Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports columns

December 9, 2011

Black Friday has its rewards

There's more to hunt than wild game.

<p>"My mom, sister and I can't wait to get in line to go shopping tomorrow evening," said a family friend I'll call Susan (because that's her real name).</p>

<p>"I think you guys are crazy!" I told her.</p>

<p>"But it's a family tradition we look forward to," she carefully explained.</p>

<p>"Some traditions should be broken," I said.</p>

<p>"Well, what I think is crazy is to get up before daylight just to go stand in freezing water in some swamp duck hunting or to go sit in a tree like a nut!" she snapped back, obviously annoyed at my comment.</p>

<p>Frankly, I have never completely understood this whole Black Friday phenomenon. Why would otherwise rational people get up in the middle of the night just to wait in long lines outside retail stores hunting for a bargain? Adding to my confusion is the fact I have had good friends and co-workers (who I'll call Torrey and Eric, because that's their real names!) who took part in this annual ritual, and they are men for God's sake!</p>

<p>It seems as if this year many began taking their place before the tryptophan in the turkey even had a chance to work its magic. Some stores have pushed the boundaries of Black Friday well before the crack of dawn, opening their doors before the gravy has had a chance to cool. The holiday feast barely had time to settle before shoppers began turning their credit cards into small puddles of melted plastic, all for the sake of dirt cheap flat-screen TVs.</p>

<p>To me, this is simply wrong. Thanksgiving is about a short morning hunting trip then returning home and eating until you are sick. The evening is reserved for sharing the fellowship of family and friends while watching the brute violence of an NFL game. Instead, some people were rushing around big-box stores, throwing blocks just to get deals on everything from Barbie Dolls to Blu-Rays.</p>

<p>For the most part, I can't even think about Christmas shopping until the week (OK, day) before. I also have much better things to do before sunrise, like making my way to a tree stand or duck blind.</p>

<p>Sure, I am like most people and do appreciate a good bargain. But you have to put a price on your mental health, too, and throwing elbows with crazed elderly ladies in crowded aisle-ways seems like a pretty steep price to pay. </p>

<p>I have always been a "to each his own" type of guy. So if Black Friday is the name of your game, then I say dive in and have a blast. Then you can revel with your friends about the money you saved and the presents that are already bagged, tagged and ready for the Christmas tree.</p>

<p>To make matters even worse, it was just last week when I heard a subtle knock at my back door. It was Susan. In her hands she held three large shopping bags. They were filled with items she had purchased for her husband on her midnight Black Friday exploits. </p>

<p>"I wanted you to see some of the stuff I bought," she said, pushing her way into the kitchen. There were dozens of crank baits, spinner baits and a soft-sided tackle bag in one sack. The others contained a camouflaged jacket, hunting vest, several game calls and wool socks. </p>

<p>"That was nice of you to spend that kind of money on him," I said in envy.</p>

<p>"I didn't spend that much. All of this was marked 50 percent off," she added proudly.</p>

<p>"What!" I said in disbelief.</p>

<p>"Sure was," she added with a smug smile.</p>

<p>"I thought Black Friday was about toys and TVs," I questioned.</p>

<p>"Heavens no, they can't advertise everything that's on sale," she explained. "See, you can get good deals on many items, even outdoor equipment." </p>

<p>We then began putting everything back into the large plastic bags.</p>

<p>"Oh, by the way, I saw this and bought it just for you," she added. From her coat pocket she pulled out a soft, black, crow decoy.</p>

<p>"Tell me how it tastes!" she quipped, abruptly turning to leave.</p>

<p>"Ouch, in my face!" I couldn't help but thinking. Maybe this whole Black Friday business isn't what I had thought all along.</p>

<p>So next year, if you see some nut job in sporting goods, brandishing a fishing rod like a ninja sword, keeping everyone else at bay, it will more than likely be me! </p>

<p>Hunting Results</p>

<p>Here is this week's list of area sportsmen and women who have encountered success during the first week of the muzzleloading/late archery deer hunting seasons. This information was provided by Bryant's Outdoor Store, Simpson's Deer Processing and U.S. 31 Bait and Tackle.</p>

<p>Steve Nunnally Ñ 75-pound, button buck; Gary Hinkle Ñ 120-pound doe; Don Hinkle Ñ 100-pound button buck; Dennis Zimmerman Ñ 150-pound doe; Mike Osborne Ñ 50-pound doe; John Sears Ñ 70-pound button buck; Taylor Fletcher Ñ 90-pound doe; Jeff Vanover Ñ 110-pound doe; Cameron Hill Ñ 80-pound doe; Mike Vonderahe Ñ 120-pound doe; Travis Rose Ñ 145-pound doe; Brandon Vansickle Ñ 176-pound, six-point buck; Gary Miller Ñ 120-pound doe; Jerry Rose Ñ 150-pound doe; John Nantroup Ñ 155-pound, 12-point buck; Jeff Nester Ñ 130-pound, seven-point buck; Jeff Hall Ñ 120-pound doe; Brian Quackenbush Ñ 100-pound doe.</p>

<p> John Martino is the Tribune's outdoors columnist. He may be reached by email at jmartinooutdoors@att.net.</p>

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