Telling it Good
article by Dan Chason
During my days as a professional guide, I truly enjoyed the many hunting and fishing stories that were shared by my clients. One story that sticks out in my mind came to me from a client who was a repeat customer. For two trips in a row, he brought a large group with one member present as a part of both trips. The customers referred to him as “Rambo,” so my crew and I used the same tag when addressing him. One night after a good day of duck hunting, we were sitting around the fire pit telling lies. Rambo had gone to bed, and I asked the question that we all wanted to know. Why did the customers called this short, trim guy Rambo?
The client laughed and told me the following story. I will not attest to its truth or if it was stretched a bit, but this is how it was told to me:
It seems that this client had a prime customer (Rambo) who loved to hunt. Now Rambo fancied himself a professional guide. When this client took him to any lodge where they had been before, Rambo wanted to assist the guides. The client said that Rambo would be a guide if it paid better but couldn’t afford to give up his fortune to do it. Guiding customers means catering to their every need, including gear, food, transportation to the blind and assuring their overall comfort. On the night of this particular venture, the lodge gathered its customers and they conducted a drawing for which blind each person would hunt in the next morning. This night, Rambo and my client drew the “Bunker Blind.” According to my client, the Bunker Blind was a sight to behold. The majority of the blind was underground with a set of steps that led up to the shooting deck which was just above water level. The blind had a kitchen, card tables and cots for a full day of relaxation and hunting. Entry was gained via a “manhole cover” that kept the blind free from rain water. When Rambo heard they had drawn the Bunker Blind his face lit up as he had been there before and knew how to get there on his own.
The next morning, Rambo took the lead and left the other hunters in the lodge parking lot. The client says that his tail lights disappeared as the rest of the party loaded up their 4 wheelers for the long trip. Upon arriving at the blind, there stood Rambo at the manhole cover opening, grinning ear to ear. He climbed down into the blind and started putting guns, ammunition and supplies into the blind. My client was shining a light down the hole and behind Rambo so he could see where to place gear. My client immediately noticed that the blind was a total wreck. Tables were turned over, trash was on the floor and the cans that once held the trash were dumped out. His response was that “I was pretty hot as I paid big money for this trip and I would think they would have at least had a clean blind for me to hunt.” About the time that thought passed his mind, he illuminated the darkness at Rambo’s left leg. To both of their surprise, there stood the biggest beaver that ever swam. Just as quick as Rambo saw the beaver, he instantly jumped up and onto the landing and was standing next to my client as if shot out of a cannon. He was visibly shaken. My client was concerned and asked,”You ok, man? You aren’t hurt are you?”
Rambo’s reply was priceless as he quivered and said, “Man. I thought it was the dog. I was a’pettin’ him.”
Any guide will tell you stories of things that are just bound to happen when you spend days in the woods or the water. One story I like to tell on myself happened back in the 90s. One of my heroes is a man named Jack Hains. Jack is a true Cajun with the drawl to go with it. I remember when he accepted my invitation to go bass fishing on Toledo Bend and to appear on my TV show. If you know any history, you will know that Jack is a Bassmaster’s Classic Champion and a legend on Toledo Bend from his years of guiding and fishing tournaments. I was plumb ecstatic when he said he would love to film a show with us. We loaded camera gear, camera men and even went over budget with an additional camera man and boat. I was loaded for bear. I washed my boat. Twice. I greased reels, washed my truck, pressed my shirt and even my shorts. I was not going to look anything but professional for my hero. He pulled up and we exchanged pleasantries. I backed my 20 foot Champion towards the ramp, and Jack cordially said that he would get in so I didn’t have to walk the hill twice. I backed the boat down the ramp and parked my truck. I started back down towards the boat and could see that Jack had a look of concern on his face. Not only that, he has his feet up on the console of the boat as I could see bubbling water coming out of the floor drain. “Uh, Dahn…do ya tink you might wanna put a plug in dis here boat?” I was so embarrassed I could have jumped in the water and drowned myself. Rookie mistake. I had forgotten to put the plug in when we arrived. Worst of all, I did it in front of my fishing hero.
Stories like this are endless in the outdoors. Everyone who has every tied on a lure or sat in a duck blind has stories of strange things that happen afield. Some are truthful, and some will make you check the source of the story. Regardless, they can’t be told if you aren’t out there enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. So get out there, and make some memories…….and take a kid to make the memory live on past your life time.