The key to a successful hunting trip

If you want to see frustration personified, watch any duck or goose hunter try to figure out which of the many keys they are carrying is for the lock on the gun they have just pulled out of the case as legal shooting light approaches.

By the time this exercise is over, you will have learned several new swear words and innovative and exciting phrases that incorporate them.

The typical outdoorsman carries somewhere around a dozen gunlock keys, many of which are for guns and locks that no longer exist in this world, three to four gun case keys, a key to the shed where all his or her decoys are locked, a key for each trailer lock, keys for ammunition box locks, car or truck keys, ATV keys, outboard motor lock keys, keys for the house and the previous three places he or she lived and, of course, keys for work, as well as several jobs he had when he was still in school.

In fact, we outdoorsmen carry so many keys that I’m surprised we even bother with boat anchors, for when you have this many keys, they are redundant.

For all that, we still routinely do not have the right key when it is needed most.

I remember one time when my brother and I made it out to the duck blind prior to first light on opening day. When I slipped my gun out of the case at legal light, I discovered, horror of horrors, my gun lock was on the trigger doing what gun locks do.

It seemed like a simple enough problem to solve until I realized my keys were back at the cabin about a mile up river. At a time like this, when ducks are beginning to whirr overhead and the sounds of opening day gunfire is all around, you can quickly determine who your true friend are.

I discovered the answer to this when I said, “Hey Martin, what do you say we paddle back to the cabin to get my keys so I can shoot too?”

He missed the next few ducks, probably because it’s hard to shoot while you are in the midst of a belly laugh.

What followed was a lesson in which my brother learned several new swear words and new and innovative and exciting phrases that incorporate them.

The good news is most gun trigger locks such as the one I was using are not exactly the kind you would trust to secure the Canadian Mint. In fact, what I discovered that morning was that all it takes to pry open one of those locks is a flathead screwdriver (which we had in the canoe for some reason) and the right amount of inducement – in this case watching my brother progress towards a limit of wood ducks and mallards.

I’m happy to say that this incident taught me a valuable lesson, and one which I have never forgotten since then, that being I never forget to bring all my keys and have now marked them to correspond with the locks that they open.

Also, I keep a master key in my ammunition box in case for some reason I don’t have the right key. Also, it never hurts to have a flathead screwdriver around.

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