The Unorganized Packer Getting Organized – Packing for your Hunt

Packing for Your Hunt


Packing for your hunt

How do you prepare for the hunt? Each season I seem to re-evaluate the successfulness of packing my gear. We typically drive 1-1.5 hours into the remote wilderness, set up the wall tent and stay 7-10 days in the Cascade Mountain Range. That being said, we cannot carry a ton of gear into camp especially apparel. Most of our luggage is the basics of camp and food. Yes, that means no shower for up to 10 days but I think I may have it down to a science. (For my own personal hunt.) Here I have attached my checklist for packing my  gear.  I left a few open spots for you to be able to make this a working list for your hunt. I would love to hear what you removed and added. (This list starts off September Elk, and I make seasonal adjustments)   HuntingCampChecklist

HuntingCampChecklist Click to Print

 

Why these items?

Hoo-Rag: I have extremely long hair so I love pulling it back and using the rag for a headband. It keeps the hair and sweat out of my face. It also doubles as a facemask during the early/late chill and while putting the stalk on.

Witch Hazel: A natural astringent. I use it to clean my face, cuts, bug bites and it’s also good for poison ivy or oak. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch-hazel)

Dry Shaving Cream: A girl has still got to shave! I use EOS Ultra Moisturizing Shave Cream. First because it works, Second because they offer it in Vanilla (Most similar to the smell of dirt) If they sold pine I would use that. (http://evolutionofsmooth.com/ultra-moisturizing-shave-cream-2724.html)

Sheet: It’s usually hot in mid September but you never know in the mountains. I put a sheet down in my sleeping bag just in case it’s too warm to sleep inside it.

Conditioning Spray: Using unscented conditioner, add 1-2 tablespoons of conditioner for every 8oz of water. It’s just enough to keep my hair in control and get the brush through it.

Have a great season. Hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.

Packing for your hunt - gathering essentials

How do you keep cool when making the shot?

Andrea Haas ProStaff EvoOutdoorsOne of the questions that I am often asked by women who are interested in bow hunting for the first time is, “How do you keep your cool when making the shot?” They often say “I just don’t think I would be able to shoot a deer with a bow”, or “It just seems so hard, I don’t think I would be able to pull it off”. While I love encouraging other women to get involved in hunting, I will be honest when I say that yes, bowhunting is very hard. If it was easy everyone would be doing it! While a successful bow hunt is difficult to pull off, it is definitely very attainable with some hard work, determination and practice. Lots and lots of practice!

Thinking back to my very first bow season, I began by shooting my bow every day from about May to opening day in September. When you start shooting your bow pay extra attention to getting down proper form and finding your anchor point. After a while this becomes second nature and you won’t even have to think about it, you just do it every time. I believe in quality over quantity when it comes to target practice. Shooting a few arrows each night is far better than shooting multiple arrows and letting yourself get tired and your form sloppy.

Practing proper form is essential for success

Practing proper form is essential for success

Practice with the equipment you know you will be hunting with. My bow is sighted in using 100 grain broad heads, all the same brand. All of my arrows are the same brand, weight & straightness, and the fletchings are the same on each arrow. I want to know that no matter what arrow I use in my quiver, each one is going to shoot the same way. Bow hunting is a huge challenge and making yourself familiar and comfortable with your weapon is half the battle.

Take into consideration the gear you will be hunting in and practice shooting in it. When you are shooting in your back yard you are probably shooting in jeans and a t-shirt. But when you are hunting you usually have on multiple layers, making it a little more difficult to pull your bow back and find your anchor point. This past season I was full draw on a great buck and had a clothing mishap that forced me to pass on the shot. If I had practiced in that particular clothing item I would have known that it was something I preferred not to bow hunt in and would have filled my deer tag a LOT earlier in the season!

Another pre-season shooting tip is to practice shooting from a tree stand or ground blind, whichever you are going to be hunting out of. If you’ll be hunting from a tree stand practice shooting from one and get used to shooting at an angle. If you’ll be hunting out of a ground blind, practice while sitting down or from your knees. If you are able to, get in the blind and practice shooting out of it. With ground blinds you have a smaller window to shoot out of and it takes some getting used to.

