Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Rock Island Armory 1911 in .22 Magnum - A Review

Admittedly, when I  first saw that the gun Rock Island Armory sent for me to test was a 1911 in .22 magnum I  was disappointed.

What would someone want with a 1911 in .22 magnum I  thought to myself.  But being true to the process. I went to the range, pulled the RIA A1 in .22 Magnum from the case and was blown away with its feel, accuracy and the quality with which it was made.

The weight of  2.5 lbs. it is a good fit for a rimfire. Being in the 1911 frame, it should be heavy and should be robust as it is. The top eject was not something I  preferred, but I  quickly dismissed it once I  began shooting and seeing the groups I  was able to obtain in short order.

Shooting with the top eject did take a minute to get used to. I  am not accustomed to seeing the cases eject from the top, so target acquisition took some getting used to, but was quickly obtained.

Not only was the RIA 1911 in .22 magnum accurate, it was plain fun to shoot. Like all .22 magnum pistols, they are loud and the energy generated from the rimfire is impressive.

For decades I have been a big fan of the .22 Remington Magnum cartridge. The energy this little bullet generates is so much more than the .22 LR that it makes it a fine all around rifle for small and medium game. Many feral hogs have met their demise to the .22 Magnum, as has a few alligators and other critters.

This version from Rock Island Armory is one of the finest .22 magnum pistols I  personally have tested. Solid frame, adjustable trigger (from 4-6 lbs.), balanced and a magazine that holds 15 rounds makes this an excellent pistol for small game hunting and for concealed carry. The rubberized grips prevent slipping with wet hands, and the parkerized finish is a breeze to keep clean.

In conclusion, I  found the RIA A! XT 22MRF pistol to be one of the more enjoyable pistols I have tested in a while. Easy to load, fun to shoot and the fiber optic sights are a blessing for aging eyes. This is definitely one 1911 you need in your collection.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Rock Island Armory A1 1911 - A Review

Honestly, I  have never been a fan of the 1911 framed semi-auto pistol. I am sure I  will get a lot of flack for that comment, but that is ok. There are a lot of fans who carry nothing else and that is great. But for me, I have always preferred a smaller framed pistol, especially for concealed carry.

But recently I  was fortunate enough to get a chance to test the Rock Island Armory A1 1911 in 9mm. And I  have to admit, I  may just be a convert!

First impression of the RIA 1911 in 9mm was impressive. It fits my hand beautifully and is balanced extremely well. Weighing 2.56 lbs. empty this 1911 is exactly the right weight for this full size framed pistol.

A single stacked magazine holds 9 rounds which is ample for the range or self defense. As a pistol owner of many styles and frames, I  have always been a fan of the Rock Island Armory quality. Made in the Philippines, these pistols are some of the finest you will find in this price point.

At the range, the A1 1911 handled excellent. Target acquisition was fast, recoil easily manageable with the weighted frame and target re-acquisition was a breeze. I  found it to be accurate right out of the box. Able to hit 8" steel targets at 20 yards with ease.

After a few hundred rounds through the RIA 1911, I  found nothing that it would not handle. Extreme rapid fire, slow fire, and using the Armscor 9mm ammunition, it cycled flawlessly and handled everything I  threw at it.

The parkerized finish is one that personally is preferred over a shiny finish. Disassembly was not as easy as some other brands, but was certainly not anything that was difficult either.

The Rock Island Armory A1 1911 in 9mm is in my estimation the perfect 1911 available. While I  know there are many who prefer the 1911 in either a .40 or .45 caliber. I  find the 9mm to be about right for what most people use and carry for.

In a defense situation, few human beings can withstand the impact of a 9mm. And with the rapid fire capabilities of the RIA 1911 in 9mm, they certainly cannot handle multiple shots.

When owning several handguns, pistols or revolvers, keeping ammunition straight is a big safety factor. By keeping your options limited, it lessens the chance for a mixup. For that reason alone, I  prefer to keep my carry guns in the same calibers, and not expanding beyond those two. The same is true for my hunting handguns. By limiting the caliber options to a few, I  lessen the chance for a mistake.

