The Cure

Feeding flock passing through.

I would venture to guess that every hunter experiences the same feelings come mid to late February through mid March. You may feel bored, lost, sad, lonely, useless, or like you have no purpose in life.  There is no more muley stalking, no more upland bird pointing, no more elk packing, and no reason to drag your decoys to the water’s edge. At best, there are glimmers of happiness in the form of predator calling if you can find the time. It’s the dreaded stretch of dark nothingness following the fall/winter seasons. Now the good news; you are almost through this dark time in your life and you can see the light on the horizon. That light is the sunrise cresting the hills with the sounds of turkey coming out of roost and toms gobbling. Everyone get your game face on, spring turkey season is upon us! I grew up fifteen miles from anything that resembled a town in the middle of nowhere, NW Kansas. To be more exact, I grew up in a valley that followed a creek bottom through an … [Read more...]

Rustic River Hogs and Kansas Mayo Omelettes

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My first hog hunting experience was mid-March, 2014, when two co-workers and I made last minute plans to do a three day hunt in Texas.  I had heard of a place called Rustic River Ranch (www.rusticriverranch.com) near Childress, Texas, so knowing nothing about hog hunting I gave them a call, not long after we were hunting through a three day Texas sandstorm and enjoying every second of it.  We left with a cooler full of fresh pork and a new found love for hog hunting.  It didn’t take long after returning home to begin planning the next trip to pursue Texas hogs.  By the end of June we had assembled the next group of friends, family, and co-workers and booked our next trip to Rustic River.  Before we knew it February had arrived and we were heading south in the middle of the night for another round of hunting the ugly, destructive, and tasty critters. The trip began in Denver with Tim (a co-worker and veteran of the 2014 sandstorm hunt), and co-workers Lance, and Nate.  By 11:45 p.m. our … [Read more...]

Creating an Addiction: My First Bowhunt

Bear Black Mag

  I wanted to hunt deer for as long as I can remember.  As a little kid growing up in Middle-of-Nowhere, KS, it seemed like if you looked hard enough you could always see mule deer, maybe a lone giant buck, maybe a whole herd.  Whether I was on the bus going to school, riding my dirt bike in the evening, or going out to fix fence in the early morning hours, I was always looking and there were usually deer around.  Back then if you made it outside in the pre-dawn hours of the October and November weekends, you could hear and see the vehicles coming down the dirt roads that were otherwise sparsely travelled and you knew without question they were bowhunters heading out to their favorite spots.  I envied those hunters heading out to chase the deer I saw almost daily on those cool fall days and couldn’t wait to do it myself.  It also didn’t help that every time I went to my friends house up the road I had to see what seemed like the biggest buck in history hanging on the wall.  In … [Read more...]

Elk, Napalm, and Tube Sock Coffee: A Tale of Hunting with Jim

Ever since I can remember, my brother Travis and I talked about chasing elk in the Rockies.  Years ago (late 80’s to early 90’s) our Uncle Jim had shot a Boone and Crockett monster in the Sangre de Cristo’s which further fueled our dreaming of a high mountain elk hunt.  I remember the first time I saw the mounted beast when I was fourteen years old.  It was hanging in a room with high ceilings and in order to fit the trophy on the wall it had to be hung pretty close to the floor.  It seemed like you were standing next to T-Rex when you were next to it.  I told myself that one day I would take a beast like that.  As is so often the case, life happened and we never managed to get into the mountains to chase elk although we always talked about it.  After moving to Arizona for work in 2006 the dream of hunting elk in Colorado seemed like a memory of something that never actually happened.  After several years of trying and hoping I was finally able to transfer to our Denver office and just … [Read more...]

