This Just In: Deer Hunting Gurus Can Fly Fish!

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Would you believe that the angler in this photograph is none other than "Whitetail 365" co-star and Field & Stream deputy editor Dave Hurteau? Dave happened to be in my neck of the woods (Colorado) on a family vacation, and he took out a hall pass to go catch some rainbows with me for an afternoon.

Now you might think that we Field & Stream writers travel together often, shooting and casting our way across the country like a modern day "Wild Bunch." But the truth is, many of us rarely see each other (there are some I have yet to meet in person). So it's a special treat when we can get together, do the things we write about, and talk about all the stories behind the stories. I must admit, Dave has some serious game on the river.

I will say that I was going for the 20-incher in the photo, and as I was reaching for my camera (no fewer than three times with fish that would have fit the bill), and the trout got off his hook. I guess when you get in the habit of passing on certain bucks for others, you're not so worried about actually landing all the fish you catch either.

I asked Dave if he could come up with any deep philosophical parallels between whitetail hunting and trout fishing with flies. He could not. At least not as he was casting. He did say something about "having something else to do while he was recharging his batteries and getting ready for the next deer season." Which makes sense to me. I like to hunt elk, ducks, and pheasants when my casting arm gets tired in the fall.

I do, however, think there are common connections in various outdoor sports, and the more you do, the better you get at all of them. For example, I think there's a lot of shared philosophy in shooting shotguns and casting fly rods. Some of the best casters I know are really good wingshooters, and vice versa. I think the more you fish for bass on lakes, the better you find trout in rivers.

Bowhunting and fly fishing might as well be "stick and string" sister sports, especially when we're talking about bowhunting with a recurve or a longbow. I'd say the common thread between bowhunting for deer and fly fishing for trout is the stealth factor. If more fly anglers thought and acted like deer hunters when they are on the water, they'd do a lot better. Apparently, that just comes naturally for Mr. Hurteau.