Thursday, February 25, 2010

Good Friends Good Times Few Fish

Well here I am sitting at the keyboard again. I figured that I haven't wrote much about my outdoor experiences lately, with all that's going on in my life. So here I go.

I had the pleasure of being part of the "IceOut 2010" this past weekend. We were headed up to Houghton Lake in the northern Michigan. Joining us would be quite a few members from the UNJ team as well as some great friends from down south. Not southern Michigan but Alabama, Kentucky and Indiana. Boy were they in for a treat.

We arrived at our destination and unloaded our gear onto a trailer. It was going to be towed out to our home for the weekend. Yeah buddy we were sleeping out on the ice in a sleeper shanty. Once we got to our "home", I walked in and realized that my bed didn't have any cushion other than the extremely soft particle board! Yeah brother Mike forgot to tell me about that one. So I throw my sleeping bag on the top bunk and stake claim quickly. Heat rises you know and since it was going to drop down to 15 degrees I needed all the heat I could get. We had a propane heater but lets just say that there was a few drafts.

Once settled, on went the stove and the chili was on. Man were we hungry. It didn't take long before it was ready. Then there was a knock on the door. None other than Hunt Master himself. For those reading this that don't know his real name is Robert Householder and is the founder of the great forum Talk Hunting. We exchanged stories about his trip up and threw down on some of the venison chili. When we were done we had a few more visitors. Mike from Indiana, Jody and Ron from Kentucky. We all sat around told stories and laughed for hours. Man did I need that.

Time for bed. Well kinda. I fell out at about 12:30 but back up at 3:00 to use the facilities. Man it was all of 15 degrees out! For some reason the shanty doesn't feel so warm anymore. Well thank God heat rises.

Morning comes and so does the realization that the heater was accidently turned on low when everyone was over for a visit. Thanks Jody! I think he was playing a joke to see if we could take it. Out came the stove and I got to cooking some breakfast burritos for the crew. After breakfast we all set out to get us some fish.

With about 20 plus people now here we split up and go separate ways to find fish. It didn't take long to realize we were in for some tough fishing. The crew I was with did manage to catch 3 pike and a perch. The others caught a rock bass and some other pan fish. Not much to show for our effort.

Evening came and with it came the get together at the southern boys cabin. We had more jokes and laughs and a couple younger members got some new mustaches (Sharpies do wonders). Not to mention some great venison stew and some wild hog BBQ. Man was that food great. I was glad to be the official taste tester. Then it was off to bed to get a good nights sleep. With the heater on high I was actually able to sleep with my sleeping bag open.

Morning came and we packed up to head for breakfast with he crew. Once again we had a great time and enjoyed each others company. Unfortunately we all had to head back home and get back to reality. We said our goodbyes and off we went.

Looking back on the trip, it was said that it was "the best time fishing without catching a lot of fish." The reality is we had all met on the Talk Hunting website and had we not met there we would have not shared each others company at the "IceOut 2010." I feel fortunate to have met these people and was able to share the ice fishing experience with them. I look forward to to our next outdoor adventure together and hope it happens sooner rather than later. It just goes to show that you don't always have to catch a limit to have a good time.

Sorry for not having pictures. I was just lazy and enjoying not having to worry about it.

So until next time, be safe, appreciate what you have and get into the great outdoors.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My How Time Flies

Well I really don't know what else to say. The last month has been a whirl wind. At times I felt like a dog chasing it's own tail. First off to Columbus to check out the ATA show. Then to the Benefit 4 Kids banquet. Throw in the filming and editing of the latest Beyond the Wild episode. As well as finally getting out on the hard water for some walleye fishing. Oh yeah all while having a phone stuck to my ear.

Well let's start with the ATA show. Man all I can say is that I have never seen so many great products as well as meeting some great people. The UNJ crew spent all three days checking out the latest and greatest that manufacturer's had to offer. There was some pretty cool things to see. One of the coolest things that I saw for archery was the DragonFire Thermo Grip. For you archers that hunt when it's cold, you definitely need to check it out. Definitely something you want to seriously consider. Then there was finally the unveiling of the Mossy Oak Break Up Infinity pattern. I had been able to see this a while before the show and couldn't wait to see it on fabric. It was just as great as I expected it to be. (OK maybe a little biased but I'm being very honest here) America's Best Bowstrings definitely showed that you can still get some pride and high quality in bowstrings today. The G5 booth was one I wanted to check out for sure. I used the Tekan broadheads this year with great results and wanted to see the new T3. Very nice. Dead Down Wind came out with some great products this year. A Waterless Hand Sanitizer that's totally odorless in seconds. Which is great hunting as well as fishing. Totally Odorless Hand & Body Lotion which took them 2 years in formulation and testing to get it to market. A Camo Color Wheel with the only colorants that meet both FDA and EU requirements. Another cool product came out of the Quaker Boy booth. It is one of the most functional turkey vests I have ever seen with a built in guille system.

Now for the Benefit 4 Kids dinner and auction. Let me start by saying that the people involved with this orginization are top notch caring people. They deserve so much credit for all the good they do. My hat goes off to them. They put their heart and soul into this event and it showed. The stories that were told of some of the children they have helped, made you realize just how fortunate you are. When the stories were being shared there wasn't a dry eye in the place. This is definitely a benefit that I will have penciled in my planner for as long as they have it.

On to the latest episode of Beyond the Wild. It started as a crazy idea of mine to do something we haven't done in any of our previous episodes. After bribing Mike to let me put my neck on the line and try it, the plan was put in motion. After talking and bouncing ideas of each other we set the date to shoot the footage. Well I didn't pick the warmest day for sure. We woke up to it being a balmy 9 degrees out! We started filming at about seven in the morning and didn't wrap up filming until 10:48 that evening. We had a blast like always with everyone being a comedian throughout the day. It wasn't until we were at the house and started filming the cooking segment that I really felt the pressure. I came to the realization that I hope they like what I was cooking or we could be in trouble. Thankfully it went over well since there wasn't any left. Whew!

I then got to try my hand in the editing arena. Grrrr! It was a Saturday and we were supposed to go hunt some devil dogs. Unfortunately I woke up and got Mike on the phone and well let's just say I was sick and went back to bed. I was a bit disappointed since I was given some great new 'yote calls and wanted to put em to work in the feild. (Keep looking I will talk about them in the not to distant future) I finally drug myself out of bed and made my way to Mike's editing "palace". Well it only took over fourteen and a half hours and Mike still ended up needing another six more! I don't think that I wanna do that again. I will leave that to the professionals. I will however sit in when the pizza is delivered.

Finally I was able to get out with my buddy Art for some river walleye relaxation time. We hadn't been out together for a while and it was nice to just relax and hang out without a camera. We caught up on each others lives and solved the worlds problems. (Man do I wish I could solve my own) We caught some fish and enjoyed being out in the outdoors. It's funny how just getting out can totally recharge your battery.

Speaking of battery....stay tuned for the reason why I had a phone stuck in my ear in my future blog.

So until next time, be safe, appreciate what you have and get into the great outdoors.