Why Is It?....In Memory of Patrick F. McManus

Cav1

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I really miss Idaho outdoor humorist Patrick F. McManus. I’ve got all his books and, after reading some of his old columns in Outdoor Life, my mother actually started to refer to me and my childhood friend Randy “Beaver” Klever as Pat and Crazy Eddie.

One of my favorite McManus stories, included in the book Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink (did I mention Beaver and I once attempted a feeder pig rodeo?) was entitled Why Is it?

It asked pertinent, probing questions that have occurred to most outdoors persons at one time or another. Such as…

“Why is it whenever a tackle box slips out of your hand it never falls right side up and closed?”

"Why is it all rope is six inches too short rather than six inches too long?"

“Why is it when a storm confines you to a small tent for two days your companion is never an attractive person of the opposite sex but an unattractive person of the same sex who passes the time trying to perfect his John Wayne impersonation?”

And of course, “Why is it illegal to shoot a person who practices his John Wayne impersonation for two days inside a small tent?”

I figured a whole bunch of Hunt-Talkers could come up with a thousand of these just for laughs.

I’ll re-use one of my old jokes to start. “Why is it that the impassable cliff between you and your hunting destination looked just like a golf course green on Google Earth?”

“Why is it the wife who always gets the maximum obtainable number of whitetail B tags and who also refuses to drive a Forest Service road after the first snowfall complains the loudest about not getting an elk?”

“Why is it when you’ve stalked a giant black bear for an hour down an 800-foot ridge full of blow-down, the wind was strong, steady, and firmly in your face until you tried to cross the creek within 80 yards of the bear, then it suddenly swirls to all points of the compass and the last you see of the bear is his butt disappearing into the timber 300 yards up the mountain?”

“Why is it that Peter Paul Mauser could design a rifle action that simply could not be made to accidentally discharge, even if the firing pin broke, in 1898, but all that some modern rifle makers can come up with is a lousy trigger block about on par with the WWII Japanese Nambu pistol?”

“Why is it when you spend two or three hours ducking, hunching, slipping up draws, and even crawling through the snow on hands and knees to get within range of a herd of elk, there’re all standing ten feet on the wrong side of a section fence that was down in a draw where you couldn’t see it?”

“Why is the Forest Service interactive map planner can designate a route as a ‘dirt road suitable for passenger cars’ when it’s essentially a goat trail across a 40% scree slope that is lined with disabled 4x4s, D-9 Cats with thrown tracks, and a wrecked M1 Abrams tank?”

“And why is it that as a bird dog a Hungarian Vizsla instantly becomes stone deaf the moment you take off the shock collar?”
 

OntarioHunter

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Andy Rooney finished the Sixty Minutes programs with something similar: "Did you ever wonder why ...?" I wonder if he stole the idea from McManus.
 

OntarioHunter

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Why is it EVERY flight I book early for EVERY African hunting trip gets changed multiple times before my departure date? Do these people not know I'm bringing a gun? I can't just grab it off the carousel and walk to the check in counter for a different airline in a strange country and drop a gun in their lap. Do they not know I can't catch my next flight out of Zurich if I land there from Toronto an hour after it departs?
 
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Farmerj

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I used one of his stories for a humorous speech team competition….

Had the group rolling with the inflections and verbal changes you can add reading them out loud.

I’d use an old one for practices and then pull out an unheard one for the actually competition…

Never failed
 

Tikka06

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My Grandpa read me his stories all the time. First from the magazine and later as we collected the books. I still have them. One of my fondest memories.
 

44hunter45

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My sons and I ran into Pat McManus as we were hiking into Lost Lake up Fishhook Creek out of Avery, Idaho in the early 2000's.
What a weird piece of luck. He warned me that I need to be careful with young boys in tow as there were wolves in the area.
He laughed out loud when I pulled my shirttail back to show my wonder 9 pistol and extra mags.
 

OntarioHunter

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Unfortunately, I had very little exposure to McManus. Growing up I was not attracted to outdoors magazines even though I spent all my time hunting and fishing. Too busy doing the real thing and literature cost money that could be better spent on ammo and fishing tackle. Couldn't even be bothered with a girlfriend till after I got out of the Army. Later as a historian and a biologist I never seemed to have much time for fictional writing.
 

Walkathon

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Loved his "Mountain Car" story. My dad bought me his books for my birthday, Christmas, etc... I really enjoyed his writing.
 

44hunter45

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Location
North Idaho
I really miss Idaho outdoor humorist Patrick F. McManus. I’ve got all his books and, after reading some of his old columns in Outdoor Life, my mother actually started to refer to me and my childhood friend Randy “Beaver” Klever as Pat and Crazy Eddie.

One of my favorite McManus stories, included in the book Real Ponies Don’t Go Oink (did I mention Beaver and I once attempted a feeder pig rodeo?) was entitled Why Is it?



“Why is it that Peter Paul Mauser could design a rifle action that simply could not be made to accidentally discharge, even if the firing pin broke, in 1898, but all that some modern rifle makers can come up with is a lousy trigger block about on par with the WWII Japanese Nambu pistol?”
This.
 

2rocky

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"When the Bear Ate Goombah" was one of my favorites. Also had RPDGO.
 

jrabq

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Jul 4, 2014
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NM
My two favorite classics are;

"A Deer on a Bicycle"

and

"Muldoon in Love"
 
Yeti

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