Play the lottery or go outdoors unprepared: Either way, you’re bucking the odds.
I’ll admit that fishing Rock Lake became a little less adventurous since my buddy, Dick Rivers, finally got his cranky old outboard tuned by a professional.
Our wives have started expecting us to return home at least in time to do the dinner dishes.
Taking a gamble is a thrill, but life is too short to purposely play Russian roulette with the next hunting, fishing or camping trip.
None of us has enough fishing days allotted to be without the right lures when the fishing is hot. We’re not blessed with enough lives to be without a life jacket on when the boat capsizes.
Little things can count big, like having spare batteries for the flashlight when the best-laid itinerary stretches into darkness – or having some Benadryl in the camping first-aid kit when one of the kids is breaking out in a rash and losing her airway after a bee sting.
Pushing a bike 5 miles usually ends the stalling on buying a new tube of tire repair kit adhesive.
Intestinal parasites are a nagging reminder that you should have purchased a water purifier before the backpacking trip.
With just a little bit of forethought, it’s just as easy to head into the woods with a map, compass and matches in your pack as it is to go without these essential items.
Still, we procrastinate.
I promised to buy a small crosscut or chainsaw after a close call last summer when I barely inched my pickup around a blow-down tree blocking a remote forest road after a backpacking trip in the Clearwater National Forest. A saw should be tucked away in any vehicle that ventures deep into the forest.
So far, I haven’t.
When I squeezed the trigger on my .270 one cold morning last October, the rifle went “click,” and a nice pronghorn trotted away unharmed. The bolt apparently was fouled with oil, rendering the firing pin spring too weak to detonate the primer.
Although the rifle worked fine after a little fiddling, I vowed to take care of that problem, to avoid a repeat.
Haven’t done it yet, but I will.
With an elk bolting away and shattering the dead quiet of the woods, I vowed last season to remove the Velcro fasteners and metal snaps from every garment I might possibly take hunting.
I also swore I’d get new tires for the pickup after fixing the flat on the thin tread that couldn’t stand up to the rough, rocky road en route to the trailhead.
I must make sure I have an extra pair of ear plugs in my overnight bag. They help prevent the rummy feeling one suffers after a long trip to a fishing hole in a bush plane or jet boat. They are perhaps the only hope of getting a night’s sleep in a tent with certain backpacking partners.
I know I’d better get back that change of clothes I keep in my waterproof “dump bag.” I’ve carried it in the pickup or canoe for years.
It was my partner who needed some of its contents during a rainy quail hunt last January.
If I don’t get it back soon, I’ll be the one suffering through a cold ordeal in wet clothes sooner or later.
I’ve already kicked myself for not patching that little leak that developed in my fishing waders while steelheading late last fall. The water is even colder in the early spring, I was reminded recently.
I hope to have my reels greased, fly lines cleaned and fly patterns sorted before fishing picks up again after spring runoff.
I’ll make sure my bird dog stays in top physical condition all summer. I’ll gather all my loose shotgun shells from the pickup, shell vests, garage and lunch box and sort them by shot sizes before next fall.
I’m going to be sure the guns are properly cleaned and stored after turkey season and that there’s a razor-sharp edge on my knives before I bag my next elk.
Boots oiled? I’ll get to it.
I’m determined to be ready for the doves on Sept. 1. I’m going to scout new areas and shoot at least 50 rounds of skeet and sporting clays to be sure I’m in top form.
Instead of just zeroing in my big-game rifles this year, I’m going to take time to practice shooting from the kneeling, sitting and off-hand positions.
The Kevlar canoe will get waxed, the skis will be tuned, and I’m setting aside time to read all the outdoor magazines that pile up in my house every month.
I’ll be in better shape, too. I’m going to work out at least three times a week on the climbing machine so I’ll be ready for the backpacking trips as well as pursuing the elk, deer, cutthroats in high mountain lakes – and even the chukars.
Everything is going to get done, finally, I swear.
If not this year, then next year for sure.
Contact Rich Landers at 459-5508 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org