You may recall Aesop’s Fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper. In case you don’t, it went something like this: A grasshopper who sang and danced all summer was rebuked by an ant who spent the time in endless toil gathering eats for the cold months.
“You watch, a-hole; when winter comes you’re going to wish you’d stockpiled food,” said the ant. But the grasshopper just kept at the fun and games.
Sure enough, winter arrived and with it hard times. The grasshopper, who was by then starving, went to the ant and begged for food. But the ant, who was just finishing off an ant-sized Beef Wellington with a very nice Chateau Latour, belched, picked a piece of crust from its mandible, and said, “Beat it, parasite. You had your chance,” and with that he picked up an ant-sized Bennelli M4 tactical shotgun and fired a round at the grasshopper’s feet by way of emphasis.
The grasshopper staggered off to seek help from Hillary Clinton, but when she learned that he was destitute and could not contribute to her campaign, she turned him away and he died shortly thereafter.
End of fable.
It occurs to me that riflemen and hunters divide into ants and grasshoppers, not so much in laying away groceries, but in their approach to the sport. The grasshoppers buy any old rifle, pick whatever scope and brand of ammo is cheapest, and sight in on a pie plate over the hood of a pickup. They never learn anything about game, or tracking, or tactics. They reek of cigarettes and beef jerky. On stand they fart, scratch, stretch, and give it up as a bad job after an hour.
Ants worry endlessly over each detail. Rifles, ammo, and scopes are chosen with the kind of care generally devoted to atom-bomb manufacturing. They read and study endlessly, and watch how-to videos until their eyes turn red as beets. They deodorize everything, spend fortunes on doe pee and camo, and raid the kids’ college fund to buy a really good binocular. On stand, they sit like the dead and spend endless hours in the wind and rain.
Who does better? Probably the ants. Who has more fun? Probably the grasshoppers. Being a lifelong ant, I regard grasshoppers with envy, but I’m afraid to change. It would be nice to say the hell with it and come in when the rain is driving sideways and you couldn’t see a deer even if it stuck you with an antler. But I guess I’ll never find out.