Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Got Toys?

As I pulled up in front of the house I could see the glossy print catalogue protruding from the over-stuffed mail box. The sight evoked a little of the long lost Christmas time excitement of my youth, and priority number one quickly became sitting down and examining every page of the catalogue. Like always, the good people of LL Bean did a great job, and my wish list grew exponentially. As I sat there thinking of the endless combinations of camping, hunting, fishing, and general outdoor gear I could use, and the many adventures I could embark on, my thoughts soon turned to the piles of gear I already own. The "toys" as my wife calls them.

As an avid outdoorsman, no doubt I've amassed quite a collection of equipment needed to properly participate in my chosen sport for the season. So much in fact that I've taken over, and dedicated a walk-in closet to the storage of my toys. And it doesnt all fit. Some lesser used gear has been sent to the attic, and some of my more frequently used, or seasonal gear often take up residence in the car for extended periods of time. My rubber wellingtons are almost always in the car, ready for use if I need them. Being prime trout fishing season my waders too, have found a seasonal home in the car. Should the urge to go fishing strike me, all I need do is grab a rod, and my vest, which to my wifes dismay, have taken up residence in the front hallway. You too, no doubt have quite a collection of gear, all of it dear to you, for every possible scenario the outdoors could throw at you.

In briefly running down my toys, I think the place to start is in the wingshooting category, as that's where I spend most of my efforts. Naturally, I've got a bit of a collection of smoothbores. Fortunately my wife stays more than arms length away from these, or I might have difficulty explaining why one needs dedicated grouse guns, as well as waterfowl guns, and clay shooting guns. I've also got every imaginable configuration available for carrying my game, shells, gps, and assorted equipment while hunting. As for shooting clothing I've got all my bases covered there too, with Blaze trimmed upland clothing, brush pants and chaps, sufficiently camouflaged waterfowl outfits, and even enough tweed, should I ever need it. I've got surprisingly little footwear, however, owning a pair of wellies, and a pair of upland type boots. Let's not forget some of the specialized toys needed for waterfowling; boats and decoys. Yeah, I've got a canoe, and a john boat, duck and goose decoys, and even a wing-spinning deke. And if you thought I couldn't possibly need anything else, add camo waders to the list.

My efforts in the big-game arena have allowed me to collect some major toys, too. Naturally I've got a rifle, but I actually spend more time in the deer woods with my bow, or muzzleloader. Yes, that's three toys right there. Then we get into clothing; warm weather camo, insulated/water-proof camo, wool camo, and camo I don't even know what I'll use it for. Backpacks and fanny packs(both plural), game calls, decoys(turkey), scents and lures(deer and bear), tree stands, and ground blinds too. Even a pair of dedicated camo wellies. I could go on, but you get the point.

Fishing hasn't been taken any less serious. Flyfishing in particular has been what has held the majority of my attention over the years. Though not the collection a serious fisherman would have, I've found three fly rods in my possession; a 3wt, 6wt, and a 9wt all get used every year. Of course this means the reels see action too, as does the different fly selection for each use. When not fly casting I break out my little spincaster, or if in the salt, one of my two surfcasters. But I'm thinking of up-grading my surfcasters, so there's growth potential there. Two pair of waders, and two pair of wading shoes are also part of my toy collection. Surprisingly, I've only one fishing vest, but don't worry, I've got my eye on one of those strap type vests, and a 4wt rod, both of which I think would be good additions to the toy box.

Truth is, I could go on. There's the camping gear, dog training gear, survival gear(which I've written about in the past), and the all important going to the beach gear. Why is the beach gear important? It keeps my wife happy.

**Special shameless note** Anyone reading this who works or owns any hunting or fishing related business who'd like their product reviewed in this blog should feel free to e-mail me. My standards are pretty high, but maybe I'll accept, use, and review any free stuff you've got to offer. This include vacation packages, too. **Shameless, right?**

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