Ever since I was a small boy and traumatized by my sister who would lock me in the bedroom and turn out the lights, I have been a tad spooky when it comes to wandering around outside in less than lighted conditions.
This presented a real hardship for me as I worked on the railroad and found myself walking trains in the dark frequently. Not only was the unknown out there waiting to grab me with dragons and ghosts, but there were a lot of hobos who hopped trains, too.
They never caused us any problems as their main focus was getting to a new destination but any time someone walks up out of the pitch blackness on a moonless night and says “Howdy,” it may call for a new change of underwear.
This past September I elk and bear hunted every morning before daylight and again in the evenings way late which called for a lot of walking through the forest in darkness. I had a good light and that helped but I have listened to too many late night radio programs and know that not only is Bigfoot out there but aliens are surely among us, too.
Now you may think that Ol' Dutch has slipped a cog in the timing chain of life for being scared but the things that go bump in the night up on a mountain sure get me sometimes.
Last year I had a cougar follow me about a mile back to the truck and since I had gained some weight and am too big for a healthy meal, he let me go. But it was a tad unnerving.
One of my favorite things is to place game cameras out in locations where I think some big game may frequent when I am not there.
Last September I found some elk bones where someone had butchered an animal and Ol' Dutch put a game cam there to see what kind of action that might draw.
A week passed and I retrieved the memory card and lo and behold something strange was in the pictures. Now you may not believe in oddities nor in spooks but the pictures show a tiny gremlin sitting there looking at the camera.
It may be an optical illusion to Ol’ Dutch’s eyes, but let me tell you, folks that coyote in the picture watching the tiny creature was enough to convince me that something was real and it was threatening.
Frame after frame the wily coyote circled the gremlin and the more pictures I looked at the less I wanted to be out there in the forest alone ever again.
Not wanting to spend a lifetime staying home not hunting, I had to find a solution for my predicament.
The first key to being out there in the great beyond in the dark is keeping your mind under control. Trixie quickly piped in that Ol' Dutch doesn't have that much up there to corral so that part was easy. But the sounds are another story.
Now Ol' Dutch worked around loud noises for more than 30 years and Trixie will tell you that he can't hear a bull in a rain barrel. And, in fact, I’ve had to use Walker Game Ear Aids for several seasons now to pick up the elk bugling.
My solution? I simply turn off the ear aids and like magic my strolls in the dark to and from my hunting spots were in silent bliss even to the point a bull elk about ran me over on the last night out as I walked down the trail under the Blood Moon.
So if you find yourself somewhat afraid of dimly lit surroundings try and be as addle-brained as possible and put in your earplugs. Ignorance is bliss.