3 years ago I blogged about the hunting/fishing place I worked at and I intended to blog about it once more but procrastination crept in. Well here, rescued from the drafts folder is that blog finally!!!
Part 1: link
Part 2: link
I accepted the job under the assumption that I’d be designing brand new websites for the hunting/fishing companies that my boss at the time ran but was given the job title “Graphic Designer” which was fine, but then the boss decided to pass all web design work onto the original graphic designer because…well because he’d been there longer than me, even though he had no web design experience, nope, none at all. It meant that I was relegated to “odd job guy” but I did have some web work, practically zero in terms of design but at least I was updating the hunting website….
The way it worked was that my boss handed me a supplier’s catalogue and said “Put everything on the website”. “What about the stuff we don’t sell?” I’d enquire. “Oh, that can be deleted later”. What a way to run a business…
The particular catalogue I was given was for the previous year and a few weeks into the charade the brand new catalogue arrived with most prices having to be amended and everything that was no longer available had to come right off the site. This included items that I had spent ages sourcing, photographing, photoshopping and then uploading. Usually I would be supplied with a disk of jpeg images direct from the suppliers, but sometimes these were missing or there were missing or incorrect products, for example on the website we were selling an "Olive Kayak" beside the words "only available in orange", whilst using a picture of a red kayak to illustrate it, and to top it off it was only available for store pickup. So for accurate photographs I had to go out onto the shop floor and find the physical object, which I hated. When I arrived in the morning I’d enter through the warehouse and when I left at night I would also exit via the backdoor. I never went on the shop floor expect when I was forced to. Why? Because despite not being a member of the shop floor staff and despite wearing casual clothes that in no way indicated where I worked and despite looking like a member of the IT team and nothing at all like a fisherman or hunter, shoppers would always find you, instinctively know that you worked there and ask you a question. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t answer the question, but had more to do with the surreal nature that comes with some fishermen and hunting folk. When a bald sweating obese man with brown bushy beard, bad teeth and bad breath towers over you in his best camouflage while brandishing various objects, of which you have no clue as to their actual uses, and asks you where to find a “trout tickler” as far as I’m concerned it’s a difficult decision whether to laugh or cry.
So I would (hopefully) eventually locate my item and take it upstairs to the “photo booth”, which was a small area behind an artificial wall in the roof of the warehouse. A camera on a tripod pointed to a wall covered in several sheets of white A4 cellotaped together, while 2 industrial lights lit the room, one of which was held together by “strong” tape and looked as though it could land on your feet at any time. There was a mannequin as well, which I had to dress anytime I was photographing clothes then I’d import the picture into Photoshop and “Photoshop” the dummy out, which makes you wonder why I had to bother with it in the first place. Dressing it was hilarious as you can imagine, especially when pulling off Wellington boots and putting on full body outfits.
Still it could have been worse at least I wasn’t designing brochures for Jimbo "sexy design" Jones (not his real name obviously) He would come into the office with his strong Huddersfield accent spouting stupid catchphrases while telling Jim (not his real name either), the other new guy, that he wanted his “sizzling hot deals” to literally sizzle from the page. When it came to the issue of updating the website making text “sizzle” was a priority. Poor Jim had to take hundreds of pictures of different rods with a thousand pound Canon EOS SLR camera only to be forced to resize them to the point where they were so small that it was a complete waste of everyones’ time and energy.
As Jim got the majority of the new graphic design work it meant that I got all the boring stuff that no one else wanted to do, one such job involved phoning up Scottish Power as my boss felt that he was getting ripped off and wanted to move supplier, after phoning the number given on the Scottish Power bill and finding that it took you to the wrong department where they could not transfer, the call to the correct number went something like this (after I’d given our details and reference number of course):
“So you’re based at Eddie Stobart?”
“No, this is the Mega Fishing Superstore”
“The only property we have at that address is Eddie Stobart. Are you Eddie Stobart?”
“No, we’re not, this the Mega Fishing Superstore and our account number is 123456789.
“Are you sure you are not Eddie Stobart?”
“No again, we are not Eddie Stobart, they were based here but they demolished the depot years ago and built a new retail unit which is where we are based”
“Ok, in that case we don't supply your electricity”
“Yes you do“
“No we don't“
“We receive an electricity bill from you each month and we pay it and we have electricity”
“Wait, let me check…”
“No, you are definitely not one of our customers! ”
“Yes we are!”
“Do you have a number for the electricity meter?”
“Yes, it’s 123456789”
“Oh, that is one of ours, but… you are still not one of out customers”
“so what would happen if we stopped paying our bills?”
