a steering mechanism. The throttle is part of this multiple control joystick. Push forward or backwards , even got reverse with this baby."

"Okay so far, but what about getting up into the trees?" (I had to ask - Jim-Bob 's been known to skimp on details.)

“Well , now,” he answered, "that's the best part. I figured that hunters are always having a hard time finding the exact right tree to put a stand in, so I eliminated the need for the tree. Here, let me show ya! “

Jim-Bob jumps into the seat and grabs the joystick control. He twists the handle and the whole seat rises up slowly on this scissors jack kinda deal. He gets up to about fifteen feet and twists the handle the other way . All them weird things on the back of the chair fold out and danged if they don’t look just like branches! Jim-Bob is sitting in a sure ‘nuff artificial tree!

“Jim-Bob,” I yell up at him “you are a absolute genius! This thing is the answer to my prayers!“

"Thank you, thank you!" He was taking bows fifteen feet up.

"Because of your unending support I’d like you to test this here contraption for real in the woods. You’re still going to Maine for that Spring bear hunt, ain’t you?"

Well a couple weeks later I was in northern Maine at an expensive lodge. The outfitter said the place was crawling with bears and my guide knew all the best places. We went out the first morning to bait some stands and pick one far the evening hunt . The critters were hitting several bait piles so I had a choice. The first spot had a good stand in place but not much activity. The second spot we checked out was perfect, with a good trail in and few trees really close to the bait. The guide, Joe, said the place was used mostly by rifle hunters who used a ground blind but he was curious how Jim-Bob’s new stand would work here.

I'd been laying it on pretty thick the night before, how me and Jim-Bob was gonna revolutionize the tree-stand market. The guides had bought me several rounds of good Canadian beer and we'd had a heck of a good time . Now it was time to put up.

Come mid-afternoon I put on my camo and climbed onto the Super-Deluxe . The other guys at the lodge gave me some funny looks as I drove away in a camo easy chair but I figured they were just jealous.

I got to the bait, checked the wind, and picked a spot twenty yards from the pile. I confidently twisted the handle and up I went. Jim-Bob said the stand was good for twenty-four feet and I figured to give it the full test. I topped out and twisted again. A minute later I was secured in the biggest tree in the area , ready to arrow me a bear. Hot dawg !

Well, this being New England , the weather is always a might changeable. Sure enough, a light rain started. No problem, Jim-Bob had incorporated an umbrella into this getup so I set the thing over my head and was nice and dry.

There was nothing happening at the bait pile, and I started to doze. Nice comfortable chair, raindrops falling , pretty soon I was out like a light.

BOOM ! I came wide awake. The rain was coming down harder and the wind had picked up. FLASH—BOOM! It was a lightning storm. Oh no ! The stand was rocking a bit in the wind , but then it dawned an me I was sitting on a giant lightning rod ! FLASHBOOM! That was close!

I struggled out of the safety straps and FLASHBOOMM!! I jumped right out of the stand!

I was expecting to hit the ground pretty hard but something big and soft broke my fall. Then the something growled. It was a bear! . He'd been heading right to the bait pile past my stand, oblivious to the storm. Now he was disturbed all right. He started up the nearest tree . Only the tree was really Jim-Bob’ s Ultra-Deluxe . FLASHBOOMMM ! ! ! The lightning hit the stand, sending a couple million volts down to the bears paws . He jumped off, almost landing on me like l’d done to him, and took off like a scalded dog! I managed to make it back to the lodge in the dark, where I drank a whole heap of them beers and crawled to bed. The next day the outfitter and Joe the guide got me outta bed and took me back to the stand . The seat was in tatters and all the controls were fused. My bow was welded to the frame of the chair . Joe climbed up, looked around and came back down. He looked at the outfitter and just shook his head. "That thing ain’t never gonna move no more,” he pronounced.

“Heck with it,” I answered. My head was still pounding and l expected the bear might just come back to get even with whoever had tricked him like I done.

The outfitter insisted on refunding my money but on condition that I never came back to Maine to hunt bears.

I agreed, ‘cause frankly I’d had about enough of the critters. I’m pretty sure they’ve had enough of me, too.

As for Jim-Bob, I told him that it wasn’t his fault, and that all was forgiven. Just to show him there were no hard feelings l took him out for dinner and then to a bar for a few drinks. I just didn’t bother to mention that the place was a hangout for all the local lumberjacks .

From: reb
Date: 22-Nov-18

Thank you guys, great stories.