Practicing the above tips should help ease some of your bow hunting jitters and make you more prepared for an actual hunt. When a deer steps out and you are ready to shoot, hopefully all of this will come back to you automatically so you can focus on making a good shot. To me, shot placement and remembering your anchor point when shooting at an animal are THE most important things to focus on. When I shot my first deer with a bow, I had mosquitoes swarming around my head and biting my face as I was preparing to make the shot, but thanks to all my practice I was able to stay focused and make a clean shot.

My friend Allison O’Nan and Field Staff for EvoOutdoors, shared some of her tips with me that help her stay calm when bow hunting:

  • Participating in 3D archery tournaments or league where you are feeling under pressure will help you to work through the jitters when it comes time to shooting game.
  • Visualize making the shot when you are at full draw. Confidence is the key! But don’t get over confident and cause yourself to extend pass your own shooting limits.
  • Practice breathing techniques every time you shoot, even in your own back yard. Breathing through my shots keeps my mind clear and hand steady. As I inhale/exhale I pass over my target three times before I settle in and release my arrow.
  • Chewing gum is a great way to release nervous energy. However, for bow hunting, maybe try a brand such as Gum-O-Flage.

Allison O’Nan | Field Staff for EvoOutdoorsI’ve had a lot of successful hunts, but have found that most of my unsuccessful ones were due to lack of focus. For me, the excitement/nervousness that I feel right before I shoot a deer is always there. It was there on my very first bow hunt, my last hunt and will be on my next. But the above tips have really helped me control my excitement and keep my cool in the heat of the moment when a shot presents itself.

2014 Archery deer harvest

2014 Archery deer harvest

Andrea Haas | ProStaff EvoOutdoors

Let’s talk ProStaff….

To many it means professional. To the industry it’s either professional or promotional and usually both. We all know those guys/gals who hold up the products in pics and say this got the job done. Really?! Does that sell?!

Here at EvoOutdoors we have personally struggled with the term and its impact. Not only on the current hunters but our future generation. Many get caught up in wanting to get paid to hunt or getting free gear from sponsors. Though very, very few do! It then becomes a blasting all over social media which in turn does exactly the opposite of what the genuine intentions are, and most of the time it comes across as “See what I have and you don’t”.

Product should speak for itself. If it fits right and performs well in the field then you tell a buddy. That is what we are after. A conversation between friends, family, workers, or hunters about a product you love and trust. #HonestPromotion

Let the product and customer service speak! Maybe we’re old fashion, but good old word of mouth you can trust, and it seems to be a thing of the past. Could we call ourselves #Vintage and be hip with the new generation?

To us our ProStaff means much more. They are our partners, our team, professional people, hunters, volunteers and most of all honest hardworking people.We have created a team of individuals we believe in. Not because they are professional or promotional but because they are good people who love to hunt and love getting involved in their community. Each partner offers something different to our team and we value even the smallest contributions. Yes they are encouraged to promote the product we carry that they believe in. #HonestPromotion   Yes, they receive a discount to purchase gear they wish to support, and yes they are encouraged to share it on social media if its meets their standards of a great product. Our partners are hunters who share in our vision of offering quality products with quality customer service. They see the bigger picture than just receiving a discount on products. They are in a position to set an example, to do something bigger, to give back.

After our first year down we are lucky to have gained so much support. A true thank you goes out to those supporters and our amazing ProStaff. We couldn’t do it with out you and our Team!

 

Here’s to being #Vintage

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Bird Hunter

                My choices for a new public profile on Facebook did not include “hunter” as an option. I narrowed my selection down to “Public Figure” and “Athlete.” Ultimately, I chose “Public Figure,” but not without asking myself and those closest to me, whether or not a hunter is appropriately classified as an “Athlete” and why so many other ProStaff for hunting product lines are considered athletes. In an industry that has become more technically advanced and the focus on preparation for the physical and mental test of the outdoors more extreme, are hunters the new athletes? And, was I one?

