Monday, December 6, 2010

What a season!

So its been another long lapse in time since I sat here typing on my laptop for my blog. Believe me it's not that I haven't wanted to but sometimes you have to try and make hay when you can as the old saying goes. So here I am. Staring at this screen and trying to decide where to begin.

The season has been crazy just like my life has been this past year. Just when you think you have things figured out, another curve ball comes your way. So you just have to roll with it and do the best you can with what you got. For those that have had the chance to be around me you know my saying "I'm doing the best I can with what I got which ain't much but I'm doing it anyway." Funny but true.

I have actually been able to get out this season more than I thought I would. I have spent many days in the deer woods, some in the duck marsh, a few in the goose fields and even was able to get out and smoke a turkey in the spring in my one day of turkey hunting!

I must say that I have definitely learned a lot this year and have had the good fortune of meeting some really great people that have done so much for me. I would like to say thanks to our sponsors PSE, G5, Leupold, Dead Down Wind, Dragonfire ThermoGrip, Mossy Oak, America's Best Bowstrings, LaCrosse, Mike's Magic, Spot Shooter Archery and Joe Segler Wildlife Taxidermy. Without their support and great products the time spent in the field wouldn't be as enjoyable. Knowing that when I got my trophy I had the best taxidermist around to take care of it is incredible. I would also like to say thanks to some of the people that went out of their way to help me this year. My team who have stood by me this year and being there for me to lean on when I needed them. Wendy Williamson who did a ton of behind the scenes work. "Thee Ron Dore" and his family for having me out at Scronnie Acres and the karaoke concerts in the truck. Eric "Sleepy E" and his wife Melissa for having me down to the great state of Indiana and treating me like family. Chris, Casey, Jay and my great friend Mattias for another great hunt and camp that I look forward to every year for many reasons.

So with that being said I wanted to say that I have met some really great kids this years as well. To me that is the best part hanging out and listening to the kids tell their stories. No matter how bad things may be they always put a smile on your face and bring you back to whats fun. So Kile, Jacob, Arron and Kyle thanks for hanging out and sharing your stories and well just reminding me what this is really about.

I was fortunate to hunt some great properties and see some great game this season. I just wish the camera could have gotten them when I could have and vice versa. I still dream about the big 12 point drop tine from Indiana that we couldn't get on camera because he came to the party before we got set up. That's ok I will have that memory for the rest of my life and that is ok with me. Ok you got me, I wish I would have just shot and dropped him like a bad habit! They say it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission right? Who cares that it wouldn't have been on video he would be on my wall! Right Mike?

I have been reminded that I do this because it's fun. Going out and spending the day in the field is a privilege as well as blessing. It's not how big the rack is, how long the beard is or whether it has a band but about how much fun it is and to be able to enjoy it. It's not that your name is mentioned or your in a dvd or video it's about sharing the experience with those in camp or hearing a child tell you their story about the one that they got or the one that got away. It's about shooting some does and being just as excited about them as I am about the big buck. It's all about having fun and if you can't do that then you should probably stop doing it!

The season is still going and there is still a lot of unfinished business to take care of. So remember to just get out and have fun and the rest will fall into place. Nuff Said!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Here They Are!

Well it has been a while since I posted my last blog. This being the busy time of year and being fortunate enough to head out in the field as much as I do, my writing has taken a back seat to chasing game. There has been many twists and turns to the season so far. Some great and some not so great.

You sit back and can sometimes focus on the negative things that go on in your everyday life as well as the hunting or fishing trips that may have not ended the way you would have liked. I think they call this human nature. Well recently I got down but then remembered someone special Brady. This little guy has touched so many people including myself and most of these never had the opportunity to meet him. It didn't take long for me to regain focus and remember not to take anything or anyone for granted in my life.

I had asked in my last blog to put his name on your arrow or shells. You responded like I knew you would and would like to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to send them in to me. I couldn't post them all but I have included as many as I could. I know there were a few emails sent from some that were doing this but weren't able to take pics due to tech issues. Thank you. So here they are.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Begining of My Brady Hunt A Success

Well as most of you know the past couple days I had the opportunity to go out in the woods for Michigan's early doe season. I was set to hit the woods with my good friend Ron Thursday morning. I couldn't wait. So I made the journey out to Ron's and got settled into my new home. Welcome to "The Trailerhood"! My man has more trailers stored at his property than a Jayco factory.