Strangely we were advised to keep paying…
Aside from all the boring spreadsheets and inventories, my main job, which did generate a lot of income, was simply selling things on eBay. Some things sold well, a lot didn’t, regardless my boss would offer “encouragement” AKA self “self-aggrandisement” retelling the same story about how he started out selling worms at a market stall and then progressed to buying and selling 2nd hand gear before buying wholesale and then manipulating the prices. His trick, he claimed, was simply buying a £100 rod with a £200RRP rod and giving it a £400 price tag then putting a sale sticker on it with the price of £180 and apparently people wouldn’t be swayed by the false RRPs but would shop with him because he was a little cheaper than the others. So prices would get nudged upwards if they were selling well and nudged down if they weren’t. Some items didn’t sell at all but he did admit that plenty of things he bought and sold were shit, but he bought a lot of shit for pennies from China and sold them for only a few pounds and still made a profit so we have China to blame for one man’s fortune.
Another story he would retell was how he once tried to sell a particular type of waders on eBay but no one was buying them so he renamed them “bondage waders” and sold the lot. Apparently, though I suppose that it’s possible that the normal hunting gear was being sold to pervs anyway, with items such as “Butt Pads”, “Hardcore Jerk rods” and “Savage Gear Boners” (I am not making this up!) Here’s a list of the funniest items we either sold or could get from our suppliers complete with actual quotes from the manufacturers (where given) and my own comments in brackets:
"Airline approved" pistol cases (try getting that in your Ryanair hand luggage)
Big Headed Ball Busters
Boner rods - "the fastest erection you'll ever have!"
Brown Tiger Vibrator
Browning Bob Nudd super Club Heavy Waggler
Dirty Bird Targets
Hardcore Jerk rods
Large Arsely bombs
Randy Anderson animal calls (most of which look like dildos)
Savage Gear Boners
Squirrel Poking Pole "provides hours of sport"
Suspender balls. “Use in conjunction with booby net"
Techno Gaiters (for going clubbing directly after a hunt!)
Traditional Stag Horn Trout Priests
Uncle Jack's Nippers
Deer crack "they will develop a dependency and keep coming back for more"
Synthetic deer semen and urine (also to attract lady deer)
Skunk urine (to attract…no wait WTF?!)
Dyed brightly coloured beaver/camel/hare/possum/coyote/raccoon fur
Gun Blueing Treatment - "There's nothing quite like the deep color of a beautifully blued firearm or the authentic patina of a browned muzzleloader"
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Residue Collector - "Catch the splatter in the bags – not on you!" (Oh matron!)
Choke Tube Lube - "Excellent for use on muzzleloaders, breech plugs and nipples to prevent seizing"
We also sold a fishing reel that is £5000 with the Scottish flag on it. The original plain reel cost a mere £500 but the overpriced ones were selling! Freedom!
We also sold “8 day” shelters and “5 season” shelters, just in case you want to stay out hunting all year and then some, but the hunting manliness award goes to the
“Sanitizing Hand Towels”, which are "a must for any outdoorsman" (how very manly), we also sold beads and colourful sequins for the more effeminate hunters out there. The clothing went up to size 7XL (XXXXXXXL) but apparently there was one more size beyond this which we got orders for, being G for Giant, though I never saw confirmation of this so they might have just lied to me.
When I wasn’t photographing half naked mannequins or selling deer crack I would amuse myself by reading through the free literature and web links that were handed our way. One of particular source of amusement was on the Pros corner of the Abu Garcia site, here we have Mark Martin who when asked to name his top 3 hobbies came up with “Hunting”, “Fishing” and “Fishing with granddaughter”
As you can see he also enjoys Jigging, Rigging and Trolling.
Mike Gordon on the other hand, listed “Excavating” as his number 1 hobby. WTF. Excavating what exactly? The dead grandmother he killed when a big headed ball buster accidentally blew up in her face? One of his other hobbies is “School sports” He doesn’t specify whether that is watching or participating though.
Next up we have Ken Cook who juggles his time between family and “Deer Management”. Not the sort of guy who is likely to have many friends or family for that matter.
The rest of the “Pros” appear to be pretty much sure that their favourite hobbies are simply “Hunting” and “Fishing”
I also got to read up on the fishing worlds’ greats, such as Matt Hayes, who used to sell tyres but now woos fish and fishermen up and down the country with his catchphrase "Don't they hang on?"
