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  • 07 Dec 2016
        Bipartisan Sportsmen's ActFinal Push: Your Immediate Action is Needed and Appreciated     The most important legislation in a generation for America’s hunters and target shooters is at a crucial stage. The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are in the homestretch and have just days to pass the Energy Policy Modernization Act conference report that includes the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act prior to the end of the 114th Congress. Take this final opportunity to call the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and urge him to approve the Energy Conference report with the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Please CALL TODAY before Congress takes up the Continuing Resolution this week to fund the federal government past Dec. 9. We do NOT want Congress to punt the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act into the next congress that begins in January.  We have come too far to go back to “square one” and begin again. Please take this final opportunity to call today to help protect and preserve our cherished outdoor traditions. United States Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
    98 Posted by Chris Avena
  •     Bipartisan Sportsmen's ActFinal Push: Your Immediate Action is Needed and Appreciated     The most important legislation in a generation for America’s hunters and target shooters is at a crucial stage. The U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives are in the homestretch and have just days to pass the Energy Policy Modernization Act conference report that includes the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act prior to the end of the 114th Congress. Take this final opportunity to call the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan and urge him to approve the Energy Conference report with the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Please CALL TODAY before Congress takes up the Continuing Resolution this week to fund the federal government past Dec. 9. We do NOT want Congress to punt the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act into the next congress that begins in January.  We have come too far to go back to “square one” and begin again. Please take this final opportunity to call today to help protect and preserve our cherished outdoor traditions. United States Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
    Dec 07, 2016 98
  • 15 Oct 2016
    Let to go Hunting, Rockytop is the place in Oklahoma  
    131 Posted by j robison
  • Let to go Hunting, Rockytop is the place in Oklahoma  
    Oct 15, 2016 131
  • 02 Sep 2016
             
    170 Posted by Chris Avena
  •          
    Sep 02, 2016 170
  • 02 Jun 2016
    Find full article at http://huntspain.blogspot.com.es/ Hunting in Spain blog   We Spanish are a passionate lot to say the least and that passion most definitely extends to our love of nature and for hunting. Hunting traditions can be found entrenched in all levels of society and they are traditions that go back hundreds of years.  In fact, some say that the landlocked, mountainous position of our capital Madrid, is due to the Kings of old and their passion for hunting. Today, we can enjoy the same experiences as we hunt the big game species that can be found in Spains's spectacular and diverse wilderness: Wild Boar, Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, Spanish Ibex, Pyrenese Ibex (that we call Rebeco or Sarrio), Muflon, Fox, Wolf, as well as some other mountain goat species as is the case of the Arrui can all be hunted.   Big game hunting in Spain can be experienced in the following ways: - Stalking: Probably hunting in its most pure form. Consists of locating an animal, observing it, stalking it, and waiting for the best possible moment to harvest it. Stalks are done animal by animal, and with only one gun at a time. - Night Waits "Esperas": Only Wild Boar is hunted by this method which consists of waiting in the dead of night at the feeding ground, often timed for moonlit nights, where feeling the suspense and waiting for the right boar and the right moment to take the shot are something that all hunters should experience. - The “Monteria”: The quintessential Spanish form of big game hunting. It is a driven mountain hunt, with fixed pegs strategically positioned by the hunt organisers prior to the hunt. Groups of “rehalas” (groups of 25 dogs specialized for this type of hunt to drive game) make the game move around and out of the “mancha” - the designated area to hunt, which is often of extreme dense cover making in unpassable for the hunter.     It is important to select with care which monterias you want to participate in. Being a foreigner, particular attention should be taken, as being a visitor in a country accustomed to tourism, usually results in unfairly overcharging the “tourista”.. Things to consider prior to a monteria hunt…   • In a monteria shots are taken on the move, meaning that we shoot at running animals and normally at medium ranges (a maximum of 150m for a sure and safe kill).  For this style of hunt, calibers with significant stopping power are far better suited than high velocity calibers.  • You will have very little time to shoulder your weapon, take aim and fire very quickly. Knowing your weapon and equipment intimately is essential.  • It is not normal to have to walk a significant amount, but sometime peg locations take time to access, and with everything you need for a four or five hour wait, you must be prepared.  • In a typical monteria, you can expect to shoot 10 or 15 times if you have a lot of luck, but this, as in all forms of true hunting is in natures hands, and many a time a hunter has gone home disappointed but pleased to have been hunting without firing a single shot. • The hunt grounds are usually not open ground, so even first sighting the animal is no easy task. A hunters experience and insticts are put to the test. • The hunt season is from Autumn through winter, and although its Spain, you must come prepared for it can get cold, windy, rain and even snow.  • You have to stay put at your peg for the entire duration of the monteria – 4 to 5 hours normally, with it being absolutely forbidden to abandon your post for safety reasons.  • The dog packs “rehalas” are led by “rehaleros”, dog handlers, dressed in high visibility luminous colours as they advance with their dog packs through the cover driving the game and alerting hunters to the presence of game with typical shouts "alli va el guarro" a "there goes the boar"... • The pegs are numbered and a “hilera” or line of pegs forms an "armada" so that all pegs can be identified by the name of the armada and peg number.   • The “postor” is a hunter that is also working the hunt to ensure the safe conduct of the hunt. They place each hunter on their given peg, peg by peg, and may or may not advise you as to the angle of shot permitted – its good practice to always ask and double check you understand where you can and above all cannot shoot. In a similar way, at the end of the monteria, it is the postor that comes to collect you from your peg. 
     The Day of the Monteria Hunters are usually called to meet at around 9am for a typical hearty monteria breakfast of “migas y huevos” – fried bread with eggs, and the all important ritual ballot for peg positions. On arrival, you register with the required documentation with the hunt organisers (the “organica”) at the main table. You confirm your presence and verify that you are on the list of hunters places in the ballot for pegs. Normally, breakfast is taken while you wait for fellow hunters to slowly arrive, and this is a really pleasurable wait as you greet and catch up with old friends and share the expectation of the coming days action. There are few breakfasts that are more in tune to the coming days events than that of “migas con huevos” with a glass of red wine (if desired..).    After breakfast, the ballot for pegs begins. 
This is a moment of high expectations as you listen for your name to be called out, and you find out your peg not knowing whether you’ll get a peg to your liking (open for longer shots or closed for very close action) or whether it’s a peg where for this “mancha” – hunting area, is a peg that normally sees a lot of game.  The ballot normally has you approach the main table when your name is called, and you are asked to draw a ball from a bag (although there are many alternative ways to do this). You then select a closed unmarked envelop and find out which armada – line of pegs closing the hunting area, and which peg you have been allocated. It is important to ask to know who will be your “postor” – the hunt coordinator for your armada.       Once the ballot is completed, the armadas gather together and the order of leaving for the hunting grounds is determined. In summary, there are generally two types of armadas, “los cierres” and “las travesias”.  "Los Cierres": Comes from the Spanish verb “cerrar”,  meaning to close, and these peg lines mark the external limits of the hunting grounds. These are the peg lines that are the first to be placed, so that with vehicle and other noise game doesn’t abandon the hunting grounds.    Travesias: These are peg lines situated within the hunting grounds, normally in valleys so ensuring safety, and are the last to be placed.    
 Its generally good to find out from the postor what type of peg you’ve obtained in the ballot. For example, there could be open pegs with longer clear shots where its recommended to have a scope, or you could have a closed firebreak peg where shots can be at extremely close distance and where you hunt more by sound and instinct than by sight.  Depending on your peg, you may wish to change the only one weapon that is permitted from say a rifle to a shotgun with slugs. In these pegs, where the actionnia close, you get the excitement of hearing game come nearer and nearer, breaking through and giving you very few seconds to take the shot. In these pegs, a scope or shooting sticks are more of a hindrance than an aide.    
 At around 10:00 am (in the earliest cases) the armadas begin their way to each peg, almost always by car from the location of the breakfast and ballot. Peg by peg, the postor will position each hunter (and accompanying person if present) signaling where the dog packs will come from and where you can and cannot shoot.  This placement of each hunter is done with the minimal amount of noise possible, taking care with car doors and normally whispering to your fellow hunter a message of good luck as you leave him behind on his peg to get set and prepared.  Once at your peg, the very first thing is to do is to know the location of your neighbouring pegs, and make a signal to acknowledge that you have seen them, and they know also where you are. In the best circumstances, the pegs cannot be seen by one another, so maximizing safety. Once this is done, we load our rifles first, and then start looking at possible animal paths, trails, gaps where game could potentially pass. This is where a hunters experience and instincts start to come to the surface.  In these early minutes, before the dogs are released, the game usually moves a lot and we get the first opportunity to see game and perhaps take our first shot.  They are moment of high tension where adrenalin takes over and you think that you sense game and movement behind almost every shrub, bush, and tree in front of your peg.  Once all pegs are in place, the dog packs are released! It’s a magical moment in the Spanish monteria when you start to hear the dogs barking and making their way into the hunting grounds looking for and picking up the scent of game. These first barks are of pure excitement from the dogs as there are set free to run after game.  Its good to pay attention to the sound of the dogs; when they are high pitched they are passing through neighbouring pegs, but when they are together and become a growl, we know instantly that the dogs are onto game, not just the scent, but they have visual contact and are in pursuit. In many cases and where the dog packs are highly trained, the dogs catch up with and hold down game in an “agarre”. Varios dogs start to pin the game down until one summons up the bravery to try to launch a lethal attack. With both deer and wild boar they are tremendous encounters, with nothing surrendered, and where game normally escapes at full speed, offering incredible high excitement hunting for the lucky peg in question. These animals move at an incredible speed, breaking through the cover as fast as they can. With the adrenaline running high, you can be forgiven to feel that the whole ground is shaking. It’s the moment when the hunter is on foot and is in the animals territory. It’s the moment when the Spanish monteria confirms its unique place as one of the great hunting experiences.   Injured or older animals that can’t escape, end up facing their pursuers. An “agarre” with a big tusker can end the life of several dogs in a question of seconds. In these situations, the dog handlers, or the hunter if its near their peg, has to assess the situation, and enter the hunting ground to make the kill by hand with a knife. Never ever ever do you shoot at game that is held down. Firstly, due to the possibility of injuring ourselves or the dogs, secondly as a close range shot produces a terrible shock in the dogs, and many a time they develop a fear thereafter to hold down game ever again. These are not situations that are common nor easy to handle, in fact although they are a few seconds, they are seconds of great risk. In cases where you don’t know exactly what to do, it’s always better to wait for someone who does although the priority after safety is to dispatch the animal with the minimal suffering by locating the heart and with a special purpose double-edged knife that you should carry.  
 In these chases of dogs running after driven game, the game passes by or through the peg positions giving shooting opportunities to the hunters. The dogs usually conduct a well planned route going and returning, ensuring that all the game possible is driven around the hunting grounds.  At the end of the day’s hunting, at around 3pm or 4pm, you begin to hear the sound of the conch shells, the noise that each dog handler has to summon and gather his dogs. You will then see Spain’s famous hunting dogs emerge, tired, weary, often bloodied and wounded … the heroes of the day. You don’t leave your peg until the postor comes to collect you and lets you know its time to collect your things. You then start the route back to the place where lunch is awaiting and where all the harvested game is brought together in the “junta de carnes” for the posterior compulsory veterinary checks and then butchering for the meat to be sold and distributed.  The route back to lunch is typically the moment where first impressions between hunters are exchanged, about game seen, shots fired, game that has passed from one peg to another, or if the neighbouring pegs have seen a lot of action (or nothing at all!).  
