"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
About Bayou Bill
Recent Rambles
DNR Doings
Wild Recipes

Outdoor Equipment Has Many Uses
Copyright © 2003 by Bill Scifres

Stop! Don't stash those guns, bows and other outdoors paraphernalia in some dark old closet.
Oh! I know, the hunting seasons have ended--or are about to do so--and the fishing is somewhere in the future, the nearer the better.
But keep that stuff handy. You may be able to use it for something besides hunting, fishing and other legitimate pursuits. You may become somebody's hero.
Take, for example, a problem that cropped up at our house a few weeks back when an empty plastic laundry soap container (sort-of a bottle) fell off the washing machine behind the little folding door which closes off the closet-like area where the stacked washer-dryer spend their time.
With the bottle perched on the floor at the joint of the folding door and wedged against the washing machine, nothing would move either way. I couldn't open the door more, nor could I close it.
"Looks like the door will have to be removed," my wife said, telling me about the plight of the plastic bottle. 
"Not if I can help it," I said, remembering the last time I ineptly tangled with that door. "Let me think about it."
Think about it, I did--but only for a few minutes. I marched into my workroom (also called "the den" when I am in a jocular mood) to pull my flounder gig (spear) out of its hiding place, and went back to the troubled closet.
The flounder gig has five sharply-pointed tines of strong steel that are roughly five inches long, each with a strong barb. The head is about five inches wide and it is mounted on a strong handle about four feet long.
A gig comes in handy around the house.The head of the jig is a little goggle-eyed from being jabbed into the sandy bottom of Pamlico Sound on North Carolina's famed Outer Banks. But it still is strong.
Easing the handle around the half-open door and allowing the gig head to rest against the belly of the plastic bottle, I had only to raise it slightly and thrust it downward with a little force to penetrate the bottle.
With the barbs of two tines inside the bottle, I had only to fish it out and close the door.
Easy game, Coach!

I don't know how many times I have used my outdoor equipment to achieve other mundane goals, but the possibilities are endless.
One summer day I saw my neighbor on top of his house trying to throw a rope over the limb of a sycamore tree, that had broken, but not enough to fall.
What he wanted to do was throw one rope over a stronger, unbroken limb, then attach the end of the rope with a slipknot to the broken limb. He explained that with this setup he could raise and lower the broken limb until it would separate from the tree, then lower it slowly to avoid damage to his roof.
But he couldn't get the rope over either limb.
"I can do it," I told him. "I'll get my fishing rod."
Back on the roof with my neighbor, I tied a quarter-ounce bell sinker on my line, and flipped it over the high limb, allowing the sinker to pull the 15-pound-test line back down to the spot where we stood.
I cut off the sinker, tied on the light, but strong rope and pulled it over the top limb and down. 
Then with the sinker tied on my fishing line again, I flipped it over the lower limb on the first cast.

By pulling down extra belly in the line, we fashioned a slipknot and pulled it taut on the lower (broken) limb.
My neighbor thought by pulling the broken limb (about 2-to-3 inches in diameter) up and down the broken place would sever and we could lower it softly to the roof.
There we encountered trouble. The broken place on the limb was stronger than we thought. The limb would not fall, and now we had this problem of getting the rope off the limb.
My chain saw would have solved the problem quickly, but the limb was far too high and dangerous to even consider that.
My three-inch magnum Remington Model 1100 duck gun came to the rescue. With a three-inch maggie load of No. 4 lead shot (this was before the lead shot ban) in the chamber, I took dead aim on the weak point of the limb and touched it off.
Bullseye! The limb didn't fall, but it was weaker, and a second shot severed it. Paying out line, my neighbor brought it down slowly by allowing the rope to slide through his gloved hands.
Over the years I have used my long-handled landing net to humanely capture everything from house cats to great-horned owls that needed help (but didn't want it), my ice spud to loosen crusted snow and ice from walkways, and a variety of other outdoor stuff to do indoor jobs.
It is great off-season fun.

All columns are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

 Return to beginning of document
Return to Bayou Bill's Home Page