Balance, Round 1 – Anticipation

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“Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.”   June 5th, 2019, seemed like the longest day of my life.  Every task I completed at work felt like it ate up a huge chunk of the day, but the clock said differently as I checked it several times each hour.  Each year around this time the Colorado draw results for limited archery elk tags posts online, and every year from 2011 through 2018 I could have cared less because I was merely buying points to save up for a special tag.  Over those years I spent countless hours analyzing draw and hunting stats and figured out fairly early in the process, probably around 2014, which particular unit I hoped to one day draw a tag in.  I revisited the stats each year to determine my odds of successfully drawing a tag.  In January 2019 I figured there was roughly a 66% chance of drawing the tag based on how may points I had stockpiled.  Prior to the April 2nd deadline I entered the hunt … [Read more...]

Exploding Tires, Microwave Chicken, and Bloody Arrows: Our 2019 Texas Hog and Ram Hunt

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“Ding, ding, ding.”  The sound of the low tire pressure alert went off and began flashing on Tim’s dashboard as we were 15 minutes into our trip to Texas.  A couple minutes later we were on the side of I-25 changing a newly destroyed tire.  After limping it down the road on the spare for an hour plus to the closest shop with a replacement in stock, we were luck enough to wait another two hours in Pueblo to get the tire mounted and back on the pickup.  If a good hunting trip starts with bad luck, we were about to kill it in Texas!   Back in January we decided, after sitting out for a couple of years, that it was time to revisit Texas for some hog hunting.  But this time we were looking for something a little different.  I had previously talked to the guys from Dos Plumas Ranch at the International Sportsman’s Expo and was very impressed with their operation and the massive book of glory photos they had with them.  Not only did they offer reasonably priced hog hunts, they also … [Read more...]

South Dakota Hurricane Birds

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Standing in the garage giving my pile of gear the once over (for the 20th time) before I load it in the pickup, just to make sure, again, that I haven’t left anything behind.  Its April 26, 2018, about 8:30 a.m., and I’m anxiously awaiting the 11 o’clock departure time when my brother Travis and I will be kicking off our leg of a South Dakota hunting trip we planned a few months prior.  My friend David, whom I have known for a few years but never actually met in person, and his friend Tom are a few days ahead of us and are already out in the fields of northern South Dakota looking for turkey.  As I am holding my Heads Up Decoy in my hand and smoothing out the beat up fan mounted in it, my text message notification goes off.  When I open it up I find a text from David with a glory pic of Tom humbly checking out a turkey he had just dropped with his bow!  My excitement gauge went from pre-hunting trip departure level to “damn I can’t wait to get there” level.  It was time to get on the … [Read more...]

Pursuit of a Dream

Scouting in the clouds.

  The pursuit of mule deer is my true big game hunting passion and is tied only by upland bird hunting as my favorite type of hunting period. I took my first muley the first season I was legally able to bow hunt in Kansas when I was 14 and I have been hooked ever since.  When we moved to Colorado in 2010 I was more excited about one day taking a high country mule deer more so than elk hunting.  That excitement was drastically amplified after seeing some of the giant and magnificent ghosts of the Colorado high country while on a hunting trip with my brother and uncle in 2011.  I knew then that I had to hunt muleys in that particular unit; a unit that statistics told me would take around five preference points to draw. I started letting my points accumulate from that point and, in 2017, I drew the tag I had been dreaming of for years. That particular unit and I have history outside of hunting, going back to the early 90’s and my first mountain camping trip that became an … [Read more...]

Adventures in Thunderchicken Hunting, Spring 2017

Sunrise Turkey

I am what most would call new to turkey hunting.  Even though I grew up in an area that had several giant groups of turkey consistently hanging around, I didn’t begin to dabble into the world of turkey hunting until about four years ago.  It only took one spring season for me to be hooked and now I can’t wait for winter to melt away into spring so I can get out there and start looking for big toms.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much time to dedicate to turkey hunting this spring as I was hoping and was left with a few unfilled tags.  This season was, however, the most interesting and educational season I have spent chasing turkey thus far.  By the time early spring rolled around I was so eager for turkey season to kick off I almost couldn’t take it anymore.  I decided to set aside a few days and give southwest Nebraska a quick try.  I was able to find lots of really good public land.  The wind seems to follow me on every hunt and a new state made no difference as the wind was … [Read more...]

