Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Getting Back To Basics

It happens to just about everyone at some point in their life. That is being new to a sport and thinking that one of everything that the retailer offers is required for success. Actually that can be quite misleading for a newbie. Be it golf, skiing, mountain biking, fishing and last but not least hunting. The most expensive golf clubs, mtn. bike, spin or fly rod nor the best firearm will not make you an overnight success. What will make you successful is paying your dues and putting in the time where it matters the most. That is called practice, practice, practice.

In all honesty a beginner will not and does not have the knowledge or ability to tell the difference between the entry level gear and top of the line. Other than looking at the price tag. It's easy to get sucked in to the glossy ads telling you how much better you'll be or do if you use their products. Sounds good and after all that's what your goal is, so why not buy into the hype? Firstly anyone starting a new sport has a lot to learn and the marketing directed at them is very effective at emptying their pockets. What they really need is instruction from a friend or an honest retailer who wants a long term relationship and not a one time exploitation. Marketing does work, just look at all the companies competing for our hard earned money.

Do you really think a set of Tiger Woods golf clubs are going to make a novice hit the ball like Tiger? Not for a second. Nor will a $10,000.00 road bike make you ride like Lance Armstrong.
It takes years and I mean years of practice in all types of conditions to make someone proficient at their sport. It holds equally true for the shooting sports as well.

It's good to remember that there is a learning curve and with each progressive year you will get a little wiser and more savvy about hunting overall. It takes many years to get your gear dialed in just as there are many different types of waterfowl habitat and ways to hunt them. From the Canadian plains to the flooded timber of Arkansas and the prairie potholes to the coastal sea ducks and western rivers and sloughs to flooded grain fields and the list goes on. I think you get my drift. It takes a lot of years to figure it out.

If one chooses they can buy the latest in high tech waders (although there's only so much that can be done with a wader) the wader pants with the stirrup so they don't ride up and various un necessary under garments and outer wear. Plus hats, face masks, gloves etc. etc. etc. That's just barely the tip of the iceberg!

Lets get back to the basics here can we please. We are duck hunters, waterfowlers and we (or at least myself and those I hunt with) relish the fact that we get to play in the muck! OH HAPPY DAY! We get dirty, crawling in the mud through the marsh for a chance at a goose. It may not even be there by the time we get in range. That doesn't matter, what does is the possibility and how we choose to act. We're still kids at heart and I for one really enjoy getting muddy. It's just fun. I hunt with gear that I have used for over 3 decades and it serves me well. If there was something better now I'd buy it, but I haven't seen it yet.

I am a firm believer that the clothes do not make the hunter, golfer, skier or whatever it is you do. Stick to the basics, they have been around a very long time for a reason, plain and simple they work. Get a coat that is waterproof for late season, a pair of waders if needed, rubber boots, some good warm synthetic or new generation wool base layers plus a pair of wool or fingerless gloves and a hat. All camo and then you'll be able to save your hard earned money for steel shot and a hunting vest or duck strap. If all goes well, maybe you'll be thinking about a 4 legged hunting partner, a field blind and even some decoys for the following season.

Try a few different types of shotguns and use the one that feels most comfortable to you. If you need a recoil pad to help absorb the kick, then find a reputable gunsmith to do the work. I wouldn't get crazy buying an expensive shotgun right off the bat. Rather stick to a company that has a long lasting reputation. The next gun you get will be your pride and joy and then your first will be your back up. Good to take 2 guns with you if you have them. Things can and do break occasionally.

Ultimately stick to the basics, keep it simple and you'll be fine. Granted there is a ton more stuff on the market, but how many coats or waders etc. etc. can you wear at a time? Hunting for me and my friends is still about being out there and not about a fashion statement.

Women's Hunting Journal Integrity For The Hunt

12 comments:

Extreme Outdoors said...

