By Tom Keer
A hunting buddy told me that 85% of duck hunters liked mallards, 97% liked dry socks, and a whopping 99.9% preferred soda without dip spit. That last one surprised me; why would you spit into a soda bottle when you can spray one on the blind floor? I used that same approach when I had my ’78 F-250 with manually locking hubs and it didn’t work out so well. After a while of that convenience, the dip spit rotted the metal by the high beam switch. You know, the on-off switch on the floor board to the left of the clutch pedal? Don’t think about giving me a hard time, either. A petri dish with a piece of steak soaked in cola breaks down way faster than my floorboard.
But you’ll get a lot of juice if you roll with the Double Barrel, I promise you that. I’m not talking about a classic American side-by or a fancy Italian over/under. I’m talking about a favorite dip with an overlay of tasty flavored leaf that is tucked away neatly between your cheek and gum. My favorite load is a healthy pinch of Copenhagen Wintergreen long cut topped off with Kentucky bourbon flavored leaf. Pick your poison, and there are a lot of different options.
To get started, swing by your local convenience store. Get a can of your favorite: Grizzly, Cope or Skoal or the like. Throw that straight, wintergreen or mint right on the bottom. Then, add a finger pinch of Redman on top, sit back, let it ferment a bit and see what you think. If you like it, try some different combos. Beechnut is good as is Levi Garrett, but I’m a real fan of Southern Pride. When I can find a stash at Wal-Mart, I’ll buy a box or two. Not a pouch, a whole box. It’s so much that the checkout clerks don’t know what to do. That’s fine, I just don’t want to run out, especially during hunting season. A side benefit is that the Southern Pride pouch is a conversation starter anywhere guys, guns, and dogs gather. The drawing below the logo is of a pair of bird-dogging quail hunters running a pointer and a setter in front of an old cabin. It’s perfect chatter for a blind, a boat, or on a tailgate.
Once upon a time, Jeff, Cabe, and I got tired of the stock Store Two-Four blends. We decided to take things up a notch and set up a wholesale account with Fred Stoker and Sons. I wrote a letter to their headquarters in Dresden, Tennessee; they sent a catalog with an open credit application, and we were good to go. I haven’t a clue how we got approved, but once we did, we scoured the 38-pages of tobacco and placed an order. It was harder than you’d think–there were 10 pages of snuff, dip, and 25 different flavors of leaf. On top of that was a few pages of flavored twists and a page or two of plug. If you didn’t already have a spittoon, you could buy a shiny brass one and tarnish it up.
The UPS man shook his head when he dropped off the case containing 5-pound bags of flavored leaf that cost us under 20 bucks. If you want to know what a 5-pound bag of leaf looks like, then think of a down pillow that weighs a lot more. We’d set about carving it up into Ziploc sandwich bags and share around camp or on the boat. I already said I liked Cope wintergreen with Kentucky bourbon leaf, but Jeff liked Skoal straight with apple leaf, while Cabe dug the Skoal wintergreen long cut and peach leaf combo. Tequila Sunrise leaf was ok, the Black Wild Cherry was too sweet for me, and Fred’s Choice was a treat. I’m told that the Tennessee Moonshine flavor is out of this world.
It wasn’t long before our hunting and fishing buddies climbed on the train, so much so that we quickly qualified as preferred customers. In one shipment we received six free pocket spittoons with lids. Those are called cuspidors, and theirs had their logo and the words “Lil Cuss” on the front. If you want to know what the Lil Cuss looked like, then think about those fancy travel coffee mugs that you see holding lattes or whatever. The Lil Cuss was a shorter version of that and would sit in your jacket pocket, quiet and concealed. The Lil Cuss was always ready to spring into action.
That combination of mint and smokey sweet frequently caused me to miss birds. It’s not that the Double Barrel is too heady or intoxicating, and it’s certainly not like a post-hunt Boilermaker. The problem is that if you’re not careful you’ll have a colossal bulge between your cheek and gum that will keep your stock from hitting your face. It’s tough to shoot like that, so if you’re missing ducks or birds then shift the Double Barrel to your non-gun mount side.
Part of the beauty of the Double Barrel is the blended flavor. That’s shorthandle for not packing an upper decker leaf and a lower decker dip. You want a big, tasty wad that makes your buddies think you just had a root canal at the dentist. Which, in time, you just might need. The Double Barrel: You only go around once in life but if you do it right once is enough.