Case: Laws of the outdoors universe

Count on these simple truths

Watch your eye as you watch for your quarry through a scope — recoil is a part of life when you're firing a gun, writes outdoors columnist Larry Case.

I'm sure you remember that guy Murphy. He has a law named after him that goes more or less like this: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." I believe in Murphy's Law and have followed it faithfully my whole life.

There is another old adage about optimism. You know, the one about the glass being half empty or half full. My glass is always completely empty! I simply prefer to see things as they really are.

I have studied at length about various laws and truisms that seem to rule the universe that includes the outdoors world of hunting, fishing, guns, ammo, four-wheel drives and hunting dogs. These things are true and undeniable just because they are; they exist by virtue of their own weight and merit. I have proven all of these laws through much time, research, and my own hardheadedness and stupidity.

Here, in no particular order, are some of Case's Laws of the Outdoors Universe:

photo Much goes into a succesful hunt, with avoiding getting lost central to that objective. Admitting you are lost is sometimes as big a challenge, writes outdoors columnist Larry Case.
photo Contributed photo / Larry Case

If you think you did, you did. This law applies to many realms of life, not only the outdoors. It goes like this: If you think you left the oven on or the water running when you are 50 miles from the house, you did. The same is true when you are sitting with your posterior on the cold, wet ground wondering if you spooked the turkey that hasn't gobbled for 35 minutes. If you think you might have scared him, well, you did.

Never take the easy path. Why would you want to do that?

Always use a bigger hammer. When your truck is broken down 16 miles from nowhere (it is usually raining and/or snowing), and you need to apply some force during the repair job, don't fool around - pick up the biggest hammer available and get with it. There is no doubt you are probably going to break something, but that is the point. You were probably not going to fix the problem anyway. So tear it up good and you can get down to the business of walking out of the hole you are in - usually in the dark.

When you unsnap the leash, you give your dogs to fate. This may be the day they behave and find game for you flawlessly. It may be the day your dogs decide to tour the East Coast. Let's not even think about all the bad things that may happen to a dog when you release him - truck tires, coyotes, snake bites and just plain old getting lost. I regret to tell you I have spent countless hours looking for wayward canines.

I often think about an old grouse hunting buddy, now passed on, who had two young pointers take off and change their zip code. After at least a week of searching, he finally got a call from the neighboring state of Virginia. When he pulled up in the yard where the errant pooches waited, he walked over, looked down and told them "I don't know where you have been or what you have done, but I'm proud of you." Pointer owners will understand.

Never feed pigs naked. I would think this one needs no explanation.

Lost doesn't mean turned around. There is an old story, attributed to Daniel Boone and several others, of a woodsman who supposedly said, "I never was really lost, but I was badly turned around for a week or so." After dealing with this "lost" issue for many years, being lost myself and looking for other lost souls, I never did understand what "turned around" amounted to. If you don't know which way to go to get wherever you want to, like the truck or your camp, you are in fact lost. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Who knows when you will be lost again?

All guns kick; scope-cut scars are forever. Recoil in firearms is part of life. You will recall that Newton guy had a similar law of physics about this. Many of us never learn to understand or deal with recoil. The scar you attained from having your eye too close to the scope on Uncle Pete's .300 WinMag can be a badge of courage in some circles; in others, not so much.

If you know of some laws you think belong here, let me know, because obviously this is not a complete list. The outdoors universe is a pretty big place.

Have you ever thought about any of this before? If you think you did, you did.

"The Trail Less Traveled" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at