New Year’s Evolution

In the Crestones.

  ev·o·lu·tion ˌevəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ noun 1. any process of formation or growth; development   As I was pulling into the parking lot at my gym this morning I noticed it was about half full.  Not too out of the ordinary for a week day morning, but definitely different on a holiday morning.  But this was no normal holiday morning, this was "everyone start going to the gym immediately......for a few weeks" day.  New Year's resolutions have begun.  By the time I left an hour later, the parking lot was much more occupied as people filed through the door with big hopes, dreams, and ambitions.  Don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this; motivation is what fuels change and growth.  Unfortunately for a large percentage of these people, that motivation and determination will be abandoned within the next month.  I know because I have done it myself many times over.  A few months ago I decided it was time for a lifelong lifestyle change and, for the first time ever, I … [Read more...]

Where The Wind Blows

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I place 50% of the blame on Garrett Roe from Heads Up Decoy(http://headsupdecoy.com/) for this whole blog idea!  About a month ago he asked me if I would like to write up a story about the buck I took in KS in 2013 for his blog.  The last time I tried to write some type of entertaining story was in college by I figured why not.  After I wrote the story and my wife Michelle, who makes up the other 50% of the blame, proof read it for me and gave me the idea of trying a hunting blog, so here we are today.  So thanks Michelle for giving me the idea and thanks to Garrett and HUD for the chance to write a blog for him and a great product.  I wouldn't have got the Buck without it.  You can check out the story at this link: http://headsupdecoy.blogspot.com/2014/12/where-wind-blows.html?m=1 Enjoy! … [Read more...]

Caught in the Act: The Tale of Floppy Ears

Floppy Ears

Covered in dirt and sweat, your muscles are burning as you continue a painfully slow and grueling stalk that has taken you several hundred yards through a CRP field or along a creek bed. The buck you have been watching grow for years on trail cam pictures is now one hundred yards ahead of you, just out of range, but unaware of your presence as he grazes about with a couple of doe and a smaller buck. The wind is in your favor, thanks to the careful consideration you have put into camo selection you are almost a ghost among the tall grass and ground cover, and you have practiced so thoroughly over the off season that you are completely confident in your ability to stick a double lung shot at 50 yards. Everything about your stalk is absolutely perfect until………….you see a familiar set of eyes locked in on you, burning a hole through your soul, your pride, and your game plan. You might as well stand up, wave and walk the other way. She is………Floppy Ears the scout doe. I don’t know if this … [Read more...]

Symmetry and the X-factor

Symmetry

"There is no decision that we can make that doesn't come with some sort of balance or sacrifice." -Simon Sinek In the pre-sunrise hours of November 29, 2014, I was quietly walking across a soft drilled wheat field towards a small locust tree on the bend of a creek.  The property around the creek is low in a valley with a few hills here and there, mostly near the property lines.  I arrived at the locust tree and sat down facing southeast towards a hilltop with a fence running East/West along the top, drawing a line between the property I could hunt and a thick CRP field that I could not hunt on the other side.  I suspected one muley buck in particular was using that field as his bedding area and also that he was roaming the valley in the mornings.  I anxiously waited for the first crack of light and plotted the possible scenarios I could be presented. As soon as a slight glow from the rising sun was visible, I was glassing the horizon lines.  It was still blackout dark below … [Read more...]

Why Be The Predator?

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pred·a·tor noun 1. an animal that naturally preys on others. How many times have you watched from a distance as a pickup full of “hunters” comes strolling aimlessly down the dirt road or trail, looking for a chance to jump out and get that trophy with a road shot?  Have you ever seen the guy that has the perfect piece of leased property, loaded with enough trophies that you would have a dilemma picking the biggest one, only to see him drive right into the middle of it and send a herd blowing out the back side as he gets out and walks in to his stand? Without the proper tactics, equipment, knowledge, and mindset, you are a suboptimal hunter at best.  But if you can analyze the failures, successes, observations, and tactics that you and others have experienced in the field and combine that with a functional understanding of your prey, you can spend less time hunting and more time preying.  You can be the predator, not the wandering human looking for a lucky opportunity. I … [Read more...]