I have a pre-hunting-season ritual I go through every year. Well, I guess I have several rituals. It’s not that I’m superstitious, but I figure it can’t hurt, right?
The ritual I’m talking about is more practical than superstitious, though. It might have to get modified if the Game and Fish ever stops printing the hunting regulations, but as long as they distribute the hard copies, I’ll keep it up.
Every year, when the regulations come out, I get ahold of four copies of each set of regs for the critters I’m planning on hunting. I put one set in the pickup; one in my home office, and one at my work office. The fourth set gets tucked into the bag that holds my binoculars, spare gloves, a couple of knives of different sizes, and a knife sharpener. I put the regs in that bag because it goes with me on every hunt, no matter the species or the hunting method I’m using. With full sets of regs in all these places, they’re always within reach if I want to check on a rule, see when a season opens or closes, or find out anything else I might need to know.
I started salting all my usual haunts with hunting regs about 10 years ago, after I’d returned from a duck hunt that didn’t feature any ducks. While we were waiting for the ducks to come in, we watched flock after flock of snipe roll in and land mere feet away from us. We had 7-shot in our blind bags, and we certainly had plenty of chances to knock down some snipe. We might even have limited out, which would have been good, because it takes a limit of snipe to make a full meal.
The problem was that none of us had early migratory bird regs with us. That was back when snipe were in one set of regulations, and ducks and geese were in another. We didn’t know if the snipe season was open, so we didn’t shoot. Turns out they were.
So now I carry regs with me just about everywhere I go during hunting season. I won’t be caught off-guard again.