Fools in Paradise
Copyright© 2019 by UtIdArWa
We had been in the high country for a week and our project was coming to an end. All of the equipment had been collected and cleaned, packed and was ready to go.
After our final supper in the field, I asked the group if they had any questions or complaints. Everybody looked at each other. Finally, the Professor spoke up. “Mr. Reynolds, How would you have done this? How would you plan and execute a project like this, gathering evidence of the animal called Sasquatch?”
I knew that this was a thorn in the Professors side. After all I had pretty much shot down every idea that he had presented.
After a moment, I got started. “Now professor, your basic question, comment, complaint is that I have offered criticisms and no solutions. There is a reason for this. I needed you to show me all of the technical advantages that you have available to you. And then take the time to argue against them. If I had been standing in a classroom with whiteboards and graphic displays, you would have politely listened to everything I had to say. And then discounted all it.”
“Why? Well, and this’ll hurt YOU, not me. I don’t have a piled higher and deeper degree like you do Doc. Academically I am a zero. Hell, I didn’t even graduate high school. What I’m trying to say is that you guys are snobs. Because I haven’t got the credentials that you and your colleagues accept, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
“So, what would I have done differently. Well your first, and biggest mistake is that You don’t know the land. Right now, If I told you that we were a mile away from Yellowstone park, you really couldn’t dispute me.”
“You don’t know the trails, the rivers, the fords across those rivers. You don’t know the ridges or what’s on the other side. You don’t know the game, or their patterns, or where they’re at.
“Basically, you are situationally stupid. Everybody be quiet for a moment, just listen.”
I waited 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes. All of them were squirming and fidgeting within a minute and a half.
“90 seconds folks, that’s all it took for you to lose patience. To start making noise, start moving around. In a combat situation, you became sniper bait in 90 seconds.”
“Now what did you hear in those 90 seconds?” I could see the confusion. Vincent spoke up, “I don’t understand Matt. What was I supposed to hear?”
“EVERYTHING! Did you hear the horse’s moving around? How about the crickets chirping and grasshoppers moving through the brush? What about that squirrel 5 feet over your head? He’s been chittering at you for the past 20 minutes.”
“All of you haven’t the patience, the situational awareness or the knowledge to operate out here without assistance.”
“So, you ask me what I would do different? The first thing I would do is leave all of you in Elk City. Or at the very least the rendezvous camp.”
“I would start 3 or 4 years ago. I would build a team, 6 or 8 experienced outdoorsmen. Preferably bowhunters, or folks with bowhunting experience.”
Chuck spoke up from where Suzy had him packing the chuck wagon gear, “Mr. Reynolds, What about snipers? Would they be of any help.”
I chuckled, “Not really Chuck. Most people think that the only thing snipers do is kill people. In reality Snipers are military information gatherers. In fact, the Marines call them Scout / Snipers. Scout first. Also, while they are stealthy, they are stealthy from a distance. Snipers use that distance both to avoid detection, but also to give them an edge while escaping.”
“I would use bowhunters. Bowhunters don’t have high-powered weapons to bring down their prey. By necessity they have to operate up close and personal, inside of 50 feet, not the half mile or more of a sniper. Because of that bowhunters know how to be quiet. How to avoid detection by animals that are experts at spotting danger. Also, bowhunters are experts at camouflage. They’ll use ghillie suits, just like snipers. But they’ll also use smells and musk’s.”
“Professor, that gorilla urine you had, well a bowhunter would use that idea. Using something other than gorilla urine of course. Unless he’s hunting for gorilla. A bowhunter realizes that animals rely on their sense of smell and will use that to their advantage, but targeted towards his prey. He’ll also go to great lengths to avoid human smells. He’ll wash out, or disguise the laundry soap smell in his clothes. He’ll do the same with his bath soap. I’ve known guys that won’t take a bath or shave for a month before heading out on a hunt. Those guys are usually the unmarried hunters. It’s kind of hard to convince a wife to let you into her bed when you smell like a goat. Bowhunters as a rule also don’t smoke, or even chew tobacco. Why not chew? Well you spit that juice everywhere, stinking up the joint, Etc.”
“Then I would bring those folks up here every year for 2 or 3 years before My target date. We would take the time during those trips to learn the terrain. Where every little tree, rock and chipmunk was at. Where the river fords are at. Where are the easiest passes through the mountains? We would become just as expert as Mr. Fuzzy at where we are at.”
“But we wouldn’t be in Mr. Fuzzies territory. We would be 1 or 2 ridgelines over. We would be experts in the territory between Mr. Fuzzy and his cousins, I hope. I’ll have a 1 in 4 chance of picking right. And with enough time and funding I could cover those other possible directions as well.