Case: Look for the method to understand the madness of hunters

Staff photo by Robin Rudd / Black Friday shoppers wait for the Bass Pro Shops store in East Ridge to open its doors at 5 a.m. last Nov. 25. The outdoors industry is always coming out with new gear and gadgets, and some hunters are eager to try them all as soon as possible.

Maybe we have talked about this before, but if you have any hunters in your life, you know that they can be, well, a little different.

I mean who else would come home late, track size-12 waffles of mud in the house, and have a muddy Labrador or cur dog do much the same thing on a clean kitchen floor? Then they throw all their camo clothes in a pile and proclaim they have to get in bed because they are getting up early (before the chickens) to do the same thing tomorrow.

It's what hunters do. They are different, they are weird, they sometimes smell funny, and they seem to live in an alternate universe (but they mean well).

As usual, your exceedingly humble outdoors scribe is just trying to help, and maybe if I try to point out some of the areas where hunters and outdoorsmen (and women) seem to be a little off level, it will help with things at home and maintain marital bliss.

Feel free to take notes; there may be a quiz at the end.

Hunters do not think like you.

We are going on the premise that hunters are a little different, remember? So if we are different from the average carbon-based humanoid, it just makes sense that we don't think the same — that is, our mental processes are not the same — as others.

First, hunters think about hunting all the time, and I mean all the time. If a hunter has a fender-bender on the way to work, the first thought he has is, 'How long is this going to take to fix, and is it going to hinder my hunting schedule?' The hunter may be standing there talking to you about a high school football game or nuclear fission, but he is thinking about the big eight-point buck he saw on his trail camera yesterday.

Yes, they may smell funny.

This is a polite way of saying they stink.

Remember now, this whole sermon is about how hunters are different (crazy). If smelling different from the rest of the crowd means they may be more successful at bringing home the meat, hunters are all for it. This usually pertains to the deer hunter, and maybe more specifically, the bow hunter. A whitetail deer will usually smell you long before they see you, so deer hunters are much more tuned into this area than, say, a turkey hunter or a squirrel hunter.

Anything that will mask the human scent from a deer, or better yet have a smell that will attract a big buck, deer hunters are in big time. The deer lure, masking scents, and yes, deer urine business is a multimillion dollar industry. The really stinky stuff, such as doe in heat urine and musk attractant lures, hunters are more likely to place around their stands in the woods. But if any of this gets spilled onto clothing — and it does — they usually don't worry about it. They just figure it ups their chances with that big eight-pointer.

Most hunters are gear crazy.

Not all of them, you understand, but a lot of today's hunters are gear (and gun) crazy.

This is interesting to me because the early hunters, the Dan'l Boone and Simon Kenton types, were probably just the opposite. If anything, they were minimalists. They could get by on what they had in their powder bag and on their back.

Maybe it is because of marketing trends, like everything else, but hunters today really like their gear and the thought of getting more of it. Many of us are gadget crazy for new trail cameras, hunter mapping devices on the smartphone, and a rifle scope that, when you look through it, tells you a deer's age and weight. (OK, I made that last one up.)

Likewise, guns are a constant temptation to the hunter. Back in the day, we often got by with just one or two firearms in the library, and we used them for everything from ducks to deer. Not so today, as many of us must have several different guns for different scenarios in hunting. Perish the thought that you may grab the same shotgun you take duck hunting and use it for turkeys. You can, of course, and it would work fine, but you just don't do it.

In summation, class, if you have anyone in your house afflicted with the above maladies (and a lot more), don't be too hard on them. They mean well, they really can't help it, and they will tend to the things you need to do just as soon as this hunting season is out, roughly toward the end of February.

Wait a minute. I forgot there is some predator hunting going on after that, and then of course, spring turkey season will start about early March in some places, and then ...

"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at [email protected].