The "lie" is probably the most frequently ignored sin. Prevaricators are widely exalted in the field of politics, writing of history, examining the benefits of medical discoveries and examining the reason for the rise of gas prices. Only when it comes to the results of hunting, fishing and other manly endeavors, does the lie become a true art form.
-- Don Poole
Ever since George Washington's confession that he indeed did cut down the cherry tree, it has been axiomatic in the practices that are intrinsic to the history of our country that "`the First Liar doesn't stand a chanceā". No matter how simple the statement, no matter how obvious the validity of the utterance or no matter how sincere the teller of the tale appears to be, someone is bound to come up with a story that not only will rebut the facts of the case but will also show to all interested parties that the source of the statement is obviously a prevaricator of the top order.
Now, if the validity of the foregoing is doubted, a few hours sitting at the bar at Prevost's or the White Birch in Solon Springs can prove beyond a doubt that the adage in the initial paragraph is indeed true.
Simple and friendly discussions by guys sitting around the plank sipping their brew can soon turn opposite ends of the bar into opposing camps, each side attempting to outdo the other with a believable but conflicting version of an innocuous tenet on any subject from hunting to the weather. The depth of last night's snowfall can, without a blink of the eye, go from a mere eight inches to a raging storm that piled up the white stuff so deeply that the highway division in charge had to call for reinforcements from the north to bail them out. For the more ingenious, it could become a logical excuse for staying out a bit longer by claiming they were snowed in and unable to reach home until dawn.
Fishing and hunting are always favorite topics of the accomplished liars so common in the restaurants and bars of Northern Wisconsin. The anglers' tales are usually associated with large, heavy and fighting fish common to the waters that seem to make up most of Douglas county. There are stories going around about pan fish that are so large that it takes two grown men to wrestle the hooked fish to the shore, the same number to clean them and several more to put them over the fire. This, however, is a relatively easy story to top. Tales of trout and muskies are bigger, longer and more easily told and put the pan fish in its proper position -- at the end of a short pole, handled by young boys who can only look with envious eyes at the catch of the more seasoned pros and wonder when they will be experienced enough to relate similar tales. Perhaps their time will come when they get a little bit taller.
The tales of the local Nimrods are just as prevalent as those of the fishermen. They often are told in the evenings of the early days of hunting season by hunters distinguished by their bright red jackets featuring a series of numbers on the back, similar to those a newcomer might liken to that of an escaped convict. They will beguile anyone who has the guts to listen, to some of the wildest tales this side of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox. Their targets are bigger than a fish, heavier than those caught by the local hookers and are able to outrun, out jump and will taste better than those finned things that swim in the lakes and rivers
The skill necessary to call ones self a hunter only comes with experience learned over many years. Tracking, having a trained eye, (sometimes blurred) and possessing the ability to out think the wiley targets they desire to make both a trophy and a meal combine to make their efforts easier, but never simple. The sixteen point buck, often told of in taverns, knocked off with a sharpshooters eye at about five hundred yards is not just a figment of the imagination, but more often than not, a lie that is quickly topped by fellow imbibers. The later the hour and the greater the number of beers downed make the number of points increase and the distance of the shot grow phenomenally. It is only stopped by some one switching the subject to bears.
The only time that the discussion is limited is when the group of hunters contains several lawyers. The stories they tell always appear to have some relevance to their profession. In the case of the sixteen point buck, it becomes a fifteen pointer. The distance at which it was downed is put at five hundred and three yards. The other barristers in the bar will quickly dispute the information given asking for witnesses and verification of any facts presented. When the tale teller is taken aback, they immediately give their own statistics and sworn testimony to make their story factual in the eyes of the law. They then take a poll of all those present and the results are always the same. The facts given by the esteemed attorneys are the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and with a hand on a rifle they swear it is an indisputable statement. This generally stops the story telling. No one can doubt the veracity of a lawyer, unless a member of a competing firm is present. Then a higher court will have to decide who is telling the truth. It can take years, leaving the floor open to the common folk who only want to tell their stories of hunting, fishing and other events which mark the calendars of those who tread the woods of Douglas county in search of The Real Truth.
Which is, "Outdoor Sports are a Truly Great Way to Have Fun in the Northwoods". Come up and try it sometime, and share your tale over a beer at Prevosts or the Birch.