From: DanaC
Date: 24-Nov-18

Another old one, this is for the skeet gunners here

Jim-Bob's Skeet Gun

by Dana Charbonneau

I mentioned elsewhere that Jim-Bob had gone to college on an engineering scholarship. It was one of them big fancy eastern schools that cost a lot. He’d done okay at classes but then he’d gotten thrown out after an incident on the skeet team. Jim-Bob is actually a fair wing shot, and when he went off to school he' d seen a notice for skeet tryouts on the bulletin board, So he got his old side-by-side 16 gauge and showed up at the field. The rich kids had kinda snickered at his old gun, but Jim-Bob had shot more grouse with it than most of them city boys had ever seen. Unfortunately he’d never shot skeet , and these guys with the fancy over-unders had an edge on him, The coach decided that Jim-Bob could be an alternate, in case one of the regulars was sick, but that didn’t sit too well with him. So, he decided to even the odds a bit. The next practice session he showed up early and started bragging about how good a shot he was on partridge. The rich kids listened for a bit, then one of them challenged Jim-Bob to a little ' friendly!' money match , Jim Bob said sure, and bet the guy fifty dollars. It was a lot of money to him but the kid just laughed. He probably got more than that for a weekly allowance. Nobody knew it, but Jim-Bob had secretly re-rigged the machine that threw the clay pigeons. Then he’d rigged a radio control so that it would do tricks on command . He' d added a few gears , a cam of some sort and something he called an isolinear torsion spring. ( l understood that last word anyway.) The bottom line was , the machine would throw a clay pigeon so it would dodge and weave and make crazy turns just l like a ruffed grouse. An old spooky one.

At the first station the rich kid did okay, and so did Jim-Bob, Then the kid asked Jim-Bob if he'd like to raise the bet , just to see if he could rattle him. Jim-Bob said , okay , and stepped up to shoot . He hit three of four from station 2 , missing the low on the double. The other guy snickered a bit as he stepped up. Jim-Bob reached into his shell bag and flipped the switch on the radio control. The guy yelled "pull ! " and the bird came out - it looked a bit slow at first then speeded up and veered off to the left. The shot was way off. The guy looked a bit funny. "Pull ! " The low house bird jumped out, rose steep, then dropped quick. Another miss.

"Them birds are acting a bit strange, " he observed.

"I dunno," Jim-Bob said, "They fly just like the grouse back home.” Then he stepped to the line and proceeded to smoke two birds . At the next station the same thing happened , The guy couldn't hit beans, while Jim-Bob was doing okay.

At the end of the round Jim-bob was ahead by 11 targets. The rich kid was perplexed, to say the least . "Something funny with those birds," he said, "they don't fly right at all.” “Come again? " Jim-bob was all innocence. "They fly just like grouse. Ain’t that what they're supposed to do?”

"Must have been a bad batch of birds. I can shoot much better than that .”

The guy was forking over the hundred bucks when the Athletic Director and the Dean of Students walked up. “What's up, Lance?" the AD asked the rich kid.

"Oh, just having a bit of an off day, sir, " he replied. "This gentleman just beat me at skeet, and rather badly. “

The AD looked at Jim-Bob, who was tickled pink. Nobody'd ever referred to him as a gentleman before.

Then the AD caught sight of Jim-Bob' s old beat up 16 . Being another "fancy guns and gear" type himself, he was having a hard time believing this. He fixed Jim-Bob with a hard glare. " So, you fancy yourself a skeet shooter, boy? "

"Well, I reckon I can hit a bunch now and then.” Jim-Bob answered. "What say to a bit of a wager, then?" The Athletic Director was an expert skeet man , used to breaking 25 routinely. He must have figured he could beat Jim-Bob without any effort at all. “How about fifty dollars?" Jim-Bob asked, all innocence. “You’re on.” Well, at the first station the A.D hit four of four, and Jim-Bob got three. Same thing at station two .