We sat up and talked for a while about the hunt and it's new meaning. It was something we were both looking forward to. We sat around the campfire and talked about the issues going on in our lives. We joked about our previous hunts and made fun of each other just like hunting friends do. It was getting late and as much as we wanted to talk about past hunts we knew it was time to turn in. We wanted to make sure we were on top of our game come the morning.

I made my way to the trailer stopping by my truck for my Pringles. Hey I gotta eat. I get hungry once in a while. I unpacked my gear in preparation for the mornings hunt. I hung up my gear and tucked it in so to speak so I would be ready to go and prepared come morning. I sat down on my bunk and took a look at that single arrow on the left side of my quiver. I quickly said a prayer and answered emails and text messages til about a little after three. So much for getting my good nights rest. I set the alarm for 4:30 and turned out the light.

Well 4:18 rolled around rather quickly and I woke up and was ready to go. I immediately walked out the door to see the weather. Perfect I thought cool a little breeze but dry. Maybe the weather man was wrong again. I get my hunting clothes on and grab my gear. Ron is driving over to "The Hood" to pick me up. We roll film and talk about this hunt and off we go.
We arrive at the spot and well this would be the one time the weather man would get the forecast right. We waited for a few minutes and the storm rolled in. Thunderstorms were on the breakfast menu and we didn't like it. So back to "The Hood" we went and went to sleep.

Up around ten we hung out in the house had coffee and watched the radar. It looked like we were going to get a break around four. So we ended up watching some TV had lunch and then it seemed like a nap was in store.

The time came and we were off. In the stand we went and settled in. I knocked Brady's arrow in hopes to make a shot. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a little pressure. We had rain off and on the whole time we were out there. Then we heard a branch break and out popped a small doe. We watched her for about fifteen minutes waiting for the big one to come out. We knew she was there but couldn't see her. Then she stuck her neck out and looked right up at us. She was wise which is why she was one of the biggest I have ever seen. She new the game and made a quick spin to go back the way she came. We watched the little one for another five minutes before she left too.

The morning of day two came and went with not a single deer seen. Unfortunately it was time to head home. I packed up and down the road I went. It was a long ride home and I didn't feel good right away. I so badly wanted to put that Brady arrow to use and didn't get to this time. I didn't like that feeling at all. As the trip went on I started thinking about what has transpired over the past week. The fact that many people were made aware of Brady and Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, all because of a simple request by my friend Eric. To know I may have helped him get the word out changed the way I felt. I am glad and honored he asked me that simple little favor.

There have been many pictures coming in of arrows with the name Brady on the vanes or fletchings. I want to thank all who have done so and encourage the ones who haven't to do so. For those who are viewing this who don't archery hunt or hunt at all post the yellow ribbon pic on facebook or even wear one on your shirt. Say a prayer for not only Brady's family but the other families who are experiencing the same tragedy. Prayer is a powerful thing. I have witnessed that what may seem like a small thing to you at first can mean so much more to someone else.

So this was only the beginning of my hunt with Brady. I learned a lot and was reminded that I need to not take for granted the opportunities that I have. Even when I think I have problems, no matter how bad they are, there is always somebody that has it worse. We may not have gotten our doe but we learned something and we still have many days ahead to put it to good use.
Please check out and learn more about this deadly disease. Thank you and God bless.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Focus Has Changed

Well as I sit here tapping these keys on this laptop, I am thinking about this early doe season and my focus has changed. It's funny how you can be going through your normal routines or rituals if you will and have something happen that will totally change the way you view your upcoming hunt. Let me explain.

You see I have this ritual before the season starts to name my shells for duck hunting, slugs for deer hunting and of course my arrows for archery season. So as I was going through and naming my arrows I was daydreaming about the early doe season starting in a couple days. Visions of a well placed shot and good footage for the show made me smile. As you know I like to share what I am doing and decided to take pics of my newly named arrows and posted them on a networking site. Then my hunt changed.

Soon after I got a message from a friend of mine in Indiana. He asked me if I would add the name Brady to one of my arrows. I said absolutely, and did so and posted a pic of the arrow. It was then when he told about the persons name who will be gracing my first arrow of the year.

