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Rules for great fly hunters

ince bringing a pair of chameleons home from Louisiana, a fair amount of time is spent hunting flies for them to eat. The grandsons and I find it great entertainment to catch them and watch the happy little lizards as they enjoy a crunchy snack.

The problem is the flies have to be alive. My wife, being ever so resourceful, found a bug catching gun that mates up with the terrarium she found for our little cold-blooded friends. This piece of equipment looks like a miniature dust buster, and really works well. Either one of the grandsons or I will sneak up on an unsuspecting fly, suck it into the holding cell, and turn it loose in the chameleon house. Ethel and Julius could not be happier. They have a $100 house, a $30 food catcher, and at least three people to find them fresh food whenever a fly was spotted either inside or outside of the house.

On a normal year, by the first part of June, we are cursed with flies sneaking in the door to annoy us in the kitchen and unlimited amounts of flying insects outside. Our new fly gun and three people poised to use it seems to act as the world's best insect repellant. There are times we have to scour the entire house, the barn and the backyard fence to find enough to make a meal.

About the same time my wife found a Venus fly trap plant to add to our really small ecosystem, Julius met with a sudden and untimely demise. The boys quickly recovered from their loss when they discovered the little green plant could eat as many flies as Julius. We have become quite proficient at our hunting ventures. Sometimes we have to hunt two or three times a day when there is a real fly shortage.

My son, Damon, went fishing Sunday afternoon. He had a fair amount of success and brought a nice bowl of crappie fillets to his mother and me. I thanked him profusely and he left in my truck as he needed to borrow it for a few projects. When he returned Monday evening, my wife and I were sitting on the patio waiting for Ethel to eat the one fly I was able to catch. Damon asked to borrow the fly gun for a minute. I thought perhaps he had seen a stray fly as he drove down the driveway. He walked behind my truck and soon returned with at least two dozen flies packed in the fly gun. Ethel started snapping up flies as soon as they were released. The Venus fly trap also caught a couple. I was pleased with the gift of flies but was curious how he could have found so many in such a short time. He was hesitant to tell me the secret of his success at first but finally gave up the truth. What was left from cleaning the fish the night before was in a bucket in the back of my truck. As it fermented all day in the hot sun, several flies were attracted. The smell was not good.

I informed Damon, I have taught his sons the rules of the hunt. We practice fair chase only. There is no baiting allowed for a true hunter and we are great fly hunters. It really is not allowed if the baiting is done in the back of my truck.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.