Then Jim-Bob hit the switch. The AD missed the high bird, then the low bird came out so slow he shot two feet ahead of it, after which it veered to the left. "Did you see that?" he inquired, a bit dumbfounded. “Yeah, it looked just like a partridge I shot last fall up in Vermont . Same maneuver.” Jim-Bob sounded real calm . Then he shot the next two birds . At the next three houses the same thing happened . The AD missed a lot of birds, while Jim-Bob was continually reminded of shots made in the woods . Meanwhile he' d taken a comfortable lead . At station seven he switched the control off and let the AD make the singles, then threw him a double that almost broke the guy' s neck . Jim-Bob proceeded to hit three for four. The AD started feel ing a bit nervous , the dean was standing on the side watching, and here he was getting licked by a freshman with a beat up gun. It was time for a little psychology. "You' re two birds up on me, son. Care to double the bet? "

Jim-Bob groped the money in his pocket and said, with a slight tremble in hIs voice, "Uh, yeah, l guess so. " The AD got the first bird, then Jim-Bob threw the switch. He missed the second bird clean . Then Jim-Bob threw the second switch on the remote control box. The birds came out slow, then scooted fast, then slowed again, one breaking to the left, the other one to the right. The AD missed the low bird then took a desperate shot at the other. He actually managed to break a small piece of it , and the bird flew straight at the Dean, who ended up hitting the deck in a big hurry. The AD was perplexed but Jim-Bob just chuckled a bit. Then he stepped up and proceeded to hit all four, winning handily. Naturally his birds flew straight and true.

The AD was livid as he paid Jim-Bob his money. "I don't get it, "he grumbled. "I had targets dodging and weaving and changing speeds , and yours were smooth as undisturbed ducks coming in to feed. "

"I wouldn't know, sir, " Jim Bob replied. ”I never hunted ducks. Are they really that easy? "

The Athletics Director just walked away, mumbling to himself. The Dean caught up to him at the edge of the field and loud words we re exchanged as they left .

The rich kid, who’d watched all the action, looked at Jim-Bob in amazement. "You've never hunted ducks? " he asked.

“Naw" Jim-Bob answered, "Back home we never thought they war much sport . Now you take a grouse breakin' away through the hemlocks ... " The rich kid stalked away in disgust, Jim-Bob might have gotten away with the whole scam but with two hundred dollars in his pocket he was a bit distracted. He ended up at a frat party, then back in his dorm room with a good hangover the next day . He was woke up by a loud knock at the door. lt was the coach of the skeet team.

"Jim-Bob, " he started, "I’ve got bad news , The captain of the team found d your special skeet thrower this morning and reported it to the Dean. I'm afraid you're being expelled."

"Expelled? " Jim-Bob was dumbfounded. "What for?”

"Sorry, Jim-Bob. They know. The Athletics Director and the Dean are both out for your scalp . They insist you don’t belong here. They made a stink at the special faculty meeting this morning . l tried to stop ' em, but the only other teacher who stuck up for you was your Professor of Engineering, He said the new skeet machine was a stroke of genius, but the Dean said he didn't need any danged geniuses on his campus." And so Jim-Bob ended his higher education . He doesn' t do too badly, though , 'cause some of his inventins have made him a good bit of money. The Professor of Engineering quit the school. Some people say he did it out of principle in support of Jim-Bob, but we know better. He's now the head of the company that makes target machines for them new ' Sporting Clays' courses people been flocking to. We figure he’s made about a million dollars on them machines. Poor Jim-Bob lost out on that, though. He left school in the Fall , and the course on Patent Law wasn't given until Spring !

From: shade mt
Date: 24-Nov-18

The Knife.

Dedicated to my grandfather, (pappy) James Weaver

Grandfathers have a way of leaving lasting impressions on a 12 yr old boy, little did he know at the time just how much.

I hung on to every word when pappy told a story. He was an outdoorsman in every respect, and his story's always kept me spellbound and caused my imagination to flee to the bigwoods of Northern PA.

I couldn't wait to turn 12, the legal age to hunt in PA. That year pappy presented me with a new hunting knife, "that's a KA-Bar boy and it's a good one, good steel boy, hard ta sharpen, but it'll hold an edge".

We had a cabin in Lycoming county, simply named "the weaver camp" I killed my 1st buck, that fall, a spike, on a cold snowy day on dead horse mt. I can still hear pappy's laugh when he heard how I leaned into that drag rope and how my feet were moving but the deer didn't.

We shared many a good hunt from camp until tragedy knocked on the door in the way of cancer, and only a short year later pappy was gone. I was a tough young kid at the age of 16, but that was a loss my heart couldn't bare, and alone in the parking lot of the funeral home, between two parked cars...I bawled like a baby.

My love for the outdoors grew, and I became a very successful deer hunter, bowhunting became an obsession.

That knife gutted every deer I have ever shot but one....

I headed out that morning at dawn, packed a light lunch, stashed some extra clothes in a pack, and slid my Ka-bar onto my belt.