He replied with a story about friends of his who lost their four year old boy to cancer. He told me that it would mean a lot to him as well as the family. I was flattered that I was asked to do this as well as honored. I stared at that arrow for a bit and it had a new look to it. It's purpose is now more and the significance of it is greater.

I could not imagine having to go through this as a parent let alone a child dealing with this wicked illness that does not discriminate against anyone. I selfishly thought about my son who is only three. I cried when he went home Sunday and it would be only two days before I seen him again. I couldn't even imagine the pain and sadness this family went through in dealing with this. My thoughts and prayers immediately went out to this family.

I asked my friends wife for a picture of Brady if it was ok with his family. A few minutes later I received it and I don't know if I can really put into words the way I was overcome with emotion. I guess to make it easy I will say I was overwhelmed. It was a whole new ballgame after I seen this picture.
Well I can safely say that this hunt has taken on a whole new meaning for me. My focus is that much greater and I can't wait to call and tell of the success Brady and I have. There will no doubt be some extra guidance when that arrow leaves the string. I will be honored to have had him along with me. So with Superman riding shotgun with me there is no doubt our hunt will be successful.

I am asking all who read this to please in honor of Brady put his name on your first arrow you will use this season. Send me the pics and I will post them for all to see. Please let this little Superman guide your first arrow this season. Stay tuned to see how this hunt turns out. I am sure it will be a great one.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Success Is What You Choose It To Be

As I was trying to decide on what to write for this blog, it hit me. It is time to share what I have considered my secret to my hunting success. This has worked for me since I discovered it. I learned it quite a few years ago and glad that I did.

I am a reading fanatic. Let me rephrase that. I am an outdoor reading fanatic. I have hunting and fishing magazines that cover the past 18 years that take up quite a bit of room. I also have a pretty good selection of hunting and fishing books that I have collected over the years. I will read these magazines and books whenever an opportunity arises. This is actually how I have gained a lot of the knowledge I use on all my hunting or fishing trips. I am a self taught hunter. I can't deny however, the many writers that have given me the knowledge to become a better hunter.

I am a competitor at heart. You get that when you compete in sports most of your life. I have the strong burning desire to be the best at anything I do. Hunting is no different. When I hunt, I pride myself on making sure that I set up in the right spot. The X if you will. Making sure that I give myself the best opportunity to take the animal I am hunting. I believe whole heartedly that if I do the proper scouting and home work and get to the X, I will be successful in my hunt.

Along with scouting I make sure that I become one with my weapon of choice. Whether it be a bow, rifle, slug gun, shotgun or muzzleloader. I practice throughout the year not just a few weeks before the season. This gives me confidence, and that my friends is the secret to my success. Confidence. Pretty simple huh?

You see when I started hunting years ago I spent a lot of time in the deer woods. I hunted almost as much as I do now but just couldn't seem to close the deal. I would get close and then it just seemed as though I would always find a way to question the shot, my ability etc. I became frustrated and down right furious. I mean I see the guys on t.v. do it on a daily basis with no problem. Why can't I?

Then one day I bought Peter Fiduccia's book "Whitetail Strategies". That is when I discovered what has been my secret to my hunting success. I read about his C+PT X C=CS Theory. Concentration+Positive Thinking X Confidence = Consistent Success. He explains that "you must believe in yourself as a deer hunter to be most effective when hunting whitetails." So with that I took the pact on the following page and it has helped me become successful in not only deer hunting but hunting in general. I would like to share with you this pact from his "Whitetail Strategies" book:

I am a good deer hunter.

I am confident that I make sound decisions about the hunting strategies I use.

I know my quarry's strengths and weaknesses.

From this moment on, when I think about deer hunting I will do so with confidence and a positive attitude.

When I am in the field, I will totally concentrate on the hunt. I promise myself that I will not let any other matters interfere with my thoughts when I am deer hunting.


I will trust my judgement about the location and tactics I have chosen to use.

Most importantly, from this day on, I will remind myself that I am as good a deer hunter as anyone else -- and will hunt that way.

