By Kyle Jillson | June 11 2012 08:36

NRA's Doug Howlett is a life-long hunter and has accumulated a great many experiences; some good, some bad. He recently shared a slew of some particularly bad ones with American Hunter and they're definitely worth a read:

NRA American Hunter magazine When Things Go Wrong

Part of what makes the outdoors so much fun is the element of adventure and surprise nature holds for the participant. In a life where everything is so rigidly laid out and controlled—from the grid of suburban streets and perfectly aligned houses in our neighborhoods, to the suit-and-tie social rules and etiquette followed at the office and in our communities—it’s refreshing to escape to the rawness of the outdoors where trees, plants and brush grow unchecked by the landscapers tools and creatures besides man roam wild and at their own free will.

Let’s face it, there is also an undercurrent of danger and unpredictability in nature that thrills the soul, although most of us still want to hedge our bets and keep our outings on the safer side of things. But still, try as you might, whether it’s simply a hunt not playing as planned or an actual concern for safety, spend enough time outdoors and things are bound to go wrong. Here are a few mishaps I’ve encountered that other sportsmen and women can surely relate to.

Dream Waterfowl Hunt Gone Wrong
This past season I finally got my first opportunity to travel to the famed Stuttgart, Ark., duck hunting capital of the world and home to Mack’s Prairie Wings, the well-known waterfowl (and everything else for that matter) gear retailer. I was jazzed for what I expected to be the waterfowling experience of my life, particularly having grown up along the much more mellow Atlantic Flyway. But of course, my first visit would be at a time when warm weather patterns dominated the entire Midwest and a majority of ducks remained far to the north. I suppose some things are just not meant to be.

While our group limited out on speckled geese in a reservoir on our first day, our next two days of venturing into flooded timber proved to be a total bust. Both days were warm and overcast, a bad mix for timber as the lack of hard shadows, makes it easier for ducks to see when things aren’t quite right. To top it off, a short cut to our duck hole turned into a mad boat ride over logs, around trees and through saplings in 2-foot-deep water that tapered down to a foot and had us dragging boats across old road beds and through stretches of forest. We finally arrived at our hole an hour after shooting light. The next day, despite arriving in darkness to the public land spot, every hole we came to already held hunters. We finally settled on a spot that turned out to be far from where any ducks wished to fly.

Beware Borrowed Waders
On that same trip, I discovered on the first day of hunting that my favorite—and only pair I had with me—waders had a small leak in the back of the right leg, just above where the boot and legging came together. After spending five hours standing in thigh-deep water, the back of my leg was rather damp and cold, but otherwise not as bad as it could have been. Heading into potentially deeper, flooded timber the next day, I asked the owner of the home where I was staying if he had an extra set of waders I could borrow. He did. As it turns out, they leaked worse than mine. Within a minute of climbing into the water, both feet and lower legs were sloshing in icy water. At this point I was actually glad temps remained in the mid 50s for the rest of the day. Five hours later, as my soggy body climbed from the water-filled waders, one of my companions laughed, “Why do you think he wasn’t wearing them?” My host swears he had no idea they leaked, and I believe him. But man, what a miserable morning.

Read the rest of the American Hunter article online.

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