                 

                Instead of bench pressing my five-pound encyclopedic dictionary, I looked up the word “athlete.” The definition was “a person trained or gifted in exercises or contests involving physical agility, stamina, or strength; a participant in a sport, exercise or game requiring physical skill.” While the components of skill-related fitness may be the same for hunting as in an organized competition, it wasn’t entirely clear whether golfers, hunters, or poker players were “athletes.”

                 

                As an avid bird hunter, I spend my best days on the duck flats with retrievers or in the mountains with setters. The only person with me is my hunting partner. We have no rivalry and there is no audience. The most difficult rules we follow are ethical considerations: fair chase, voluntary restraint, and personal choices on whether to leave or take birds and how to take them. It’s one of the most individualized activities possible. Hunters are bounded by regulations, but whether hunting big game or small game, hunters restrict themselves far more than the regulations.

        

- upland bird hunters often only shoot birds “on the wing” after they are pointed by a dog and avoid shooting birds on the ground or birds flushed by the dog although no law requires it

– upland bird hunters often only shoot birds “on the wing” after they are pointed by a dog and avoid shooting birds on the ground or birds flushed by the dog although no law requires it

 

                        The discussion on whether a hunter is an athlete could become an extension of the discussion on whether hunting is a “sport.” The sporting life and the conservation-minded sportsman were differentiated from market hunters at a point in time when men like Hemingway, Roosevelt, and Ruark wrote of their safaris in Africa. Alternatively, hunters who hunted to provide for their families were not pursuing recreation as much as they were like farmers who harvested an animal instead of a crop. The term “athlete” leaves out the kind of hunter that I most resemble. My hunting is an attempt to connect with reality, whether it is the reality of my place in nature or my dependence upon other life forms to survive. Taking an animal leaves blood on my hands and reminds me of the blood in my veins.

                 

- white-tail ptarmigan are found at the highest elevation of the three species of ptarmigan, and they are the best-eating due to their diet of berries and alipine leaves

– white-tail ptarmigan are found at the highest elevation of the three species of ptarmigan, and they are the best-eating due to their diet of berries and alipine leaves

 

                While a hunter can be an athlete, an athlete is not necessarily a hunter. A meaning from the 15th century Latin word “athleta” defined a combatant in public games. And the Greek “athlon” meant “prize.” My hunting pursuits could include a variation on a prize in terms of a successful hunt, but so much of the real meaning of what it is to be a “hunter” is left out of the definition of athlete. The question for me was whether or not hunting wild game resulted in a version of the coveted olive-wreath.

 

                Some hunters are fiercely competitive. They push themselves and, depending on what they hunt and how, they approach the task as a team or as individuals. They are committed, resourceful, and they face tests in the field that tell them whether or not they have prepared enough. They lug gear, climb mountains, and place themselves in extreme conditions. They may even agonize over their readiness to the extent that they are uber-hunters who inspire others. But, no matter how obsessed I become about my training, my focus is on the outdoor experience as a whole and preservation of the hunting traditions.

          

- upland bird hunting in the mountains requires a high degree of physical fitness, but it also takes in more than a pursuit of game or the skill to acquire it

– upland bird hunting in the mountains requires a high degree of physical fitness, but it also takes in more than a pursuit of game or the skill to acquire it

       

                I spend most Sundays at the trap range honing my shot gunning skills, but there have been days that I’m there for three hours and haven’t shot a round. Instead, I’m warming by the stove talking to my favorite trap shooters about hunting and fishing and reloads. My collection of guns, gear, and clothing requires a garage, shop, and shed. I like to hang out with my stuff, even if I’m not using it. Then, there are the hunting dogs and the days I spend afield with them. Sometimes, I’m just out there for the love of the dog. I’m in the best shape of my life because I’m living the sporting life, not competing in it.

                 

                As I pondered my role in the world of the great outdoors I realized it wouldn’t matter how lean my muscles got, how many pull ups I could do, or how far up a mountain I could run with a full-sized camp. My motivation in life has more to do with living honestly, skillfully, reverently, and well. I’m a hunter.

