ESCANABA - I don't know what life is like in your household, but where I live there is an applied strategy in getting ready for deer season.
When I was first married, my wife didn't have a clue as to how important going hunting was for me and my friends. In fact, she would actually grow suspicious of my extensive habits in preparation for the fall hunt.
Oh, I can remember the discussions over the years.
My Affectionate Darling (MAD): Are you going to cut the grass this weekend? You know the leaves are going to fall soon and it'll be hard for you to rake them up if the grass is too high! And what is that old brown gun case doing on the table?
Me: No, I have to go to camp because we're cutting firewood and getting it into the shed before season. After all, you wouldn't want me to freeze up there and get sick and everything. Would you? Oh yeah. I forgot. The guys are sighting in their rifles but I just have my shotgun so the case is out to cover it when I pattern the buckshot I'm using this year. I'll put it away.
MAD: I hope you plan on raking up all those leaves! It's going to snow soon and then we'll have a mess come spring if you don't! Well? And where did this rifle in the old brown gun case come from?
Me: No Dear. I have to go to camp and scout this weekend. It looks like rut might be starting and I want to make sure I find a good place to sit so I can bring home some meat for us this winter. The gun case, well that's my 30/30 rifle that I got years ago.
MAD: I don't remember any 30/30!
Me: Sure you do. Heck, you don't think I would put a new gun in this dirty old case do you? Here, I'll put it away.
MAD: What's that big pile of stuff doing on the floor?
Me: Awe honey, I forgot to tell you I need these clothes washed and hung out before season so there isn't any of my scent on them for hunting. That's very important you know. By the way, if you have time later, would you cut some of the cedar greens off the bushes in the alley and just put all my cleaned clothes in a big bag so they have a masking scent? No hurry, just so that they're bagged for the week before I leave to camp would be fine.
MAD: What is this gun with the scope in the old brown case doing on the dining room table? Where did you get this one?
Me: Awe sweetheart, Don't you recognize it? It's the 30.06 Savage bolt action rifle I had to get because I shoot left handed and it's too hard to aim that old top eject 30/30 because the scope leans too far over. Don't you remember?
MAD: No I don't!
Me: Sure you do. Gosh, I've had it for years! Besides, you don't think I'd put a new bolt action rifle in that old brown gun case do you?
MAD: What's this check from Land-And-Lakes Sporting Goods for? I thought you had a good pair of Sorel boots.
Me: Oh I do honey, but these new Ice Man boots were on special sale, have improved grips and are rated far better for insulation so I won't need any special ones for ice fishing after I get done hunting. I'm just trying to save us some money. Here, I'll put them away.
MAD: Look, the girls and I are trying to get the house ready for the holidays. What is that stuff that smells so awful in the pile of your hunting gear? And, where did you get this shotgun that's in that old brown case laying on the dining room table?
Me: The smell? That's the latest doe-in-heat scent that Tink's just introduced. The kids must have been messing with it. As for the shotgun, that's the old turkey shotgun I got a long time ago. Remember? It shoots the three inch mags and the guys up at camp wanted to see what the recoil is like. I guess I'm used to keeping it in this old case because the woods are so messy during spring hunting that I use it instead of messing up one of the other cases. Here, I'll put it away with the other guns.
MAD: I sure wish you'd get your stuff out of here and go to camp! Make sure you stay up there until the season is done so the house will stay clean.
Things have mellowed over the years. I do, however, start leaving gear out beginning July. That way discussions aren't as intense, are more frequent and leave added opportunity to refresh her memory.
Some of you younger guys may want to refer to this in developing your strategy.
In future reviews, we'll cover the collection of hunting knives and new gun cabinets.