(EDITOR'S NOTE: John Harrigan has been dragged away in a net to a place where someone is paid to actually listen to him. His longtime friend, who remains incognito, fills in.)
Dear Mr. Outdoor Answer Man: Didn't Publisher Joe McQuaid occasionally do a column like this? You know, ridiculous questions and answers?
A: Yes, it was called "Take A. Hyke," but was nowhere near as good. It ran once in awhile in the New Hampshire Union Leader, our much less hip sister paper.
Dear Answer Man: If this is a real question-and-answer column, how can you be getting the questions and then answering them in the same place at the same time, and not only that, actually having a running dialogue with the questioners?
A: Well, that's just the Fourth Estate. Don't investigate it too closely or it might evaporate, like sap.
Dear AM: Let's get to the nitty-gritty outdoor stuff instead of dithering around with in-house newspaper talk. How should you hang a deer? By the neck or by the hind legs?
A: It depends on how you want to look at your deer, standing up or on your head.
Dear AM: Don't you know that there's no such thing as a fisher cat, and it's just "fisher"? You must have hay sticking out of your ears.
A: Well, bozo, tell that to the Fisher Cats baseball team, which, by the way, are a class act that I'd rather watch play than go down to Fenway any day, and that's saying something.
Dear AM: Well, what about grouse? You're always calling them "partridges."
A: That's because it's the old-timey term, and zoology be damned. Besides, it sounds nice when used in certain old-timey ways, for instance "catridges for patridges." So take that - and grouse.
Dear AM: Okay, what about rabbits versus hares? Don't you know the difference?
A: You're splitting hares. Our hare is the varying kind, or even Arctic hare, but who gives a pile of horse-pucks, unless you're rich and are splitting heirs.
Dear AM: I'm part of a group in camp where the Head Honcho, that knuckle-dragging Luddite Harrigan, forbids anyone to wear a watch. "Leave it in your truck because if I spot it in camp, I'll make you hang it on the Watch Nail," he commands. I feel lost without my watch. What, oh what, am I to do?
A: Leave it in your vehicle or just let him try to take it. In the latter case, resist with much grasping and gasping, for a better show in camp, but if you manage to get your watch back, immediately throw it into the fire-pit. I hate to admit it, but Harrigan's right. What are you waiting for in camp, whiney boy, a bus?
Dear AM: I met someone in the restaurant parking lot who had this incredible camera gizmo on his snowmobile helmet. He said it was to record some actual snowmobiling on actual trails so he and his friends could prove to the wives back home that they actually went snowmobiling and didn't just drive back and forth between the restaurant and the liquor store. How is one to understand this?
A: It's sort of like making sure, through various and any means possible, that you have a few fish to take home after a week in camp.
Dear AM: Isn't hunting dangerous?
A: Only to your wallet. You are in more danger trying to cross Main Street. Come to think of it, so is your wallet.
Dear AM: After your many years in the conservation movement, what are the greatest time-tested tools that have protected the most fish and wildlife?
A: A deck of cards and a jug of hooch.
Dear AM: I want to have a remote walk-in camp, like yours.
A: You should go have your head examined.
Dear Mr. Answer Man: What do you have to say about road hunters?
A: They are a very small percentage of hunters, and I think I can speak for all of us in camp when I say that none of us really wants to shoot a road - no sport in it, and they're tough to drag.
Mr. Harrigan's minders say he will be released in time for Mud Season. He can be reached at Box 39, Colebrook 03576, or at firstname.lastname@example.org