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Mar 25th, 2012
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Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer #7706024 01/03/20 12:05 AM
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David E. Petzal shares the most valuable lessons he’s learned during his lifetime in the outdoors. I think there are some very, very wise words here and well worth the short read. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.


By David E. Petzal
December 25, 2019

I’ve been around awhile. When I was born, there were men alive who had fought in the Civil War. I can remember bits and pieces of World War II, and I clearly remember life before television. I bought my first rifle in 1956, began shooting in organized competition in 1958, and got my first hunting license in 1960. After 70-some years of fart­ing around on this planet, mostly out of doors, I can’t exactly tell you the meaning of it all. But as it says in the insurance ad, I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two. Here’s some of it.


1. Hunters, more than other people, are reverential of life because they know far better than others how difficult it is to stay alive, and how ­suddenly life can end.

2. There’s no worse experience than putting down a dog. She would die for you, and now she’s dying because of you.

3. Big-game hunting is the great leveler among men. Either you can climb the mountain or you can’t; either you can shoot or you can’t; ­either you hold up your end or you don’t. Money, education, and social standing have no ­bearing on any of this.

4. Nothing in the outdoors gets your attention like a grizzly paw print with water still oozing into it.

5. According to anthropologists, Neanderthals never built big fires to sit around and swap stories, which is one of the reasons why they vanished and our ancestors did not.

6. The best judges of ­character I have met are African trackers. Their assessments are ­brutal. One hunter with a drinking problem became “Bwana Ginni Bottle.” Of Robert ­Ruark they said, “He has bad legs and much fear.” To ­paraphrase Hamlet: Of all the people in the world, you do not want a bad review from them.

7. The great, unspoken allure of true wilderness, in an era when we are trying to remove all risk from life, is that if you screw up in it, you can die in it.

8. When The Moment comes, your armored, shockproof, waterproof, SEAL-approved $75 butane survival lighter will go click…click…click…click…click…click….

9. Scent is the great memory jogger of the outdoors. If you smell an elk ­wallow, your hair will stand up ­every time you scent one thereafter.

10. You may have the hardest body in your gym, but you’re not going to be able to keep up with someone who runs up mountains as a regular thing, even if they’re 30 years older and smoke three packs a day.

11. Ecstasy can be defined as how you feel when you’ve gotten your critter and can stay in your sleeping bag while all the other poor ­bastards who haven’t ­gotten theirs are rolling out at 3:30 a.m.

12. Hunting and fishing are, at their core, sports of solitude, and they will end when enough [bleep] decide that nothing is worth Being Out of Touch.

13. Some of the ­greatest thinking takes place in bathrooms. If I’m told by people that they read my stuff in the john, I take it as a ­compliment.

14. Being afraid is a waste of time, in the outdoors or anywhere else. What bites you in the [censored] is going to be something you never worried about.

15. There comes a moment in the life of every hunter or angler when intuition blossoms and they Catch On. In my case, this held for hunting but not for flyfishing. I became an acceptable caster but remained baffled about everything else. If this happens to you, accept it. You don’t have a choice.

16. True marksmanship requires a tranquil mind. I’ve never met an angry man who was a good shot.

17. When [censored] sapiens is ­finally gone, Earth will give a shudder of relief and clean ­itself up again, just as it ­always has, over and over, in its 4.6 billion years.

18. A long time ago, I read the words: “Like most brave men, he was also kind.” Experience has proved this out. The sons of bitches you meet usually have a yellow streak, in addition to being sons of bitches.

19. I’ve been writing for Field & Stream since 1972 and am proudest of the fact that every time I’ve made a mistake, the readers have caught it.

20. Hospitals ask you to describe your pain on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being unbearable. There is an 11, and you can experience it on any horseback ride longer than one-tenth of a mile.

21. If you want to be a legend in your own time, never say a word about your accomplishments; let others do it for you.

22. “Thank you” is the most ­useful phrase in any language. That’s why I learned to say it in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Swedish, Shona, Russian, ­Kikuyu, and Afrikaans.

23. For those who would be writers, here is a golden rule: Keep your big mouth shut and listen.

24. In New Zealand, a South ­African told me that the reason he hunted was to be able to stand alone in the wilderness and be reminded of his own insignificance. Ted Trueblood used to do the same thing by letting the campfire die out as he sat watching the stars.

25. If you’d like to know the true worth of a person, watch how they deal with major disappointment on a big-game hunt.

26. Whenever you leave ­wherever you’ve been, turn and look one last time to engrave in your mind what it looks like, because you’ll probably never see it again.

27. What I’d like as my epitaph: “He had just enough intelligence to appreciate it all.”

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706153 01/03/20 01:34 AM
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Great read. I sure like that crusty old guy.

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706172 01/03/20 01:46 AM
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Good stuff


Without a sense of urgency, nothing ever happens.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley, Rancher Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706197 01/03/20 02:04 AM
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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706202 01/03/20 02:07 AM
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14. is golden....along with many others...great post. up


Originally Posted By: skinnerback
Milf does the trick.