Without hesitation, if you are looking for a good solid 1911 for your personal carry gun, or just want one for target shooting. The Rock Island Armory A1 1911 in 9mm is one you should strongly consider.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Ten Point Titan M1 Crossbow - A review


Ten Point Titan M1 Crossbow is Worth the Investment
Titan M1In the fast-growing world of crossbows, one brand stands out above the rest. Ten Point Crossbows are the elite brand in the market. And with seven models to choose from, there is no shortage of options for the first time or experienced crossbow hunter.

Whether you are new to the thrill of hunting with a crossbow, or a veteran of many seasons. There is a style and model for you. Placed right in the middle of these models is the newest version of the all-time-best-selling model from Ten Point. The Titan M1 is completely redesigned and is now incredibly 9.5 inches narrower than the predecessor. Why is this important? Crossbow hunters know that one of the drawbacks of the weapon is its shape and maneuvering it in the woods and stands. The new narrow design makes the Titan M1 eliminates this issue all together. The more compact, easier to carry and maneuver design, is balanced in the hands which translates to better feel and accuracy when it matters most.
The Titan M1 crossbow is, in the opinion of many the perfect weapon to introduce new hunters to the lifestyle. Easy to use, accurate, and efficient. The Titan M1crossbow is ideal for young, small framed and even mature hunters who are new to the sport. The lack of recoil, absence of report, and accuracy make this the ideal introductory weapon for new hunters regardless of age.
Upon receiving my Titan M1, I couldn’t wait to get to the range and take some quick shots and see how it shot. To my surprise, the optics only needed minor tweaking to achieve precision shooting accuracy. Once dialed in, the shooting was so much fun and enjoyable to shoot.
Powered by the VX-5 inverted cams, The Titan M1 cams are designed to elongate the power stroke and increase rotation while achieving 30 feet per second more speed than the predecessor. Another advantage of the Titan M1 is that it comes with or without the ACUdraw cocking device, a must have in my opinion. The ACUdraw cocking device makes cocking the Titan M1 efficient and safe. The Titan M1 is the best value on the market today for crossbows.
For hunting the Titan M1 is capable of using a variety of broadheads designed for crossbows. Mechanical or fixed. Choose one that flies true from the start and you will not go wrong by taking the Titan M1 into the stand with you this or any season.
A complete package comes with
  • Optics: TenPoint’s 3x Pro-View 3 Scope mounted on a machined aluminum 7/8-inch Fixed Dovetail Mount
  • Cocking Device: ACUdraw or Rope-Sled
  • Quiver: 3-Arrow Instant Detach Quiver; Ambidextrous Side-Mount Quiver Bracket
  • Arrows: Three TenPoint Pro Elite carbon arrows with 100-grain practice points

Monday, August 5, 2019

Another Mass Shooting

The TV was littered with more horrible news of another mentally ill person shooting innocent people as they shopped and enjoyed some time with their friends.

It is a sad situation, no matter how you look at it, or what side of the aisle you are on. When evil strikes, everyone looses.

It is in times like these that we seek to place blame. It is natural, I believe it is part of the human condition to try and explain the unexplained. To try and make sense of things we cannot make sense of. Some have said the blame is on the semi-auto rifle. Others are blaming the gun laws, the 2nd Amendment, some idiots are blaming the President as if he walked into that store and started firing the rifle.

The reality is that blame is a scapegoat. Blame is an excuse, when what we need are reasons.
I have told my children for years, there is a big difference between and excuse and a reason. We need to quit looking for an excuse for the killing of Americans, and look for the reasons.

I am not an expert by any definition, but I do have an opinion. First and foremost, we didn't get to this point in our history over night, and we will not fix it over night. We got here one generation at a time.

