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The outdoorsman and a take on 2020

People, it seems, have many different takes on how good or bad the year 2020 was. But whether you think the glass is half full or half empty, I am reasonably certain we can all agree that, somewhere around last March, someone knocked the glass off the table. And, if you don’t agree with that, you’re probably drinking from a sippy cup.

The good news is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The bad news is no one is certain it is not from an oncoming freight train.

Having said that, I’d like to think that 2020 was not all bad. Perhaps it might have even taught the average outdoorsman a valuable lesson or two.

One of the first things I learned was that it is not a bad thing to always be six feet away from the guys you hunt and fish with. In fact, after a lunch of beans and wieners or a few burritos, it’s actually a very good thing, especially if you position yourself on the upwind side.

Social distancing was also fantastic for marksmanship, if only because no one was around to witness all of our misses.

After we learned we could get masks in an assortment of camouflage patterns, they were not nearly as off-putting either. Because of those masks, there was far less duck and goose calling, which mostly meant there were far more ducks and geese entering into our decoy spreads.

Those masks also served another far more important purpose. When we met another hunter on the street and they asked how our season had gone, they couldn’t tell how much we were blushing when we embellished a bit. Moreover, we could keep our camouflage paint on at least part of our face for most of the season. Due to this alone, masks might become a permanent part of my attire.

On the plus side again; because of social distancing, no one crowded you at your favourite fishing hole. All you had to do was fake a cough if someone tried it.

Social distancing also gave anglers an excuse to buy bigger boats just so we could ensure safety when we took our fishing buddies along. I predict that if COVID lasts another year, the 24-foot canoe will be the next big trend and the average ice fishing hut will probably be the size of a small bungalow. Both of these things are not so bad, if you think about it.

The year that has just passed also made us appreciate the guys we hunt and fish with a little more. Frankly, there were times when we missed them a whole lot – such as when we downed a heavy buck a half a mile from the road, dropped a moose in a swamp, or shot an honest triple of waterfowl.

The hope, of course, is that by this time next year all these things will be a distant memory and we will return normal – whatever that is. When that time comes, I will definitely welcome the company afield once again.

But, between you and me, I also wouldn’t mind if we took some of these lessons ahead with us, because frankly, I believe they will keep us feeling a whole lot healthier. After all, the guys at our hunt camp really love burritos.

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