It was a cold frosty Nov morning and my breath came in puffs of steam climbing the mt. My goal was to hike back in, scout for the upcoming deer season and try and find a fall turkey.

I covered some ground that day, probably almost 10 miles and explored some mts I'd never been on.

That night when removing my hunting clothes I noticed the ka-bar was gone, the snap that held it in my sheath had broken and the knife had come out sometime during the day....I was devastated, a knife can be replaced, but that knife could not.

I killed a buck that year and gutted it with another knife, but it just wasn't the same.

The next year once again I set out at dawn, I planned on getting to the backside of the mt, and scout the laurel covered benches. The day was cold and produced intermittent sun and snow showers, I thought of "pappy" often when in the mts, and this day was no different.

Late in the afternoon I was crossing a bench with sparse laurel patches, I paused for a moment surveying the area, pulled my collar up on my coat and something caught my eye, I knelt down...It was the Ka-bar, I turned it over and over in my hands in amazement, my Gosh what are the odds of stopping in this very spot where I had lost it amidst miles of endless mts !

My eyes began to water, hmmph just the cold, but I gazed heavenward and whispered...."thanks pappy"

From: DanaC
Date: 25-Nov-18

Shade, that is a very, very good read. Thank you!

From: shade mt
Date: 25-Nov-18

thanks Dana I enjoyed yours as well.

From: DanaC
Date: 25-Nov-18

Christmas is coming? Need a gift idea?

"1001 Excuses" Copyright 1996

by Dana Charbonneau

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book, titled '1001 Excuses For Deer Hunters. (Ordering information can be found at the end of this article.) The book is intended for all of us who sometimes, through no fault of our own, fail to shoot a deer. It is a valuable source of answers to all those wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, and smartasses at the bar who don't understand how difficult it is to bag a deer.

1. It was too hot.

2. It was too cold.

18. The gun misfired.

140. The scope (sights) must have gotten knocked out of alignment.

215. The rut was early.

216. The rut was late.

217. The full (new, first quarter, whatever) moon changed the timing of the rut. (Note: this sounds a lot more scientific than 215 or 216 and is harder to disprove. Highly recommended.)

322. My scope fogged up.

470. I ran out of arrows.

561. The wind shifted.

666. "Old Satan," the big buck of local legend, chased all the other bucks out of the area.

703. There was no snow for tracking.

704. The snow was too deep.

730. The truck got stuck and we spent the whole day digging it out.

809, It was a running shot. Missed him behind.

810. The deer stopped running just as I shot. Missed him ahead.

811. The deer was running and I don't take running shots.

928. I had a doe permit but held out for a buck.

929. I saw lots of does but didn't have a doe permit.

930. I got my first doe permit in 20 years and never saw a deer.

931. The F&G has given out too many doe permits and the herd is shot to hell around here.

956. The deer were all on posted land.

957. The deer were all on public land - it sounded like D-Day over there.

992. I slept late.

993. My wife said 'yes' for the first time in two weeks.

999. I got lost and spent the whole day trying to find my way back to the truck.

1000. Too many coyotes around here.

1001. I went hunting with a certain editor known for his horrible luck in the woods.

To order, send a check for $79.95. If this seems steep, remember, this book provides 20 excuses a year for 50 years, a full lifetime of deer hunting. Think of it as an investment.

From: DanaC
Date: 29-Nov-18

The thread on 'wise old does' prompted me to remember I had this on file. This was one of my first articles, written about thirty years ago.

The Witch of the Woods

by Dana Charbonneau

Before Christianity condemned as 'pagan' the religions of the old forests, the word 'witch’ had no connotations of evil. Witch, from 'wicce', originally meant 'a wise one'. A witch was generally an older woman, one who had seen much, and become wise in the ways of the forests, plants, and life around her. I have met and pursued such a witch.

I first started hunting the farm several years ago with bow and arrow. The place sits against the west side of a mountain in Vermont. It has a great mix of terrain, hardwoods, pine groves, impenetrable thickets, steep ridges, swamps, and old pastures.

When I first came here, the older guys in camp told me of a big doe who lived on the side of the hill, one who came down to the fields late in the evening, just before dark. She was supposedly bigger than many bucks on the mountain, here where the bucks are hunted hard during rifle season. And she was impossible to get close to. Unkillable. She was too smart; she knew every tree and stump and rock. She was a witch. To a young, anxious bowhunter, such is the stuff of legends and dreams. I would pursue the big doe.

Title to this property is held by a widow and her two sons, but I would learn that the old lady at the farmhouse is not the matriarch here. The Witch knows this land as no other. It is hers.