When a generation of Americans refused to stand on principle and straddled a fence on morals. It began. When common decency was replaced with chips on shoulders and when "leaders" used people for personal monetary gain it began.

As a person of faith, I believe that healing begins with God. A relationship with Jesus Christ will change the hearts of these calloused people and begin to soften the pain they feel.

We have become an "anything goes" society. And then we wonder why some things go awry. We promote behavior that is contrary to decency and values, and are shocked when someone actually behaves in a contrary manner. We cheer things that only a few years ago were decried as not only taboo, but mentally ill.

We support the murder of full term babies by doctors who carry out the wishes of mothers who don't want the responsibility of rearing a child. Here's an idea. If you don't want the responsibility of a baby, - close your legs!

Then we are appalled when someone walks into a store and shoots people. Do you see the irony?

There is no excuse for these things, but there are reasons. The reason we kill babies is because we embraced evil as "choice".

The reason people drive airplanes into buildings is because they are evil. The reason people walk into stores, churches or any other place and shoot others is because of evil.

These killings are not the fault of President Trump, Nancy Pilosi or even the fault of the guns. Just as it wasn't American Airlines fault when those planes were flown into the World Trade centers, it isn't the guns fault. It is the fault of evil.

Blame is an easy way to push responsibility onto others, rather than accepting it where it belongs. Blame belongs with me, and it belongs with you. All of us who have sat silently by and not done anything to change the atmosphere of our country. Every Christian who has not rallied with others to change the culture of sin and evil - we are to blame. We as Christians, and as Americans need to stop pointing fingers and fold our hands in prayer. We should accept the responsibility to stop evil, even if it is legal!

We need to unite together. Baptist, Wesleyan's, Methodists, and Lutherans. Catholics and Non-denominational people all need to unite in one voice and cry out to God to save our country.

Mass shootings are similar to airplane crashes. They stir the soul because of the randomness and sheer number of people impacted at once. Truth be told, Chicago and New York see more killings every day than occurred in El Paso.  But those don't bother us.

638,000 babies are killed every year by doctors. That is 1,748 babies are killed EVERY DAY and there is no outcry.

It is all bad. It is all evil. It is all senseless.

Excuses do not have solutions only more excuses. Reasons have solutions.

The solution?

Often the simplest solution is the best. And in this case it is simple indeed. The best solution to the evil happening in our country? Is a relationship with your God. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ will heal our land and will soften the cold hearts of the self absorbed and the ill.

Let's pray that the leaders of our churches, and our government will commit themselves to a relationship with Jesus Christ and to behaving like Godly people and lead our nation to the throne of Grace.

Let's all commit to praying for God to heal our land and to touch the heart of every American.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Opening Day is Closing In

Here in South Carolina, we are only 13 days away from opening day of deer season in some parts of the state. The traditional August 15th opening has a long history. Going back to the colonial period, August 15 has been the opening day of deer season in the coastal plain for centuries. No one really knows why this date was selected, but for the low country those traditions die hard.

Many of the areas where August 15 is the opening day also has a long tradition of running deer with dogs. The coastal plain of South Carolina is loaded with thick, impenetrable swamps these deer call home. And for much of the area, the dogs are used to push the deer from these thick confines and in front of waiting hunters.

Typically large blocks of timber are selected with standing hunters armed with shotguns and buckshot only are positioned to intercept deer trying to escape. The dogs are tuned loose on the opposite side of the block of timber and the deer attempt to escape the dogs who are chasing them.

Deer usually choose one of three methods to escape the dogs. They run very far ahead and try and escape often a half mile or more from the dogs. Others will stay right in front of the dogs and circle and circle and cross paths confusing the dogs scent trail and escape that manner and still others simply double back on the dogs and escape. Many of the biggest bucks are killed in this manner while they are doubling back on the dogs.

Having done this a few times, I must admit, it isn't my cup of tea. For me, it just sounds like a bunch of dogs barking in the woods.  I don't understand the excitement others gain from this kind of hunting. But I fully support their right to do so, as long as its legal.

