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OUTDOORS COLUMN: Finding the perfect hunting buddy

Bob Kornegay

Bob Kornegay

Now is the time for sportsmen to give thought to an extremely important matter: the choosing of this season’s hunting partner. It’s never too early to start, particularly if you’re like me and have run through as many sporting companions as I have. To wit, I once again have no hunting buddy for the upcoming seasons. Good ones seem to be getting harder and harder to come by these days.

Over the years I’ve become something of an expert at picking hunting partners and have honed the process to something akin to a fine art. Thus, I’d like to offer the following helpful hints as a public service to those who have yet to procure that hunting companion they’ll need in a few more months

Clip and save.

Tip No. 1: Check the IQ scores of each partner-prospect on your list and rank them from lowest to highest. Eliminate anyone scoring in triple digits. You don’t need an Einstein. A functional illiterate will do just fine.

Tip No. 2: Make sure you interview only those who own guns in the same calibers and gauges as yours. You can’t bum his 12-gauge shells for your 20-gauge nor fit your 30-06 cartridges into his borrowed .243. It also helps if he cleans his firearms on a regular basis.

Tip No. 3: The best hunting buddies have serious mathematical learning disabilities (see #1). For example, you bag a nice buck that will yield about 90 pounds of venison. Etiquette dictates that the deer be equally divided.

If your buddy thinks 20 is exactly half of 90, “equally” takes on a brand new meaning. The same holds true for game birds or squirrels.

As for guilt, I’ve always followed the old adage, “It’s true if one believes it.” To avoid suspicion, be “generous” and let him have a whole ‘possum once in awhile.

Tip No. 4: Make sure your new partner is handy at pitching tents, skinning game, camp cooking, etc. Play on these skills and brag profusely on his expertise. He’s human and has a low IQ. Thus, he will insist on showing off. Here are some pointers:

“Gosh, those tent ropes are taut. You are an absolute tenting master. Watching you is like watching an artist!”

Or, “Man, you made fast work of that deer. If I’d dressed him out we’d have been here all day. You’re a marvel, you are!”

The best way to get him to do all the cooking is to cook one meal yourself and make sure it’s the last. Just add a large bottle of tabasco sauce and five tablespoons of a fast-acting laxative to the camp stew. Assuming your IQ is superior to your buddy’s, perhaps it isn’t necessary to add, Don’t eat it yourself!

Tip No. 5: Alas, many hunters still do not own late-model 4-wheel-drive vehicles or those convenient all-terrain contraptions. Never choose a buddy who fits into this category. The really good places to hunt are quite remote and the territory exceedingly rugged. A good 4wd or ATV is a necessity and if your partner has a reliable ride it saves unnecessary wear and tear on your own vehicle.

To allay suspicion on his part, park your pickup in your front yard, open the hood, and remove a wheel or two. It will look like you’re in the process of repairing it. My own truck has been in a state of “disrepair” for five straight hunting seasons now.

I wouldn’t suggest carrying the ruse that far unless you’ve had a lot of experience in manipulating hunting partners. That or, like me, you really are a mechanical idiot.

Tip No. 6: Finally, when you have mastered the techniques outlined in the preceding list, take one final precaution to ensure your health and well being. It’s a sad fact that even the dumbest hunting buddies sometimes get wise. For this reason, it is a good idea to always make sure there are a number of bullet-stopping obstacles between you and the other fellow. If that’s not practical, just try to stay out of range.

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bob Kornegay at cletus@windstream.net