The Hat

The hat you see perched above my crooked smile, is a Filson Tin Cloth Packer Hat. I purchased that hat from Filson’s online store in the summer of 2006. A bucket of money was sent digitally to the Seattle retailer in exchange for that hat, a pair of double hunting pants, a shooting shirt and an upland vest.

I was willing to pay those prices because of the quality and durability that came with the name Filson. To their credit every item that I purchased that summer was still in use last season, except that hat.

When the first hat arrived I eagerly opened the packaging. The Packer hat had a very classy curve to its brim and held the fedora shape well. When I put it on my head I noticed that I had to pull it down and that it was a bit snug. I was concerned. I sat there in my living room with that hat pulled down tight until it gave me a headache. I took it off to let my head rest and did it all over again. For two days I agonized over the fit of that hat. On day three I ordered a new hat, a size larger.

I gave that perfect hat to Richard Cope after my new hat arrived. You can see in the photo that the new hat just didn’t have that perfect fedora curve or shape. At least it fit.

Rick and I took those hats to Watford City, North Dakota. As we pushed through brambles we realized that this type of hat afforded our head and neck more protection. On hot days the brim provided shade and helped to keep us cool. I hunted a lot of miles in that hat through CRP, stubble, sloughs, corn fields and most of the other terrain that Montana offers.

Gunnr and Todd with their take from the Upland Opener of 2008.

Gunnr and Todd with their take from the Upland Opener of 2008.

In 2007 I rented a house with a fenced yard so that I could get my first hunting dog. The day that I handed my first, last and deposit checks to the landlord, who would eventually default on his loan, he asked me if he could leave his cat in the house. I made a quick calculation that having a cat would be a good thing since I would have a hunting dog puppy soon. I didn’t want my dog to pick off neighborhood cats. That’s not the type of thing that endears a hunter to his cul-de-sac. Little did I know that I was writing the hat’s death warrant.

Cats are hairy, and they like to sleep exactly where you don’t want cat hair. Cats also defecate in houses, and they don’t flush. Now I’m not saying that my dogs don’t have accidents. Anyone that is a Facebook friend knows that sometimes I am awaken by rank smells. Dogs make mistakes, cats defecate in the house like it’s their job.

Eventually the cat had to go live in the garage. Can you see the impending doom? Let me back track a bit. I once had a nice piece of luggage that I won at a Best Buy event. That luggage was in my living room after a trip for a couple of days. Of course you know what happened. The cat defiled the luggage. That cat loved to defile things that I was fond of. So the cat went to live in the garage.

I decided to clean up the garage one day. One corner was rank with smell of cat urine. As pulled out my fishing tackle box I saw it. My HAT! Somehow the hat had fallen off of the shelf and down into this pit of feline defilement! The horror!

Anyone that has had anything defiled by a cat knows that that item is dead to you. So it was with my hat. Even then I kept that hat for a year or more. It just sat on a shelf in my garage saying, “Take me hunting?” From time to time I’d pick it up and before I could get it close to my face I could smell the cat urine. Back on the shelf it went. The hat didn’t make the move to the new house.

So if you hunt with me and you notice that somehow I just don’t seem comfortable maybe, just maybe I’m thinking about my hat.

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