Other hunters on opening day will pour into ag fields in the afternoons and wait for bucks to emerge for evening feeding. Summer patterns for bucks are very predictable. They have had no pressure for six or seven months and they are easy to pattern. Setting up downwind along a soy bean field almost feels like cheating it is so easy. Scouting these bucks a few weeks in advance will confirm they enter the field at the same location at the same time every day. Positioning your stand within range makes for a quick and easy kill.

For hunters who do not have the benefit of food plots or ag. fields, resorting to intercepting bucks along travel corridors is best during the early season while they are still in bachelor groups.

For one thing, you cannot hunt the early season and ward off the hordes of mosquito's without a ThermaCell. This one appliance has changed hunting forever. It actually allows you to hunt the early season and not cover yourself up with deet. It completely eliminates the need for bug spray.

The biggest challenge in hunting bucks in August is dealing with the heat. With temperatures often in triple digits with high humidity. Staying comfortable in stand is a real challenge. Several years ago, I began taking a small battery fan with me to the deer stand. This small 8" fan uses two "D" batteries and will run for 40+ hours on a set of batteries. The gentle breeze this fan makes is a game changer. It allows me to tolerate the heat. I have not noticed any ill effects from the fan. I have had deer within feet of the fan and they do not seem alarmed at all.

Another tip, is to bring frozen bottles of water with you. Placing the frozen bottle on your neck will lower your overall body temperature and help keep you cool. It also give you good cold water to drink as it melts.

Lastly, I cannot emphasize enough is hunting the wind. If you go into your stand in early season with the wrong wind, you are educating your herd quickly.

Personally, I avoid this part of the season. It is just too hot for me. I will wait until mid September into October to go. When the temperatures begin to drop, I get excited and want to go every day! I just cannot enjoy it when it is so hot.

But for those who cannot wait. Get out there and get after them. Keep us posted on how it goes and get you some velvet bucks.

Best of luck.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

South Carolina Bans Natural Urine and Attractants for Whitetail Deer

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources announced that effective immediately, natural deer urine and attractants that use any natural bodily fluids from whitetail deer or other cervids is illegal for use in the state.

The Language is strong and the intent is to make an effort to prevent the introduction and spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from entering into the deer herd.

The statement reads in part;

"It is illegal to possess or use, for the purpose of hunting or scouting any wild animal in S.C., any substance or material that contains or purports to contain any excretion collected from a cervid (deer) including urine, feces, blood, gland oil, or other bodily fluid. This does not prohibit the use of synthetic products or substances collected by a hunter from a deer legally harvested in S.C."

The alert goes on to state some of the reasoning for this, which is sound science. Let's face it, natural deer urine is collected from captive deer herds that are within fences. If any of these deer are infected with CWD, it is likely its urine or other bodily fluids will become mixed with the others, thus increasing the chance of spreading the disease.

CWD is a devastating disease that has attacked vigorously herds of elk and deer all across the nation. Some hot beds of the disease have been discovered in Wisconsin and Illinois among others. And while little is known about the disease, this is known; "CWD is a transmissible or contagious, always fatal, neurological disease."

Already there is an outcry from hunters within SC who have already purchased deer urine for the upcoming season. Some are crying for refunds, others are dismissing this action by the SCDNR as crying wolf. Most of those who are in such a camp are not concerned about the overall health of the deer herd in SC, rather they just want to kill deer when and how they want.

CWD is a disease that is confusing science in some ways, the spread is somewhat a mystery, other than the fact that it is highly contagious among deer. How is it transferred is believed to be through bodily fluids. Saliva, urine, feces, and sexual secretions. This knowledge has led to states with CWD to take some drastic measures to attempt to stop or prevent the spread of the disease.

Recently, Michigan, a state with a long history of legal b
aiting for deer, banned all baiting for deer within the state in an attempt to stop the disease. The thought is that bait congregates deer to specific areas, and the bait can become contaminated from one deer, and spread within the herd. Other states are considering this measure as well.

