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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Matt Liere: Hunting partners not easy to find

Matt Liere Correspondent

Finding decent friends can be challenging, but it seems finding a great hunting buddy is damn near impossible. In my youth, an acquaintance with a vehicle and permission to hunt were all I needed to be enticed into a relationship, but I’ve since discovered selecting a hunting partner, or any partner, based on superficialities or qualities of convenience are no guarantee of a lasting bond.

My father once told me a story of when he was younger and generously shared a coveted dove hunting spot with one of his “best” friends. It was agreed this undisclosed location would remain known only to them, and would be hunted only in each other’s company. One day, however, on a spontaneous, pre-hunt scouting mission, Dad caught him with a handful of outsiders, sitting with shotguns on buckets, waiting on the evening flight. This suspect friend, seeing Dad’s truck arrive, attempted a duck-and-roll into the short grass in a feeble attempt to hide. Knowing he’d been busted, said friend jumped up and exclaimed, “Glad you’re here, Al! We’ve got ‘em surrounded for ya!” They didn’t speak for 30 years after.

Dad’s story, a failed marriage and a short list of personal misadventures have left me skeptical, somewhat picky, and in desperate need of friends. One would assume that of the 227 listed on Facebook, I ought to find at least one qualified person in the bunch, but prolific posting of cat videos and celebrity memes doesn’t support the characteristics I’m looking for in a hunting partner.

Because there isn’t an, or a site to pair me with the perfect companion (maybe there should be), I’ve listed some desired requirements and values for anyone interested in boosting my pool of companions before the spring turkey season arrives.

1) Safety: I shouldn’t wonder if your shotgun in the back of the truck is unloaded, or whether the barrel is ever pointed at me or the dog. Unless your name is Dick Cheney, I’ll assume you feel the same way.

2) Navigation: Admittedly weak in this area, I’ve been known to get lost on Spokane’s new roundabouts. A hunting partner that can find chukars in the remote canyons of the Snake River would certainly be great, but leading us out and back to where we parked at day’s end would be even better.

3) Culinary Compatibility: When it comes to food, I’m looking for a symbiotic relationship in which neither of us starves…or gags. My “Pack Fat, Stay with Matt” philosophy means meager portions, or snack items made of pressed soy or gluten-free anything, are forbidden. If you’re of the opinion that kale would complement my homemade goose-pepperoni sticks, we shouldn’t be sharing the same space.

4) Generosity: While I cherish frugality, I’m also a firm believer that everything comes out in the wash. If you happen to be one of those unsavory individuals that disappears to the restroom just before the bill arrives, or have tendencies so anal retentive that every expenditure is meticulously tracked, I’ve got a chunk of coal that needs compressing as a nice parting gift.

5) Honor: Whomever my hunting partner might be, they must have an understanding that we are out hunting, not out killing. If I have to explain the difference, there’s no need to continue.

While hopeful, I’m not holding my breath. I’ve grown accustomed to hunting alone. Not finding the right partner just means more goose pepperoni for me.

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