Field and Stream

Buddy Trips

- PHOTOGRAPH­S BY CHRISTINA HOLMES

Come-along stories from a fishing lodge and a jalopy duck camp, and an invitation to an annual whitetail hunt in the mountains.

SOME YEARS AGO, THE NATIONAL

Shooting Sports Foundation commission­ed a study to find the reasons people stopped hunting. What they found was: lack of opportunit­y, lack of time, declining health, loss of interest, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. But No. 1 on the list was a surprise. My friends stopped, so I stopped.

Hunting and fishing friends are special among all others. This is because hunting and fishing test people, and therefore test friendship­s, in a way that nothing else does. It is one of the great truths of the outdoors that a person who is normally cheerful and agreeable can become a first-class son of a bitch when it rains for a week solid, or there is no fish or game, or the mosquitoes rise in clouds, or one person, through sheer bad luck, breaks his back and comes up with nothing to show for it.

A hunting or fishing buddy is a mirror of your experience and a guarantee that it not be forgotten. You remember when…

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