Great post! I run into this "fashion" problem when I encounter fly fishermen on the trout streams. While I'm walking around with a backpack, old hooded sweatshirt, and baseball cap, many fly fisherman have close to $500-$1000 wrapped up in their rod, vest, and rustic designer hat to "fit the part."

Big Dan said...

Terry, You are spot on as usual, I have seen it so many times that a novice thinks the more money you spend on gear the better it makes you,just because you look like you just stepped out of a Filson catalog dosen't give you any skills. I say save your money and use it on practice, it is more impressive to see someone make a clean shot than miss with a high dollar shotgun.

Terry Scoville said...

Extreme Outdoors,
thanks for your comments. I have seen it too out flyfishing and it just makes me chuckle. My nephew who is 7 does really well with his Zebco Special! Thanks for stopping by.

Big Dan,
Thanks and you know when I see someone all decked out in the latest "shooting attire" I do a 180 and get as far away from them as I can. They make me a bit nervous, ya know!

Blessed said...

Oh So True!

However I do recommend waders... they are just so much warmer while you're crawling through the mud and muck than simple rubber boots and a waterproof coat :)

However... I'm sure that my $150 shotgun in my hands has killed just as many ducks as the $1000 shotgun I'd love to have would have killed!

Terry Scoville said...

Right you are Blessed, thanks for stopping by.

Tom Sorenson said...

I find this doubly true when it comes to bow hunting...bowhunters are always looking for some new spendy gadget to give them an edge and make them instant Chuck Adams'...but the bottom line is no amount of equipment can make up for just what you said - practice. practice. practice. Then practice some more.

gary said...

Terry, I'll agree on these big ticket items and fashion statements, BUT I'm one of those gadget persons that Tom talks about. Don't use them all because they're not what they are advertised but I got too many of them anyway. Now I find out to be a successful bow hunter, all I have to do is take Sue along and Viola, I have meat in the freezer! She's a good gadget.

Terry Scoville said...

Gary, well you know, every now and then a person will find a gadget that actually does what it claims.
We should all be so lucky to have a "Sue" in our camp!

The Downeast Duck Hunter said...

I would prefer to look way super cool out in the field, there is no price for perfection!!!

Okay, you're right Terry but with the proper research there exists some seriously top notch products at some decent prices.

However, I would like to comment on the shotgun portion of your write up. Eventually if the new hunter becomes increasingly rabid about waterfowling, then he or she will find themselves doing a variety of experiences. Upon this one can consider different options, first being having different shotguns for different circumstances. Although my autoloader is my go to shooter, I've found it isn't perfect for all occasions. So this then leads itself to my second option and that is to find a gun that will serve many needs in the field. This can seem quite simple, but in reality can become a logistical nightmare.

I've been fortunate to be able to purchase a variety of guns for a variety of game, but will say I began with a 12 gauge Remington 870 and a Weatherby 7 mm Rem. Mag. Both of those guns met my needs until I then discovered a truly fantastic market out there. Now I am the 2nd amendment!!!

Good post, once again you got me thinking.

Terry Scoville said...

DEDH, you are right on and thanks for your contribution. There are just about as many ways to hunt waterfowl, as there are shotguns to put bird in hand.
I'm with you on the 2nd. amendment!

Doug O said...

Oh man, this is so true. I remember skiing in Colorado as a poor kid. I spent all my money on lift tickets and skis and didn't have any money left for clothes so I skied in jeans, my old hand me down coat and a cheap pair of sunglasses and loved the mountain. But you could always tell the rich newbies bussed in from out of state with their fancy one piece suits and goggles and they could hardly stand up in the lift line!

That concept applies to everything! Thanks for the advice!

http://www.rodandriflerag.com/

Terry Scoville said...

Doug O, thanks for your contributions. I still ski on 25 year old "straight" skis and do just fine. I too see all the new shiny stuff folks wear and yet they don't have a clue how to make a turn. Either they got taken advantage of or they bought in to the gear will make me a skier, or whatever.

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