Maintaining a Tradition Through Quality

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  Sometimes it’s necessary to give a little background, or in this case a timeline, to set the scene in order to make a point or make a story flow properly. So, here is a very brief breakdown of the last fifteen years of my life: 2002-2006 – Finished up a second degree while working a few different jobs in my chosen field to gain experience. 2006-2010 – Moved to Arizona for my career; a job at which I spent a good portion of my waking hours at. From as far back as I can remember I loved being outdoors, hunting, shooting, fishing, etc. I grew up about 15 miles outside a small KS town of about 5000 people and was lucky enough to be able to hunt as much as I wanted in an area rich with deer, pheasant, coyote, and turkey.  During the time period mentioned above I did virtually no hunting with the exception of our traditional opening weekend pheasant hunt and few sessions of predator calling.  Life was simply too busy and I had to establish myself in my career.  Looking … [Read more...]

The Lighter & Stranger Side of Hunting

  If you spend enough time in the field you know that hunting isn't all whispers in a tree stand, crying and shaking after the shot, and glory pictures with a trophy animal like TV hunting shows portray.  We all have our share of funny and/or strange things that have happened while hunting.  With spring turkey season right around the corner we figured it was a good time to trade your funny or strange hunting stories for a chance to win some turkey hunting gear.  In the comments on this post, tell us about something funny or strange that has happened to you while hunting.  The winner will receive a Heads Up Decoy Tom Turkey (tail fan not included, but you can find several on Ebay for cheap), HUD bow mount, and two Primos diaphragm mouth calls.  So drop your story below and tell your hunting buddies about the contest as well.  Winner will picked at random on March 4th and will be announced on our social media outlets and will also be emailed at the address you enter when you … [Read more...]

Driven

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drive drīv/ an innate, biologically determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need.   A dim glow slowly creeps over the eastern horizon as you make your way up through the soft tundra and around the jagged rocks. Ten minutes earlier you passed the last remaining trees willing to fight for enough oxygen to survive.  Although the distant sunrise is fighting to light up the east-facing slopes the ever darkening clouds you have ascended into have other plans.  Hours prior and several hundred feet lower the sky was clear and star filled as you slung your pack over your shoulders, grabbed your bow, and started your climb towards the high drainage you had watched a group of elk grazing in the prior morning.  That clear starry sky has since been painted over by a sinister blanket of angry, cold, fast moving darkness that has engulfed you and most of the mountains.  The surprise storm seems to have made the sun change its mind as you again switch on your headlamp in an effort … [Read more...]

Did You Even Read The Question?

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"If you are not working to protect hunting, then you are working to destroy it." -Fred Bear   Hunting is a diverse sport in that people of all ages, ethnicities, social classes, backgrounds, and physical abilities can and do participate. Each year men, women, and children pick up a bow, rifle, or shotgun for the first time and set out to experience the sport that we all live for.  Many of these people come from families that aren’t traditional hunting families, or maybe anti-hunting families, and thus are entering an unfamiliar world with no passed-down knowledge to guide them.  There are two easy avenues to turn to for “knowledge” and information about hunting: social media and the Google machine.  Since search engines will generate an almost infinite amount of results it probably seems easier for beginners to turn to social media, either for an answer or at least in hopes of someone pointing them in the right direction.  Many experienced hunters also turn to social media as … [Read more...]

Carpe Diem

Calling the Kansas sunrise.

  “Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor” -Homer, Iliad   In a flash 2016 is no more and 2017 is half a month in. If the first half of January is any indication of how busy 2017 will be then sleep and relaxation will have to wait until 2018!  On January 2nd Remi and I, along with a couple of hunting buddies, cleaned house on upland birds at Valhalla.  Remi was on them like a seasoned veteran and our shooting was on point as well.  On January 8th I went on my first ever goose hunt with my brother and a few friends.  We dropped several geese in the single digit temperatures of the early morning but the afternoon brought a drastic climb in temperature that made the geese lazy and us wet and muddy.  On January 11th & 12th Michelle and I went coyote calling in eastern Colorado and northwest Kansas.  We located a few but the full moon and wind made them a little less than willing to commit in the daylight.  Yotes are always challenging and sometimes … [Read more...]