February 21, 2008

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Iím 37 years old. That hurt to say, but I wanted to drag out thus facts to help illustrate my next point.

Itís been a couple decades since I last sat through a college lecture. Okay so I do last through an occasional sermon or two, but for the most part, Iím just not very good at plopping down and committing my time to allow someone else to talk to me.

But after the recent Sportsmanís Expo held in Kirksville, Iím ready to go back to class. It was at this hunting show sposnored by the Kirksville Chamber of Commerce, that I first had the opportunity to meet Barry Wensel.

I must confess, Barryís name was highlighted as one of the eventís keynote speakers. Of course my prejudice towards speakers as a whole, was likely to blame for me not noticing, but even if I had, Iím uncertain if Mr. Wensel would have been enough to draw me over to Kirksville that cold afternoon just so that I could go back to school.

I had never met the man before. I was familiar with his name as part of the industry that monopolizes the majority of my free time. But that was as far as my familiarity went.

Those cushioned seats look pretty comfortable after toting around my wifeís deer antlers to be judged by the official scorers on hand for the Expo.

Then the microphone buzzed on, the crowd filled in behind me, and I was stuck, well at least until I could come up with a better excuse to skip class than the last ones I used 20 years ago.

Wensel took the microphone and opened by telling the crowd he didnít really have a prepared program for us but instead would just relate a few tales and offer to answer any questions.

That worked for me. I figured a few minutes of listening to him brag about his exploits and I could sneak off at the first pause when no one had any questions.

That opportunity never arose. Instead I sat eagerly soaking up every word coming from behind that silver beard and smile. I wished I had one of those notepads back from college that I had wasted as doodle scrap while daydreaming in physics class.

Not that the nature of white tail deer is more important than scientific law as defined by Einstein, but Barry sure made it more interesting.

If my statistics instructor could have combined what I needed to know into such amusing hunting anecdotes as told by Mr. Wensel, then I would probably be a math professor today.

While his style obviously didnít take me back to my school days, I honestly found myself grasping for scraps of paper in my pockets to try to jot down notes.

Iím getting forgetful (Iím 37 remember) but a few things I took away from the show that are stored away included:

Barry Wenselís #1 deer call. Itís not the grunt, the growl or anything else similar. It is the snort- wheeze. Not only did he convince me that it works, but he showed us all how to replicate the sound with our own mouth.

Barry then dispelled a common misconception held by a lot of hunters and forced me to make a public apology to my father-in-law. Years ago I publicly lambasted my mentor for relieving himself under my tree stand. I shouted out the injustice, telling everyone that would listen that he was sabotaging my spot.

While Iíll stand by the purpose behind the cat, Barry told us all, that scent doesnít scare deer.

With years of experience in the field, and apparently lots of free time on his hands in the deer stand, Wensel assured his listeners that he had eyewitness proof neither human spit nor urine has negative scent impact on whitetail. He went as far as to admit placing both materials upon deer as they walked beneath his stand, without any response from the animal.

It generated plenty of laughter from us all, but it was yet another grain of knowledge shared by the teacher.

I could go on and on about Wenselís knowledge. Of course that would require me to demonstrate more than the standard memory of a 37-year-old in his first lecture for 20 years. What I will do is tell you to check out his website www.brothersofthebow.com

Barry and twin brother Gene share their knowledge with fellow hunters in a number of ways. Iíd recommend their DVD Primal Dreams. Itís not your typical hunting movie. It is something you can watch with the whole family.

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