        Upland-opener-8-10-2013-187       

 

By Christine Cunningham | ProStaff EvoOutdoors

               

                For up to date information on the Women Hunting Alaska book, please visit Northern Publishing  or like Women Hunting Alaska  on Facebook!

Training and Preparation For A Successful Hunt

 

Preparation for the hunt  Training and Preparation for a Successful Hunt

 

There are countless ways to mess up an elk hunt, or any hunt for that matter, but one way to better yourself as a hunter is to be physically and mentally prepared. Being prepared will help minimizing your mistakes and make your hunt more memorable. Elk hunting is tough; steep mountains, high elevations, and brutal weather conditions will be against you. Hunting in he mountains under these conditions can test anyone’s physical and mental fortitude. This is why it is important to be prepared to optimize your odds for success.

“Everyday you spend in inactivity, you get weaker. Everyday that the elk move through the high country, they get stronger. The longer you wait to exercise, the wider the gap grows,” says Cameron Hanes. Persistence and perseverance are critical components of any hunt, but they are also critical components of a strenuous workout and shooting routine. Before embarking on your hunt, make the commitment to yourself that you will hunt hard everyday, no matter the circumstances, and not quit before the end of your hunt. This is also true for your workouts and shooting routines. This is where being physically prepared comes in handy.

A lot of elk hunters do not focus on the important areas of the body that are used the most during the hunt. So what specific areas of our bodies should we focus on improving if we want to become capable and confident hunters? The answer is simple; legs and lungs. I’m not telling you to just lift and workout just your legs and lungs but focus on them a little more at least. Think about it, everything you do in the woods starts and ends with your legs. Legs are a foundation for your body and also a foundation to a successful and most importantly a more memorable hunt. Your legs are one of the most essential physical assets that will determine how hard you will be able to hunt.

In the mountains you will be facing a scientifically proven battle for oxygen resources. The low concentration of oxygen in the high, thin air at altitude will make it difficult for your body to perform at its best. You owe it to yourself…BE IN TOP CARDIOVASCULAR SHAPE! We have to train our heart and lungs to be as efficient as possible, so our blood circulation and oxygen is prepared for the stresses of hunting.

If you’re just getting started on a fitness regime you should aim for a minimum of 3 days of cardio exercises a week. From there work your way up to 5-6 days a week. Shoot for a minimum of 20 minutes a session but no longer than 60 minutes a section. When doing cardio you will need to be in your Target Heart Range (THR) to exercise your heart and lungs. This THR is 60-85% of your maximum heart rate.

The best way to achieving your desired physical fitness level is through variety. When hunting you will be faced with a multitude of challenges, this is why you shouldn’t rely on one exercise to prepare for your season. Mix it up so you aren’t getting bored with your exercises. Go on a hike, a bike ride, run the dog, do circuit training, or crossfit, just mix it up.

My goal is to become the best possible hunter I can be. Having a wide variety of exercises will get you in adequate form for hunting and help you become a better hunter. Now the question is do you just want to go elk hunting, or do you want to bring one back? Good luck!!

by EvoOutdoors FieldStaff Cass Via

Five Questions to Ask When Shopping for Sportswear and Outdoor Apparel

            Christine Cunningham - ProStaff EvoOutdoors   The first time I heard the phrase, “Put your hood up or you’re going to get wet,” I realized that I had never used a hood in my life. The borrowed rain gear I wore on my first duck hunt was two sizes too large and associated with the nearby salmon fishery. I should have known that a trip requiring waterproof chest waders was not just an eccentric fashion choice. Looking back, I realize that was the day I stopped seeking comfort and instead sought adventure.

Having the best sportswear extends my time outdoors and never gets in the way. The best clothing products share qualities of design and purpose. Choosing the best products gives me the best chance at success and, in some cases, can be life-saving. Enduring a crisis caused by making critical mistakes in gear or clothing make for the end to the adventure too often mistaken for adventure itself. Although the skill level of many hunters does not demand the precision apparel offered by most sportswear today, every skill level can use an edge.

