Meridian Star

July 12, 2013

Outdoor Hilarity

By Otha Barham
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Serious pursuit of the outdoor sports brings rejuvenation to body, mind and spirit. As with almost all other human endeavors, there is a humorous slant to nearly every outdoor event or situation. Appreciating this funny side of our adventures rounds out the outdoor pleasures. Some of the funniest things are those which are funny only to observers, the victim often seeing no humor in the occurrence

    Every rod and reel angler has had something like this happen. He or she eases up to a quiet pool in hopes of making that perfect first cast to undisturbed water and fooling a big fish into taking a favorite plug. The angler, who has been thinking about this spot for a month, looks over the fishy surroundings and sees a big bass swirl. The swirl is a long cast away.

    Transfixed momentarily, and brimming with anticipation, the nervous angler then puts a little extra into the cast and the plug flies forward six feet, jerks to a halt and splashes to the water near the angler's feet. Even before looking at the reel, the angler knows what has happened. Backlash!

    Now in the backlash, we have a very funny occurrence but it is an excellent example of one that is not funny to the victim. In fact anglers who suffer backlashes have been known to say loud words like "shucks" and "heck" or lengthy statements expressing the wish that he or she had not suffered the misfortune. But to every nearby living being, including the closest of friends, the backlash calls for laughter, some ribbing, or at least a superior grin.

    What to me was a very funny predicament happened on a Texas lake to a fishing partner who saw nothing humorous about it. He had put a fishing plug in his boat seat while he was standing to cast. When he forgot about it and sat down on it, both sets of treble hooks grabbed him in the seat of his pants. The embedded hooks were centrally located at the most inconvenient place possible, where the inner pants leg seams meet the torso seams, if you can visualize that location. Another way to pinpoint where the hooks were is to...well, you know where they would be if you tried to sit squarely on them and your aim was precise.

    My friend was not hurt, though very worried about serious and permanent injury while I extracted the hooks one by one with the needle nose pliers as he assumed a position that you can easily visualize. His other option was to remove his pants to make my work easier. But too many anglers were nearby in boats. Grasping each hook was a difficult task, what with my convulsive laughing affecting the accuracy of my work. He dared not look to see which other boaters were observing this ridiculous scene, and I could not see them through the tears of hilarity in my eyes.

     A couple of guys I know decided to take up varmint calling in coyote country. They bought headlights and powerful gun shells and stationed themselves in an old tree stand built years before by a deer hunter. They were far down in a swamp and it was pitch dark that night. Owls and coyotes were calling nearby which added apprehension to their spooky surroundings.

    Their calling device was one that when blown through sounds like a rabbit uttering loud death squeals, a frightening sound that can intensify an already tense situation. After a few calls, the pair heard sounds in the darkness, and a nervous nudge by an elbow signaled both headlights on.

    There in the blackness was not one, but several pair of gleaming yellow eyes, as a pack of coyotes had arrived. Instantly one of the men fired into the night, whereupon the weathered deer stand pulled loose from the tree and collapsed, crashing loudly to the ground. Guns, headlights splintered lumber and two very surprised hunters landed noisily in a heap at the base of the tree. The coyotes are still running.

    Thankfully there were no serious injuries, except the injured pride of my two friends. It has not been determined who was scared the most by the incident; the coyotes or the hunters. Those who heard their story were fraught with laughter but it was a long time before the adventurous pair could similarly enjoy the story. They saw the humor, but it was well after the skinned elbows and sore backsides had healed.