As a teenager addicted to hunting, fishing and everything in between, I sometimes got the feeling that the adage “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” was aimed directly at me. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of things not to do that may help novice sportsmen avoid some of the embarrassments and accidents common to inexperience.
For starters, don’t ever pick up a tackle box or toolbox without making sure it’s latched. Likewise, never launch a boat without making sure the drain plug is in place.
Don’t turn off the alarm at 4 a.m. and then lay back just to clear the cobwebs from your eyes. Never criticize or command a hunting partner’s dog. Don’t neglect lengthening your decoys’ anchor lines when switching from inland to coastal gunning, otherwise the flood tide will take you to task.
If your wife cooks breakfast for you in the wee hours, don’t mention that one of your over-easy eggs has a broken yolk. Another way to get egg on your face is to tell the guide you can easily wade to the pool on the other side of the river, no need for him to take you across in the canoe. Further to canoes, on going ashore don’t lift the bow and half of the canoe out of the water to beach it until your partner is out of the stern seat.
Don’t go to deer camp without enough antacids to extinguish the fires of heartburn ignited by spicy fried foods and hot sauces that flirt with spontaneous combustion.
Don’t believe the guide when he says you’re the best fisherman he has ever had in his boat; he’s fishing for a fat tip.
Don’t look up when ducks or geese are circling overhead.
Don’t bait fate by handling your jack knife, Leatherman tool, key ring or prescription sunglasses while standing over ice-fishing holes. Don’t tie knots for fishing partners if the only ones you’ve mastered are wind knots. Leave your duck calls at home when you go sea-duck hunting — eiders and coots don’t quack like blacks and mallards.
Last, but by no means least, never brag about your sense of direction and don’t ever guarantee good hunting or fast fishing.