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WILTZ: Do you believe in biorhythms?

It was late in the day on the pheasant opener. John and I had taken his pickup to the east side of the cattail slough to block for the small army of walkers who were plodding toward us through the swampy mire. A high-flying rooster was coming my way. I put the bead on him, swung forward and touched off the shot. He crumpled in mid-air and piled up near the truck.

”Roger, you’ve had quite a day!” John shouted from his post 30 yards south of me.

”John, that’s my 13th straight bird without a miss. I’ve never shot like this in my life,” I said.

What I told John was correct. I couldn’t remember ever shooting like this. Normally, I hit a few and miss a few. On this day though, I couldn’t miss. Was there a reasonable explanation? I think there was.

I believe in biorhythms. Biorhythms supposedly influence our physical, emotional and intellectual cycles. They also affect our memory, ambition, coordination, endurance and temperament. They explain why a professional golfer can blister the course one weekend and miss the cut the next. It’s the same with the pheasants.

While I have personally experienced days when my physical endurance or memory was superior to the previous days, I feel that the area of physical coordination is where I most notice differences from day to day. It can relate to putting in golf, keyboarding, shooting baskets, driving nails or handling a shotgun. Though not as apparent as motor skill activities, I have noted change from one day to the next in everything from emotion to temperament.

I Googled biorhythms on our computer to see what I could learn about them. It mentioned charting biorhythms and calculating them, but it did not mention controlling them. One would think that diet, sleep, peace of mind, etc., enters into the equation, but it isn’t necessarily so.

Since we are not able to control the biorhythms that affect us, practice might be the next best thing. While pheasant hunting last fall, I became keenly aware of the fact that I wasn’t shooting as well as I once could. This observation was further reinforced by some woefully unsuccessful trap shooting. Right now, I’m facing a big question. Roger, what exactly are you going to do about it? I know good biorhythms aren’t going to bail me out.

My current “bucket list” includes two hunting trips that I’d like to make, but both would be a waste of time if I don’t improve my shooting skills. The first trip would be a southern quail hunt. I don’t know if I could have consistently hit quail while in my prime and I certainly couldn’t do it right now. The second trip would be an Argentine waterfowl hunt. Again, what am I going to do about it?

Come dove season, which is only two weeks away, I’m going to be out there every day until I recapture my shotgunning skills. Then I can decide whether a winter trip to Georgia or South Carolina would be in order. In the meantime, I can think about dove chislic, dove-ala-king, dove stroganoff, etc.

When hunting with a party, someone will get twice his limit, and someone will go without. I can remember days when I walked in the same cover as everyone else without flushing bird. The hunters on either side may have bagged eight birds apiece. In the final analysis, it always seems to come out. It’s a part of “party” hunting, and friends and I can accept it with a good laugh at the end of the hunt.

When one of us is having a lot of shooting, we’ll sometimes go to an outside row or drive the pickup to the end of the field so others might hunt where we would have walked. While intentions are honorable, it seems like no matter what we do, the birds will follow us on those days.

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A few weeks ago, I was showing a good friend some prized firearms possessions I had taken from my safe. While we enjoyed handling them and talking about them, he asked, “Roger, what are you going to do with these?”

I knew exactly what he was talking about. He might as well have added the words “when you’re gone.”

While he owned some fine pieces, and our ages were the same, he had sons who cared about his guns and would dispose of those that didn’t interest them. My family cares little about my collection. I could sell them right now, but I enjoy owning them, and I’m not yet ready to cash them in.

Giving them to a museum or donating them to the National Rifle Association Foundation are possibilities, but I’d rather pass whatever I have on to Betsy, our children or grandchildren. I have helped a few widows dispose of their husbands’ collections, but I don’t know that someone like me will be around when I shuffle off into the sunset.

What really got me to thinking about my guns is an older friend, who is liquidating his collection this weekend. His two-day auction will move over 350 guns. This is a good plan, but I know the absence of his collection will leave a void in his life. However, there are still books and for all I know, he’ll start all over again with his collection.

How will I address my problem? My collection is currently inventoried on paper by description, condition, year of manufacture, serial number, current value and known history, if there is any. This should be of great value to my family if I passed suddenly. In the meantime, I’ll begin selling those guns that don’t hold the special significance that some of them do.

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In August, I generally begin fishing for catfish in the tailrace beneath the dam at Pickstown. Thus far, the water has been low and the discharge erratic. If you go, I’d suggest later in the day into the evening. The seagulls will “tell” you whether or not there are baitfish in the water.

See you next week.