Watch What You Eat for Pre-Hunt Breakfast

It never crossed his mind that one poor pre-hunt breakfast selection could have such an impact on his hunt…and beyond.

Warning: This column will trouble the queasy, the sophisticated and other delicate souls. If you choose to read it and then complain about its content, I’ll make fun of you behind your back.


People often ask me for outdoors advice. When they request my three keys to bowhunting success, I assume they’ve read enough how-to articles and watched enough outdoor shows to make my advice redundant. Therefore, I offer less obvious, but more sensible, advice for happy hunting:

“Drive outside the city limits, don’t lock your keys inside your truck, and pack plenty of toilet paper into a shirt pocket.” (TP in a pants pocket is hard to extract when your pants are wedged between your ankles.)

Sage advice, no?

hunters at truck

If you want an enjoyable bowhunt, make sure you cover basics such as this: Don’t lock your keys inside your truck.

I’ve meant to replace that first tip for many years, partly because many people today enjoy excellent bowhunting inside the city limits. The other reason for updating was that I’ve finally mustered the courage to explain the change. So, what’s my new top-three tip?

“Limit your intake of raw biscuit dough.” Skeptics will ask what raw-dough consumption has to do with the outdoors. How naive. It has everything to do with the outdoors — and life, in general. Here’s why:

While in Alabama awhile back, my four-day deer hunt was down to its final morning. I wanted to squeeze in a final two-hour hunt, but awoke late and didn’t have time for breakfast. Therefore, I raided the cabin’s refrigerator on my way out at 5:30 a.m. After sitting on my stand an hour, I pulled a Diet Coke and four wedges of raw biscuit dough from my daypack. (Hey, I like raw dough, OK? Spare me the self-righteous indignation. I’d never eaten raw biscuit dough before, but figured it shouldn’t differ much from pizza dough. I soon learned I was mistaken.)

I ate that dough wedge by wedge, washed it down with Coke, and smacked my lips with satisfaction. “Hmm, not bad.”

My stomach now full, I resumed watching the quiet woods. When my two hours passed without action, I

camp cooking

Generally speaking, your digestive system works more reliably if you stick with foods you’ve eaten before.

returned to camp, packed my bags, and jumped into my host’s car to catch my 10:30 a.m. flight. My flights that day would take me from Selma to Dallas, and then Dallas to Las Vegas for a trade show.

About halfway to Dallas, I felt a slight “discomfort.” No problem. Because I sometimes have manners, I got up, visited the jet’s restroom and tried to ease the pain, if you get my drift. After nothing — and I mean, nothing — happened, I returned to my seat, a bit puzzled. I felt as if my “fuel tank” was hermetically sealed.

After landing in Dallas, I writhed with the first significant waves of pain. With a pale face and sweaty palms, I made two futile runs to the men’s room in the airport terminal. No relief, man. No relief.

At 1:15 p.m., I took my window seat on a Boeing 767. By now my stomach was bulging unnaturally. No one was in the seat beside me, so I discreetly unbuttoned my pants, loosened my belt, and folded over my shirt tails to hide the alterations. Whew. That eased some of the pressure, but I realized I was treating the symptoms, not the problem.

Still not suspecting anything about rising dough in my oven, I thought: “Wow, this is one heck of a stomach ache. My appendix is long gone, so that’s not it. I must be coming down with something. And it must be bad.”

Moments after taking off for Vegas, I loosened the seat belt, pushed my seat back, arched my back, and tried to ease the increasingly savage pain. No relief, man. The instant the seat belt light went off, I sealed myself inside the jet’s nearest restroom.

Again, nothing — and I still mean, nothing — happened. I now looked about three months’ pregnant. Finally, I realized the connection: I had OD’d on biscuit dough! My stomach lining probably resembled a hot air balloon. As pain knifed through me, I contemplated my fate.

“Geez, they’ll have to turn the plane around. I need my stomach pumped.”

“No, I can make it. Stomach linings are supposed to be highly elastic.”

“What if it tears? What if it explodes violently? What if it shoves up against my diaphragm so tightly that I can’t breathe with my asthmatic lungs? Man, I’ll probably die right here, fall off the toilet seat when the jet banks, crash through the door, roll into the aisle without proper cover, and terrify all the nice people in the aisle seats. Penny and the girls will be too embarrassed to claim my corpse.”

hunters laughing

It’s no laughing matter: What you eat for breakfast might determine how your day unfolds.

Finally, about three hours later, after spending one-third of the flight in the restroom — with no relief coming, EVER! — my flight landed. Shuffling into the nearest airport store, I bought a bottle of Milk of Magnesia, quaffed it, and made sure I was never more than a few feet from a restroom the next 12 hours.

The lesson: “Limit your intake of raw biscuit dough to one wedge.”

I hope you now realize the importance of that outdoors wisdom. This is one bowhunting challenge you can’t solve with a little bowstring wax or spare batteries.

Patrick Durkin

Patrick Durkin

President at Wisconsin Outdoor Communicators Association
Patrick Durkin is a lifelong bowhunter and full-time freelance outdoor writer/editor who lives in Waupaca, Wisconsin. He has covered hunting, fishing and outdoor issues since 1983. His work appears regularly in national hunting publications, and his weekly outdoors column has appeared regularly in over 20 Wisconsin newspapers since 1984.
Patrick Durkin


  1. 1120 Creek Rd

  2. As much as I can empathize…..I’m still laughing. Great story and great reminder….to leave the dumb ideas at home… 🙂


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