Case: Keeping it quiet when we should be keeping it real

Staff file photo / We tend to focus on the more fun and glamorous parts of hunting, writes outdoors columnist Larry Case, but there's plenty of dirty work to be done once that deer, turkey or squirrel is shot — if we manage that part.

Some things are just hard to talk about. They simply are.

Families have a lot of this sort of thing. Most have an incident or two that everyone knows about but no one mentions. How about the time Uncle Ed had just a wee bit too much eggnog at Christmas, fell down the stairs and knocked over the tree? Well, maybe that is not such a good example. The whole family talks about that one, except when his sister - your mom - is in the room.

I think you know what I mean, though. There are many things in life that are like an 800-pound primate in the room that we just don't bring up in conversation. The outdoors world of hunting, fishing, firearms, bows and arrows and rowboats is no different.

Evidently even in this enlightened age there are still some things not to be discussed. Think about some of the stuff you see on outdoors-related TV programs. (I've told you before that I think some of them are good and a lot of them are bad.) Do you ever ponder why we don't see any of the ladies on these shows, especially the ones who look like fashion models, up to their elbows in blood and deer guts, field dressing the big 10-pointer they just shot? (To those having breakfast or morning coffee, sorry for the image.)

Come to think of it, I don't see many of the guys on the hunting programs doing these chores either, but maybe you see my point: Nobody is talking about it.

So how do the animals taken on these programs get field dressed and skinned? We see the dramatic footage of the shot being taken. We have to sit through the all of the high fives and man hugs (I really do NOT like this part). The next time we see the deer, he is hanging up at the hunting camp. Did the field dressing elf make a magical appearance?

Another thing we don't see addressed too much on those programs, or in most outdoors magazines, are the days when we really get skunked. I don't know about you, but every trip to the woods does not result in a 10-point buck, two fat turkeys or a limit of squirrels for you and your three buddies. I mean, it just doesn't.

This is not a problem for me - it is just the way it is - but this needs to get more attention in the outdoors media. I, for one, could write more about it. I certainly have enough experience with it.

Now this may test how much leeway the editors will give me, but dare I bring up the taboo subject of going to the bathroom in the woods? Hunters who spend long hours in the field do occasionally have to answer certain calls of nature. I mean, you would agree that this is just a fact of life, right? So how come you never hear it mentioned on a hunting show (or in an outdoors magazine)?

You would think that at least once the cameraman might say:"Hey, dude, timeout for a minute. I've got to go over here behind this tree." (By the way, if any of you are curious about this, everything you have heard about bears in the woods is true.)

Kids seem to have a problem in this area sometimes. Now I have told you before I am all for taking young people to the woods and getting them involved in hunting, fishing and other activities outdoors. It's just sometimes hard to explain to a young person that it is really not necessary to drive 10 miles to a 7-11 so they can use the restroom. They need to, you know, follow the bears' example.

If you have been following this column for a while, you know that once upon a time I told you while you may not agree with everything you read here, I will always be honest and factual. That is all I am trying to do here - keep it real for you. If I offended anyone in this little dissertation, that was not my intent, and I certainly apologize.

Hunters, be safe and be true to the game.

One more thing: Don't be too hard on Uncle Ed this year.

photo Contributed photo / Larry Case

"Guns & Cornbread" is written by Larry Case, who lives in Fayette County, W.Va. You can write to him at