Well there you have it, the secret to my hunting successes. I have this printed and have one in my gun safe and my gun cases in case I start to lose focus on a trip. I can pull it out, read it and use it like a pep talk from one of my old coaches. It has helped me and maybe it can help you. This can be used for not only hunting but fishing as well. I highly recommend this book it provides a lot of great info that you can use. I plan on using this mindset once again in a few days for Michigan's early doe season. Try this and I know it will work for you too.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Early Goose Day One

Well it has been a while since I was out hunting. Even though it seems like an eternity, it really has only been about 3 months. Funny how when it's something that you love a day seems too long let alone 3 months! The season was finally here and well it was time to get after it.

Opening morning came and went without me going to the field. I woke up and spent time with my son Drake before I was off to class. It was definitely a different type of opening day. I sat there listening to whatever the professor was saying, which triggered me to start day dreaming of geese locked up and committed. Class couldn't get over soon enough!

I managed to be able to keep Drake one more night and decided I was going to take him on his first ever goose hunt! I got home and told him the good news and he was more excited I think than me. High fives and off to his room to get into his camo. Once that was taken care of he was on his way to get the blind bag. Funny how for not ever doing this before he sure knew what we needed! Mike arrived and we threw the dekes in the truck and off we went.

Well we knew the deck was stacked against us due to incoming weather but we gave it the old college try. We met up with my buddy and continued on to our destination. We weren't able to drive onto this field so we all looked like a bunch of mules loaded with gear heading out into the field. We brushed in our blinds and set the deke's up and were ready to go.

Now I have to tell you and be honest that hunting with a three year old can be a little bit trying. Especially on the very first time out of the year. Reality is he wanted us "to shoot them geese" so bad he couldn't stay still no matter how hard I tried to get him to or no matter what I bribed him with! He was a trooper though. He made it through the first part of the rain before him and I went back to the truck.

We did however see some geese and had plenty of ducks in our faces. He loved that. Even though we wouldn't shoot any geese this hunt, he was still fired up on the way home and said "daddy that was my best hunt ever, now can we go shoot the deer?"

This opening day was definitely one to remember for many reasons. There were many firsts. It was the first time in ages I wasn't out in the morning. I am learning to juggle being a full time student, a single daddy and taking care of my hunting and fishing obligations. A lot more planning is going into this season for sure. The biggest first though was being able to take my son out hunting for his first goose hunt. It really doesn't matter that we never fired our gun. We were able to be out and spend time together and have fun even if it was trying at times.

All in all it was a blast and I can't wait to get Drake out in the field again. By far my most productive hunt to date and one I will remember forever. Someday we will be able to look back at this and laugh and he will realize just how much his daddy loves him and how proud he was to be able to be able to spend that opening day in the field with him. This is what it is all about and I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.
Nuff Said!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fall Is Upon Us

Well it has been one heck of a year so far. It has also been three months since I have been able to get out and hunt anything. There were a couple fishing trips that came and went but I have still been dreaming about hunting.

It has been hot and humid for so long that hunting season seemed so far away. Then one night while sitting outside and watching the stars in the sky that it hit me. That cool air slowly wrapped itself around me and let me know that it is almost that magical time of year. The air just had that different cool feel to it. You know the feeling.

Like a buck going into rut or birds being triggered to start the migration I started to think about the seasons that were about to commence. So the first thing that hit me is the Michigan early goose season. Once again I will be hitting some dark golden wheat fields and some sweet corn silage fields in hopes of downing some Canada geese. (No spelling error here kids that's how it's said even when in it's plural form) It's always fun to get out with the fella's and have some good laughs. From the rusty shooting to the jokes and pranks that get pulled on each other. There is nothing better than kicking the hunting season off sitting in my layout blind with a nice cup of coffee and watching the sun rise.

The reality is that this early season is a total crap shoot. You will see geese hit a field one day and go back the next and it looks like Cris Angel was there and made them all disappear into the crisp air. They are tough to scout because they don't really have any set patterns so you can only make your best guess and go with it.

So hear I am, less than a week away and the phone tag going on with the guys about what they are seeing in the fields is making the anticipation great. Visions of geese working to the calls and locking up fully committed with landing gear out against the morning sky is getting my blood flowing again. The sound of widow makers going off with nicely placed patterns hitting their mark and giving the dinner invitations to these unsuspecting geese. I am so excited I started watching last years footage of early goose season on Beyond The Wild Episode 4. I just hope we can omit the DNR and Police issues we had last year!

The first season is here!

Nuff Said