Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
January 7th, 2002

Test Yourself Again
Ed Zern

By Ed Zern

It's apparent that with the population still growing apace, this country must sooner or later adopt some of the stringent measures used throughout Europe to limit the number of people pursuing these basic outdoor sports, and shunt them off onto tennis courts, carnivals, bowling alleys, massage parlors, bars, adult movies, Sunday school picnics, rock concerts, golf courses, orgies, piano recitals, opium dens, Tupperware parties, tea dances, amateur theatricals, saturnalias, hoe-downs, hootenannies, charity balls, pinball archades, or any place that might be considered a substitute for overcrowded bass lakes or duck marshes.

In most European countries, in order to qualify for a hunting license, the would-be sportsman is obliged to undergo a series of oral, written, and physical tests, which cover, amoung other subjects, the ballistics of rifle and shotgun ammunitions, the safe handling of firearms, the various breeds of gun dogs and their common diseases and their treatment, cultural heritage, the identification of gamebirds and mammals, the common predators of gamebirds and their control, the legal seasons and the penalties for poaching, and so forth. Only after completing these examinations satisfactorily is the candidate able to purchase a firearm, join his local hunting or fishing club, and begin going afield.

It seems to me that sooner or later we in the United States shall be obliged to adopt a similar requirement, and I personally hope it will be sooner. In anticipation of that time, I wish to propose a simple test for those applying for a hunting license, with only those achieving a B-plus or better being licensed. Here are the questions:

I. (This is a three-part question; this is Part1).

Seated in a duck blind with your old hunting buddy, you simultaneously notice a pair of mallard drakes coming into your rig and (b) a large cottonmouth moccasin that has just crawled onto the bench next to your partner and is coiled to strike. You realize that if you call your partner's attention to the snake, he will probably jump up and cause the mallards to flare off. On the other hand, if you or he shoot, the snake is likely to bite him. What do you do?

Part 2: Assuming you opted to keep quiet until you'd had a shot at the mallards, and that the snake had then bit your buddy and caused his instant death by venom or heart failure or both, would you (a) pick up the decoys, load your partner into the boat, and head back for the dock or (b) stay in the blind until you had your legal limit?

Part 3: If you elected to stay in the blind, would you (a) shoot only your own limit or (b) yours and your partner's?

The Best of Ed Zern II. While walking down the street in a strange city you hear an old lady crying, and when you peer inside her front door out of curiosity, she stops blubbering long enough to explain that her husband has died and left her penniless, with only a couple of worthless old shotguns as his entire estate. She shows you the guns, a Holland & Holland Royal matched pair with hand-detachable sidelocks in a fitted brassbound oak-and-leather case with a canvas cover, in mint conditions. Between piteous sobs she says she intends giving the guns to the Salvation Army, but suggests you might be kind-hearted enough to buy them from her. When you ascertain that it's not a scam and that the guns have apparently never been fired, do you offer her $5/$7.50/$10/ (checkone)?

These are fairly easy problems, of course, but really difficult tests could be devised when necessary. ~ Ed Zern

Credits: From The Best of Ed Zern published by The Lyons Press.

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