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Can't wait to take new toy out for hunting

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POSTED August 18, 2009 6:18 p.m.
Field & Stream back-pager Bill Heavy penned a column a couple seasons ago about his early courtship with a new rangefinder.

I laughed, because that’s what you do when you read your favorite humorist and dismissed the thought that an infrared beaming contraption could change any aspect of my life outside of hunting.

After cooking up some onion and jalapeno-laced salmon cakes at a buddy’s house, I trucked over to Bass Pro and the mood caught me. I’ve probably used the bathroom there more than the checkout line, but looking around is cheaper — and it’s usually what I do.

I am in that middle ground when it comes to my fishing gear. I fish a bunch, but have rigs that work. I will use the salmon rod I have now until it breaks. The fly-rods are just OK.

Having gear and instruments of outdoorsing that are described as such tend to get replaced with the latest must-buys at some point. I’ve caught plenty of fish with my eight-weight Scientific Angler, but it sure would be much more fun if I caught trout with that sexy eight-weight TFO, Sage or St. Croix that will never be on my kind of sale.

A sale to me is not free shipping. That’s free shipping. Knocking 10 percent off is a discount. A sale is a, “I might get fired for selling it this cheap if my boss finds out” type deal.

It would take one of those situations to get me to take home one of those fly-rods being I feel I have yet to really master that genre of fishing. Put another way, I haven’t earned it, yet.

I am collecting the essentials for hunting by looking at all the things dad never used when we trekked up old logging roads. Middle ground again. Do I need it? Well ...

Still, I could sense that at some point I would be purchasing a rangefinder and Sunday became some point.  I went past the Carhartt section without a glance, strolled by fishing rigs and went right past those trout and bass that wonder how we swim around outside the tank without flapping our arms.

It was noisy as usual up there in the guns and optics sector, with the usual sounds of geese, ducks and deer being made by men with tons of outdoor experience, or entirely too much free time.

Luckily, the rangefinder I was looking at was on a diet-sale — nothing too great, but had enough money knocked off I could buy more cream cheese for my next round of smoked salmon dip.

I had the package opened before I was home, because I was fairly sure that the law against text messaging and using a cell phone while driving did not include using a rangefinder, and I would be sure to escape any ticket.

I made it home without incident, and began sizing up my place.

My fridge is 12 yards from the front door, and my truck sleeps 28 yards beyond that, meaning Usain Bolt could steal my smoked salmon and truck before I got from my bed to the fridge — seven yards — to do anything about it.

On Monday I took it golfing, because technology is obviously the only way to get better unless I go on the Manny Plan, or practice.

With two holes left, I was two shots behind Tiger (the imaginary dude I compete against when I am out on the links myself, who always seems to crumble on the last few holes).

I pulled out the rangefinder and beamed the hill on the other side of the green and estimated I had enough on my 7-iron to clear the water.

Though the distance verification didn’t change my strategy at all, I still felt more prepared for the shot and figured if I could land just in front of my intended target, I’d be set up for birdie.

Naturally, I landed well off the mark and almost in the water anyway. I settled for a bogey, or par in Lundspeak.

It didn’t bother me at all though, because in just over a month, when hunting season starts, I won’t be missing by 20 yards thanks to my new rangefinder.

If I do, I can blame my gun rather than my game.

To contact Jeff Lund, e-mail aklund21@gmail.com.

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