The Trail Less Traveled: More letters to the outdoor writer

Larry Case

We often talk here about how time flies. Don't know if you have looked at your calendar lately, but boys and girls, it's February. Yeah, that's right, the month after January.

No doubt as you often do when reading this column, you are thinking "What in the world has all this got to do with hunting and fishing, guns and ammo, and all the other outdoor stuff this guy is supposed to be talking about?" I am really glad you asked! It just doesn't seem possible but it is once again time for everybody's favorite, "Letters to the Outdoor Writer!" (Well, I think it is a favorite of some. I know one of my dogs likes it, and that one guy in north Georgia.)

Dear Outdoor Writer: I like reading your articles most of the time. You seem to write about shotguns a lot. How come you don't write more about rifles? Don't you like rifles?

-- Curious in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania

Dear Curious: I love rifles. I have several of them. I love to shoot them, hunt with them and sometimes just look at them. I write about rifles sometimes, just not as much as shotguns. Writing about rifles and rifle ammunition often involves talking about the speed of various calibers, bullet weights, trajectory of bullets and grams of gunpowder. In other words, math. Without going into a lot of detail, I was subjected to a very traumatic experience in the seventh grade when the public school system introduced an atrocity known as "new" math. As a kid who was just OK in arithmetic, new math left me in the dust. Now anything that involves the use of numbers tends to have me running for cover. Gun writers that deal with rifle concerns tend to be very technical and precise; the good ones really know their stuff. They also tend to be some of the grouchiest individuals you will ever meet. You can't blame them, dealing with that much math would drive anyone batty. I decided to be happy and talk about shotguns.

Dear Outdoor Writer: You sometimes write about talking to your dogs and they talk back to you. So you are just saying that for humor, right? You don't really think your dogs talk to you, or are you more disturbed than we think?

-- Skeptical in Summers County, West Virginia

Dear Skeptical: My dogs absolutely talk to me. If you have a dog and he has never spoken to you, you may want to seek some kind of canine counseling. No doubt I do not always want to hear what they have to say, one thing about dogs, they are always brutally honest. Except when they are trying to convince you to break out the treats. If you do not hear what your dog is saying you may need to become a better listener. If you think I am disturbed that is OK, you are certainly not alone.

Dear guy in the paper that writes all that hunting and gun stuff: I don't hunt or fish but I hear my husband and his buddies talk all the time about hunting and fishing stories -- really that is all they ever talk about. It seems anything that comes up in conversation, no matter what, reminds them of some big tale about hunting or fishing and the rest of us have to listen to it. Why is that?

-- Bored in Bainbridge, Georgia

Dear Bored: I don't know, but that reminds me, one time I was up on Cheat Mountain and I was walking around this old logging road and I thought I heard a turkey call right below me on this big beech flat. I listened for a while and the wind started to blow and I couldn't hear very well so I eased down into the woods and ...

Well, that is about it from the old mailbag for now. (You know we really don't have a mailbag, but I wish we did.) If you have written to me, we will try to get your letter answered next time. Also, I started not to mention it but I am going to have to let the dogs respond to their mail one of these days. They seem to get a lot more mail than I do. Remember to keep your knife sharp, your guns clean and take a kid hunting.

"The Trail Less Traveled" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, West Virginia. He has been a devoted outdoorsman all of his life and is a contributing columnist for the Daily Citizen-News. You can write to him at larryocase@gmail.com; follow him on Twitter, @LarryCase13; or visit his website, www.gunsand cornbread.com.

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