My first encounter with the Witch came that year. I was sitting in a maple tree watching the corner of a small field where the deer sometimes came out to graze just at last light. My position was rather precarious, allowing me a limited range of motion, just enough to launch an arrow into the corner of the field. I was watching the sunset when I heard a rustle in the brush behind me. Turning my head, I looked right into the eyes of the biggest doe I ever saw. The wind was blowing from her towards me, so she couldn't quite identify me. She walked away behind me. out came one of her fawns. Following its mother exactly, it too looked right at me, trying to catch me moving, then walked away. Two more fawns did exactly the same thing, each copying the big doe's moves. I was caught. I had four deer behind me, on my blind side. I could feel their eyes on my back.

After a few minutes, I cautiously started moving my head in small arcs, trying to catch a glimpse of the deer from the corners of my eyes. I finally saw them, they had already moved fifty yards into the field, and were circling slowly downwind of my position. When the big doe got a trace of my scent, she was fully seventy five yards away. She immediately popped her head up and stared in my direction. She could see my unmoving form, and, uncertain of me, lowered her head as if to resume grazing. Just as I relaxed a bit she would bring her head up again, attempting to catch me moving. We repeated this several times. Finally, she grew nervous enough to bound away, taking her fawns with her. She never came back to that field.

The following year, I was in a stand watching a well-worn path in the oaks. One evening, as sunset approached, a red squirrel saw me in the tree, and decided I needed investigation. The squirrel climbed to within four feet of where I perched, looked close, and proceeded to read me the riot act, chittering, screeching, and running up and down. Pulling my eyes away, I looked down the trail, right at the Witch, who stood twenty yards away, calmly watching the scene. Do deer smirk? I have never before or since seen that particular expression on a deers face. Did she once, as a prancing, flighty youngster, receive a similar tongue-lashing from another witch of the squirrel tribe ?

The next few years, I seldom caught more than a glimpse of the big doe. She knew me better than I knew myself. If I hunted in the pines, she would feed in the corn. If I hunted the acorns, she ate apples. Once in a while I would hear her bark at me, telling me she had caught my scent again. She taught me much about playing the wind, and how deer approach their feeding areas. Occasionally I would see her scoot out from an unlikely area, her huge white flag waving not surrender, but defiance, always followed by her young ones. She taught me about all the obscure foods deer prefer, but most hunters overlook. I once spent an hour in a pine grove wondering what the deer had been eating, when I noticed the close-cropped stems of mushrooms among the brown needles. Add one more to the list.

These days 'trophy' hunting seems all the rage among hunters. A large number of hunters are seeking a quality experience, no longer content to bag the the first small deer that comes along. There are those who spend large amounts of time and money to bag a truly magnificent specimen of the animal hunted. These hunters usually concentrate their efforts on antlered deer.

A large-racked deer is an impressive example of the best the species has to offer, strong, keen of senses, smart enough to live long enough to grow his impressive headgear.

I have learned that there are other kinds of trophies. The old doe who knows every inch of her turf, who can make a fool out of most hunters, who can catch them at their tricks and outwit them, is a true trophy. You won't get your name in anybody's record book if you bag her, but you will know that you have hunted well if you do.

This past season, I saw the Witch only once. The second day of season was rainy, so I decided not to post myself in the dark. Instead, at first light, I started still-hunting through a grove of trees towards an old stand at the far end. I covered 500 yards in about an hour of creeping along. I was about sixty yards away from the stand when two deer ran out from right underneath the tree I had built the stand in, some years back. The deer paused right at the edge of the woods and a thicket we call 'Blackberry Hell.' I had time for a quick look through my binoculars before they entered the thick cover. Sure enough, it was the big doe, accompanied by a single youngster. She is getting on in years now, her muzzle growing grey with age. The single fawn-of-the-year is a sign that winters are taking a harsher toll on her than before.

When new fawns are born, in late May or early June, a doe will drive from her any male yearling. He must travel, usually three or more miles away, and establish a new home for himself. This is how nature, in her wisdom, keeps the deer from inbreeding. It also explains why most deer taken by hunters are yearling bucks - they have had only a few months to learn the ins and outs of their new territories.

Her daughters the doe keeps with her, forming a clan of does from several generations, and fawns of the year. The Witch of the Woods may not be back next year, but her wisdom has been passed on to her many daughters and grand-daughters. The dance of the hunter and the hunted will go on.

