No matter what the weather, the season or the activity, my partner of choice is my wife. And yes, that goes for hunting and fishing. Before all you guys out there stop reading this, let me take a few minutes of your time to tell a couple of stories and explain some reasons and benefits in having a spouse that shares outdoor activities.
The first reason is just the act itself, spending some quality time with your spouse. With couples working harder and longer than ever before, just finding any time to do something together is an accomplishment in itself.
Any activity such as seeing a movie, going to dinner, etc. would fill the “time together” bill. However, the quiet of the woods in an early morning seems more satisfying and fulfilling. Even getting lost on a hike together can be a lot of fun (provided you don’t get too lost).
When I first suggested spending a week on a fishing trip, I got the same reaction many of you might expect: The long look in the face, the hesitant and somewhat reluctant agreement to go. These reactions are due in many cases to women not always having fun or success in their first introductions to the outdoor world.
POINTERS FOR PLANNING A TRIP SHE’LL ENJOY
At the time I booked our first trip I made sure of a few things with the resort and the guide. First, I wanted to split up the fishing days. A few hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon after lunch are not as tiring as a full eight hour day of fishing or hunting.
Second, I made sure the guide, not me, was willing to teach my wife the preferred method of fishing. Believe me when I say let someone else do the teaching.
Also, I chose a lake that had a good reputation for giving up walleyes during the time frame we chose. A little pre-booking investigation over the internet can save lot of aggravation when the lake that you pick fishes extremely well in June, but not so well when you arrive in August. By the end of the week my wife was catching more fish than either the guide or myself, and I was more than happy to watch.
Since that first trip, we have been on many other fishing and hunting trips together. I always try to book a guide for at least one day to get know the water and also the method of choice for putting fish in the boat. No matter how long I have using a particular method, such as jigging, I always let the guide show my wife how it’s done. Now, Carla enjoys being out on the water as much as I do – and pretty much always outfishes me.
When it comes to hunting, many of the same things apply. When Carla and I decided to get a Labrador retriever and she wanted to try hunting pheasants with me, I had someone else help her learn to shoot. We pick different areas to hunt so we don’t look at the same ground all the time, and often we find a motel in some small town and make it a weekend.
UNUSUAL HUNTING HIGHLIGHTS
One of the best weekend trips so far was one in which we didn’t bag a single bird or even see a single rooster the entire weekend. After spending a fruitless Saturday in the fields we checked into one of those small motels you stumble across along a hunting trip.
We always ask the locals for the best places to eat, after all they live there. We were informed that the local bowling alley served really good food. So of we went and sure enough it was great. After dinner Carla suggested we go bowling. I have not bowled in over twenty years, and scored horribly, but we had a ball. We still talk about that weekend.
Over the last few years we have missed only two weekends per season on average. Planning where we want to go and anticipating what we may find is half the fun. Coming home with a couple birds in the cooler is icing on the cake.
We practice shooting often now and Carla can’t wait for pheasant season. We also both get to enjoy our dog working in the field, something I’ve loved for years and now my wife gets to experience with me. Oh, by the way, even though Carla can outfish me, she cannot outshoot me. Yet.
The next time you are thinking about an outdoor adventure, do yourself a favor, ask your wife to go along. If you make the effort to show her a good time and allow her to proceed at her own pace, she may surprise you.
Inviting your wife may even turn out to put more fish in the boat or birds in the bag, when she happens to be better than you.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for sharing your story, Bob! The NAHC Staff is glad to hear about your adventures. We also know sometimes it’s the wife introducing the husband to hunting, and that’s great, too. What’s your experience been like?