Archives for June 2014

Throwback Thursday

Here's the second turkey I ever killed...I think I was 8 years old.  The bird weighed 23 pounds and had 1 1/4 inch spurs.  It remains the largest bird I've killed in West Virginia.

Here’s the second turkey I ever killed…I think I was 8 years old. The bird weighed 23 pounds and had 1 1/4 inch spurs. It remains the largest bird I’ve killed in West Virginia.

West Virginia brown trout

rt219While I’m on the water almost every day, my own fishing time is pretty limited.  When I do get a day off, most of the time is spent running errands or cutting the grass, leaving little time to go fish.  Yesterday evening I got a chance to head down to West Virginia and fish with a dear friend who really re-ignitied my love of fly fishing many years ago.

He lives in a wild trout paradise and we fished a stream not terribly far from his house.  While we saw several different mayflies hatching, nothing hatched consistently and we were mainly confined to nymph fishing.  I picked up several fish during the hike including a stud 22 inch brown right at dark.

It felt really good to be out in the big country again and fish some different water than what I’m on ever day.  The next time it rains and the creeks swell, I know exactly where I’m headed.

The first decent fish of the day.

The first decent fish of the day.

What a perfect fish to end an evening on.

What a perfect fish to end an evening on.

 

Lookin’ like Kansas this fall

kansasmusketWhen I got home from work today, not only had my new fly reel come via UPS, my Kansas Muzzleloader tag was waiting there for me as well.  My dad and I are heading out to the Sunflower State the second week of September to try our luck with the muskets.  This will be my third time hunting the early muzzleloader season out there and my dad’s fourth.  It has been good to us in the past and hopefully we can get the job done again.  Only 96 days to go.

Words to live by

While this isn’t hunting related, I am by trade, a fly fishing guide and sometimes I like to talk fishing.  Tonight, I spoke on the phone to a good friend who is also a fly fishing guide.  While he may be 4 decades older than me, he still laces his wading boots every day and fishes his ass off.  He is a wealth of fly fishing knowledge and I’m privileged to call him a friend.  While openly lamenting life choices and missed opportunities, Bill reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite authors, Robert Traver.  He retrieved a copy of one of Traver’s books that was once owned by Eddie Bauer (yes, that Eddie Bauer) and read me the passage.  When he was done, I instantly felt better.  I’m doing just what I was meant to do.

I fish because I love to. Because I love the environs where trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly. Because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties, and assorted social posturing I thus escape. Because in a world where most men seem to spend their lives doing what they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion. Because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed, or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility, and endless patience. Because I suspect that men are going this way for the last time and I for one don’t want to waste the trip. Because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters. Because in the woods I can find solitude without loneliness. … And finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important, but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally unimportant and not nearly so much fun.  –Robert Traver

Anniversary Krieghoff K-80

I’ve shot sporting clays for several years.  It’s a great game and and keeps my wingshooting sharp.  Part of my job includes trapping for shooters on the clays range when there’s no fishing or hunting on the books.  While I’m not a fan of how a Krieghoff feels in hand, they are without a doubt some of the most beautiful over unders you’ll see.  They’re hand made works of art that not only look good, but can literally withstand hundreds of thousands of rounds without breaking a sweat.  Today, one of my shooters broke out his K-80 and my jaw dropped.  I’m used to seeing the standard 8 to 15 thousand dollar K gun but this one was head and shoulders above the rest and cost well into the 6 figures.  It’s the anniversary edition K-80 all hand engraved by 5 different engravers.  I snapped a pic of the side and bottom of the receiver.  It’s not every day you get to handle a gun that costs more than your house.

Krieghoffk80

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k80 bottom

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Flashback Friday

KansasMuzzleloader

Kansas Early Muzzleloader Season 2011

Throwback Thursday

April '92.  My first Turkey.

April ’92. My first Turkey.

It’s all over

Dead WV Turkey

Today, when I got home from work, I started the daunting task of sorting and washing all of my turkey hunting clothes.  What’s worse than having to go through all this stuff and wash it for next year is the realization that this season is over.  I live for the spring gobbler season.  If I could do it every day all year, I would.  And though I knew the season was drawing to a close, the realization that I had to hang it up until next year didn’t set in until today.

As I went through the pockets, I found my Kansas license, a spent Federal hull, an SD card, a cigarette butt, and about 4 fistfuls of Kleenex.  These are random items that mean nothing, but in an instant they made me remember everything about Kansas and the turkey I shot the shell at.  I remember putting the SD card in my pocket for safe keeping and then forgetting where I put it.  I remembered finding a year old cigarette in my vest left from when I smoked and then smoking it in the dark, listening to a bird gobble in the distance.  And of course, using the Kleenex to attack the never ending snots that accompany cold mornings and spring time allergies.  A lot of times, by noon, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast, but turkey season memories, no matter how minute,  are always seared in my mind.