             Here are the five questions I ask when making a decision to purchase outdoor apparel:

What is the Purpose? In other words, what do I need this product to do? Is this outer jacket needed for cold wet, or cold dry, weather? Do the base and mid-layers need to pull double duty as outer layers; is a scent proof or camouflage fabric necessary? Is the range of movement required possible in this particular shirt, vest, jacket, boot, or wader; does it allow for shooting, hiking, rock climbing, or traversing water? Is there a requirement for the item to be packed, washed, or worn over long periods; is it packable, washable, or fast-drying? What kind of pockets, zippers, snaps, or magnetic clasps does it have; does it need to be quiet, easily removed, or able to store other items?

Can it be Used for More than One Purpose? This is the “Can this item become my little black dress of the outdoors” question. It takes a long time to acquire the basic gear for every scenario, but versatile products save money and exemplify the practicality of the true outdoorsman. This is one of the reasons so much of my fishing gear is camouflage. Fishing doesn’t require camo, but if the same outer jacket, waders, hats, and gloves work for fishing or target shooting as hunting, I’m saving money and room in my closet. Fly-fishing is often thought of as requiring very specific products; however, I’ll never forget a girlfriend who discovered how much could be stored in a fly-fishing vest. She nearly gave up carrying a purse!

How will it be used? The best products are field-tested and proven. But, they are only as good as the weakest zipper or seam. Knowing how I will use an item helps me to determine what is likely to fail so I consider all potential weak points. Are the zippers waterproof or reinforced? Is there a repair kit or extra parts? Is there any part that will chafe, itch, or wear out? If I can try something on, I perform a re-enactment from the field: shooting postures, hands above head, bending down, jumping, waxon, waxoff, and so forth. I do this in a dressing room, if possible.

Does it go above and beyond? Every purchase supports the manufacturer and retailer behind it. Companies that give back to the hunting traditions, support conservation, or represent what is best in the outdoors make purchases pull double duty. I like to support outfitters whose products are made in the U.S.A., who offer smart choices for women, and who are responsible for the environment.

and finally…

Do I Already Have it? One of the most difficult things about the sporting life is storage and inventory of all of the items required for particular pursuits. There are totes and closets and storage sheds full of outdoor products. Because there are always innovations in gear, old gear can quickly become forgotten. There may be a way to avoid the purchase of things that I already own. There may be an app or a simple process I just haven’t learned. If I ever get so organized that I can find everything I own, it just might be the day stop seeking adventure. So for now, I’m okay with having an extra jacket or two to spare a new hunter who might want to come along for the first time and learn why good gear is important.

Christine Cunningham - ProStaff EvoOutdoors

Author: Christine Cunningham – ProStaff EvoOutdoors 

Texas Disabled Youth Hunt

Texas Youth DIsabled Hunters
The North Texas Disabled Youth Hunt is put on through the combined efforts of several area ranches that are located in northwest Texas and members of the North Texas Sportsman’s Consortium as well as a non profit 501 c3 organization, Dream Catcher Outdoor Adventures.  2012 was the first year this hunt was conducted and it was viewed as a resounding success by all.  The children had a wonderful time participating in a wide variety of activities and most were successful in harvesting deer.
Ranches generally in the Eastland County area offer opportunities to harvest excess does and management bucks.  These ranches typically are highly managed for quality and quantity, and offer top notch hunting conditions.  These young hunters have an excellent opportunity to see lots of wildlife and harvest a deer.
Youth learning about firearm safetyAmong the various activities the children participated in were a hunter safety course including firearm handling, loading, and firing.  A guide was assigned to each child and they were able to spend time before hunting so they could not only bond, but the guide was able to evaluate the hunter’s capabilities and skill level.  Besides the deer hunt itself, there was a trip to a local fire station for a tour through the facility which included discussion with fire station personnel about fire safety and a ride in a fire truck.  Ready for the FIretruck RideMeals (three/day) were a focal point. Not only were they top shelf cuisine, but they allowed everyone to hear the stories of each other’s outings and events.  Stories of successes and failures were told and enjoyed by all.  The last evening was a blow out bash with a campfire, barbeque, guitar picking and singing, and a ride up in the dark by an assembly of cowboys mounted on horseback ready and willing to take anyone on a ride that was ready, willing, and able.  Youth Hunters meeting the cowboysA hayride to and from the barbeque was enjoyed as well!!
The event ran from noon Friday,  to departure after hunting on Monday morning.  It was open not only to the children, but their parents/guardians were encouraged and welcome to join as well.  Attendees were provided lodging in a local hotel in Eastland, Texas.
The 2013 North Texas Disabled Youth Hunt promises to be even better than our maiden voyage last year.  Our goal is to learn from prior year’s experiences and to focus on bringing  joy into these kids hearts through a wonderful outdoor experience.  We want to grow the event without sacrificing quality for numbers. Each year will be a learning experience and the following year will benefit from what knowledge we have gained.  If we can provide a quality time for these youth, and grow the numbers so that more can participate, that will be the best of all worlds.
 Dream Catchers Youth Event Harvest
If you would like to contribute and help us make this year as successful as the LAST!!!!
“Keep your blades sharp, and your powder dry”
David Frisbie