Will the SCDNR go that far in the coming years? It is a possibility for sure, this first step into preventing the spread of the disease through the legislation of urine and other bodily fluids that are natural is a step in the right direction. Let's face it, we killed deer long before it became popular to use deer urine and sexual attractants. We can again.

Personally, I seldom use any deer scents while deer hunting. Other than the fox pee on my boot while walking into my stand, I have never seen any benefit from the deer urine and other scents as an attractant. I know others have, and they will have to adapt.

I support and applaud the SCDNR for taking these measures to attempt to try and prevent this disease from ever reaching our borders. Let's hope all ethical hunters abide by these rules and support the stance of the SCDNR.

If you want to read the story in its entirety, follow the link here to the release.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The EVISCERATOR Broadhead A Total Game Changer

The Eviscerator
An all new design of Broadhead for the Hunter

           Are you tired of tracking your animals? Does following blood trails at night become a burden? Do your television fans complain because they cannot see the animal fall after the shot? Are you a terrible shot and need help killing animals you shoot? Look no further, the EVISCERATOR is here and will revolutionize how you hunt.  
          It wasn’t that long ago when broadhead brands were touting a 1” diameter cutting surface, then they began to grow to 1 ½”, 1 ¾” and now there are dozens that are over 2” of cutting surface. These larger cutting broadheads proudly announce large blood trails and fewer lost animals.  
          Well, today, we introduce a totally revolutionizing way of killing animals with a bow and arrow. No more are you going to have to kill the animal, follow a blood trail and recover your animal. No longer will it be necessary to field dress your buck. The all new advanced technology of the EVISCERATOR does it all for you!
          The engineers at Disembowel Inc. have designed a mechanical broadhead that will change the way you hunt. The ENVISCERATOR flies like a true field point but on impact releases 7 deadly razor blades that slice through your game with precision and tenacity. Each of the seven surgical steel blades are made of stainless steel and each one measure 9 inches long! Giving you a total of 49” of cutting surface! Your buck will not only die almost instantly, but the EVISCERATOR will disembowel him before he hits the ground! No more field dressing, no more bloody hands and smelly knives. The 49” of the EVISCERATOR does it all for you.
          To ensure the effectiveness of the broadheads, each of the broadheads in the three-pack are one-time use. The blades lock open permanently and cannot be retracted – even with a hammer! The magnesium, stainless steel and corrugated polymer cutting head begin the penetration before the seven blades are released. As the EVISCERATOR enters the animal, each blade is released in a precise order predetermined by the archer. using his smart phone. This precision release of the blades allows it to slice in the exact direction desired for the maximum disembowelment.
          Larger game will want a counterclockwise release, while smaller and thinned skinned game may prefer a clockwise release of the seven blades. This precise release angles are one of the many ways that separates the EVISCERATOR from the competition.
          Hunting with a bow and arrow will never be the same!
          Get your three pack of EVISCERATOR broadheads from a dealer near you for an unbelievable low price of $799.99. And not only be the envy of hunting camp, but put fear in every animal in the woods. 

Are Cell Game Cameras an Unfair Advantage?

As game cameras have gained popularity over the last decade or so, technology has increased from the old archaic battery draining cameras to cameras with battery life that lasts over 12 months and produce 14+ megapixel. The quality of the pictures and video are of the highest quality.

A few years ago, game cameras advanced to wireless technology where the camera takes a picture, and instantly sends the picture to your mobile device or computer. As this technology has grown, and the cell plans have gone down in price, more and more people have adapted to this technology.

Recently, some states have studied these cameras and determined they offer an unfair advantage to hunters and have begun to make them illegal to use. One case in point is a water hole in Arizona where a wildlife officer documented over 30 cell cameras on one water hole on public land. As pictures were taken hunters were flocking to the water hole.