Lunch typically comprises of a warm Spanish “ladel” dish that after a winters day hunt, is very welcomed. Lunch is where you sit down with friends and share experiences, observations, and is where the infamous “hunter’s tall tales” are born, where on the day a shot at 80m gets progressively longer as the weeks go by, and the animal harvested serms to grows in size! The Spanish monteria is all about passion and emotion and all your 5 senses are put to the test in the most intense of ways. The Spanish monteria is most definitely the timeless form of hunting in Spain and one where excitement is guaranteed. If you are a true hunter, a well organised monteria is something that should definitely be on your wish list. More often than not t will have you coming back for more and more…   Hunt safe, Happy Hunting! Hunt Spain.
    207 Posted by Joaquin De Lapatza
  • Find full article at http://huntspain.blogspot.com.es/ Hunting in Spain blog   We Spanish are a passionate lot to say the least and that passion most definitely extends to our love of nature and for hunting. Hunting traditions can be found entrenched in all levels of society and they are traditions that go back hundreds of years.  In fact, some say that the landlocked, mountainous position of our capital Madrid, is due to the Kings of old and their passion for hunting. Today, we can enjoy the same experiences as we hunt the big game species that can be found in Spains's spectacular and diverse wilderness: Wild Boar, Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Roe Deer, Spanish Ibex, Pyrenese Ibex (that we call Rebeco or Sarrio), Muflon, Fox, Wolf, as well as some other mountain goat species as is the case of the Arrui can all be hunted.   Big game hunting in Spain can be experienced in the following ways: - Stalking: Probably hunting in its most pure form. Consists of locating an animal, observing it, stalking it, and waiting for the best possible moment to harvest it. Stalks are done animal by animal, and with only one gun at a time. - Night Waits "Esperas": Only Wild Boar is hunted by this method which consists of waiting in the dead of night at the feeding ground, often timed for moonlit nights, where feeling the suspense and waiting for the right boar and the right moment to take the shot are something that all hunters should experience. - The “Monteria”: The quintessential Spanish form of big game hunting. It is a driven mountain hunt, with fixed pegs strategically positioned by the hunt organisers prior to the hunt. Groups of “rehalas” (groups of 25 dogs specialized for this type of hunt to drive game) make the game move around and out of the “mancha” - the designated area to hunt, which is often of extreme dense cover making in unpassable for the hunter.     It is important to select with care which monterias you want to participate in. Being a foreigner, particular attention should be taken, as being a visitor in a country accustomed to tourism, usually results in unfairly overcharging the “tourista”.. Things to consider prior to a monteria hunt…   • In a monteria shots are taken on the move, meaning that we shoot at running animals and normally at medium ranges (a maximum of 150m for a sure and safe kill).  For this style of hunt, calibers with significant stopping power are far better suited than high velocity calibers.  • You will have very little time to shoulder your weapon, take aim and fire very quickly. Knowing your weapon and equipment intimately is essential.  • It is not normal to have to walk a significant amount, but sometime peg locations take time to access, and with everything you need for a four or five hour wait, you must be prepared.  • In a typical monteria, you can expect to shoot 10 or 15 times if you have a lot of luck, but this, as in all forms of true hunting is in natures hands, and many a time a hunter has gone home disappointed but pleased to have been hunting without firing a single shot. • The hunt grounds are usually not open ground, so even first sighting the animal is no easy task. A hunters experience and insticts are put to the test. • The hunt season is from Autumn through winter, and although its Spain, you must come prepared for it can get cold, windy, rain and even snow.  • You have to stay put at your peg for the entire duration of the monteria – 4 to 5 hours normally, with it being absolutely forbidden to abandon your post for safety reasons.  • The dog packs “rehalas” are led by “rehaleros”, dog handlers, dressed in high visibility luminous colours as they advance with their dog packs through the cover driving the game and alerting hunters to the presence of game with typical shouts "alli va el guarro" a "there goes the boar"... • The pegs are numbered and a “hilera” or line of pegs forms an "armada" so that all pegs can be identified by the name of the armada and peg number.   • The “postor” is a hunter that is also working the hunt to ensure the safe conduct of the hunt. They place each hunter on their given peg, peg by peg, and may or may not advise you as to the angle of shot permitted – its good practice to always ask and double check you understand where you can and above all cannot shoot. In a similar way, at the end of the monteria, it is the postor that comes to collect you from your peg. 
     The Day of the Monteria Hunters are usually called to meet at around 9am for a typical hearty monteria breakfast of “migas y huevos” – fried bread with eggs, and the all important ritual ballot for peg positions. On arrival, you register with the required documentation with the hunt organisers (the “organica”) at the main table. You confirm your presence and verify that you are on the list of hunters places in the ballot for pegs. Normally, breakfast is taken while you wait for fellow hunters to slowly arrive, and this is a really pleasurable wait as you greet and catch up with old friends and share the expectation of the coming days action. There are few breakfasts that are more in tune to the coming days events than that of “migas con huevos” with a glass of red wine (if desired..).    After breakfast, the ballot for pegs begins. 
This is a moment of high expectations as you listen for your name to be called out, and you find out your peg not knowing whether you’ll get a peg to your liking (open for longer shots or closed for very close action) or whether it’s a peg where for this “mancha” – hunting area, is a peg that normally sees a lot of game.  The ballot normally has you approach the main table when your name is called, and you are asked to draw a ball from a bag (although there are many alternative ways to do this). You then select a closed unmarked envelop and find out which armada – line of pegs closing the hunting area, and which peg you have been allocated. It is important to ask to know who will be your “postor” – the hunt coordinator for your armada.       Once the ballot is completed, the armadas gather together and the order of leaving for the hunting grounds is determined. In summary, there are generally two types of armadas, “los cierres” and “las travesias”.  "Los Cierres": Comes from the Spanish verb “cerrar”,  meaning to close, and these peg lines mark the external limits of the hunting grounds. These are the peg lines that are the first to be placed, so that with vehicle and other noise game doesn’t abandon the hunting grounds.    Travesias: These are peg lines situated within the hunting grounds, normally in valleys so ensuring safety, and are the last to be placed.    
 Its generally good to find out from the postor what type of peg you’ve obtained in the ballot. For example, there could be open pegs with longer clear shots where its recommended to have a scope, or you could have a closed firebreak peg where shots can be at extremely close distance and where you hunt more by sound and instinct than by sight.  Depending on your peg, you may wish to change the only one weapon that is permitted from say a rifle to a shotgun with slugs. In these pegs, where the actionnia close, you get the excitement of hearing game come nearer and nearer, breaking through and giving you very few seconds to take the shot. In these pegs, a scope or shooting sticks are more of a hindrance than an aide.    
 At around 10:00 am (in the earliest cases) the armadas begin their way to each peg, almost always by car from the location of the breakfast and ballot. Peg by peg, the postor will position each hunter (and accompanying person if present) signaling where the dog packs will come from and where you can and cannot shoot.  This placement of each hunter is done with the minimal amount of noise possible, taking care with car doors and normally whispering to your fellow hunter a message of good luck as you leave him behind on his peg to get set and prepared.  Once at your peg, the very first thing is to do is to know the location of your neighbouring pegs, and make a signal to acknowledge that you have seen them, and they know also where you are. In the best circumstances, the pegs cannot be seen by one another, so maximizing safety. Once this is done, we load our rifles first, and then start looking at possible animal paths, trails, gaps where game could potentially pass. This is where a hunters experience and instincts start to come to the surface.  In these early minutes, before the dogs are released, the game usually moves a lot and we get the first opportunity to see game and perhaps take our first shot.  They are moment of high tension where adrenalin takes over and you think that you sense game and movement behind almost every shrub, bush, and tree in front of your peg.  Once all pegs are in place, the dog packs are released! It’s a magical moment in the Spanish monteria when you start to hear the dogs barking and making their way into the hunting grounds looking for and picking up the scent of game. These first barks are of pure excitement from the dogs as there are set free to run after game.  Its good to pay attention to the sound of the dogs; when they are high pitched they are passing through neighbouring pegs, but when they are together and become a growl, we know instantly that the dogs are onto game, not just the scent, but they have visual contact and are in pursuit. In many cases and where the dog packs are highly trained, the dogs catch up with and hold down game in an “agarre”. Varios dogs start to pin the game down until one summons up the bravery to try to launch a lethal attack. With both deer and wild boar they are tremendous encounters, with nothing surrendered, and where game normally escapes at full speed, offering incredible high excitement hunting for the lucky peg in question. These animals move at an incredible speed, breaking through the cover as fast as they can. With the adrenaline running high, you can be forgiven to feel that the whole ground is shaking. It’s the moment when the hunter is on foot and is in the animals territory. It’s the moment when the Spanish monteria confirms its unique place as one of the great hunting experiences.   Injured or older animals that can’t escape, end up facing their pursuers. An “agarre” with a big tusker can end the life of several dogs in a question of seconds. In these situations, the dog handlers, or the hunter if its near their peg, has to assess the situation, and enter the hunting ground to make the kill by hand with a knife. Never ever ever do you shoot at game that is held down. Firstly, due to the possibility of injuring ourselves or the dogs, secondly as a close range shot produces a terrible shock in the dogs, and many a time they develop a fear thereafter to hold down game ever again. These are not situations that are common nor easy to handle, in fact although they are a few seconds, they are seconds of great risk. In cases where you don’t know exactly what to do, it’s always better to wait for someone who does although the priority after safety is to dispatch the animal with the minimal suffering by locating the heart and with a special purpose double-edged knife that you should carry.  
 In these chases of dogs running after driven game, the game passes by or through the peg positions giving shooting opportunities to the hunters. The dogs usually conduct a well planned route going and returning, ensuring that all the game possible is driven around the hunting grounds.  At the end of the day’s hunting, at around 3pm or 4pm, you begin to hear the sound of the conch shells, the noise that each dog handler has to summon and gather his dogs. You will then see Spain’s famous hunting dogs emerge, tired, weary, often bloodied and wounded … the heroes of the day. You don’t leave your peg until the postor comes to collect you and lets you know its time to collect your things. You then start the route back to the place where lunch is awaiting and where all the harvested game is brought together in the “junta de carnes” for the posterior compulsory veterinary checks and then butchering for the meat to be sold and distributed.  The route back to lunch is typically the moment where first impressions between hunters are exchanged, about game seen, shots fired, game that has passed from one peg to another, or if the neighbouring pegs have seen a lot of action (or nothing at all!).  
Lunch typically comprises of a warm Spanish “ladel” dish that after a winters day hunt, is very welcomed. Lunch is where you sit down with friends and share experiences, observations, and is where the infamous “hunter’s tall tales” are born, where on the day a shot at 80m gets progressively longer as the weeks go by, and the animal harvested serms to grows in size! The Spanish monteria is all about passion and emotion and all your 5 senses are put to the test in the most intense of ways. The Spanish monteria is most definitely the timeless form of hunting in Spain and one where excitement is guaranteed. If you are a true hunter, a well organised monteria is something that should definitely be on your wish list. More often than not t will have you coming back for more and more…   Hunt safe, Happy Hunting! Hunt Spain.