"You're statistically more likely to be killed by Hillary Clinton than an NRA member. - PolitiDiva

"You Cannot Simultaneously Be Politically Correct And Intellectually Honest!"
Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706225 01/03/20 02:17 AM
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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706547 01/03/20 01:43 PM
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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Dave Davidson] #7706599 01/03/20 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson
Good stuff

x2

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706611 01/03/20 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jgraider
David E. Petzal shares the most valuable lessons he’s learned during his lifetime in the outdoors. I think there are some very, very wise words here and well worth the short read. Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.
21. If you want to be a legend in your own time, never say a word about your accomplishments; let others do it for you.



scratch one of the Greatest known frontiersmen carved :

Killed a bar...

On a tree...

flag



i'm postaddic
Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706632 01/03/20 02:37 PM
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#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: redchevy] #7706748 01/03/20 03:56 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Texas buckeye] #7706767 01/03/20 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.



Good way of putting it, I was going to disagree with #3 but didn’t really know how to articulate it.

Every western hunt is open to any form of income, just have to be able to beat the mountain, but there are lots of $ short cuts to do it. You can see it on any forum any day of the week, but more power to them, they probably worked harder to get to that finical level then most realize, regardless it’s their memories not ours we can’t judge




Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Texas buckeye] #7706769 01/03/20 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.


I don’t disagree. But I can’t help but think that a disproportionate amount more of wealthier people go elk, bear, moose, etc hunting. Perhaps if you live in an area they are native it’s less of a factor. I can assure you being in south Texas it has kept me from hunting some things I want to, and I’m not poor or broke etc.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: redchevy] #7706780 01/03/20 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.


I don’t disagree. But I can’t help but think that a disproportionate amount more of wealthier people go elk, bear, moose, etc hunting. Perhaps if you live in an area they are native it’s less of a factor. I can assure you being in south Texas it has kept me from hunting some things I want to, and I’m not poor or broke etc.


Tx and Pennsylvania accounts for only about 1/5 of all hunters, I’d bet 20% of each of those state also hunt out westerly.

For most in Texas that don’t hunt west I wouldn’t say it’s a monetary restriction as much as a time restriction


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706787 01/03/20 04:33 PM
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You don’t think time has to do with money?

“Time is Money”

I’m not saying it’s a wall, but it’s certainly a deterrent.


It's hell eatin em live
Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Texas buckeye] #7706804 01/03/20 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.




I agree with this sentiment. When we were guiding all those hunts over a 16 yr period, we came to the conclusion that there are wealthy people who hunt, then there are actual hunters who happen to be wealthy. There's a big, big difference, and sadly enough most of the well healed that came to our camps were the wealthy guys who went hunting.

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: redchevy] #7706828 01/03/20 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.


I don’t disagree. But I can’t help but think that a disproportionate amount more of wealthier people go elk, bear, moose, etc hunting. Perhaps if you live in an area they are native it’s less of a factor. I can assure you being in south Texas it has kept me from hunting some things I want to, and I’m not poor or broke etc.


The factor you are talking about is ease of hunting. You are more than capable of driving and doing a diy hunt in NM, CO, or even WY or MT, but you choose to use your time and effort more wisely for the better return on your investment.

That’s why I said the difference in shooting vs hunting. A lot of guys get in their car and drive from the East and hunt the west, but they are hunting not shooting...

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7706837 01/03/20 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.


I was going to disagree with #3 but didn’t really know how to articulate it.

Every western hunt is open to any form of income, just have to be able to beat the mountain, but there are lots of $ short cuts to do it. You can see it on any forum any day of the week, but more power to them, they probably worked harder to get to that finical level then most realize, regardless it’s their memories not ours we can’t judge




I think you nailed it, shortcuts in the form of high end gear, weapons, sights, gun schools etc. there are plenty of people who pour money into hunting and some don’t. Some are successful with crap gear, some are successful with awesome gear. But likewise, expensive fear doesn’t automatically make a successful hunt. And crap gear doesn’t make for an unsuccessful one.

I am a sort of gear junky. I typically subscribe to the buy once cry once and research gear to get what I am looking for and get top end gear. But I still have to connect next year on the mountain. I can’t let cold, wind, distance, fatigue, hunger, or any other myriad of ailments or issues get in the way of connecting. At the same time, finding animals has very little to do with gear.

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Jgraider] #7706867 01/03/20 05:31 PM
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Good stuff!


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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: Texas buckeye] #7706889 01/03/20 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.


I was going to disagree with #3 but didn’t really know how to articulate it.

Every western hunt is open to any form of income, just have to be able to beat the mountain, but there are lots of $ short cuts to do it. You can see it on any forum any day of the week, but more power to them, they probably worked harder to get to that finical level then most realize, regardless it’s their memories not ours we can’t judge




I think you nailed it, shortcuts in the form of high end gear, weapons, sights, gun schools etc. there are plenty of people who pour money into hunting and some don’t. Some are successful with crap gear, some are successful with awesome gear. But likewise, expensive fear doesn’t automatically make a successful hunt. And crap gear doesn’t make for an unsuccessful one.

