I’m writing this in response to the aggregate of some not-so-flattering feedback I received from some individuals who are obviously a more sophisticated and accomplished group of waterfowlers than I am. The one, most articulate, of them sent me an email deriding me as a ‘fraudulent, amateurish, lying hack”. Yes, that is a direct quote. Fair enough…I’ve always said that if you write enough you’re bound to piss someone off eventually. With a provocative title like the one above, I’m already anticipating even more backlash from the waterfowl powers-that-be. But here goes anyways.
Yes, it is the truth: all goose hunters are liars. I’m well-positioned to make this statement because I am an experienced goose hunter and an even more experienced and adept liar. One does not inevitably breed the other (i.e. while all goose hunters are liars, not all are adept liars…likewise not all adept liars are goose hunters, although by virtue of their skill they already meet more than half the criteria to be labeled a goose hunter) but generally if you meet a person one day at the gas station and they have mud on their waders, corn stubble stuck through their belt loops, and they have a lanyard of short reed goose calls and aluminum leg bands around their neck, odds are good that he (or she, I don’t discriminate when it comes to fibbers) has been goose hunting. Odds are even better that they are about to lie to you about something as they fill their pick-up truck (a truck that will no doubt be towing the ubiquitous trailer of morbidly expensive gear, of course).
Most of the lies that spew from the mouth of a goose hunter are benign, loving lies designed to either make the listener feel better about themselves or to make the liar in question seem like less of a lunatic/outcast/failure/success/etc. But this much is for sure, if a goose hunter tells you something, don’t trust it any further than you could throw said goose hunter. A goose hunter will lie about any number of hunting-related topics, the first category of which is the type of harmless lies told by someone who is either exceedingly proud or exceedingly ashamed of their pursuit. While the material of the lies may differ, the fact that they are deceptions is constant. A goose hunter will lie about the cost of their goose call; a proud one will inflate the price, an ashamed one will decrease the price. A goose hunter will lie about the store where they buy their equipment, lest you begin to frequent the establishment and deplete the stock. A goose hunter will lie about the size and velocity of the shotgun shells they shoot, and they will most assuredly lie about the shell’s pattern density and efficacy downrange, for various, poorly understood reasons. A goose hunter will also lie rampantly about their own shooting ability; if a goose hunter states that they are a crack shot, they are likely terrible. If a goose hunter tells you they miss a lot of geese and that they need to hit the sporting clays range, rest-assured that they will shoot most of the birds that day, thus affording the lying scoundrel all of your undivided adulation.
The second category of lies that a goose hunter will tell you are what I like to call ‘tactical lies’. This type of fabrication is specifically employed to ensure that a goose hunter denies you vital information while simultaneously attempting to extract facts from you. **Note: this is not a type of lie exclusively practiced by goose hunters. In fact, I have met many turkey hunters, duck hunters, deer hunters, and even anglers that employ their own subtle variations of the ‘tactical lie’. In my experience though, no one does it quite as well as the goose hunting segment of the population. Ask a goose hunter what time the first flight is at, and then automatically subtract 90 minutes from it. This lie is designed to misinform other hunters of when the liar will actually be afield, in the hopes that the hunter in question can get first crack those early morning geese. Ask a goose hunter what the best part of a field or marsh to be set up in is and they will tell you a location that may be good, but one that is more likely just a spot that is far enough away from their intended blind so as to assure that there will be no worry over competition for birds. Ask them what call works best for them, and I can guarantee you they will demonstrate for you a sound that will most definitely not help you kill more geese; it may even drive geese away from you and inevitably towards the liar’s own mellow, magical brand of goose-music. Tactical lies stem from a selfish, ill-spirited streak that innately exists in all goose hunters. This streak precludes a goose hunter from ever actually forming a truly trustworthy relationship; befriend a goose hunter at your own risk, and woe unto the poor deluded individual who actually gets married to a goose hunter, for they will be subjected to the most heinous of goose-hunting’s lies: the lies of convenience.
Lies of convenience are reserved exclusively for spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, various and sundry conjugal partners (because let’s face it, there is no person alive that is sexier than a goose hunter), and live-in roommates. Lies of convenience are also sometimes used (sparingly) on teachers, parents, non-hunting friends, and employers. These are the most basic, but also the most effective of the goose hunter’s entire arsenal of lies. If the hunting is bad, a goose hunter will tell you it was great; this will ensure that no one ever says that goose hunting is boring and pointless and therefore not worthy of continued pursuit. If the hunting was great, they will understate the brilliance of the day in order to ensure that they can say that they will be ‘making up for a bad day’ when they go on their next goose hunting trip. If they shot poorly, they will say they shot well, so as to save their ego from the ridicule of being considered unskilled. If they shot brilliantly they’ll use false modesty as their guide so that they can have more time in the marsh for ‘practicing’. And so forth.
It is a truly confusing world in which the goose hunter dwells; a world in which black is white, up is down, success if failure, and the only constant is that the geese will fly whenever they feel like it. But these are the facts, I promise you.
Which ultimately brings us to the following, cyclically logical conclusion. I, Shawn West, am a goose hunter. Therefore, I am by definition a liar. I am asserting to you that everything I have written above is the truth, but then again, as a goose hunter, I’m inclined (and some would say compelled) to lie to you. So what do you make of all this? How do you reconcile the above paragraphs and their seemingly authoritative statement of the facts? Maybe I’m using a tactical lie to dissuade others from joining in on my little slice of waterfowling paradise and crowding me. Perhaps I truly am a fraudulent hack with no business writing about the subject matter. Or is it possible that I’m just using this forum to have some fun with a topic (i.e. hunting) that was always meant to be fun in the first place, before some self-appointed authorities started determining what information about goose hunting was worthy of discussion in the public forum?
Who knows? After all, would I lie?