    Jun 02, 2016 207
  • 26 May 2016
    Answering the Call “Who could be coming this early in the shift?”At the first glimmer of a light in the tunnel, I raised my safety glasses from their perch on my chin, up to where they were supposed to be. Over the roar of the drill, you couldn’t hear it, but I sensed the boss’s jeep pull up close (too close) and my little cave world lit up in the glare of headlights.The focus on my cap lamp jiggled and danced as I leaned hard on the drill, exaggerating the effort. Working the final, of 7 long graveyard shifts underground , I was nearly played out. His shadow loomed across the face, then, over mine and the spot of his Mag-light flitted around the workplace, looking for trouble. I peered back over the rim of mud caked lenses, hoping he hadn’t found any. He smiled. Nodded his head appreciatively and gave me the thumbs up!I leaned in again, thinking "Good shifter, that Curtis! Silent supervision."That's when he tapped my shoulder and handed over the note. “CALL HOME A.S.A.P.” How many times had I asked her not to call me at work unless it was an emergency? I hope everyone is O.K.... Curtis sensed my urgency and gave me a lift up to the lunchroom, where I made the call. Boy, what a woman I’ve got! It seems that the outfitter, where my wife worked, had a bull moose tag available for the archery season in a nearby zone. I could fly in, at a discounted price, if we’d construct a camp frame for his bookings that were to hunt in the rifle season. I had recently purchased a new crossbow and, though we had never bow hunted, Alan, my brother in law and hunting buddy, was available and a nice compound. It would be a five day hunt (weather pending). “But,” she stated “You’ll have to leave tomorrow, and he’s gotta know tonight! Do you want to go?????" So, you see, it really was an emergency! My fellow miners were envious at lunch time, once everything was confirmed. Many were northern boys, like me, with keen hunting blood in ‘em. Frosts were heavy most mornings now, and there were still ten days till we could gun hunt. And in 10 days, we’d be back in here, slavin’ at work. Yeah, the fellas were itchin’ pretty bad, once I rubbed it in. A lot!. I drove home from that mine like a man possessed, a violent stream of dust, howling due south into the rising sun! Sneaking up a little early at the end of shift, I blew out the gate ten minutes ahead of anyone. The roadway kicks up a blanket of gray stuff that rises thick, and very slowly fades to hang, like fog, over the northern lowlands. No one would catch me today. Two hours to civilization. Four hours, home. Hammer down!I rustled the feathers of a few road partridge as I flew into the dawn that day. No time to stop. I had bigger fish to fry. Saw a cow and calf scamper to the bushline and hardly touched the brakes. Sorta’ in a hurry! An hour out, I hit flat hard pavement and stepped on it a bit. The sky was lit with orange and pink wisps of high cloud. A good sign!I daydreamed of hunts past, and started to get pumped. I am a Hamilton lad who let the fickle road of life take him north, at 18 years old, to expansive waterways and wilderness. Mining and money led me away and now the bush has me in its grip. From hunting bullfrogs and squirrel, to moose and bear, it's quite a transition. Success was limited, at first. Luck would flourish periodically. But, living and working in the moose’s back yard, certainly has it’s benefits! Like hunting almost daily for six weeks, or a quick hunt on the way to work. Or getting one, on the way home. Spend a lot of time in the bush and opportunity will come your way. I credit the tag allocation system for much of my knowledge regarding moose behavior. In my early hunting years, one could shoot any kind of moose and they could be brought down two and three at a time. If you saw a moose you simply shot at it. Now, we must often watch cows, calves and bulls interact with each other, with other animals, and with humans. These observations evolve into insight and intuition that can add a great deal to one's success rating. Still, "many a moose made a monkey out of me." But each failure brought new insight, and each kill greater confidence. My, soon to be, father in law, was inspirational in those early hunting years. A true northern Ontario Ojibway, he was born in the bush and his youth was hunting, fishing and trapping. Wise in the ways of the moose, (world calling champ 1964) he straightened me out on many an issue. Our outings were always a lesson and an adventure and, most often, successful. In his later years he would pour over the maps with us, listening to our daily results and give great advice for tomorrow’s hunt. A Zen Moose Master. Sadly, he’s now hunting in a far better world and, thanks to him, I’m a better hunter in this one. I was home at 8:30 in the morning. A 3 ½ hour trip out. Funny, after seven long days in the bush, I was dying to head right back into her. The wife had my sleeping bag rolled and a selection of hunting clothes laid out on the couch. She gave a status report on the arrangements and supplies while I threw them into a hockey bag and wolfed down a beer and toasted western. What a woman I’ve got! Kissed her thanks, and goodbye, and thanks again, and I was off and on the dock by nine. Alan was transferring lumber out to the waiting Beaver. George Theriault, our outfitter host and pilot, was handling load placement along with Andre, a carpenter friend of ours. Both he and Alan had worked with George at one time or another, so it wasn’t long before we taxied out onto the lake, smooth as glass, and powered up. Andre and I flew in with the first load without Al, as surely the big fella would have put us over the load limit! As it was, we took a long run before lifting off and rising, ever so slowly, into the western sky. Banking right, we climbed northwest on a picture perfect fall morning. The landscape below was a splash of paisley, gold, orange and green, with ominous dark patches of bush still in shadow. Pothole lakes wore a faint mist of gray that glistened snow white where the rising sun met the western shore. The sky was cloudless. We passed over my usual moose hunting area and I stared down, fascinated, comparing the scene to what I had perceived from ground level. I spotted a brand new pocket of prime real estate, seemingly, just a short walk to the west. Scouring the brushlines, I caught a quick glimpse of faint paths running along the edge of the cut. And quickly , the scene was behind and lost, but not forgotten. Insight from 2000 feet. We began our descent fifteen minutes out, as we crossed the broad expanse of Kap Lake and picked up the C.N. Line. A bright red-headed southbound freight snaked out below us and the heat from its three mighty engines distorted the scene below. More than a mile long, it wound in and out of view, flashing here and there through the trees. But it was soon behind and I returned to the panorama ahead. That sinking feeling was now in full effect and contours of the landscape became evident, as a monster hill loomed to the north. We skirted south of it, our shadow racing across the hillside ahead of us. George banked sharply right and bore down on a banana shaped lake, curled in the mountain’s shadow, that was just catching its first rays the of the day. A ghostly mist scurried and parted as the pontoons touched water in a quick, smooth landing. We taxied to a rocky point on the western shore and blew away the fog that was rising into the quickly warming forest. A thin frosted trail led uphill from a small dock that was sheltered by the point. Lumber, supplies, and two adventurers were unceremoniously dumped on the rocks and the Beaver was roaring back into the morning sun in minutes. Andre and I were just-a-grinnin! We sucked in a hearty breath of fresh energy and just got at ‘er. When George zoomed in, 90 minutes, later with another full load, plus Big Al, we had already carted load #1 to the camping area and set up housekeeping. The new gear was baled off of the plane and Andre bailed wonderful fresh, hot coffee. George sat down and mapped out the lay of the land, the location of our boat and canoe, and arranged a fly by for Friday. Al and Andre were reminded of the carpentry at hand, and with a big smiles all around, our pilot was up and gone. It was half past eleven . Chainsaws wailed and hammers rang throughout the day, as we cleared a spot for the campframe, cut firewood and shored up our own tent and facilities. Breaks were taken regularly. We pulled out the bows and a target was set up in the length of the clearing. My little Horton Legend was broken out of it’s box and bolts were readied with broadheads, leaving one with a field tip for practicing. Choosing a neutral sight, I was quickly on the board, but after a few pin adjustments, I found the range and could center hit a paper plate regularly over the twenty-five yard distance. I was impressed by Al’s shooting (for never having hunted with a bow). We also learned that each third cast or so, from the rocky point, brought in a follower or landed a scrappy two or three pound pike. So, even with big Al here, we would not run short of food! During a mid-afternoon super-sandwich break, Al pulled a moose calling tape out of his pack and we listened, laughed and critiqued the whole thing. We started exchanging stories of calls and answers and heart-pounding near misses, and that was it! There would be no more working today. A tour of the lake was in order. Our rocky point lay in the middle of the outside curve on the mile long, shallow lake. It was perhaps 200 yards directly across to the opposite shore, where the large ridge of tall birch and poplar rose sharply. It dominated the eastern horizon for the length of the lake and carried on south, highlighting a creek valley that ran into our lake. At the north end, the ridge flattened to a nice looking hayfield with a small creek running through. Moose Heaven! The ridge would bounce sound wonderfully and I wondered if the moose here had even heard a hunter’s call. A little four-horse pushed three men in a car topper to the south end, where I was surprised to see a rickety old stand, high in a large cedar. Countless tracks littered the sandy beach and weedbeds, offshore, had been trashed by feeding moose. A well worn trail ran along a nearby grassy shoreline The stand wasn’t ideal, but good shots were certainly possible. I vowed to bring back a saw and open up some shooting lanes.Small boulders at the water’s edge made the eastern shoreline a difficult walk for moose, but just inland, a moose highway had been pounded into the moss. Near the northern end , tag alders and a thin hayfield bordered a narrow, sandy bay and outlet creek. Trials crisscrossed everywhere. The main highway ran directly beneath one very old, very dead, leaning cedar. Feeble rungs led to a thin platform, which perched questionably on a bare limb on the upper side of the tree. Finger thin railings, to guard against falls, were held together with faded, brittle twine. This was a very old stand. Perhaps the tree was alive when it was used, but now there was little cover in its scraggly branches. I figured if a guy brought some extra boughs with him, it would still be a dandy spot. The big fella volunteered to go up and Andre and I struggled not to laugh as the smooth, white trunk sagged and groaned under his weight. But, he made it to the perch and gingerly tested its soundness. He was wearing the dirty white-gray jogging suit that he’d been working in all day and I told him he looked pretty good up there in his pyjamas, ‘cause they blended well with the dead cedar. He smiled, “Oh yeah, I’ll take this one!” It was after 5, by the time we patrolled the northern shoreline back to camp. Al and I quickly geared up and fired a last practice shot. Though he did not hunt, Andre said he was pumped up just watching our growing excitement and seeing all the evidence of moose nearby. Good feed and sign were everywhere. No one had hunted here in years, and the weather was unbeatable. I hadn’t seen a cloud all day. A light breeze was, just now, dying and though it had warmed considerably through the day, bringing out more than a few hungry pests, a definite chill was now in the air along with the promise of a heavy frost for the morning. The