Fashion vs Function – A Thought On Women’s Hunting Apparel

Woman Fishing In a Dress

A picture of a woman dressed in an expensive burgundy dress wearing a pair of generic hip waders caught my attention. The hip waders were folded over below the knee, overlapping to the ankles with additional straps wrapped like bohemian braids, a stylish and purpose-defying statement of beauty stranded helpless in a fishing stream. The dress, $389, the imported earrings, $198, the deconstructed hip waders, $7.99, the girl hooking a salmon and filling her boots with water before falling in the drink, dangerous.

The photos were themed to a world that doesn’t really exist: the hip dysfunctional outdoors. Creative backgrounds and props that place fashion models wearing expensive beaded halter dresses on horseback and chiffon ruffle tunic’s leaning against badly painted barns. While the reality would be closer to holding prom in a diesel shop, the clothes do look especially nice.

Back when I thought a Balaclava was a Grecian dessert, I had no idea I’d one day be dressing in layers and spreading Kenai River mud on my face to keep myself invisible to ducks. After a few seasons in the field, I’d acquired a new wardrobe, one that contained the three W’s: windproof, waterproof, and whiff proof (scent proof may be a better term, but it doesn’t start with “W” and wombats aren’t really a problem in Alaska).

It wasn’t long after I started duck hunting that I bought my first pair of chest waders. The bulk was unfamiliar, so I kept tightening my straps. With the straps as snug as a pair of Levis, I thought I looked alright. I took off across the duck flats, which are not, as the name would indicate, always flat. Getting down the first ravine was not a problem, even with a pack full of decoys, a full coffee thermos, and provisions. Getting back out of the slough with my straps tightened to the point that my knees wouldn’t bend, was not as easy. To make the ridge, I brought up my right foot, but I couldn’t make the final step, I fell strait back into the slough, my pack weighed me down like a turtle’s shell, my legs wiggling in the air.

My hunting partner was laughing from the top as the sky opened up and the rain came down. I rolled around in the mud, trying to get up with restricted movement. Finally un-strapping my pack and my waders, and learning that the first rule of waders is to be able to get out of them.

The world of camouflage poly-fibrous material was as foreign a subject to me as the outdoor experience itself. The fact clothing could make or break a hunting or fishing trip meant more than matching my shoes to my belt. The words “performance” and “adaptation” apply to the clothing itself. Clothing matters and, with brands like Prois and Haley Vines, gear specifically designed for women is putting the function in fashion.

One of my favorite Prois features is the hidden pockets designed to hold activated hand warmers. A friend had once suggested putting the warmers in a bra, which I did only to find out that I had strategically placed chemical burns that itched like crazy. There are more options available now for women’s gear than when I purchased my first coat that “flattered the female form.” This coat was indeed flattering, but the pockets were shallow, the zipper was as noisy as pocket full of quarters, and when I mounted my shotgun, the figure-flattering shoulders did not give me enough room, causing me to miss. That’s what I told everyone anyways.

