Saturday, January 10, 2009

One More Gun?

Despite the sagging economy, it seems that gun sales are doing extremely well. With the depressing prospect of the Democrats running things in Washington for the next few years, maybe gun enthusiasts just need a new acquisition to cheer them up. More likely it's a matter of "buy them now before they're banned."
I'd like to do my part to show my support for the Second Amendment and buy a new gun this year.
"It's the principle of the thing," I told my wife Dawn. "Buying a new gun is the best way I can think of to make a statement."
"The only statement I'm concerned with is our bank statement," she said. "We have no money."
Naturally I've never let a little thing like "no money" stand in my way. The big question is, what should I buy? Right now I have rifles, shotguns and handguns to fill most of my hunting, plinking and defensive needs. Of course, buying a new gun should never be just about "need."
Any suggestions out there?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My New Year's Wish List


This coming year it's going to be great to be outdoors. I know because I've just finished my list of New Year's resolutions, and on paper at least, it looks like I'm in for some incredible hunting and fishing.
My wife, Dawn, is not so optimistic.
"Just writing it down won't make it happen," she said. "I mean, you could make some ridiculous resolutions, such as saying you'll shoot the top Boone & Crockett buck or catch a new world record rainbow trout, but you'd have to be an idiot to think you had any realistic chances just because you resolved to do it at the beginning of the year."
I picked up my pencil and began to erase the first two items on my list.
"Sometimes you have to aim high to hit a long-range goal," I said in my defense. Dawn grabbed the list from me.
"This isn't a list of resolutions," she said. "It's a wish list. It's a fantasy, an outdoorsman's day-dream. How did you come up with this?"
"Well, you know how the Chinese designate their years with animals -- Year of the Dog, Year of the Rat -- right?"
"Year of the Rat? How appropriate. In order to do half of these things you wouldn't have time to work for a living. How about Year of the Sloth?"
"No. What I had in mind was more like Year of the Deer, Year of the Turkey, Year of the Largemouth Bass."
"How about Year Without Mosquitoes, Ticks and Black Flies?"
"You laugh, but I don't see any harm in setting out to accomplish some things outdoors this year that I've never done before."
"True, but buying a new, fully-equipped off-road 4x4 pickup may be a little out of reach unless you also list winning the lottery as one of your other resolutions. Besides, this looks like the same list you've had for the past 15 years. Most people resolve to quit smoking or to cut down on other bad habits."
"You know I don't smoke, and working on changing my bad habits has always been your job. But you're right. I should come up with a more realistic list."
Dawn decided she was going to help. We took out a clean sheet of paper and we were ready for our brainstorming session.
"Remember now," I said. "These are just resolutions for my outdoor activities. Don't try to sneak in anything about cleaning the garage or remodeling the attic."
"Okay," she said. "I'll stick to realistic goals, too. You cleaning the garage or remodeling the attic will have to stay on my wish list."
"Here goes," I said. "First I resolve to explore a couple of new remote trout ponds this spring. How's that?"
"Fine," she said, "but before you go exploring, why don't you resolve to learn once and for all whether you're supposed to add or subtract from your compass reading to compensate for declination. Otherwise, do me a favor and resolve to increase your life insurance."
I ignored her last comment and continued.
"Second, I resolve that during deer season, I'll stay on my deer stand all day, if necessary. The deer always seem to be coming in just out of view when I get impatient, start moving around, and scare them off."
"Fine," Dawn said. "Since you never have any trouble sitting in the bathroom for hours on end, why don't you resolve to erect an outhouse in the woods and fill it with the thousands of old magazines you stuffed in the attic and resolved you'd read one of these days."
"Wait a minute," I said. "The attic has to be cleaned out before it can be remodeled. You're dangerously close to crossing the line here. Confine your suggestions to outdoor-related topics, please."
I looked back down at my list.
"Here's a good one," I said. "I resolve this will be the year that I learn white-water kayaking."
"Very ambitious," Dawn said. "Why don't you make a resolution to trade our canoe for a row boat that you can't tip over as easily and that has oars instead of paddles that always seem to float away from you."
I was determined now to find something on my list she couldn't criticize.
"Ha, I don't think you'll have any objection to this one. I resolve to organize all of my tackle boxes according to the types of fishing I do."
"Too late," she said. "Remember a couple of months back when the boys all needed tetanus shots after digging through your tackle boxes trying to find your long-nose pliers to straighten your aluminum arrow shafts before you found out that we used them to support the tomato plants in the garden?
"Well," she continued, "I guess maybe you never did hear the whole story. Anyway, I threw away all of your lures with rusty hooks -- you really should resolve to drain the water out of the tackle boxes after they fall overboard. You only had enough lures left to fill one small tackle box, so I let the boys use the others to store their marbles, baseball cards, and fossil collections."
"I hope you didn't do any similar housekeeping in my gun cabinet because I've resolved to put a new stock on that old .308 rifle. I've decided to improve my pistol shooting as well, maybe enter a few fun shoots."
"Not if we have to pay somebody to remodel the attic, because you'll be too busy off by yourself doing all of these selfish little things."
"Well, then, what would you suggest?"
"I was hoping you'd resolve to put away your stuff when you get back from a hunting or fishing trip, instead of leaving a mess in the living room for everyone to step over. But why don't you just resolve to buy a new boat?"
I couldn't believe my ears.
"A new boat! Do you mean it?"
"Sure," she said. "Of course you'll have to remodel the attic yourself and if there's any money left over, you can buy the boat after you clean out the garage so we have a place to put it."
Next year I'm going to resolve to go hunting or fishing instead of making any New Year's resolutions.
(From TheParting Line, Game & Fish Publications, January 1997.)