sun was dropping to the treetops as Al and I paddled silently up to the north end. I figured on dropping him at his stand in the hay, then stroking halfway back, making a call, and heading to the south stand. After that, he and I would both call. The canoe bottomed out twenty feet from shore. It was dead calm, and each splash, knock and step, bounced around the bay as I pushed away. Al’s labored breath carried across the reeds and I laughed again on hearing the cedar creak and groan. Looking back, Pyjama Boy was up and, somehow, vaguely hidden against the twilight. He took his orange hat off, and I almost lost him. It was incredible. No cover or cammo, and he was barely visible! Little noises, the rustle of my coat, reeds against the gunnel, swirls behind my paddle, each pained my ears while I slowly stroked the weedline back for about 200 yards and drifted to a stop. I managed to stow the paddle silently and did the long listen. The sun was almost down and, looking west, the shoreline was dark and indecernable. Andre was standing on the dock a ways to the south, but to see directly across was futile. Orange above, black below. My ears rang already. A deep breath, a muffled cough into my hand, a little listen, another breath and I called. Long and low, back to the hayfield. And again, pleading to the hillside. My eyes watered from the effort and my pulse pounded in stereo, but I heard it. Right away. Where, what? I wasn’t sure. Yep, there it was, a distant “pop”, west, in the blackness. Or was it my belly? I strained forward, to close the distance, and pointed one ear. Four beats of my heart and, snap, the branch that only a moose could break. Unreal! This is it! Red Alert! I waved frantically to Pyjama Boy. Why? I couldn’t even see him! It seemed to be a fair distance off, across the lake, in the dark, low lying bush. But, from the uniform, well spaced answers and frequent crashes, it was obvious that he was on his way, and determined. While he was moving fast, I backstroked towards shore, beached, deftly grabbed the Legend and tiptoed, through 6 inches of water, to the alder cover on land. Suddenly breathless, I took refuge in a lovely trio of boulders at water’s edge, huffing like a locomotive. His distant pop had become a subtle bark, descending, quietly now, to lake level. Caution had entered his mind as he closed on the opening and, though his footfalls had stopped, the barking was steady, at 20 second intervals. My eyes were useless, but I felt his big ears scoping across the lake. He was locked on to this locale and I dared not move. A waiting game. All was still, and he called no more. The silence was electric. Sitting in the rocks, one leg started to vibrate. My leg was electric! But I’m good at that game, and in the state I was in, knew better than to try a call. Instead, I poked around for a thin stick of driftwood, and snapped it sharply in the air. The report echoed back from the far shore, almost overlapped by a coarse “woooff” and crush of branches. Within seconds, he was stepping in the shallow water. I could only imagine his impressive rack, striding proudly, wading straight out towards me. The splashes deepened with the water, as did the tension, for it seemed he was soon to be swimming across and I had yet to see him. There was plenty of hunting light remaining and though I was blind to that direction, he would have a better view. My canoe floated ten critical yards offshore, directly in line. A move was required. The moose had stopped, knee deep, I suppose, and was staring me down. I figured the next time he moved, I would too, along the shore, north, closer to Al. If he swam the lake I’d try to pull him to where one of us may get a shot. The wait seemed forever, but at last, he grunted and stepped out once again and, on his third splash, I trotted four quick steps. He stopped and I sloshed four more, pulling up beside an overhanging alder. He was in motion again, but seemed to have more spring in his step and I realized that he had turned and now paralleled me as I looked north. Either he had spooked or decided to circle the lake. But his steps were plodding and steady and he called often, and, deep inside, I heaved a sigh of relief. He was coming around and I was pretty sure I could drag him past my partner. Time was the only factor. I had to keep him moving.I tugged the brim of my hat down to shield against the bright sky and stared hard at the sounds coming from the far shore. A hulking shape loomed out of the darkness, floating like a black ghost against the treeline. He sloshed along, ten yards offshore, becoming more defined as the background bush dropped to the horizon. Covered by his noise, I hop-scotched from boulder to boulder, making good time while staying close to shore, but soon ran out of rocks and had to stop. He plodded on until a brushy point jutted out, blocked his way. Sensing him roll his head around to listen, I swished the water with one boot while gulping my best calf call. At that, he “woofed” heavily and plowed onto the point, disappearing, but emerged shortly, on the waterfront, and stopped where the thin strip of hay began, highlighting his silhouette. The head was tilted back, long nose high, and, when he lowered it, a small tight rack was noticeable. I rustled some alders with my free hand and mewed as a calf until he moved once more. And so it went, alternating steps, call and answer, up opposing shorelines into the bay. Each call became easier as my voice loosened and confidence rose. But his treks grew shorter, stops more frequent. These stalls were painfully quiet and testing. A thousand crickets seemed to ring in my ears. Dare a call? Swirl a foot or shake a tree? One errant sound and he could be off. Pounding pulse and patience. Often, pure silence coaxed him on, and a bark, loud and gruff, would explode, in time with his first step, and echo across the bay. Moving and halting with the moose, for the better part of an hour, I had worked myself into a fine position, beneath a clump of alder, 60 yards from Pyjama Boy. I could vaguely see his pale figure, crouching in the stand, against the quickly darkening sky. The young bull, contrasted, bold and black against the hay, was broadside less than 100 yards beyond, steam spouting from his upturned nostrils as his head nodded slowly in a small circle, searching for a scent. His ears, standing at attention, focused on my hideout. The silence was deafening. One last delicate barrier lay twenty yards ahead of him. The outlet creek, 10 yards wide, the outer limit of Al’s shooting range. If only I could move him across. And soon.Our silent staredown dragged painfully . He stood motionless. Frozen, stone still. And I gave in.Grabbing a handful of brush, I gave it a gentle shake, then, cracked the heaviest branch. “WHOOOF” The entire body of the bull convulsed, as he let out a thunderous grunt and trotted the short distance to the creek. The deep roar had scarcely bounced from the hills and back to my ears when he jerked to a stop at the bank. I rattled the bush again. Instantly, he roared and shook and, to my dismay, turned and ran down stream, out of sight. I gave a desperate call, loud and pleading, and heard his splashing hooves, going away. My heart dropped. Then, pounding through the grass, there he was, on our side, barreling right down the trail towards me. I’m not sure why, if he saw me or smelled pyjamas, but he halted, dead in his tracks, straight under Al. I saw Al draw, heard a whir and a whack, and that bull spun on a dime and plunged, headlong, into the deep creek and lumbered up the other side to shake off, exactly where he had stood a few short seconds earlier. With a disgusted look back, he trotted away through the hay. Twigs rustled and snapped as he hit the bush. Then all was silent. Except for the heartbeats. Again, I waved my arms frantically at Al, hoping for some kind of response, but I guess he’s not much on sign language. So I strained my ears for a short while then, carefully, slipped along the shore and waited for him to come down the bare cedar. He had stayed up to listen and now was having a hard time descending. He was wide-eyed, quivering noticeably, and gasping as he tried to whisper.“Unreal” was all he could manage.“Did you get him?” I had to ask.“Better than sex” he babbled, “never been so excited!” “Did you get him?” “Oh yeah, stuck him good! Up here!” And he reached around for the part of his back that he couldn’t reach. “ Just the feathers left sticking’ out! Buried it. Was gonna take another shot when he stopped there, but couldn’t get it off! Last I heard him, he crashed thru that feed over there and that was it!” Al pointed down the creek to where it bent around a thick tangle of red willow. “I’m pretty sure he’s dead meat! Man, that was something else!I pumped his big mitt and slapped up at his shoulder. “Exxxcellent!”Al rambled on. “I thought we’d lost him when he took off that last time. He musta’ known it was shallow over there. Drew on him as he ran in, the railing was in the way. I had to get up on my toes to shoot. Couldn’t really aim, I just shot. Man, oh man. Un******real.” It was last light and we briefly searched for blood at the scene of the crime. None could be found and I left Allen flicking his bic and slogged back to retrieve the canoe. From the sparkle in his eye and smile on his face, I was confident there was a moose down, somewhere, across that creek. By the time I stroked in, Al was at the water, on the trail, with no blood yet. Thick gouges and craters scarred the other bank where the bull had hauled up and out. Al jumped in and I swung him across. No blood. It was hard to pick out the proper set of tracks, given the number at hand, but the thin crystal frost, quickly forming on the grass, had been disturbed in his wake and we found a couple small dots of red a short distance from shore. On finding a second patch of blood, I placed my hat over it and we retreated to the canoe and paddled hard for home. Man, I was thirsty! It was a moonless, starlit night. Marvelous. Andre waited by a small fire at camp. He had heard it all! The grunts and bellows, snapping and splashing, and was completely amazed. He was nearly as excited as the two of us. We hurriedly told him the story, so far, while gulping down an ice cold beer and rounding up lights, rope and axe. And we all piled into the boat and motored back up the lake to pick up the trail. It had been forty minutes since the shot. We must have been quite a sight that night, in the hay. Three of us, side by side, puffing steam. Ice crystals sparkled all around. Al sported a miner’s type cap lamp and gripped two hands on my cocked crossbow. I walked slightly ahead, Coleman lamp held high, axe at the ready. Andre waved a Maglight, sweeping for eyes, far ahead, side to side. The blood trail was scarce, but steady. One or two drops every five yards. The swath through the frosted grass gave us a good look ahead and the trail was never lost. It led into the patch of willow and we found our prize laying just on the other side. A three year old bull with a chunky little rack. Allen’s arrow had worked its way out the bottom of the belly. The feathers no longer adorned his back. His final run had covered less than 100 yards. We raised a little cheer, did a little dance, and made quick work of gutting him, leaving the tip of his heart on a nearby branch. (a tradition passed from my late father-in-law) With our moose propped open under a cloud of rising steam, we headed back, starry eyed, into that marvelous night. The next afternoon brought 3 days of warm rain, but our spirits were never dampened. George popped in Friday, as scheduled, and flew our quartered moose out, to hang in the cooler at the lodge. The bows were stored away, and the camp frame was completed. One quiet morning, a young bull chased a cow and calf along the far shore. Wanting nothing to do with him, she clipped along thirty yards ahead, each splashing hoof sending up a little rainbow. We found some time to catch a few fish and fix up tree stands and shooting lanes. The old bare cedar was deemed worthy and left untouched, ready for the next brave hunter Monday morning, under heavily overcast skies and steady drizzle, the Beaver came and three happy campers were homeward bound, jam packed with memories..  