Other incidents are of individuals who are looking for a particular buck, and when the buck finally appears, they ditch their job and head to the woods. DNR officers, conservation officials and wildlife biologists all agree that the use of cell game cameras offer an unfair advantage to the hunters.

What is the compromise? Hunters spend millions of dollars annually on game cameras and lately cell cameras. Both wireless providers and camera companies are making millions off of these cameras. But the question remains, do these offer an unfair advantage to hunters.

Many hunters who travel out of state to hunt, spend thousands of dollars on these hunts and many of them, (that I know personally) are setting up cameras in the spring to monitor game hundreds or thousands of miles away. Does this offer an unfair advantage? Or is it a good use of their time, to monitor areas before driving several days to arrive at their hunting land?

Are these cell cameras offering public land hunters opportunities they otherwise would not have had? In reality, when the picture is taken, and the hunters arrive can be many hours or even days apart. Yet some states are still saying the hunters are using technology to avoid fair chase.

Frankly I am not sure where I fall on this. I see both sides very well. But as an absentee landowner, I value the wireless cell cameras for security and monitoring. If I saw a buck, it would still take me a day to get there. I use them mostly as a security camera to monitor my gates, cabin, and access areas. But I also use them to monitor game. I guess, like a lot of things it is up to you do determine where you fall on this topic. If it is legal in your area, and you want to use it? Use it. If you deem it is an unfair advantage then, by all means don't use them. But be certain before you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on cell game cameras, that they are legal to use in your country, state or province.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Court Rules in Favor of Crow Nation

The Supreme Court ruled, somewhat surprisingly to uphold an 1868 treaty that allows members of the Crow Indian reservation to hunt "unoccupied land" with no restrictions. The 4-3 ruling was split along party lines with one exception Gorsuch sided with the more liberal side of the court.

The Safari Club, Wyoming game and fish and other groups that regulate hunting and support hunting rights opposed the treaty and felt that the treaty should be ignored.

NOTE: The Treaty of Laramie with the Crow May 7, 1868 can be found here.

As I read this news, I was struck with two concerns. My first concern was for the Crow people and all other Native Americans who have been denied, abused, and restricted by our federal government ever since white men first landed on the continent. I have an admitted proclivity to stand with Native Americans and to defend their sanctity of culture and way of life that was stolen from them by our government.

For generations, the federal government entered into treaties with different tribes and nations with no intent of keeping these treaties. False promises, hopeful insinuations and out right lies were told to Native Nations in a guise to get their land. While promising excellent land and living conditions as long as they all would relocate to reservations. A government term for concentrations camps.

Here,  a member of the Crow people exercised his right under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 and was arrested, persecuted, and find for doing what the federal government told him he was allowed to do under the treaty agreement. Once again, showing the government had no intention of allowing the Crow Nation to exercise its rights under the treaty.

If the state of Wyoming, feels the treaty is unjust, request the Bureau of Indian Affairs investigate and re-negotiate the treaty. Otherwise, follow its mandates and allow all of the benefits of the treaty to be upheld.

Does the Court upholding this treaty put wildlife in jeopardy? Probably not. Did the treaty in 1868 put the Crow nation in jeopardy? Most likely. It is safe to say the US Government would never enter into a treaty that was one sided in the favor of the government.

It just seems, that with all of the mistreatment the government has historically contributed to the Native Americans, it seems fit and proper that this decisions should go in their favor.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

It Really is Possible

Several years ago, I was like a lot of outdoorsmen I know and felt that some of the big adventures I had always dreamed of were out of reach.

Buck killed in Illinois 2018
Being a working class man with a modest job and even more modest writing career, I always felt that hunting big game and upland birds was something relegated for the rich and the well off.

That was until I made the decision years ago to "try" and go on at least one hunting trip or fishing trip every few years. My first real trip was to Pennsylvania to hunt whitetail deer. It was through the now defunct North American Hunting Club. They offered a unique to the time idea of "swap hunts". Where one hunter would offer hunting with him or her at their place in exchange for hunts at their your place. It was  great concept and it led to many awesome adventures.