From: Popester1
Date: 29-Nov-18

Thanks guys. I really enjoyed reading this. I didn't pay any attention to the date until I got to Dire Wolf's (I learned a lot from him) first post. Reading this was the highlight of my week!

From: DanaC
Date: 16-Dec-19


Been a while, has anyone written any good stories lately? (My well is kind'a dry...)

From: DanaC
Date: 14-Mar-20

ttt - been a while since anyone posted a story here, and yesterday I learned that the state has commenced Spring trout stocking. Weather's been nice, rivers are not too high a nd I'm getting the itch. Meanwhile, an old story... ---------

Dana L. Charbonneau

“Science Triumphs!” Copyright 2005

By Dana Charbonneau

I’m a logical man. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, UFO’s, black helicopters, copper bracelets or the benevolence of governments. I do believe in the scientific method of experimentation and verifying results. I believe in working systematically to discover the truth. Like last year, when I set out to find the one best fly for fishing. Using science I was going to develop the perfect attractor, the Omega fly, the one that would take every fish in the river.

I tied and tested hundreds of flies, and eliminated most through rigorous observation. I kept the best features of the ones that worked, combining them into better and better flies. I was close. I had a really hot pattern; I was catching fish almost at will. Yes sir, science and logic, that’s the ticket.

So when I woke up in a spaceship surrounded by skinny aliens with huge black eyes, I did the logical thing - I laughed. Then I swore off those late-night garlic pizzas and beer. No more weird dreams. Then one of the aliens stuck a long shiny needle in my left ear. YOW!!!

I didn’t wake up with a leg cramp like I expected. The alien was still there, only now I could hear his voice in my mind.

“Greetings, earthling.”

“Wha... what do you want?”

“We want the Omega fly.”

“The fly? You’re kidding, right?”

? “No, earthling.”

Another jolt of pain shot through my ear.

“YOW!!! Okay, okay, but why?” I asked.

“Eighteen kleptons, or seventy-four of your earth years ago, one of our ships visited this planet. We did not find your species particularly interesting, but the captain of the ship took home several brown trout and a bamboo fly rod. He presented them to the Grand Exalted Flark, the ruler of our world. They were stocked in the royal river and multiplied well. Now the Exalted Flark is very angry, because he cannot catch any fish. We have been sent to obtain the best fly on Earth, along with the skill to duplicate it.”

“That’s crazy,” I answered. “There are thousands of patterns out there, all sorts of good flies. Why don’t you just pick up a good selection of tying manuals? Try Ernest Schweibert, A.K. Best and Vince Marinaro. Get a copy of ‘Selective Trout’ by Swisher and Richards, and Gary LaFontaine’s ‘Caddis Flies.’”

“That solution is insufficient, earthling. We do not have the time to sort through all that information. We are a logical species. You have conducted the scientific process of elimination we require, so we have decided to get the fly the old-fashioned way.”

? “What’s that?”

“Steal it, of course. We are pragmatic, too.”

I thought about it for a few seconds and then said, “No.”

“No? What do you mean, no?”

“I mean no,” I answered. “I worked long and hard to develop the Omega fly. My work is almost complete. And now you just want me to give it to you? What’s in it for me? YOW!!!”

“We do not negotiate with lesser species, earthling. Give us the Omega fly or we will use our Telepathic Knowledge Exducer to remove it from your mind.”


“Brain sucker, for short.”


I thought some more and decided that these aliens had no right to my fly. Dammit, a man’s got to make a stand sometimes, so I told them to go to Pluto.

Next thing I knew, I was sitting at my tying vise. I remembered the entire encounter in the alien ship, but I couldn’t for the life of me remember how to tie the Omega fly, or any of my research. Their blasted machine sucked it all out of my head. But I got the last laugh. The Omega fly wasn’t quite perfected yet. It worked fine on brook trout and rainbows, but I never caught a single brown trout on it.

And I hope the Grand Exalted Flark has your heads, you alien SOB’s!

From: DanaC
Date: 04-Apr-20

More fishing because, well, fishing!

"We The Jury" Copyright 2002

By Dana Charbonneau

Okay, technically I was guilty. I killed the SOB. But it wasn't, murder, see? The guy had it coming.

It happened on a gorgeous June morning, on the C&R stretch of the Deerfield River. There was a hatch of little tan caddis coming off, and for a change I had the right fly in my vest. Better yet, I had two dozen. Last time out I had one lousy fly to match the hatch, and a big rainbow had ripped it off my tippet. The bastard.