    138 Posted by Jodi Cullen
  • Answering the Call “Who could be coming this early in the shift?”At the first glimmer of a light in the tunnel, I raised my safety glasses from their perch on my chin, up to where they were supposed to be. Over the roar of the drill, you couldn’t hear it, but I sensed the boss’s jeep pull up close (too close) and my little cave world lit up in the glare of headlights.The focus on my cap lamp jiggled and danced as I leaned hard on the drill, exaggerating the effort. Working the final, of 7 long graveyard shifts underground , I was nearly played out. His shadow loomed across the face, then, over mine and the spot of his Mag-light flitted around the workplace, looking for trouble. I peered back over the rim of mud caked lenses, hoping he hadn’t found any. He smiled. Nodded his head appreciatively and gave me the thumbs up!I leaned in again, thinking "Good shifter, that Curtis! Silent supervision."That's when he tapped my shoulder and handed over the note. “CALL HOME A.S.A.P.” How many times had I asked her not to call me at work unless it was an emergency? I hope everyone is O.K.... Curtis sensed my urgency and gave me a lift up to the lunchroom, where I made the call. Boy, what a woman I’ve got! It seems that the outfitter, where my wife worked, had a bull moose tag available for the archery season in a nearby zone. I could fly in, at a discounted price, if we’d construct a camp frame for his bookings that were to hunt in the rifle season. I had recently purchased a new crossbow and, though we had never bow hunted, Alan, my brother in law and hunting buddy, was available and a nice compound. It would be a five day hunt (weather pending). “But,” she stated “You’ll have to leave tomorrow, and he’s gotta know tonight! Do you want to go?????" So, you see, it really was an emergency! My fellow miners were envious at lunch time, once everything was confirmed. Many were northern boys, like me, with keen hunting blood in ‘em. Frosts were heavy most mornings now, and there were still ten days till we could gun hunt. And in 10 days, we’d be back in here, slavin’ at work. Yeah, the fellas were itchin’ pretty bad, once I rubbed it in. A lot!. I drove home from that mine like a man possessed, a violent stream of dust, howling due south into the rising sun! Sneaking up a little early at the end of shift, I blew out the gate ten minutes ahead of anyone. The roadway kicks up a blanket of gray stuff that rises thick, and very slowly fades to hang, like fog, over the northern lowlands. No one would catch me today. Two hours to civilization. Four hours, home. Hammer down!I rustled the feathers of a few road partridge as I flew into the dawn that day. No time to stop. I had bigger fish to fry. Saw a cow and calf scamper to the bushline and hardly touched the brakes. Sorta’ in a hurry! An hour out, I hit flat hard pavement and stepped on it a bit. The sky was lit with orange and pink wisps of high cloud. A good sign!I daydreamed of hunts past, and started to get pumped. I am a Hamilton lad who let the fickle road of life take him north, at 18 years old, to expansive waterways and wilderness. Mining and money led me away and now the bush has me in its grip. From hunting bullfrogs and squirrel, to moose and bear, it's quite a transition. Success was limited, at first. Luck would flourish periodically. But, living and working in the moose’s back yard, certainly has it’s benefits! Like hunting almost daily for six weeks, or a quick hunt on the way to work. Or getting one, on the way home. Spend a lot of time in the bush and opportunity will come your way. I credit the tag allocation system for much of my knowledge regarding moose behavior. In my early hunting years, one could shoot any kind of moose and they could be brought down two and three at a time. If you saw a moose you simply shot at it. Now, we must often watch cows, calves and bulls interact with each other, with other animals, and with humans. These observations evolve into insight and intuition that can add a great deal to one's success rating. Still, "many a moose made a monkey out of me." But each failure brought new insight, and each kill greater confidence. My, soon to be, father in law, was inspirational in those early hunting years. A true northern Ontario Ojibway, he was born in the bush and his youth was hunting, fishing and trapping. Wise in the ways of the moose, (world calling champ 1964) he straightened me out on many an issue. Our outings were always a lesson and an adventure and, most often, successful. In his later years he would pour over the maps with us, listening to our daily results and give great advice for tomorrow’s hunt. A Zen Moose Master. Sadly, he’s now hunting in a far better world and, thanks to him, I’m a better hunter in this one. I was home at 8:30 in the morning. A 3 ½ hour trip out. Funny, after seven long days in the bush, I was dying to head right back into her. The wife had my sleeping bag rolled and a selection of hunting clothes laid out on the couch. She gave a status report on the arrangements and supplies while I threw them into a hockey bag and wolfed down a beer and toasted western. What a woman I’ve got! Kissed her thanks, and goodbye, and thanks again, and I was off and on the dock by nine. Alan was transferring lumber out to the waiting Beaver. George Theriault, our outfitter host and pilot, was handling load placement along with Andre, a carpenter friend of ours. Both he and Alan had worked with George at one time or another, so it wasn’t long before we taxied out onto the lake, smooth as glass, and powered up. Andre and I flew in with the first load without Al, as surely the big fella would have put us over the load limit! As it was, we took a long run before lifting off and rising, ever so slowly, into the western sky. Banking right, we climbed northwest on a picture perfect fall morning. The landscape below was a splash of paisley, gold, orange and green, with ominous dark patches of bush still in shadow. Pothole lakes wore a faint mist of gray that glistened snow white where the rising sun met the western shore. The sky was cloudless. We passed over my usual moose hunting area and I stared down, fascinated, comparing the scene to what I had perceived from ground level. I spotted a brand new pocket of prime real estate, seemingly, just a short walk to the west. Scouring the brushlines, I caught a quick glimpse of faint paths running along the edge of the cut. And quickly , the scene was behind and lost, but not forgotten. Insight from 2000 feet. We began our descent fifteen minutes out, as we crossed the broad expanse of Kap Lake and picked up the C.N. Line. A bright red-headed southbound freight snaked out below us and the heat from its three mighty engines distorted the scene below. More than a mile long, it wound in and out of view, flashing here and there through the trees. But it was soon behind and I returned to the panorama ahead. That sinking feeling was now in full effect and contours of the landscape became evident, as a monster hill loomed to the north. We skirted south of it, our shadow racing across the hillside ahead of us. George banked sharply right and bore down on a banana shaped lake, curled in the mountain’s shadow, that was just catching its first rays the of the day. A ghostly mist scurried and parted as the pontoons touched water in a quick, smooth landing. We taxied to a rocky point on the western shore and blew away the fog that was rising into the quickly warming forest. A thin frosted trail led uphill from a small dock that was sheltered by the point. Lumber, supplies, and two adventurers were unceremoniously dumped on the rocks and the Beaver was roaring back into the morning sun in minutes. Andre and I were just-a-grinnin! We sucked in a hearty breath of fresh energy and just got at ‘er. When George zoomed in, 90 minutes, later with another full load, plus Big Al, we had already carted load #1 to the camping area and set up housekeeping. The new gear was baled off of the plane and Andre bailed wonderful fresh, hot coffee. George sat down and mapped out the lay of the land, the location of our boat and canoe, and arranged a fly by for Friday. Al and Andre were reminded of the carpentry at hand, and with a big smiles all around, our pilot was up and gone. It was half past eleven . Chainsaws wailed and hammers rang throughout the day, as we cleared a spot for the campframe, cut firewood and shored up our own tent and facilities. Breaks were taken regularly. We pulled out the bows and a target was set up in the length of the clearing. My little Horton Legend was broken out of it’s box and bolts were readied with broadheads, leaving one with a field tip for practicing. Choosing a neutral sight, I was quickly on the board, but after a few pin adjustments, I found the range and could center hit a paper plate regularly over the twenty-five yard distance. I was impressed by Al’s shooting (for never having hunted with a bow). We also learned that each third cast or so, from the rocky point, brought in a follower or landed a scrappy two or three pound pike. So, even with big Al here, we would not run short of food! During a mid-afternoon super-sandwich break, Al pulled a moose calling tape out of his pack and we listened, laughed and critiqued the whole thing. We started exchanging stories of calls and answers and heart-pounding near misses, and that was it! There would be no more working today. A tour of the lake was in order. Our rocky point lay in the middle of the outside curve on the mile long, shallow lake. It was perhaps 200 yards directly across to the opposite shore, where the large ridge of tall birch and poplar rose sharply. It dominated the eastern horizon for the length of the lake and carried on south, highlighting a creek valley that ran into our lake. At the north end, the ridge flattened to a nice looking hayfield with a small creek running through. Moose Heaven! The ridge would bounce sound wonderfully and I wondered if the moose here had even heard a hunter’s call. A little four-horse pushed three men in a car topper to the south end, where I was surprised to see a rickety old stand, high in a large cedar. Countless tracks littered the sandy beach and weedbeds, offshore, had been trashed by feeding moose. A well worn trail ran along a nearby grassy shoreline The stand wasn’t ideal, but good shots were certainly possible. I vowed to bring back a saw and open up some shooting lanes.Small boulders at the water’s edge made the eastern shoreline a difficult walk for moose, but just inland, a moose highway had been pounded into the moss. Near the northern end , tag alders and a thin hayfield bordered a narrow, sandy bay and outlet creek. Trials crisscrossed everywhere. The main highway ran directly beneath one very old, very dead, leaning cedar. Feeble rungs led to a thin platform, which perched questionably on a bare limb on the upper side of the tree. Finger thin railings, to guard against falls, were held together with faded, brittle twine. This was a very old stand. Perhaps the tree was alive when it was used, but now there was little cover in its scraggly branches. I figured if a guy brought some extra boughs with him, it would still be a dandy spot. The big fella volunteered to go up and Andre and I struggled not to laugh as the smooth, white trunk sagged and groaned under his weight. But, he made it to the perch and gingerly tested its soundness. He was wearing the dirty white-gray jogging suit that he’d been working in all day and I told him he looked pretty good up there in his pyjamas, ‘cause they blended well with the dead cedar. He smiled, “Oh yeah, I’ll take this one!” It was after 5, by the time we patrolled the northern shoreline back to camp. Al and I quickly geared up and fired a last practice shot. Though he did not hunt, Andre said he was pumped up just watching our growing excitement and seeing all the evidence of moose nearby. Good feed and sign were everywhere. No one had hunted here in years, and the weather was unbeatable. I hadn’t seen a cloud all day. A light breeze was, just now, dying and though it had warmed considerably through the day, bringing out more than a few hungry pests, a definite chill was now in the air along with the promise of a heavy frost for the morning. The sun was dropping to the treetops as Al and I paddled silently up to the north end. I figured on dropping him at his stand in the hay, then stroking halfway back, making a call, and heading to the south stand. After that, he and I would both call. The canoe bottomed out twenty feet from shore. It was dead calm, and each splash, knock and step, bounced around the bay as I pushed away. Al’s labored breath carried across the reeds and I laughed again on hearing the cedar creak and groan. Looking back, Pyjama Boy was up and, somehow, vaguely hidden against the twilight. He took his orange hat off, and I almost lost him. It was incredible. No cover or cammo, and he was barely visible! Little noises, the rustle of my coat, reeds against the gunnel, swirls behind my paddle, each pained my ears while I slowly stroked the weedline back for about 200 yards and drifted to a stop. I managed to stow the paddle silently and did the long listen. The sun was almost down and, looking west, the shoreline was dark and indecernable. Andre was standing on the dock a ways to the south, but to see directly across was futile. Orange above, black below. My ears rang already. A deep breath, a muffled cough into my hand, a little listen, another breath and I called. Long and low, back to the hayfield. And again, pleading to the hillside. My eyes watered from the effort and my pulse pounded in stereo, but I heard it. Right away. Where, what? I wasn’t sure. Yep, there it was, a distant “pop”, west, in the blackness. Or was it my belly? I strained forward, to close the distance, and pointed one ear. Four beats of my heart and, snap, the branch that only a moose could break. Unreal! This is it! Red Alert! I waved frantically to Pyjama Boy. Why? I couldn’t even see him! It seemed to be a fair distance off, across the lake, in the dark, low lying bush. But, from the uniform, well spaced answers and frequent crashes, it was obvious that he was on his way, and determined. While he was moving fast, I backstroked towards shore, beached, deftly grabbed the Legend and tiptoed, through 6 inches of water, to the alder cover on land. Suddenly breathless, I