As I pondered over the photograph of the vulnerable, fashion-forward fisher girl as much as tied to the railroad tracks with a river running through it, I wondered if outdoor-fitters would ever attempt to contrast their performance wear against unsuitable back drops: Mossy Oak Brush chest waders in the Oval Office; blaze orange hunting vests in the typing pool; Winter Seclusion parkas on the beach.

I turned the page to find a pair of imported Italian heels next to a pineapple in a refrigerator. I’d never refrigerated my foot wear, but maybe it was a good idea. Or maybe, I thought, the outdoor world was doing just fine without turning their models and merchandise into a visual art movement. Maybe the gear was good enough on its own. Actually, I can attest to the fact that it is. To the women of Prois, who work as hard as they play, thank you for saving me from chemical burns and everything else I wouldn’t have thought of.

Prois Women's Hunting ApparelAuthor: Christine Cunningham – ProStaff EvoOutdoors

EvoOutdoors

Not All Trophies Are Made Of Gold | Bear Hunting in Canada

David Frisbie - EvoOutdoors ProStaff

 

I read somewhere that “The core of a man’s spirit comes from new experiences.” Most hunters dream of traveling the world in search of big game. Whether it be a cape buffalo in the great plains of Zimbabwe, or a dall sheep in the mountain tops of Alaska. I am no exception to this by any means…

I find it exhilarating traveling to unfamiliar territory in pursuit of an animal I have never laid eyes on. This addiction has lead me to hunt everything from mountain lion to kudu in my 30 years. Where I am from we have more than enough big game to keep most outdoorsman occupied. Whitetail, pronghorn, feral hogs, desert mulies… just about any exotic game you can imagine. One thing Texas doesn’t offer is BEAR. Since I can’t find one here I decided I would go where I could chase one… I spent last August gawking over pictures of black bears of all shapes and color phases. Reading about them and how unique they really are. I decided that I had to hunt this amazing animal. I spent the next 3 weeks searching for outfitters, calling references, comparing prices, and looking at flights. I finally settled with Marshland Outfitters out of Candle Lake, Saskatchewan and booked my hunt. Then the preparation started…So the first week of June 2013 I found myself in the bush of Saskatchewan, Canada.

First thing was booking my flight, and making sure all of travel documents and reservations were in order. (Always look at your passport expiration date… Haha) Its always a good idea to check the gun laws in the country you are traveling as well. Some charge outrageous fees to import a firearm and others won’t let you at all. (This isn’t an issue if you are a bow hunter obviously.) Luckily it was only a $25 import tax for a  firearm.

After figuring out how I was getting there and back home it was time to start gearing up. After a little research on the climate and conditions I would be hunting, I made a checklist of things I would need. I figure it was going to be colder than a cast iron toilet…not the case at all! Beautiful weather to a Texan’s standards. Rain gear and a thermacell was right at the top of that list though. If you haven’t seen a mosquito in Canada; lets just say they are big enough that they will eat anything that doesn’t eat them first and they are thicker that fleas on a farm dog.

I researched what type of weapon was best too. A general rule I live by, is that the further you get from the equator the bigger the animal is. I was surprised in finding that any basic whitetail setup was plenty for a springtime bear. I talked to the outfitter to get a feel of my shot distances. Then I started practicing. Day in and day out it was practice, practice, practice! Did I mention practice? Every free second I had I dedicated to shooting until I was hitting tight enough groups at 40 yards I felt like I could do it blindfolded. I was taking my 270 WSM as well just for a backup plan. I usually live by the thought that if you have a Plan B, then Plan A wasn’t good enough. But in this case I would rather be safe than sorry.

Finally before I knew it my hunt was here. I was boarding a plane out of DFW to Saskatoon…  Headed 2000 miles north for a hunt of a lifetime. Our days were long… The sun would rise at 4:15 am and wouldn’t set until 11pm or so. Each day consisted of spotting and stalking in the mornings and sitting over a bait barrel in the evenings. I saw moose, elk, deer, and even had a close encounter with a pair of wolves one afternoon.  I watched numerous bears each day but was holding out for that special one. That one that I looked at through the binos and just said “WOW”. Well, that bear never presented itself. On day 4 of my hunt I decided it was time to lose the trophy hunter mentality and shoot something I would be proud of.

