To Mask or not to Mask; that is the Question

Exploring Kansas Outdoors


OK, so even though I call myself a “realist” my wife most often labels me a “pessimist.” I’m not very warm and fuzzy, I don’t go about turning cartwheels of joy and there is usually not a smile on my face for no good reason. Both Joyce and I are just getting over our first ever bout with COVID, and now, according to our Dr. and the CDC, we should spend a week wearing a mask when we are out in public. So, I’ve come up with some ways wearing these dreadful face masks might actually benefit Kansas outdoor sportsmen.

I talk to myself…a lot, and by the way, I’ve never lost an argument with me. With a mask over my face and looking for all the world like Billy the Kid robbing a train, I can stroll down the aisle at Cabalas and talk myself into or out of buying another gun, and no one will be the wiser. Behind the mask, my mouth and lips can be reciting the pledge of allegiance a dozen times forward and backward and none will ever know. Unless of course I violate the first rule of talking to yourself and speak so loudly my wife can hear me through the closed bathroom door (yes this is experience speaking again.) And for those of us (you know who you are) who have trouble keeping your mouths shut in a deer blind, viola, the dreaded face mask solves that problem too.

There are myriads of scents associated with hunting, fishing and trapping. From the sweet, musky scent of gunpowder or spring wildflowers to the near stench of catfish bait or that awful gamey smell of an old tom turkey. And let’s not forget the tear rendering smells that can boil forth from a cabin or tent full of deer hunters, especially after consuming aunt Martha’s secret family baked bean recipe the night before. Once again, face masks to the rescue, as its devilish hard to smell anything through one of those contraptions. It brings to mind a deer hunting trip decades ago when I would have given anything for a face mask.

One deer season while I was a youth still living in Ohio, I went with a much older coworker who was convinced we needed to hunt Pennsylvania, so we dragged his tiny (very tiny) camping trailer with us to a state park somewhere in PA. The next morning, we stepped out into 8 to 10 inches of fresh powdery snow.

This trip was put together on a whim, and we had absolutely no idea what we were doing or where to go, but off we went. After a dismal and exhausting day trudging up and down wooded hills and through endless valleys, and not seeing another life form, we miraculously found the trailer again, and decided to go somewhere for a good hot meal before bed. We found a little café and settled in to await a couple nice steaks.

My buddy ordered a beer to go with his steak, and then noticed on the bar what was often a staple in those days at little country bars; a gallon jug of pickled hard-boiled eggs. After we had devoured our steaks, and he’d had another beer and consumed half-a-dozen eggs from the jar, we returned to the tiny trailer and crawled into bed.

That night I learned that there is a terrible chemical reaction that takes place between beer and pickled hard-boiled eggs deep within the recesses of the consumer’s body. I can honestly say that night I would have given anything for a face mask and to sleep outside in the snow…continue to Explore Kansas Outdoors!

Steve can be contacted by email at [email protected]


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