Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Big toys for the big boys sure came in handyDecember 24. 2016 12:41AM
JANE HAS always called them big toys for the big boys when it came to the Dickster's purchase of gear to support my outdoor activities, even when I could plead to her that is not just for my fun but that my outdoor pursuits provide fodder for my writing or guiding.
There is a small bit of truth in that as we produced an astonishing 115 pieces of work each year! But the truth is that we write about having fun. So that's for the lady with the scales in her hand to rule on.
Anyhow, one of our first big toy purchases came when we were New Hampshire Conservation Officers. At that time all the CO's were expected to provide their own vehicle as a patrol car. Mine at that time was a compact Ford sedan. It didn't fit the mold as my neighbor CO, the late Carl Akerley, had a big 4x4 Jeep Wagoneer complete with a front mounted winch! Boy was I ever jealous! And was that rig some handy for me to have within my beck and call, as Carl would show up to help me out of some very embarrassing situations! One of the most problematic was brought on by my lack of experience.
We had just started to get real excited about the success of one of my pet projects, even though it had nothing to do with our real role of law enforcement. Through our great relationship with Fish and Game's head of the Fisheries Division, Buck Corson, we hit Buck up asking for a truckload of brown trout yearlings to support the success we'd had with sea run brookies and rainbows that we'd sort of (well we'll call it what it was) stolen from our regular hatchery allotments to experiment with sea run trout at Rye's Berry Brook.
Buck was quite surprised and happy about the possibility of creating a self-sustaining run of trout in a coastal river so he was quick to set up a good truckload of yearling browns for our project.
When the federal fish stocking truck showed up, we escorted the driver to our destination in Rye. When he looked it over, he advised us that lugging that many trout the distance needed to get them up into the fresh water probably would cause quite a bit of mortality. "Is there any way we can get this truck any closer to that stocking site?" he asked.
Racking my brain, I conceded that there was no hard path or trail but that by skirting the marshy area we could get the truck within just a few yards from the brook. We went by foot up the marsh going along the wood line.
"It's kind of chancy but it looks like we can make it if I drop some of my water off," the driver noted. So up the marsh we went, the big heavy stocking truck following my foot steps and hand-sent directions to go left or right. And then the truck settled down into the muck and there we were, even farther away from our stocking site than before we started our fateful ending!
I didn't even have a two- way radio in my own vehicle patrol car but luckily the federal hatchery truck did have one that he could use. And also luckily, fellow CO Akerely was on the air and he agreed to give it a try to rescue both the truck load of fish and our reputations!
He shook his head when he arrived but said he had enough chain and with his long winch cable he could use a huge maple tree with a pulley attached to attempt the recovery, but in the meantime he suggested that we all pitch in and walk the fish over to the brook (tidal water) and release them, and it would lighten the load in the stocking truck of both water and fish.
Working as a team and by then with some interested bystanders, we accomplished that goal and the fish didn't seem to mind the brackish water.
And inch by inch and then foot by foot the truck was hauled onto stable ground and if there had been a bottle of good whisky present, we're sure we'd all have had a pull on it! What a relief for all involved.
Shortly afterwards wife Jane's objections to my adding a tough drain on our very slim resources to come up with the monthly payments for our brand new four-wheel drive Scout weakened!
She still complains about big toys for big boys! (And she has had plenty of reasons for doing it!)
Drop us an email at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and get you some.
Dick Pinney's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Reach him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.