That afternoon it was raining off and on. It was even hailing pea sized hail at one point. However, I never wished I was any place else than right there. I watched bears come and go. Then, after 4 hours of waiting I had a beautiful black bear staring right at me. I watched him as he slowly moved through the trees. I found an opening he should come to if he continued on his path. Then I waited. 30 seconds seemed like an hour! As soon as he stepped into my shooting lane I didn’t hesitate. BANG! He ran a few steps and rolled up into a black heap on the leaf covered ground. I dunno if a tree makes a sound when it falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, but I can tell you that I was making more noise than a pissed off mule in a tin barn.

   2013 Canadian Bear Hunt

One of my greatest achievements in my hunting career is that bear. Not because of the size, but because I was so far away from home, in another country, doing it alone. He isn’t the biggest bear but he is MY bear. He is my biggest and best to date and I am proud of him. One thing I do regret is not being able to share the experience with someone at that very moment in time. Someone once told me “Happiness is only real when shared.”  There is something to that I think.

Some people sit around and talk about doing things, or what they would like to do. Then one day, they realize all their dreams have become regrets. My advice, get out and chase that monster bull elk or trophy mule deer. Stop living vicariously through Jim Shockey and Tiffany Lakosky on TV and go fill your own tags! When you want something in life, you just have to reach out and grab it.

“Keep your blades sharp and your powder dry”

 

David Frisbie

 

Blood Rite of Passage – A Hunting Tradition is Born

Frisbie Family photo

A tradition is born

Hunting is a time-honored tradition here in Texas, as well as  in most parts of our country and the world. It’s a way for a boy to become a man and to earn the respect of his elders. With any long-standing past-time, traditions are made. Like in baseball, the tradition of throwing out the first pitch or “God Bless America” in the 7th inning stretch. Hunting traditions are no different…

photo 4-2
   Like most men I know, I grew up learning about the outdoors from my grandfather. He is now pushing 80 years old, with failing eyesight,  and bad shoulders, yet he can still spot a buck 3 fence lines away. With 4 daughters of his own, he took it upon himself to pass down his hunting traditions / rituals to me. The same ones that his father had passed to him, and I will pass on to my wife and step-son.
   The main one is the “blood rite” tradition. It is the act of smearing blood on the hunters face as a celebration of the first kill. I remember opening weekend of the 1988 rifle season when I was 5 years old. I was standing in our back yard watching my grandfather skin the buck hanging from an old oak tree. I watched in awe as he turned our trophy into food for the table. He stood so tall above me, working his knife separating flesh from skin. He stopped just long enough to turn around and swipe his index finger across my forehead.  It was warm, wet and a smell that I had never smelled before. Not bad, just different. He stood there staring at me with a proud look on his face, then gave out his signature chuckle. I thought I was a man…
Mrs. Frisbie with White Tail Buck   I had the opportunity to witness this again this past year. My wife didn’t grow up hunting, but since marrying me has fallen in love with it the same as I did. This year on opening day, she went out and harvested her first deer completely solo. A beautiful Texas whitetail that any hunter would be proud to have on his / her wall. She was standing at the tailgate of the truck, taking pictures, and prouder than a Rio gobbler in full strut. All of a sudden, my grandfather quietly walks over inspecting the rack and shot placement on the buck. Then he asks “Which one of you shot this deer?” Shannon exclaimed “I did!!” Reaching up with an index finger full of blood he covered her nose with it. I stood there expecting her to scream and scream she did…with excitement!! She wrapped her arms around him in a huge hug. I can’t remember being more proud to call her my wife than that moment. My wife had earned the respect of every man there, the same way I did 24 years earlier almost to the day.
   This tradition will forever be sacred to me. Like a prayer before dinner, it’s something I want to continue to pass down along with my love for the outdoors. What will your children remember from their first deer or monster bass? What traditions will you leave them with?
“Keep your powder dry, and your blades sharp”
David Frisbie – Tightlines and Big Tines