Making Your Own Luck

January 30, 2009 by  

Our Outdoors
Nick Simonson


Nodak Outdoors writer PJ Maguire with a prized banded specklebelly goose - very lucky indeed

Nodak Outdoors writer PJ Maguire with a prized banded specklebelly goose - very lucky indeed

Revolutionary baseball businessman W. Branch Rickey once stated that luck is the residue of opportunity and design. Considering his resume, the adage must be true. By looking beyond the status quo, Rickey capitalized on opportunities that others missed due to narrow-mindedness; most notably, signing Jackie Robinson and later drafting Roberto Clemente in a time when segregation was the norm, even in baseball.

Rickey also pioneered the minor league system for modern baseball, developing and tapping talent which would eventually help his St. Louis Cardinals capture World Series titles in 1931, ’34 and ‘42. Through the new system Rickey designed, the players he recruited honed their skills to play at a level that was unseen in the Major Leagues. The process at the time was so revolutionary, many, including the Commissioner of Baseball himself, thought it was unfair.

By seizing opportunities and employing innovative design as a baseball executive, Rickey, despite a lackluster playing career, was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1967.

What Rickey’s example sets for those of us who, when not tuned into the game are tuned into the outdoors, is a simple plan by which we can live. By observing and recognizing opportunities and being prepared to seize them with the best of our ability when they come along, the approaching fall seasons are sure to be spectacular.

This year continues the trend of increasing wild game populations across the region. Whether it is Canada geese, whitetail deer or pheasants, the numbers from Williston to Wabasha for many popular fall pursuits are on the cusp of a golden age. Through conservation efforts, and a continued stretch of warmer-than-average winters, the chance to chase whatever moves you through the fields and forests of the region are there for the taking, but not without some effort.

At this point in time, finding specific opportunities that will relate to your success in the field might take little more than a drive down a section line road or a walk in the woods; but tagging a deer or bagging a limit of ringnecks will require planning and practice. It almost seems like late summer is made for just that preparation. Wood ticks have died off, the weather is generally dry, and fishing generally slows down with the onset of the dog days. As a result, now is the time to get into the field and make arrangements for the coming months.

Head into the trees, look for trails and sign, then hang your bow stand, drive around one evening and look for pheasants. Visit the rifle range and sight in your gun a few months ahead of time, and set a plan to come back the next couple of months and do it again. Shoot a few rounds of trap or skeet and get the rhythm back in your shot. Grab a pair of binoculars and scout out moving deer. Whatever it is you do (or should be doing) to get ready for fall in the outdoors, now is the time.

Without proper planning, those “lucky” moments where the deer of a lifetime or a double of sharptail grouse don’t come along as often. Take a moment to size up the opportunities that lie before you this year, and then take a couple of months to prepare for them through scouting and skill-honing. The residue of this year’s opportunities and a plan of your design will be more than just luck. It will be successful hunts, a freezer loaded with game and a season full of exciting memories…in our outdoors.


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