I am a sort of gear junky. I typically subscribe to the buy once cry once and research gear to get what I am looking for and get top end gear. But I still have to connect next year on the mountain. I can’t let cold, wind, distance, fatigue, hunger, or any other myriad of ailments or issues get in the way of connecting. At the same time, finding animals has very little to do with gear.




100% same as you, love gear, to a fault. But like you said gear is a comfort not a necessity.


Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: redchevy] #7706895 01/03/20 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
You don’t think time has to do with money?

“Time is Money”

I’m not saying it’s a wall, but it’s certainly a deterrent.


I get time is money, but for a set amount of vacation time, regardless how much you make, if you have two kids and have to prioritize your vacation time via travel to them vs hunting it’s not necessary money, out side of loosing your job for taking to much vacation, if that makes sense. I assure you, you can go on “A” hunt out west cheaper then most leases in TX. But you cant just go hunt weekends because of the travel time constraint





Donate to TX Youth hunting program.... better to donate then to waste it in taxes

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Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7706977 01/03/20 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by redchevy
You don’t think time has to do with money?

“Time is Money”

I’m not saying it’s a wall, but it’s certainly a deterrent.


I get time is money, but for a set amount of vacation time, regardless how much you make, if you have two kids and have to prioritize your vacation time via travel to them vs hunting it’s not necessary money, out side of loosing your job for taking to much vacation, if that makes sense. I assure you, you can go on “A” hunt out west cheaper then most leases in TX. But you cant just go hunt weekends because of the travel time constraint


Im a cheap azz and conservative. I don't know what it is in me that worries about finances but I do lol never been without parents did plenty well enough to get buy and ive never had financial issues in the there after.

Median household income in texas is right at $60k a year toss in a mortgage car payment couple kids etc. I don't see much room left over in a responsible budget for out of state hunting or a weeks time on the road and expenses of tags etc to do something, dare I say it, as frivolous as hunting. I love the outdoors and spend probably more than I should on it, but in that income range you might be sacrificing needs for a want. Im sure it can be done low cost as you have articulated, but I unwaveringly believe that the majority of the people who travel out of state to hunt probably make more than less.


It's hell eatin em live
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3, 7 and 24 really resonate with me.....24 being the one that hits home....that's the true underlying reason for it all.


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22 and 18 here. Be gracious and kind, neither are signs of weakness.

Re: Wise Words From Dave Petzal, Outdoor Writer [Re: redchevy] #7707014 01/03/20 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by redchevy
Originally Posted by Texas buckeye
Originally Posted by redchevy
#3... I'd figure most poor folks, heck even most average middle class folks don't get to do much big game hunting to measure up.


Plenty of poor to middle class people go big game hunting, lots of rich folks go
Big game shooting. There is a big difference.


I don’t disagree. But I can’t help but think that a disproportionate amount more of wealthier people go elk, bear, moose, etc hunting. Perhaps if you live in an area they are native it’s less of a factor. I can assure you being in south Texas it has kept me from hunting some things I want to, and I’m not poor or broke etc.



First elk trip I went on, was to the western slope of Colorado. Went with two guys that both make under $100k/year. They are very experienced mountain hunters and have hunted Colorado, Utah and Arizona, very successfully I might add. Both have families with 2-5 kids in each one and have mortgages, truck payments, etc. Its all about the priorities and want to.


My group of elk guys I currently go with ranges from a Multi-Millionaire ( who at 58 is in better shape cardio wise than I will ever be, can't keep up with him and he gets his elk over 50% of the time because he puts in the work ) to guys that have to budget for the tag, fuel and associated costs. We are all on the same mountain, hunting the same elk, social standing or bank accounts mean nothing up there.



I cannot describe it to you......I remember sitting on a ridge on that first Colorado trip, bow in hand, looking down into a gorge that bottomed out probably 2000' below me. Had I taken a false step, or the ground gave out or I lost my balance, I would still be in the bottom of that gorge and no one would have ever found me I assure you. That's frightening and invigorating at the same time. Knowing that you could easily die.....makes you feel more alive. The reason I love to hunt and the biggest reason I push myself to be successful in business is to be able to fund these trips to the great unknown, to feel that feeling of isolation that you just don't find here much anymore in Texas. Once that feeling gets in your blood and takes hold, its like a drug, an addiction. There is a whole other side to hunting that is very adventure based, one that texas deer and bird hunting will never, ever be able to compare to, as enjoyable at those pursuits are.


This next comment is based on my observation on some of your comments in the past...….I think you are over thinking it and talking yourself out of doing it. You can buy a Antelope tag for $300, plus fuel to get there. We stayed in the middle of the prairie in BFE Wyoming, camped in a tent, shot antelope and enjoyed the nothingness. For $700 you can buy a Bull Elk tag OTC in Colorado and take off to the mountain. The tag is the most expensive part of that hunt. Drawing a Deer tag in the same units is $300-$400 but it takes a few years in most cases.


Bottom line, its there for the taking for those who want it, and most trips cost less than a decent 3-4 day vacation with your spouse. Hell I have burned up more money on a 3-4 day deer hunt at my buddies ranch that it would cost me to go kill a deer or bear out of state.

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