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Nature is a wonderful teacher, but she isn’t certified in special ed. Challenging the notion that anyone can learn, here’s a sample of some the woods wisdom that was wasted on me.
1. The lesson: You might think Catawba worms are gross but fish love them.
Should have taught me: Being successful means paying attention to what others need – your spouse, your friends, your customers, etc.
What I actually learned: If you don’t poke the hook all the way through, less green goop gets on your hands.
2. The lesson: Squirrels may be the only animals on earth with a shorter attention span than a 10-year-old kid.
Should have taught me: A little patience pays off when you’re hunting.
What I actually learned: Shooting a .410 into a treetop will make squirrels move so you can see them.
3. The lesson: Despite their name, oak snakes will climb most any tree.
Should have taught me: Never trust labels or make assumptions based on them.
What I actually learned: Oak snakes have sharp teeth and strong jaws.
4. The lesson: A tiny twig poking you will eventually feel like a large knife stabbing you.
Should have taught me: Little problems turn into big problems if you ignore them.
What I actually learned: They make hunting vests with seat pads now!
5. The lesson: Owls don’t make any noise when they fly, but they do when they eat.
Should have taught me: Some people tell you what they’re going to do; others show you what they’ve done.
What I actually learned: Owls are sneaky bastards that will steal the squirrel you just shot or the fish you just caught.
6. The lesson: Enough mosquitoes swarming around you can drown out every other sound.
Should have taught me: Your biggest problems are sometimes just an accumulation of little ones.
What I actually learned: A Thermacell is $30 well spent.
7. The lesson: If you believe the fish will bite, you’ll keep your line in the water longer.
Should have taught me: Just believing in success can give you the patience to keep trying until you actually succeed.
What I actually learned: Fishing in the same spot despite not catching anything is a sign of insanity.
* * *
Fortunately for me, nature does offer unlimited remedial courses, so I intend to keep studying as much as possible.