Three trips to Pennsylvania for archery whitetail. A trip to Alaska for moose, and a trip to Texas for desert mule deer. All of these trips established friendships that opened even more opportunities to travel and hunt on a slim budget.

As an example, the Alaska moose hunt was the biggest and most expensive. But, I was able to save vacation days, and save money and the entire unguided three week moose hunt cost me - $1,400. You read that correctly. A $680 plane ticket and $400 license and the rest was food and misc expenses.

A 10 day trip to Idaho for mule deer a few years later cost all total - $1,100. Granted this is unguided on public land. But it was affordable and memorable.

On both of the hunts mentioned above, I was able to take an animal. I took my moose on the 9th day and the mule deer on the 6th day.

A trip to Texas for desert mule deer resulted in memories and friends made and a great experience. Same is true for elk in Colorado, three trips, no elk. But I have made great friends and learned a lot about hunting the Rockies.

This year, I have planned a pheasant hunt in South Dakota, a fly-in-fishing trip to Canada with Kashabowie Outposts, and if I get drawn for my Antelope tag- an antelope hunt in Wyoming.

I have come to learn that the biggest obstacle to taking big game or upland hunts is intimidation of the process. And it can be intimidating. But it doesn't have to be expensive or impossible. Here are some tips to making the trip of a lifetime come true.

1. Start with your budget. Set a budget and do not go over it. Surprisingly, in most cases your biggest expense is the hunting license and tag. Learn what those costs and then build your budget accordingly.
2. Select an animal and location.   This is especially true if the tags are lottery or over the counter. If you have to apply for a lottery tag, the process is daunting and can be difficult to manuver. We will do a full blog post on that shortly. I would recommend starting in places where over the counter tags are available.
3. Build a team of friends to share it with. It is amazing how sharing the expenses can help offset the burden of paying for a trip. Five of us driving to Colorado (30 hours in the truck!) is a lot less expensive than going alone and it adds to the experience. The fuel bill is split 5 ways, the food bill is split, and the work is shared.
4. Decide if you want to camp or stay in a hotel. This can really add to the expense, but also make it easier or more doable for some folks. I prefer to camp, it gets me closer to the hunting and the overall experience is enhanced by sleeping on a cot in the high country.
5. Plan for success. I have seen several hunters who take the trip and never expect to kill anything and then are overwhelmed when it happens and they don't know what to do to get the animal home. Plan for success. There are several options for success if driving. People haul freezers and generators to keep game fresh. You can have it processed and frozen for the return trip.
If flying, I have mailed my clothes home and checked the cooler with meat as luggage. I have also, done both. Mailed my clothes home and shipped meat home. But being prepared can save you a lot of money and headache.

The 7 day elk hunt in Colorado cost me $1,000. That was $618 for the tag and license and the rest in fuel and food.

It takes a lot of planning for sure, but many of these trips are very affordable and achievable if you plan it. Don't let your dream hunt or fishing trip pass you by because you feel you cannot afford it. Often it more possible than you realize.

Lastly, many years ago an elderly gentleman and I were discussing this topic and he instilled in me the premise - "don't let the fact that no one wants to go with you, stop you from going."
Granted it is cheaper and often more enjoyable if you have someone to share it with. But even when I cannot get someone to go with me, I do not let that stop me. Some of my best trips have been alone. And meeting the people along the way was the highlight of the experience.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dreams Do Come True

As a young lad growing up in rural South Carolina, my adventures were, how do you say, small. Wandering through the cow pasture to the creek was about the extent of it. But when I got out of sight of our house, I "felt" like I was in the wilderness. My imagination could only take me so far.

Then on day, I grabbed an outdoor magazine from the local country store. I am not sure the title, but I remember reading story after story of men climbing mountains for sheep. Wading streams for steelhead, and flying into remote lakes to catch limitless fish on every cast.

