Free outdoor gear? Sounds too good to be true

I got an offer in the mail the other day that made me a bit skeptical, but I think I might try it out. It purports to be an offer for free hunting gear, so I just can’t bring myself to throw it away.

I got a letter in the mail a little while ago that has to be a hoax. It’s from the North American Hunting Club, and the envelope said “We’re looking for people to test hunting products and keep all test products free.” There are pictures of a hunting vest, exploding targets, a GPS receiver, a Coleman heater, a knife and a rifle under the come-on.

My first response was to chuck it. I’ve been an outdoor writer for a pretty good while now, and even when I flash my credentials at sports shows and company execs, I don’t get very far. I get a discount now and then, but not much free stuff. And I’m a professional outdoor communicator, for crying out loud.

It gets even more far-fetched inside the envelope. It says I’ve been nominated for this exclusive offer, because I’m a dedicated hunter. That’s true – I am very dedicated. I’m not a bit successful, but dedicated I am. But then, on the second page, in great-big green letters, it says, “Only serious hunters are nominated.”

When my wife saw that, she said, “wow, they got the wrong guy. It says serious. You’re not even serious at a funeral.” Man, that hurt. And it also clinched it. I decided then and there that I’d send in the form.

The letter says the gear is mine to keep, but I have to fill out a questionnaire about how well the items do when I take them to the field. That’s no problem for me, because it’s what I do with everything. I usually have to buy the gear myself, though.

I expect my free Wild Bounty cookbook, Whitetail Pursuit DVD and field knife set with belt sheath any day now. I’m still a little skeptical, so I’ll let you know if it’s worth it. Then when you get your exclusive invitation, you’ll know whether to send it back right away or toss it in the nearest campfire.

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.