I covered a lot of miles, hunted in several states, and burned up a serious amount of boot leather this year.  I got to hunt with old friends, and made some new ones.  I got the privilege to introduce new people to a sport I live and die by.  And I even killed several birds. Hunting every day for 2 months is hard on you mentally and physically.  It causes stress at work and places a strain on your marriage.  You neglect things that you otherwise wouldn’t, all in narrow pursuit of one of the greatest game animals of all time.  And its now I realize why I couldn’t do this year round.  I have a wife and job to get back to, and while I still wake up at 4am every day ready to lace my boots and take off for the mountains, that will fade.  I’ll eventually slide back to normalcy, but one thing you can count on, come 8 months from now, I’ll start getting rangy.  And it’s going to start all over again.

 

 

First Shots with the Marauder

Since I got it, I’ve been itching to shoot my new Benjamin Marauder.  I’ve gotten to shoot it a handful of times but never got a chance to sit down and actually see what this thing can do.  Today I got my chance and all I can say is…Oh. My. God.  What a rifle.  Airguns aren’t typically known for being super accurate or having a great trigger but this thing covers both.  I put about 25 rounds down range and I can’t say enough good about it.

Benjamin Marauder

After starting out at a close distance, I familiarized myself with its trigger and feel.  I still need to adjust the comb and dial a couple things in but out of the box, I must say I was impressed.  After checking the zero on the scope, I stretched this thing out a little bit and what I saw would rival any .22 rimfire on the market.  Smooth as silk, this thing delivers.  I only scratched the surface with this rifle this afternoon, but my mind is blown.

pardon the flier, but at 100 yards, you have yourself a stone cold killer.

pardon the flier, but at 100 yards, you have yourself a stone cold killer.

Later this week, when I get a fresh charge of air, I’m going to do an in depth torture test to really see what this thing can do.  As it sits right now, I think it’s safe to say I won’t be disappointed.

 

Pennsylvania Turkey Season Wrap Up

Alright, enough with the excuses, here’s how my season ended.  Dave Poteat from Inside Outdoors TV and his camera man, Dusty came to my (adopted)  home turf to turkey hunt.  Accompanying them was Jennifer Lambert from Crosman Airguns.  I met Dave on a hunting trip several years ago and since, have shared camp with him on a number of occasions.  Last spring, he and his co-host Tim Anello came to southern WV to turkey hunt at my Mom and Dad’s.  This year he was with me in Southwestern Pennsylvania on the last 4 days of season.  Although he was aware of how hard it would be to get one shot, I was confident we could get one within range and let Jennifer take his head off.

The cool part about this hunt was that the owner of the company I work for was gracious enough to let us use his personal cabin as a turkey camp, although camp is a pretty loose definition of what this place is.  As far as the turkeys, I hadn’t heard a bird gobble in almost a week.  We were hunting on a good friend and coworker’s farm that is loaded with birds.  I set up a blind in a place birds cross by every day.  They’re done with spring breeding behavior and at this point its a straight up ambush.  No problem.

Not too shabby for a turkey camp.

Not too shabby for a turkey camp.

The first morning they actually heard birds gobble!  Shocking.  They saw lots of birds including one longbeard that just stayed a little out of range.  They sat it out but unfortunately didn’t connect.  We took the afternoon off due to rain and caught up on some much needed rest.  The next day they were covered up with jakes but the longbeard again stayed just out of shotgun range when he followed some hens off in the distance.  A few passing hens that evening sealed up their second day.  Their third and final day started slow.  No gobbling and no birds, but around 9, they started to appear.  A group of shootable turkeys zigged and zagged around the blind and finally offered Jennifer a shot.  What happened?  I can’t tell you.  You’ll have to watch IOTV to find out.

Dave, Jennifer, and Dusty size up the situation.

Dave, Jennifer, and Dusty size up the situation.

Although I knew it would be a tough hunt, I was really happy they were able to come and have their first hunt in Pennsylvania with me.  They’re great company and I think they had a pretty good time.  I was happy to show them where I work and they even came over and shot some sporting clays at our clays course.  It was refreshing to see someone like Jennifer, who is new to hunting, show such enthusiasm for a sport I’m really passionate about.  She really had a baptism by fire.  Hunting late season in Pennsylvania is not easy and it’s not always fun.  She hunted her ass off and came back for more.  Good job, girl!  She’s truly a great lady and hopefully I’ll get another chance to hunt with her again.

Can't wait to put these bad boys to use.

Can’t wait to put these bad boys to use.

One of the most unexpected parts of the trip was when we parting ways Jennifer gave me two new Crosman rifles.  I had a chance to shoot these things in camp and couldn’t get over how cool they were.  Incredibly accurate and hard shooting, these things are the real deal.  On the left is the Benjamin Trail which just started shipping and the Marauder on the right which has a self contained air tank and a rotary magazine.  Very, very cool.  Thank you Jennifer!  I’ll do my best to burn the barrels out of these things.  I hope this is the start of a long partnership.  It is kind of cool because a few weeks before these folks showed up, I saw my Benjamin Sherridan .177 pellet rifle propped up in the corner of my parent’s garage.  I had some epic squirrel hunts with this thing in the woods surrounding my childhood home and that Benjamin rifle made me the marksman I am.  Looks like things have come full circle.