Years ago, I would promise success with either hunting or fishing whenever it looked so good it seemed impossible to fail.

Well, I never guarantee success anymore, and I’ll tell you why.

Back in the 80’s, I met a hunter (Jerry) from Dodge. I met Jerry at Cedar Bluff hunting geese. Jerry never had killed a goose and for whatever reason, he wanted a goose more than anything in the world. I told Jerry if I had a good situation, I’d call him.

Well, later that year we had some of the coldest weather I can recall. With wind chills at 40 below zero and a foot of snow on the ground, my friends and I had found a wheat field north of the lake that the geese were going to. They were there every day by 8 a.m. We limited out every day for four or five days. The geese wanted to feed there so badly they would still try to land even as we were picking up our decoys.

I had to call Jerry. I called him on Christmas Eve and told him how good the hunting was. I could hear his wife in the background telling him, “In no way are you going hunting on Christmas.” Then the question came: “Rick, do you guarantee I’ll get a goose?” I replied, “Jerry, I guarantee you’ll get a goose.”

I’ll never forget standing in that cold field looking south until after 10 a.m. with not one goose in sight. To add insult to injury, Jerry’s car would not start, and being Christmas no mechanics were available, so I ended up driving Jerry back to Dodge. I saw him 10 years later and he said that he had gone through a divorce. I hoped I had nothing to do with that. He laughed and said “not at all!” I vowed to never promise success again in the outdoors and never have.

Just this year, I took a very good friend (Tim) turkey hunting. I had watched this flock of turkeys for days. Every day they were at this place by 7 a.m., so Tim and I were in the perfect spot before sunrise. We sat until well after 8, seeing only one hen. The next morning, I drove by and there they were before 7 in the exact spot where we were the morning before.

Years ago, I took a boy fishing at some farm ponds up in Osborne County. The fishing was so good, we talked his dad into going the next day. The weather didn’t change. We fished the same ponds and even went to some other great ponds. But the fish just weren’t biting. I think we caught 12 fish. The day before, we had caught at least 150. I could see so reason; they just weren’t cooperating.

I have many other examples, as these are just a few. I guess that’s why it’s called fishing and hunting instead of catching and harvesting.

But isn’t that what makes fishing and hunting so much fun? If a person knew the outcome and had success every time, we would never enjoy the times when we are fortunate enough to have success.

All animals can be very unpredictable. As humans, we will never fully understand animals and nature, and isn’t that great?

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis, KS