I still have not climbed a mountain for sheep, and at my age, I am not sure I ever will. But I have waded for steelhead in the Lewis river in Washington. And I have flown into remote lakes in Ontario to fish for giant northern pike and trophy walleye.

I remember reading, of paddling boats through glacial lakes as crystal clear as the air itself. Watching as pike the size of your leg tearing towards your large top water lure and nearly ripping the rod from your hands. Of casting curly tail jigs and walleye pushing 30 inches being the norm on almost every cast.

When the day arrived for me to finally travel to northern Ontario to fulfill this dream, the excitement had been building for months. All I had dreamed about and imagined was finally coming to fruition. And the best part is it wasn't nearly as impossible as I had thought.

Like so many other sportsmen and women, we dream of hunts and fishing trips and just assume they are out of our reach. When in fact they are not. With careful planning, some research, most of the hunts and fishing trips we dream of are within reach of all working class people and above. It just takes some planning.

For my dream fly-in-fishing adventure, I chose Kashabowie Outposts from Atikokan, Ontario. Their sea hanger is a mere 2 hours from International Falls, MN a short 1,000 mile drive for me. My first trip to Kashabowie was with some friends we strung together at last minute. But by sharing the expenses, it was very affordable. They tailor trips to your desires and budget. With 10 cabins to choose from, there are several available for most of your group sizes.

When we boarded the Havalon Beaver float plane the reality was setting in. We would be off into the boreal forest of the great north and left there for four days in total isolation. As the plane took off (at a mere 50 mph) we flew for forty minutes into the wilderness. Nothing but lakes and forest below us the entire time. It was surreal. The Pilot did a fly by of our cabin so we could get a look at the lake from above and then turning south, he pointed the nose of the plane into the breeze and with the gentleness of a mother hen and her chicks, he set the plane on the calm water as smooth as a new jar of peanut butter.

Idling to the floating dock, we moored the plane and unloaded our gear. A short instruction on how to use the 2 way radio and he was off.

Standing there on the dock watching as the plane taxied down the lake was a feeling like I've not experienced. As the engine roared and he began his stretch down the lake to take off, I marveled at the ability of the pilot to maneuver this ancient plane into the air. Barely clearing the water, he tipped his wing at me as he went by and soared over the trees. I stood watching and listening until the stillness and silence overcame the surroundings.

For the next four days, we would not see another soul. The amenities at Grew Lake are superior, especially for a cabin so far from anything. 14' Lowe semi-V boats. Each with a 9.9-hp four-stroke Yamaha engine and all the gas we need. There was one boat for every two people. Since this cabin slept 8, there were four boats and engines available for us to use along with a canoe.

Over the next four days we fished about 8 hours a day and caught over 50 fish per person per day. We explored the lake. 6 miles long and about a half mile wide at its widest point. Beaver were everywhere. Loons, bald eagles, gulls, all were abundant.

During the evenings, after a meal of walleye and some extras, we sat around a campfire and listened as the loons cried. There is something unique and special about the cry of the loon in the boreal forest of the north. The echo of her cry carries for what seems like miles. Her cry causes the mind to wander, to be perplexed by the nothingness. All stress is released, all worries of life are faded, if for only a few days as the soul is refreshed.

This summer, I am taking my two sons to Kashabowie Outposts for a father-son week of serenity and fishing. This time at Piche Lake. My eldest son is getting married in September, and my youngest is heading off to college in August. So for four days, it will be just us. Driving for over 1,000 miles to spend some time in the wilderness.

My dream was to fly into adventure and fish pristine waters. Now, it is to pause and capture, if only briefly a few days with my sons before life gets in the way. I know the folks at Kashabowie Outposts will do all they can to make this a trip they will remember forever. I am hopeful, in years to come we will tell stories of this trip, and hopefully, one day find a way to repeat it.

Until then, remember that dreams can come true. In fact, I have come to believe that our dreams are God's way of showing us our true potential. Dream big, chase them and they can come true.