May 10, 2014

Larry Case: Start a new journey outdoors

Editor’s note: The Daily Citizen has added Larry Case as a contributing outdoors columnist and writer. See upcoming editions for more articles from Case, as well as his “The Trail Less Traveled” column.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

— From “The Road Not Taken,” Robert Frost

I once had a good friend who would relate many of the things that we deal with in life to the realm of the outdoor world. Hunting, fishing, trapping and boating all served as a backdrop for his often earthy observations. As I stumble into my advanced years, I catch myself doing the same thing.

Sometimes he would compare a buddy’s marital woes to various turkey hunting scenarios (“He got flushed off the roost, and he ain’t comin’ back.”) If a task was particularly difficult, he would say it was “Like putting a wool sweater on a bobcat.”

You get the idea.

Although I am not that well read on Robert Frost poems, I wanted to use the above quote to illustrate the intended theme of this column.

When the editor of this newspaper extended to me the very generous offer to write a column dealing with the outdoor world, I took it, but with some reservations. I wanted to do this, but like Frost, I wanted the road less taken.

Like many of you I’m a hunter, fisherman, trapper and former river guide. I don’t rightly know how many shotguns I have at present, but it’s not enough. I’ve owned beagles, blue-ticks, cur dogs and pointers. I had one really good dog in my life and have spent more than I will admit looking for another one.

Just to put a finer point on the hunting part, I will confess to being somewhat obsessed with turkey hunting, both spring and fall. One more thing — I have worked for the Division of Natural Resources for 35 years. I say all this only by way of introduction; I really don’t consider myself an expert on anything.

On this journey I hope that you will join me. We may float the river one day for smallmouths and the next head to some farmland with the .22-250 and see if there are any groundhogs left. Who knows, I may regale you with a dissertation about the grouse population.

The point is I want this to be a column you enjoy, but unlike any other! Taking the trail less traveled, will it make all the difference? I honestly don’t know, but it is the one that I must follow.

My brothers in camo, now we embark upon this trail, you and I. I hope that you will enjoy it but you might not always find it easy going. You may encounter some obstacles along the way.

“The trail less traveled,” I believe, will take us many places. You might not agree with all that you read here, but you have my solemn promise that it will be heartfelt and factual.

OK, time to go. Are your boots cinched up tight? Got enough shells? Candy bar and water bottle in your vest?

Follow me ...

Larry Case has been a devoted outdoorsman for all of his life, he will admit to a turkey hunting addiction (spring and fall), but refuses any treatment. He lives in Fayette County, W. Va. His wife Helen and children Jesse and Sarah are still hoping that dad will quit wearing camo year-round and not drag anymore dogs home for a while. We’ll see. You can write to Case at Larryocase3@gmail.com.

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