took refuge in a lovely trio of boulders at water’s edge, huffing like a locomotive. His distant pop had become a subtle bark, descending, quietly now, to lake level. Caution had entered his mind as he closed on the opening and, though his footfalls had stopped, the barking was steady, at 20 second intervals. My eyes were useless, but I felt his big ears scoping across the lake. He was locked on to this locale and I dared not move. A waiting game. All was still, and he called no more. The silence was electric. Sitting in the rocks, one leg started to vibrate. My leg was electric! But I’m good at that game, and in the state I was in, knew better than to try a call. Instead, I poked around for a thin stick of driftwood, and snapped it sharply in the air. The report echoed back from the far shore, almost overlapped by a coarse “woooff” and crush of branches. Within seconds, he was stepping in the shallow water. I could only imagine his impressive rack, striding proudly, wading straight out towards me. The splashes deepened with the water, as did the tension, for it seemed he was soon to be swimming across and I had yet to see him. There was plenty of hunting light remaining and though I was blind to that direction, he would have a better view. My canoe floated ten critical yards offshore, directly in line. A move was required. The moose had stopped, knee deep, I suppose, and was staring me down. I figured the next time he moved, I would too, along the shore, north, closer to Al. If he swam the lake I’d try to pull him to where one of us may get a shot. The wait seemed forever, but at last, he grunted and stepped out once again and, on his third splash, I trotted four quick steps. He stopped and I sloshed four more, pulling up beside an overhanging alder. He was in motion again, but seemed to have more spring in his step and I realized that he had turned and now paralleled me as I looked north. Either he had spooked or decided to circle the lake. But his steps were plodding and steady and he called often, and, deep inside, I heaved a sigh of relief. He was coming around and I was pretty sure I could drag him past my partner. Time was the only factor. I had to keep him moving.I tugged the brim of my hat down to shield against the bright sky and stared hard at the sounds coming from the far shore. A hulking shape loomed out of the darkness, floating like a black ghost against the treeline. He sloshed along, ten yards offshore, becoming more defined as the background bush dropped to the horizon. Covered by his noise, I hop-scotched from boulder to boulder, making good time while staying close to shore, but soon ran out of rocks and had to stop. He plodded on until a brushy point jutted out, blocked his way. Sensing him roll his head around to listen, I swished the water with one boot while gulping my best calf call. At that, he “woofed” heavily and plowed onto the point, disappearing, but emerged shortly, on the waterfront, and stopped where the thin strip of hay began, highlighting his silhouette. The head was tilted back, long nose high, and, when he lowered it, a small tight rack was noticeable. I rustled some alders with my free hand and mewed as a calf until he moved once more. And so it went, alternating steps, call and answer, up opposing shorelines into the bay. Each call became easier as my voice loosened and confidence rose. But his treks grew shorter, stops more frequent. These stalls were painfully quiet and testing. A thousand crickets seemed to ring in my ears. Dare a call? Swirl a foot or shake a tree? One errant sound and he could be off. Pounding pulse and patience. Often, pure silence coaxed him on, and a bark, loud and gruff, would explode, in time with his first step, and echo across the bay. Moving and halting with the moose, for the better part of an hour, I had worked myself into a fine position, beneath a clump of alder, 60 yards from Pyjama Boy. I could vaguely see his pale figure, crouching in the stand, against the quickly darkening sky. The young bull, contrasted, bold and black against the hay, was broadside less than 100 yards beyond, steam spouting from his upturned nostrils as his head nodded slowly in a small circle, searching for a scent. His ears, standing at attention, focused on my hideout. The silence was deafening. One last delicate barrier lay twenty yards ahead of him. The outlet creek, 10 yards wide, the outer limit of Al’s shooting range. If only I could move him across. And soon.Our silent staredown dragged painfully . He stood motionless. Frozen, stone still. And I gave in.Grabbing a handful of brush, I gave it a gentle shake, then, cracked the heaviest branch. “WHOOOF” The entire body of the bull convulsed, as he let out a thunderous grunt and trotted the short distance to the creek. The deep roar had scarcely bounced from the hills and back to my ears when he jerked to a stop at the bank. I rattled the bush again. Instantly, he roared and shook and, to my dismay, turned and ran down stream, out of sight. I gave a desperate call, loud and pleading, and heard his splashing hooves, going away. My heart dropped. Then, pounding through the grass, there he was, on our side, barreling right down the trail towards me. I’m not sure why, if he saw me or smelled pyjamas, but he halted, dead in his tracks, straight under Al. I saw Al draw, heard a whir and a whack, and that bull spun on a dime and plunged, headlong, into the deep creek and lumbered up the other side to shake off, exactly where he had stood a few short seconds earlier. With a disgusted look back, he trotted away through the hay. Twigs rustled and snapped as he hit the bush. Then all was silent. Except for the heartbeats. Again, I waved my arms frantically at Al, hoping for some kind of response, but I guess he’s not much on sign language. So I strained my ears for a short while then, carefully, slipped along the shore and waited for him to come down the bare cedar. He had stayed up to listen and now was having a hard time descending. He was wide-eyed, quivering noticeably, and gasping as he tried to whisper.“Unreal” was all he could manage.“Did you get him?” I had to ask.“Better than sex” he babbled, “never been so excited!” “Did you get him?” “Oh yeah, stuck him good! Up here!” And he reached around for the part of his back that he couldn’t reach. “ Just the feathers left sticking’ out! Buried it. Was gonna take another shot when he stopped there, but couldn’t get it off! Last I heard him, he crashed thru that feed over there and that was it!” Al pointed down the creek to where it bent around a thick tangle of red willow. “I’m pretty sure he’s dead meat! Man, that was something else!I pumped his big mitt and slapped up at his shoulder. “Exxxcellent!”Al rambled on. “I thought we’d lost him when he took off that last time. He musta’ known it was shallow over there. Drew on him as he ran in, the railing was in the way. I had to get up on my toes to shoot. Couldn’t really aim, I just shot. Man, oh man. Un******real.” It was last light and we briefly searched for blood at the scene of the crime. None could be found and I left Allen flicking his bic and slogged back to retrieve the canoe. From the sparkle in his eye and smile on his face, I was confident there was a moose down, somewhere, across that creek. By the time I stroked in, Al was at the water, on the trail, with no blood yet. Thick gouges and craters scarred the other bank where the bull had hauled up and out. Al jumped in and I swung him across. No blood. It was hard to pick out the proper set of tracks, given the number at hand, but the thin crystal frost, quickly forming on the grass, had been disturbed in his wake and we found a couple small dots of red a short distance from shore. On finding a second patch of blood, I placed my hat over it and we retreated to the canoe and paddled hard for home. Man, I was thirsty! It was a moonless, starlit night. Marvelous. Andre waited by a small fire at camp. He had heard it all! The grunts and bellows, snapping and splashing, and was completely amazed. He was nearly as excited as the two of us. We hurriedly told him the story, so far, while gulping down an ice cold beer and rounding up lights, rope and axe. And we all piled into the boat and motored back up the lake to pick up the trail. It had been forty minutes since the shot. We must have been quite a sight that night, in the hay. Three of us, side by side, puffing steam. Ice crystals sparkled all around. Al sported a miner’s type cap lamp and gripped two hands on my cocked crossbow. I walked slightly ahead, Coleman lamp held high, axe at the ready. Andre waved a Maglight, sweeping for eyes, far ahead, side to side. The blood trail was scarce, but steady. One or two drops every five yards. The swath through the frosted grass gave us a good look ahead and the trail was never lost. It led into the patch of willow and we found our prize laying just on the other side. A three year old bull with a chunky little rack. Allen’s arrow had worked its way out the bottom of the belly. The feathers no longer adorned his back. His final run had covered less than 100 yards. We raised a little cheer, did a little dance, and made quick work of gutting him, leaving the tip of his heart on a nearby branch. (a tradition passed from my late father-in-law) With our moose propped open under a cloud of rising steam, we headed back, starry eyed, into that marvelous night. The next afternoon brought 3 days of warm rain, but our spirits were never dampened. George popped in Friday, as scheduled, and flew our quartered moose out, to hang in the cooler at the lodge. The bows were stored away, and the camp frame was completed. One quiet morning, a young bull chased a cow and calf along the far shore. Wanting nothing to do with him, she clipped along thirty yards ahead, each splashing hoof sending up a little rainbow. We found some time to catch a few fish and fix up tree stands and shooting lanes. The old bare cedar was deemed worthy and left untouched, ready for the next brave hunter Monday morning, under heavily overcast skies and steady drizzle, the Beaver came and three happy campers were homeward bound, jam packed with memories..  
    May 26, 2016 138
  • 22 May 2016
    By Nico Els from East Cape Bushveld Hunting                                                                                        May 21, 2016                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What Really Matters Being a Professional Hunter, I get to experience nature in all his glory. Anything from open plains roaming with Impala, Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest to Kudu infested valleys down to Springhare and Scrubhare during the cold winter nights. I’ve been privileged to be able to meet many different people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. I’ve worked with some of them, worked for some of them but hunted with most of them. Around the traditional South African campfires I’ve heard their stories, all they had to share about life, love and of course hunting. Over the years I’ve gotten a good idea what matters to them when they are out hunting in our beautiful country. What makes them tick and what not. Some reckon that the enjoyment of the hunt is the most important part, others reckon the animals or the amount of game you see. Some might say the people you hunt with and others the guides who take you hunting. Many hunters, many opinions, but what about the actual hunt? When push comes to shove, what really matters? Well, as a Professional Hunter, I’ve developed my own list of essentials when out hunting. These essentials consist of characteristics, equipment and capabilities that, to me can really make or break a hunt. Telescopes – I went hunting for Impala, Warthog and Blesbuck once with a client. He got some real nice animals, but he took them all with one of my rifles, simply because he couldn’t get his rifle to shoot where he was aiming. After some time we realized that the crosshairs were basically hanging loose. In short, it was dysfunctional and so he had to use one of mine. So many times, I’ve hunted with chaps who seem to spend all their money on the rifle and as little as possible on the scope. They buy expensive stocks, suppressors, gun belts and similar equipment to make the rifle more comfortable to carry and handle, but then go for low budget scopes not suited for their rifles, calibres or hunting terrain. Now the first thing we do when a client arrives at East Cape Bushveld Hunting is to take him or her down to the shooting range to sight the rifles. More than often, ammo is wasted trying to sight a rifle that should have been sighted with the second or third shot. Either the scope isn’t setting or it just can’t handle the recoil from the rifle. The result? The hunter goes hunting with a rifle not sighted in properly and with limited ammo or, like with this client, he had to borrow one of mine or one from his PH , all because the choice for a scope is not taken up seriously. The quality of your telescope matters. Ammunition – The second mistake hunters make is to go for cheap ammo. Picture this; A Client joins us on a hunt for Kudu. We spot a bull in the early morning sun and plan our stalk. We walk slowly and stop regularly to avoid being spotted or heard. We get down in prone position before reaching our FFP. The kudu now not more than 120 yards away is standing quartering away, browsing on a ‘Spekboom’ or Bacon Tree as it is known in English. We get set up, shooting across the valley. Everything goes according to plan, until he fires the shot, hitting the animal just behind the shoulder and hoping the bullet exits his chest on the opposite side. The bull disappears like only a Kudu knows how to disappear in these thickets. Long story short, we tracked the bull for several hundred yards before finding it dead in the shade of a Jacket Plum where he had gone to lay down. He never got up. The bullet disintegrated but the right lung got punctured by a small fragment of the jacket. If it weren’t for that, the bull would surely have gone way further and we wouldn’t have gotten him, or worse, he could’ve hit him further back in the stomach... As with the choice of a scope, the ammo you plan on using is very important and can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful hunt.  