George Little: The key to a successful hunting trip is ...
It’s been said that a good hunting partner is harder to find than a good friend. Some of us have been lucky enough to find both wrapped up in the same package.
Hunting or fishing partners make the adventure worthwhile. If that weren’t the case, there would be no need for deer cabins or fishing camps.
Sure, there are times when we prefer to go out by ourselves. A trip out in the wild country alone comes with a value added benefit: There are no eyewitnesses, nobody to dispute the sightings of huge bucks or the 10-pound bass that spit the hook inches from the boat. Sometimes the best part of a solo trip is making your pals feel like they missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity when they stayed home to clean the gutters.
Hunting partners don’t share or emote. They don’t send cute greeting cards. There’s a reason Hallmark doesn’t have a hunting-partner selection.
If they ask us how we’re doing, they wait for the answer.
They don’t crank up the heater until the truck warms up.
They stick around at the end of the day and put stuff away.
They don’t quote Dr. Phil, read Dear Abby or call in to talk-radio shows.
Good hunting partners know how to read maps. They just choose not to.
They have a sharp pocketknife, an extra pair of gloves and a flashlight that works.
They don’t stop for lunch at places with a drive through.
Good partners have thick skins. After you’ve been together awhile, everybody knows where all the hot buttons are and when and how to push them. The slings and arrows that fill the air at lunchtime would scare the daylights out of Robin Hood. It’s OK to make fun of your partner’s shooting, his gun, his ring tone, his cut-rate ammunition, his boat, his favorite candy bar or every dumb thing he has done since the beginning of time.
Playwright Oscar Wilde said, “True friends stab you in the front.” He must have been sitting in the booth behind us last time Buckwheat, Big John, Tony and I were having lunch.
Even with a quiver full of arrows and a strong bow, some things are off limits. It is never OK to criticize your partner’s ATV (you might need to borrow it), the beverages he put in the cooler (anything is better than thirsty), his Elmer Fudd hat (it might be one you gave him), his favorite fishing lure, or his dog — especially his dog. When his high-powered bird dog goes AWOL chasing a deer, shut up and join the search.
The best partners season the day with a king-size grain of salt. They don’t pout or sulk.
They share their cookies. They are hard to insult. Good partners can take a joke and fire one back.
They never get mad, but you can count on them getting even.
George Little can be reached at email@example.com.