Today I had it wired, and the river was rewarding me. Then I heard a faint ringing. Tinnitus? As a kid I'd pulled skeet at the local rod & gun club, and never worn ear protection. Back then it was considered sissified. Now I was half deaf and sometimes heard phones ringing where there weren't any. I shrugged it off and kept fishing. Another rainbow came to the net and was released.

The ringing came back, louder. I turned around and saw another angler downstream of me, who tucked his rod under his arm, reached into his vest and pulled out one of those cellular phones. What the hell... I turned back and devoted my attention to a midstream boulder, where I'd just seen a rise. I laid out a good cast and dropped the caddis three feet upstream of the lie. Wham! And I was on to a good fish, bigger than any I'd hooked today. Heck, Bigger than any I'd gotten this year. I was finally able to turn him in the slower water, and brought him to the net.

"Nice fish," came a voice behind me. "What did he take?"

I was startled, then turned around. It was the phone guy. I looked closer. Typical yuppie, neon hat, executive haircut. I half expected wingtip wading shoes. His vest reeked of newness. Were those creases? Oh well, you've got to be polite.

"Tan caddis, size 20, with a synthetic wing," I replied. Might as well get a newbie into a few fish.

"Can I see that?" he asked.

"Sure." I held it up for him.

"Geez, that's small! Where did you buy those?"

I bristled momentarily, since I haven't bought a fly in eight years. Materials by the bushel, yeah, and the old lady bitching about the cost when she ain't bitching about the mess, but no flies. Not that he could relate to that. He'd never tie a fly, bet on it. And his wife drove an Accura if she didn't drive a Lexus.

"I tie these myself," I answered. "You have any 7x tippet? Take a couple of these, use 3 feet of tippet, and watch out for drag. These fish don't go for skittered flies."

?"Wow, thanks. Umm, what's a skittered fly? I never heard of it."

"Skittering is when you deliberately drag a caddis across the surface. Sometimes it gets 'em to hit, but these fish are too educated, and they're fussy about presentation."

"I see. Well, thank you." With that he walked away. I resumed fishing, getting a few more small fish, then decided to head back to the truck for a sandwich and a cold beer. I crossed the shallows to the old railroad bed. Heading downstream it occurred to me that I needed to take a leak, so I shrugged off the vest and lowered the waders. Then I heard the ringing again. I peered through the brush to the water and spotted the phone guy again.

"Dave here. Yeah, Jim, I've gotten three just in the last ten minutes! Fantastic! Some old guy gave me a couple flies, tan caddis, size 20. They were pretty ratty looking, but I had a dozen good ones in my vest, so that's what I switched to. What? Oh, I threw 'em out. Hey, try that caddis sub-emerger in size 18. Let me know how it works out. Yeah, I'll call you back in fifteen. Lunch? Sure, I've got some brie in the cooler, and a nice Riesling chilling. Catch ya."

Well, I hitched up my waders, ambled back upstream around the bend, and re-entered the water. I sidled up to him.

"Hi again," I started in.

"Oh, hi! Say, those caddis are just the ticket. I've gotten four good ones on them already."

"That's nice," I replied. Just then his phone rang. As he turned to answer, I pulled a rock out of my vest pocket and brained him. He slumped into the water, the current taking him slowly downstream. I headed up to the next pool, switched to a larva pattern, and managed to catch a beautiful brownie.

Of course, there was a witness, and I'd been hauled off to jail. All the facts came out in the course of the trial. Now the prosecuting DA was having a field day.

"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, not only did Mister Clark coldly and brutally murder the victim, but after he committed this heinous crime, he returned to the river and, with calm deliberation, resumed his trout fishing as though nothing had occurred. This cold-blooded disregard for the life of a fellow human can only merit the most severe punishment. I ask you to consider this when you review the evidence, and find Mister Clark guilty of murder! Thank you."

My attorney stepped up. Per my instructions, he wordlessly handed each juror a copy of Robert Traver's "Testament Of A Fisherman." My only hope lay in those immortal words. "I fish... because mercifully there are no telephones on trout streams."

The jury deliberated for twenty minutes and returned a verdict of "Not Guilty." Somewhere above the courtroom, the Honorable John Voelker, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Michigan, smiled.

(Historical Note: "Robert Traver" was the pen name of the late John Voelker, former attorney, District Attorney, and Judge. Among his works were the books 'Trout Madness,' 'Trout Magic,' and the novel 'Anatomy of a Murder,' which was made into an Academy Award-winning movie.)