The ability of the bullet to penetrate and stay on course matters. Fitness - the physical capability of the hunter to cover the terrain without tiring too quickly is something many hunters oversee many times. Hunting Steenbuck with a European client once, we had to cross a valley and walk right to the top of the opposite hill where there is less bushes and trees and of course where we spotted a pair of Steenbuck. The terrain was fairly rugged, but most hunters would have covered it without breaking too much of a sweat. We probably covered about a mile to get within range of the animal, but the client being very tired from walking, forgot his rifle on safe. When he realised that, he suddenly went into a rush to take it off of safe and shoot. The animal got away and afterwards the client explained to me that he couldn’t concentrate and that it was too much walking for him. “Next time, we use more car and less foot”. Yup, fitness matters. Patience – I cannot emphasize this enough. More than ninety percent of all the hunters or clients I hunt with from all over, lack patience. When I was about eleven years old, my father took me hunting for a Bushbuck. One Saturday afternoon, we slowly made our way down into a valley where we knew some bushbuck had been hanging around. We sat down under ‘n Jacket-Plum and started scanning across the valley for Bushbuck on the other side. Couple of hours went by and we didn’t see as much as a Duiker. Bird sounds reverberated all over the valley, but no animals. A Kudu bull makes his way out of the thick bush and my father immediately notes that he is crippled in his one front leg. He instructed me to set up, but even before I can do so, he spots us and rushes back into the brush. All of a sudden a Bushbuck ewe and ram appears from the bushes below us. They must have heard our shuffling and whispering, thus deciding to leave the valley. As they make their way out, I set up to take the shot. Just before they enter the thick brush across the valley the ram turns broad side for a moment and I pull the trigger. The shot goes off but to my disappointment the ram walks in behind a River Euphorbia and the bullet from the 30-06 makes a hole on the one side of the tree trunk. The ram took off into the bush. I pulled the trigger when the animal’s front leg was exactly behind the tree, thus hitting the tree trunk and not the animal. Rooky mistake. Never before have I been so disappointed. A week later, Saturday morning very early I make my way back to that same spot to wait for that ram. I sit down under the same tree and for the next four hours, the previous Saturday repeats itself. The distinct chanting of a couple Glossy Starlings keeps me entertained for the morning, but no movement or sign of any animal, not even to mention Bushbuck. I wait patiently. Eventually I start to mash up dung from animals that have been resting under the tree, only looking up now and then to check for animals. All of sudden I catch movement in the corner of my eye. Looking up, I spot the ram making his way out of the tree line where he had disappeared the previous week and stopping in the shade of a Shepherds tree. I quickly get set up and take aim on the only part of the animal I’m able to see – his neck. Now, not more than 150 yards away I squeeze the trigger gently. The bang from the rifle overpowers every other sound and for a moment everything else seems to go quiet. The Bushbuck is down. All the hard work has paid off. Months of hunting and scouting, trying to outthink the animals. Sitting, glassing the thick brush and waiting quietly – yes my friend, patience matters more than anything else. The list goes and on. So many things come into play when you’re out hunting. Yes, you must enjoy it. Yes your guides, chef, tracker, friends, family and everyone else involved will have an enormous effect on how much you enjoy it. Even your own mind-set will be a determining factor, but on top of my list of essentials, gear and characteristics, is this; Telescope, Bullet Quality, Fitness and Patience. The most important of these, is patience.   www.ecbushveldhunting.co.za ecbhunting@gmail.com
    240 Posted by Chris Avena
  • By Nico Els from East Cape Bushveld Hunting                                                                                        May 21, 2016                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What Really Matters Being a Professional Hunter, I get to experience nature in all his glory. Anything from open plains roaming with Impala, Giraffe, Zebra and Wildebeest to Kudu infested valleys down to Springhare and Scrubhare during the cold winter nights. I’ve been privileged to be able to meet many different people from different countries, cultures and backgrounds. I’ve worked with some of them, worked for some of them but hunted with most of them. Around the traditional South African campfires I’ve heard their stories, all they had to share about life, love and of course hunting. Over the years I’ve gotten a good idea what matters to them when they are out hunting in our beautiful country. What makes them tick and what not. Some reckon that the enjoyment of the hunt is the most important part, others reckon the animals or the amount of game you see. Some might say the people you hunt with and others the guides who take you hunting. Many hunters, many opinions, but what about the actual hunt? When push comes to shove, what really matters? Well, as a Professional Hunter, I’ve developed my own list of essentials when out hunting. These essentials consist of characteristics, equipment and capabilities that, to me can really make or break a hunt. Telescopes – I went hunting for Impala, Warthog and Blesbuck once with a client. He got some real nice animals, but he took them all with one of my rifles, simply because he couldn’t get his rifle to shoot where he was aiming. After some time we realized that the crosshairs were basically hanging loose. In short, it was dysfunctional and so he had to use one of mine. So many times, I’ve hunted with chaps who seem to spend all their money on the rifle and as little as possible on the scope. They buy expensive stocks, suppressors, gun belts and similar equipment to make the rifle more comfortable to carry and handle, but then go for low budget scopes not suited for their rifles, calibres or hunting terrain. Now the first thing we do when a client arrives at East Cape Bushveld Hunting is to take him or her down to the shooting range to sight the rifles. More than often, ammo is wasted trying to sight a rifle that should have been sighted with the second or third shot. Either the scope isn’t setting or it just can’t handle the recoil from the rifle. The result? The hunter goes hunting with a rifle not sighted in properly and with limited ammo or, like with this client, he had to borrow one of mine or one from his PH , all because the choice for a scope is not taken up seriously. The quality of your telescope matters. Ammunition – The second mistake hunters make is to go for cheap ammo. Picture this; A Client joins us on a hunt for Kudu. We spot a bull in the early morning sun and plan our stalk. We walk slowly and stop regularly to avoid being spotted or heard. We get down in prone position before reaching our FFP. The kudu now not more than 120 yards away is standing quartering away, browsing on a ‘Spekboom’ or Bacon Tree as it is known in English. We get set up, shooting across the valley. Everything goes according to plan, until he fires the shot, hitting the animal just behind the shoulder and hoping the bullet exits his chest on the opposite side. The bull disappears like only a Kudu knows how to disappear in these thickets. Long story short, we tracked the bull for several hundred yards before finding it dead in the shade of a Jacket Plum where he had gone to lay down. He never got up. The bullet disintegrated but the right lung got punctured by a small fragment of the jacket. If it weren’t for that, the bull would surely have gone way further and we wouldn’t have gotten him, or worse, he could’ve hit him further back in the stomach... As with the choice of a scope, the ammo you plan on using is very important and can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful hunt.  The ability of the bullet to penetrate and stay on course matters. Fitness - the physical capability of the hunter to cover the terrain without tiring too quickly is something many hunters oversee many times. Hunting Steenbuck with a European client once, we had to cross a valley and walk right to the top of the opposite hill where there is less bushes and trees and of course where we spotted a pair of Steenbuck. The terrain was fairly rugged, but most hunters would have covered it without breaking too much of a sweat. We probably covered about a mile to get within range of the animal, but the client being very tired from walking, forgot his rifle on safe. When he realised that, he suddenly went into a rush to take it off of safe and shoot. The animal got away and afterwards the client explained to me that he couldn’t concentrate and that it was too much walking for him. “Next time, we use more car and less foot”. Yup, fitness matters. Patience – I cannot emphasize this enough. More than ninety percent of all the hunters or clients I hunt with from all over, lack patience. When I was about eleven years old, my father took me hunting for a Bushbuck. One Saturday afternoon, we slowly made our way down into a valley where we knew some bushbuck had been hanging around. We sat down under ‘n Jacket-Plum and started scanning across the valley for Bushbuck on the other side. Couple of hours went by and we didn’t see as much as a Duiker. Bird sounds reverberated all over the valley, but no animals. A Kudu bull makes his way out of the thick bush and my father immediately notes that he is crippled in his one front leg. He instructed me to set up, but even before I can do so, he spots us and rushes back into the brush. All of a sudden a Bushbuck ewe and ram appears from the bushes below us. They must have heard our shuffling and whispering, thus deciding to leave the valley. As they make their way out, I set up to take the shot. Just before they enter the thick brush across the valley the ram turns broad side for a moment and I pull the trigger. The shot goes off but to my disappointment the ram walks in behind a River Euphorbia and the bullet from the 30-06 makes a hole on the one side of the tree trunk. The ram took off into the bush. I pulled the trigger when the animal’s front leg was exactly behind the tree, thus hitting the tree trunk and not the animal. Rooky mistake. Never before have I been so disappointed. A week later, Saturday morning very early I make my way back to that same spot to wait for that ram. I sit down under the same tree and for the next four hours, the previous Saturday repeats itself. The distinct chanting of a couple Glossy Starlings keeps me entertained for the morning, but no movement or sign of any animal, not even to mention Bushbuck. I wait patiently. Eventually I start to mash up dung from animals that have been resting under the tree, only looking up now and then to check for animals. All of sudden I catch movement in the corner of my eye. Looking up, I spot the ram making his way out of the tree line where he had disappeared the previous week and stopping in the shade of a Shepherds tree. I quickly get set up and take aim on the only part of the animal I’m able to see – his neck. Now, not more than 150 yards away I squeeze the trigger gently. The bang from the rifle overpowers every other sound and for a moment everything else seems to go quiet. The Bushbuck is down. All the hard work has paid off. Months of hunting and scouting, trying to outthink the animals. Sitting, glassing the thick brush and waiting quietly – yes my friend, patience matters more than anything else. The list goes and on. So many things come into play when you’re out hunting. Yes, you must enjoy it. Yes your guides, chef, tracker, friends, family and everyone else involved will have an enormous effect on how much you enjoy it. Even your own mind-set will be a determining factor, but on top of my list of essentials, gear and characteristics, is this; Telescope, Bullet Quality, Fitness and Patience. The most important of these, is patience.   www.ecbushveldhunting.co.za ecbhunting@gmail.com
    May 22, 2016 240
  • 08 Oct 2015
    News Release   October 5, 2015 Contact: aseidman@safariclub.org For Immediate Release   Hunters Win in Florida -- Judge Denies Motion to Stop Black Bear Hunt   Safari Club International was pleased to be the only hunting group to assist the State of Florida in protecting the state’s black bear season against a challenge from anti-hunters. On Thursday, October 1, 2015, after a five hour hearing, a Florida state court denied a request filed by Florida group, Speak Up Wekiva, to shut down Florida's first black bear hunt in decades. As a result of the ruling, the hunt is set to commence as planned on October 24th. Deserving most of the credit for the victory are Florida's state attorneys and biologists, who aggressively defended the hunt in court.   SCI assisted in defending the hunt by submitting a powerful amicus brief that explained to the court how stopping the hunt would harm SCI members and the general Florida hunting community. SCI’s brief also provided concrete data from SCI’s past involvement with black bear litigation in New Jersey. The data refuted the Plaintiffs' claims that the hunt would harm Florida's black bear population. An SCI attorney appeared at the hearing to offer assistance as needed. SCI’s local counsel in Florida, attorney Ethan Way – a member of SCI's Tallahassee Chapter – assisted SCI’s in-house litigation attorneys in filing our brief and appearing in court.   SCI is proud to be a part of this latest victory. SCI has a long history of conserving Florida black bears through sustainable use. Almost ten years ago, SCI helped the federal government defend a lawsuit seeking to force a listing of the Florida black bear under the Endangered Species Act, which would have prevented Florida’s current hunt. If anti-hunting groups decide to continue to try to stop the hunt, SCI will continue to help Florida defend against any challenge.                                                                                               * * * *   Safari Club International - First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.SafariClub.org, or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.