I also read up on the greats from the world of hunting like Barnie Calef, who won the "World Duck Calling Championship" 3 years in a row, forcing Barnie into automatic retirement which means that he can now only participate in the "Champion of Champions" event held every few years. Here is possibly how Barnie took the news:
On a more positive note, take the description of his latest DVD:
"2 hours of non-stop action! Realism...Pure & Simple.
Join 3-time World Duck Calling Champion Barnie Calef as he wreaks havoc on unsuspecting waterfowl from northern Canada to Nebraska and all points in between."
I don’t know about you, but I just got moist. Sorry, I mean more moist. They then sum it up with "Ducks and Geese getting Whacked, Smashed & Crashed" Fuck me, I'm going to need another box of kleenex!
Pretty much all the DVDs imported from the USA had pornographic overtones, such as:
Dream Trophies from Hungary
My Very Best Buck
Red Letter Days
Primetime Bucks 7
Primetime Bulls 2
Take Em' 6
The Best Roe of my Life
and finally the oddly titled "Abnormal Roebucks"
The British attempts at hunting on film weren’t quite as sexy, take a look at the expert Photoshop job on this one: link
And with titles such as "Fox calling at its best" and "Calling by night and day" you can keep the Kleenex firmly on the shelf, however the latter was sold with the tagline "More exciting action as he calls in fox after fox by day and night" and that might be misinterpreted by some.
Regardless of what country they came from though, the DVDs were equally expensive with an RRP of £27.95 and at an average length of 60 minutes doesn’t exactly represent much bang for your buck (pun intended). You’d be cheaper and better off buying real porn.
There was also a DVD endorsed by former Wimbledon footballer turned movie star Vinnie Jones who is apparently a shooting enthusiast! Vinnie says it's "the best gamekeeping video I have ever seen" Included in the DVD is a chapter on "dogging in" - Wait a minute, shouldn't another former footballer, namely Stan Collymore be endorsing this instead?
And here's an enthralling description from one of the turkey hunting DVDs:
"While Keith and Will take two awesome birds, Jimmy's gobbler turns out to be unique…Then the gobblers just keep piling in on Chris Ashley as he has to decide which gobbler to take. You won't want to miss Kevin Meacham as he gets to call up a gobbler for his older brother Ken”. The DVD went on to suggest that if you’re buying the DVD then why not purchase a “Gobbler” call as well because " It's perfect for challenging or locating gobblers!" Personally I find that there is nothing better to do on a Friday night. Say cheese: link
As if I didn’t already have an idea of what the typical hunter was like in my head, one time the boss emerged when a squirrel hunting DVD was being shown, and he took this opportunity to retell the time he and a group of friends had went into nearby woods with air rifles and killed “Oh, it must’ve been about 16 or 18 squirrels. That was a great day”.
The thing I found most humourous about the sort of people who actually seemingly would spend a Friday night hunting was the amount of effort they put into dressing up.
Check these guys out here: link and
link (I especially like the one lifting the cap, I can imagine him saying politely “Good day to you sir, may I have a sachet of your finest deer semen please” A lot of the camouflage gear is expensive and full-on and I know people will take it seriously so a lot of these guys must be heading out with loaded shotguns and rifles in the woods like they’re going to take on the predator but all they do is shoot a few rabbits. Ok so they might have huge sharp teeth and protect a cave en route to the Holy Grail but I doubt it.
One night when I was leaving the warehouse, Pornguy was standing half in/half out the door aiming an air rifle at a magpie in a tree. Apparently it flew off with something shiny that he’d dropped, when quizzed on the ethical nature the following morning he proceeded to supply the IT team with all the information on the legal rights to kill “vermin”. He then took it one stage further by inviting us all around a PC and showing us “Prairie Dog Be Gone!” which is a website and DVD consisting of people in a desert using high artillery to literally blow prairie dogs into oblivion. Seriously. The tagline for their DVD is as follows “Incredible action segments such as ‘Maximum Carnage’, along with outrageous humor segments like ‘The Prairie Dog Olympics’ will have you wearing out the rewind button on your remote. You’ll see hundreds of graphic kills, including the only ‘quadruple’ (4 dogs with 1 shot) ever caught on video!
Due to their nature I won’t post any videos, pics or links but if you want to search them out I’m sure you can find them.
When Pornguy wasn’t showing us animals meeting a grizzly end or sharing porn he would introduce us to some weird and funny items such as Noodling!
There's even a movie about it:
Anyway, that’s the end of this blog but I’ll leave you with a few Caption Contest entries. Feel free to add your own.
Deer semen finally enables 2 impotent hunters to get the horn
The thing that frightens me most about this image is the fact that the guy is married. Who would marry a guy that wrecks havoc on wildfowl for fun?