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Our education of the outdoors continues

Our friends, Dick and Mary, called last week and said they would like to come for a weekend visit. There are few things better than the opportunity to spend time with old friends.

Not that they are old, but our friendship dates back to the time Dick and I were in elementary school together. The two of us have hunted, fished, trapped, camped, sailed, hiked and done just about anything else that can be done to enjoy the outdoors.

We both lived to tell about it, and are somewhat wiser from our experiences. In our early years, we did most things the hard way just so we would know a more simple way of doing things when we saw it.

We learned if two kids build a cabin and install a wood stove, it may smoke to the point a person cannot stand to be inside. If an unattended fire is left burning and there is no insulation between the stove pipe and the roof, the cabin will burn to the ground and all the work is for naught.

We learned people can survive off the land. Testing ourselves, we learned we could get along in the wilderness. We found we could catch, clean, cook and eat pigeons and sparrows if we needed to find food to stay alive. Much later in life, we learned if we take a bunch of cinnamon rolls with us on an early morning hunt, we do not have to worry about eating sparrows. Sparrows are not bad if a person is hungry enough, but cinnamon rolls are delicious, even if a person is not hungry.

Neither of us had parents that were in tune with the outdoors. My father would say, "Why would you go sleep on the ground in a tent when there is an empty bed upstairs?" Dick's father asked, "Why would you walk all over everywhere to shoot a pheasant when there is a chicken in the freezer?" They both made valid points, but this is not the way of the outdoorsman.

As the years passed, so did our lives. We married and our wives became great friends. It is as if they both married the same type of crazy person. We had children who grew up with an appreciation of the outdoors as much as their fathers. They were given much more guidance and outdoors training than we were given so they did not make the same mistakes. They found new mistakes all their own. There are now grandchildren that can learn the wisdom and errors of two generations. If we keep this up long enough, one of these generations is going to get the whole outdoors thing right. Even if they do not get it right, they will have a good time trying.

Though we live several hundred miles apart, we have always tried to get together when we can. We have hunted birds, fished and went sailing at Dick's place. We have deer and turkey hunted at mine.

Over the weekend, we scouted for deer, checked out the turkeys and set up trail cameras. We had a great time reminiscing about days gone by and good times shared in the outdoors.

With age comes the wisdom of knowing it is easier to cover the farm on a Gator than on foot. In the past few years, we have learned to wait until a deer comes near the truck to shoot it so a person does not have to drag it so far. We now know turkeys are in the woods at noon as well as four in the morning. We also continue to learn.

Just recently, Dick learned the mornings get cold this time of year in western Nebraska while sleeping in a tent. I learned just this weekend, without Dick marking my trail camera positions with a GPS, I would never find them again. By the time we placed the last one, I forgot where I had put the first one.

The education never stops, which is a good thing. We have a great time learning with old friends.

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