    657 Posted by Chris Avena
  • News Release   October 5, 2015 Contact: aseidman@safariclub.org For Immediate Release   Hunters Win in Florida -- Judge Denies Motion to Stop Black Bear Hunt   Safari Club International was pleased to be the only hunting group to assist the State of Florida in protecting the state’s black bear season against a challenge from anti-hunters. On Thursday, October 1, 2015, after a five hour hearing, a Florida state court denied a request filed by Florida group, Speak Up Wekiva, to shut down Florida's first black bear hunt in decades. As a result of the ruling, the hunt is set to commence as planned on October 24th. Deserving most of the credit for the victory are Florida's state attorneys and biologists, who aggressively defended the hunt in court.   SCI assisted in defending the hunt by submitting a powerful amicus brief that explained to the court how stopping the hunt would harm SCI members and the general Florida hunting community. SCI’s brief also provided concrete data from SCI’s past involvement with black bear litigation in New Jersey. The data refuted the Plaintiffs' claims that the hunt would harm Florida's black bear population. An SCI attorney appeared at the hearing to offer assistance as needed. SCI’s local counsel in Florida, attorney Ethan Way – a member of SCI's Tallahassee Chapter – assisted SCI’s in-house litigation attorneys in filing our brief and appearing in court.   SCI is proud to be a part of this latest victory. SCI has a long history of conserving Florida black bears through sustainable use. Almost ten years ago, SCI helped the federal government defend a lawsuit seeking to force a listing of the Florida black bear under the Endangered Species Act, which would have prevented Florida’s current hunt. If anti-hunting groups decide to continue to try to stop the hunt, SCI will continue to help Florida defend against any challenge.                                                                                               * * * *   Safari Club International - First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's approximately 200 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 106 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.SafariClub.org, or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.
    Oct 08, 2015 657
  • 21 Jun 2015
                                                                 Getting Ready for Russia   As some of you may know, I will be heading to Russia the coming September to hunt Huge Brown Bear in Siberia. When Judge Julie Mogenis first invited me to go on this trip I was not sure if I wanted to go. After I hung up the phone, it took me about 20 minutes to realize what a huge mistake I was going to make by not going on this hunt. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I knew that I would regret it if I did not go. So I called the Judge back and told her that I am going to accept her offer to go on this hunt. She filled me in on the dates which will be in early September.   The first thing that I did was to look up what the weather was like in Siberia at that time of year. From what I have found, it should be the same type of climate as in northern Alaska at that time of year. It is suppose to be above freezing and there will be snow on the ground but it is difficult to predict just how much snow there will be. So on a spot and stalk Bear Hunt, I needed to be in shape – which I am not. I have not seen the inside of a gym in 2 years and I am about 20 pounds over weight.   I have to admit, I did procrastinate for about six weeks or so about doing something about my physical condition. Finally, I decided to start hiking the trails by my house. Some parts of the trail were pretty steep and challenging and I thought that it would help to build my stamina and strengthen my legs. The first leg of the trail was a mile and a half. So there and back was a nice 3 mile work out that I could do in under an hour.   I started hiking the trails two to three times a week for the first couple of weeks. It felt pretty good. You know that feeling. The one that feels like you have been sitting on the bench for a long time and then you finally get your chance to get back into the game. Over the next few weeks I kicked up the pace. I was hiking the trails four to five times per week and I added a weighted backpack that I would wear. I would compete with myself to beat the previous day’s time. I could feel my body acclimate to the change and then it happened. My body started to remind me that I was not 20 years old anymore. My knees could not handle the constant pounding that I have been giving them on almost a daily basis. The tendons on my right knee became inflamed and it would cramp up if I left it in the same position for too long. I decided to take some time to let my knee heal but I knew that I would have to find a low impact workout to get into shape and allow my knee to rest.   I joined a gym and consulted with a trainer to figure out the best way prepare for this hunt. To Be Continued.......
    1553 Posted by Chris Avena
  •                                                              Getting Ready for Russia   As some of you may know, I will be heading to Russia the coming September to hunt Huge Brown Bear in Siberia. When Judge Julie Mogenis first invited me to go on this trip I was not sure if I wanted to go. After I hung up the phone, it took me about 20 minutes to realize what a huge mistake I was going to make by not going on this hunt. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I knew that I would regret it if I did not go. So I called the Judge back and told her that I am going to accept her offer to go on this hunt. She filled me in on the dates which will be in early September.   The first thing that I did was to look up what the weather was like in Siberia at that time of year. From what I have found, it should be the same type of climate as in northern Alaska at that time of year. It is suppose to be above freezing and there will be snow on the ground but it is difficult to predict just how much snow there will be. So on a spot and stalk Bear Hunt, I needed to be in shape – which I am not. I have not seen the inside of a gym in 2 years and I am about 20 pounds over weight.   I have to admit, I did procrastinate for about six weeks or so about doing something about my physical condition. Finally, I decided to start hiking the trails by my house. Some parts of the trail were pretty steep and challenging and I thought that it would help to build my stamina and strengthen my legs. The first leg of the trail was a mile and a half. So there and back was a nice 3 mile work out that I could do in under an hour.   I started hiking the trails two to three times a week for the first couple of weeks. It felt pretty good. You know that feeling. The one that feels like you have been sitting on the bench for a long time and then you finally get your chance to get back into the game. Over the next few weeks I kicked up the pace. I was hiking the trails four to five times per week and I added a weighted backpack that I would wear. I would compete with myself to beat the previous day’s time. I could feel my body acclimate to the change and then it happened. My body started to remind me that I was not 20 years old anymore. My knees could not handle the constant pounding that I have been giving them on almost a daily basis. The tendons on my right knee became inflamed and it would cramp up if I left it in the same position for too long. I decided to take some time to let my knee heal but I knew that I would have to find a low impact workout to get into shape and allow my knee to rest.   I joined a gym and consulted with a trainer to figure out the best way prepare for this hunt. To Be Continued.......
    Jun 21, 2015 1553
  • 04 Mar 2015
    As I sit here this morning facing another "hump" day, my thoughts drift to the fall of the smells, the challenges of the upcoming hunting season and often wonder what it would be like to hunt for a living? Would I get tired of getting up before daylight, go sit in a stand no matter what the weather (unless its raining like crazy) or super windy.  Would the thrill of taking bucks of "wallhanger" class get old? Would that adrenaline rush when you see a deer go away? I personally think it wouldnt, just for the fact that no matter how many times I see deer, I still get excited, and still appriciate everthing that I have when I am out there! I think a career in the outdoor industry couldnt get any better, but I often wonder exactly how you make a living doing somehting like that? How do the superstars of the industry make it work? I know these are completly random thoughts but I have found myself considering something like this when I finally retire from Uncle Sam's Air Force. Have any of you considered anything like this, and if so, how do you go about finding a place to start?  I cant thank Chris enough for giving me a chance as a Pro Staff member, that in itself is a pretty good foundation!
    1362 Posted by Scott Stover
  • As I sit here this morning facing another "hump" day, my thoughts drift to the fall of the smells, the challenges of the upcoming hunting season and often wonder what it would be like to hunt for a living? Would I get tired of getting up before daylight, go sit in a stand no matter what the weather (unless its raining like crazy) or super windy.  Would the thrill of taking bucks of "wallhanger" class get old? Would that adrenaline rush when you see a deer go away? I personally think it wouldnt, just for the fact that no matter how many times I see deer, I still get excited, and still appriciate everthing that I have when I am out there! I think a career in the outdoor industry couldnt get any better, but I often wonder exactly how you make a living doing somehting like that? How do the superstars of the industry make it work? I know these are completly random thoughts but I have found myself considering something like this when I finally retire from Uncle Sam's Air Force. Have any of you considered anything like this, and if so, how do you go about finding a place to start?  I cant thank Chris enough for giving me a chance as a Pro Staff member, that in itself is a pretty good foundation!
    Mar 04, 2015 1362
  • 10 Feb 2015
    To: ALL MEDIA For immediate release   February 5, 2015   U.S. Sens. Murkowski, Heinrich Introduce New Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 NEWTOWN, Conn. - The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, today is pleased to note that U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015.   The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 is a package of pro-sportsmen's legislation designed to safeguard and promote America's hunting and fishing traditions and to enhance the role of hunters, anglers and shooters as America's preeminent supporters of wildlife conservation. In keeping with a longstanding tradition of bipartisanship on sportsmen's issues, the legislation enjoys strong support from both sides of the political aisle with Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Co-Chairs U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and CSC Vice-Chairs U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) serving as original co-sponsors.   "Being from Alaska, I'm lucky. Our hunting and fishing is top-notch. We learn to love the 'great outdoors' very early on in the Last Frontier. We know how to enjoy it today, and we're committed to making sure that future generations have the same great opportunities," said Sen. Murkowski. "The bipartisan legislation we introduced today will help ensure that our grandchildren have the same opportunities to hunt and fish as we did growing up."   Sen. Heinrich added, "The number one issue for sportsmen and women across the country is access. This widely supported, bipartisan bill will open more areas to hunting and fishing and grow America's thriving outdoor recreation economy. Hunters and anglers alone spend more than $465 million per year in New Mexico, and outdoor recreation as a whole is directly responsible for 68,000 jobs in our state. As an avid hunter myself, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage and treasured public lands for future generations to enjoy."   "The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 is made up of several bills that will help ensure our outdoor traditions are preserved, protected and promoted, said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. This legislation addresses some of the top concerns of American hunters and recreational shooters. Its passage would be a significant accomplishment for the sportsmen's community and for America. We are grateful to Senators Murkowski and Heinrich for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation and are looking forward to passage early in the 114th Congress."   Priorities addressed in the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act include: protecting the traditional use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by American hunters and anglers, the removal of impediments to the use of Pittman-Robertson funds for shooting ranges and a significant number of provisions to enhance and expand hunting, shooting and fishing access on lands administered by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture.   About NSSF The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 11,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.
    1284 Posted by Chris Avena
  • To: ALL MEDIA For immediate release   February 5, 2015   U.S. Sens. Murkowski, Heinrich Introduce New Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 NEWTOWN, Conn. - The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industries, today is pleased to note that U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) have introduced the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015.   The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 is a package of pro-sportsmen's legislation designed to safeguard and promote America's hunting and fishing traditions and to enhance the role of hunters, anglers and shooters as America's preeminent supporters of wildlife conservation. In keeping with a longstanding tradition of bipartisanship on sportsmen's issues, the legislation enjoys strong support from both sides of the political aisle with Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus (CSC) Co-Chairs U.S. Sens. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and CSC Vice-Chairs U.S. Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) serving as original co-sponsors.   "Being from Alaska, I'm lucky. Our hunting and fishing is top-notch. We learn to love the 'great outdoors' very early on in the Last Frontier. We know how to enjoy it today, and we're committed to making sure that future generations have the same great opportunities," said Sen. Murkowski. "The bipartisan legislation we introduced today will help ensure that our grandchildren have the same opportunities to hunt and fish as we did growing up."   Sen. Heinrich added, "The number one issue for sportsmen and women across the country is access. This widely supported, bipartisan bill will open more areas to hunting and fishing and grow America's thriving outdoor recreation economy. Hunters and anglers alone spend more than $465 million per year in New Mexico, and outdoor recreation as a whole is directly responsible for 68,000 jobs in our state. As an avid hunter myself, I remain deeply committed to preserving our outdoor heritage and treasured public lands for future generations to enjoy."   "The Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 is made up of several bills that will help ensure our outdoor traditions are preserved, protected and promoted, said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. This legislation addresses some of the top concerns of American hunters and recreational shooters. Its passage would be a significant accomplishment for the sportsmen's community and for America. We are grateful to Senators Murkowski and Heinrich for their bipartisan leadership on this important legislation and are looking forward to passage early in the 114th Congress."   Priorities addressed in the Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act include: protecting the traditional use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle by American hunters and anglers, the removal of impediments to the use of Pittman-Robertson funds for shooting ranges and a significant number of provisions to enhance and expand hunting, shooting and fishing access on lands administered by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture.   About NSSF The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 11,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, visit nssf.org.
    Feb 10, 2015 1284
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