From: DanaC
Date: 24-Dec-20

(I said elsewhere that I'd post this old story, so here. Merry Christmas and I wish you all get the new 'stuff' you want. Sadly, the old shop that figures in this story has long been out of business...)

'New Toy Syndrome"

by Dana Charbonneau

Like most outdoor enthusiasts, I suffer from periodic episodes of a psychological condition. The shrinks call it 'Novus Toyosis,' or New Toy Syndrome (NTS,) the irrational lusting for new toys. Every so often, the NTS sufferer feels a great urge to buy something that, strictly speaking, he doesn't need.

Now, I'm not talking basic equipment here. A hunter really needs a deer rifle, a duck gun, bow and arrows, boots and warm clothing. These are essential to participation in the sport. Likewise, an angler needs a rod and reel, waders and vest. And maybe a boat.

No, New Toy Syndrome appears after the patient has a closet full of equipment. He should be perfectly happy, knowing he can grab whatever he needs and go play. Instead, he begins to feel that something is missing. (Note: I use the masculine, 'he' throughout this article deliberately. Women tend to be afflicted by a similar, but not identical condition called 'Novus Garmentosis,' or New Clothes Syndrome (NCS.) Some texts refer to this condition as 'Imelda Syndrome.' Men who contract NCS have been known to stuff closets with camo gear.)

The NTS patient has a perfectly good 12 gauge shotgun that he uses for deer, ducks, partridge and turkey. He's taken his share of game with it. Is he happy? No. Somewhere in the depths of his subconscious, a little voice is whispering. "I'd shoot more partridge if I had a nice 20 gage double. And I bet I'd do better on turkeys with a 10 gage magnum." Now, a normal, sane person would ignore that little voice, in the interest of fiscal responsibility and marital harmony. The NTS sufferer can not. He finds himself in the sporting goods store, fondling a Browning Citori. He can't live without it, so out comes the credit card. If only this cured him!

Sadly, there is no cure. He puts his new gun in the case next to his old 30-30. The voice speaks again. "You know, that old beat-up rifle ought to be retired. Maybe a nice new 270." Depending on his credit card balance, and the depths of his spouse's anger, he may resist for quite a while. But the voice knows his weakness. That fall, as his hunting buddies show off their shiny new rifles, the siren song begins again.

My own latest NTS episode began this past winter. I was thinking back to several very frustrating fishing trips. The trout had been taking tiny flies, and I was getting skunked. It occurred to me that my 5-weight flyrods lacked the delicacy to present such small flies with precision. (One of the surefire symptoms of NTS is the tendency to blame the equipment rather than operator failure.) The little voice whispered to me that a new, 8 foot 3-weight rod, with new reel of course, would improve my fishing. Luckily, I was dead broke.

Oh, I looked. I read catalogs, roamed tackle shops, even fondled my dream rod at a fly fishing show. I fell head-over-heels in love with a Thomas & Thomas rod, going so far as to visualize it adorned with a new Ross reel. I found myself checking my bank and credit card statements every other day, in an attempt to maintain my sanity. Then disaster struck.

Uncle Sam, in his infinite wisdom, decided that I had paid too much tax in 1996, and sent me a check. A large check. A check that would have made a serious dent in my credit card balance, or paid off my car insurance. I considered these responsible, logical uses of the money for a full thirty seconds. Honest.

That weekend I made my way to the office of noted sports psychologist Dr. Gene Morey, at his Route 2 shop in Charlemont. I beat around the bush a while, then cut to the problem. "Quote me a price on a new T&T. And I suppose I should look at reels, too."

Dr. Gene prescribed a Ross Garrison reel to go with the new rod, saw that I still looked a bit pale, and wrote an additional prescription for an expensive line. I emptied my wallet on the counter and felt a warm glow of relief The little voice went quiet at last. The NTS is in remission and I'm perfectly fine now. And I am really, really NOT in the market for a new rifle!

From: Corax_latrans
Date: 25-Nov-21

TTT…. because it has been a year, and because not everyone appreciates what a treasure we have here in Dana.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to revisit this one.

From: PhantomWolf
Date: 26-Nov-21

Thanks for bringing Dana's NTS story back to the top GF!!

I, just recently, "suffered" an attack of NTS and "forced" myself to purchase a 1976 vintage Case Hunters knife.

I have added it to my vast collection of folder and sheath knives but just had to have this knife and my conscience holds no guilt!

Many thanks to you and of course Dana. Wolf

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