Unwritten Rules (first excerpt)

Somewhere out there is the book of unwritten rules for hunting, and one of these days I’m going to find it.  In it are the hard and fast wisdoms that hunters have lived by for eons.  I don’t know all the rules yet, but I have learned a few.

To begin with there are the dog rules.  Dog rule #1 is “Hunting dogs are outside dogs.”  Oh please.  The idea is that if the dog stays inside he gets soft and spoiled.  Buddy is a large Labrador retriever and his place is in the house with us.  Buddy goes just about everywhere we go.  He is our constant tag along.  He also gets bathed regularly.  One of my pet peeves is a dog has to be clean.  It makes me crazy when I pet Buddy and my fingers get that film from a dirty, oily coat. So not only is he a house dog, he’s also a clean house dog.  He also has as much, if not more heart and drive in the field than any “outside kenneled” dog.

And then there’s one of my favorites, dog rule #2.  “The dog sleeps in the truck.”  Not my dogs.  My first hunting trip was almost my last.  When night came and time to turn in, the first real argument flared up.

Mitch’s brother said, “Buddy has to sleep in the truck.”

I said, “No, he sleeps in the room with us.  Just like at home.  Besides, it is cold outside and sleeping in the back of the truck will just make him stiff!”

Sleeping in the truck makes the dog tough, not a sissy, like Buddy.”

I said, “If sleeping in the truck makes him tough, then you sleep out there and see how you feel in the morning.”

That went over like a lead balloon.  We went back and forth arguing almost nose-to-nose, but being more stubborn and hardheaded, Buddy slept in the room with us.  Mitch wisely chose to fix himself a drink and take a shower to clean up for dinner.  I guess he figured that if he didn’t see it happen then he couldn’t be called to testify in court.  For the rest of the trip I had to listen to the sniping, “Poor Buddy, he might get a blister.”

Another good dog rule is dog rule #3.  The dog is supposed to retrieve the bird to the one who shot it.  Well not my dogs, it doesn’t matter who shot the bird or who’s closest to the dog when he finds it and starts carrying it back.  The dog will run across the field past everybody in his path to bring me his prize.  My dogs always bring everything back to me.  Of course, this always causes a few caustic remarks.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the first excerpt; come back soon for more.