Category Archives: Hunting

The Second Amendment: Through the Eyes of an 11 Year Old Girl

 

Bella's Essay for her Sixth Grade Gov't Class
Bella’s Essay for her Sixth Grade Gov’t Class

What Freedom Do I Enjoy Most

            The freedom to bear arms/weapons is important because you may need a gun to hunt to provide food for your family.  You may need a gun for self-defense if you live in an unsafe area.  I think one of the most important reasons was during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese could have taken over the United States but they didn’t because they said, “Behind every American door there is a gun.”

            When I hunt or go to the shooting range I enjoy it.  I get to do two things I love:  shooting, and spending time with my dad. 

            I know about many crimes that have occurred using guns, but I believe that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  If there weren’t any guns in the world there might not be any shootings but, we would not have any self-defense and there would be many more robberies.  Some people need guns to perform their jobs, for example, policemen and women when they are in a dangerous situation.  Hopefully they won’t have to use a gun but they might need it for self-defense.  Some people hunt for a living and need guns to hunt.  As a hunter, that is why I think the right to bear arms is important and can save lives, possibly even your own.

            In the end, what it comes down to is that the person using the weapon must be responsible and knowledgeable about it, and respectful of others and their rights.

                                                Bella Nace

This is my niece, and I couldn’t be prouder of her!  I love you Bella! 

Serious Huntress!
Serious Huntress!
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Smith & Wesson’s Tony Miele Hunts in Africa

Tony Miele of Smith & Wesson, August 2012

    Tony recently had a trip to Africa and shared this great picture!  He’s been telling me I need to use this gun, the S&W 460XVR on my elk hunt coming up next month.  I’m working my way up to that one….maybe.   Still a little intimidated by the caliber, but then I haven’t actually ever shot this either.  Smith does put our HIVIZ sight on the front, along with the hunting scope for this particular application.   I don’t know Tony….I’m sure you could talk me into it.   

Congratulations Tony!  I bet it was a fantastic experience!

This will be a good topic for discussion at our next “L.D.” meetings. 

Wyoming Prairie Dog Hunt: Score!

Dog Hunting north of Laramie, WY

Now I can tell you what the hype is all about for prairie dog hunts!  I just returned from a customer hunt in Wyoming.  We met in Denver, stopped by the HIVIZ offices for a brief tour and meetings before heading up to Albany, WY.   The road sign says it all:A beautiful area and some very nice people!  Of course in a town of 15 people, you either get a great bunch or you are pretty much out of luck for the weekend with your alternative.   The guide met us and took us out the very first evening.  I hadn’t done this before and was a little leery of whether or not I’d even be able to have success at the yardages we would be shooting.  The shots ranged from 110 yards to 650+ yards at the different dog towns we set up at each day.  Driving up, I’m thinking, there’s nothing out there I can see.  Of course you’re talking about a the “blind woman shooting” (I think I’ll make a T-shirt!)….  But do wonders never cease?!  I hit one, then another and another !  Wahoo….. this is kind of cool!

We stayed out just a few hours the first evening and headed back in to the cabin.  The cook had dinner prepared while we settled in and relaxed.  The next morning we got up early…some of us earlier than others.  I’m early riser so I headed out to take a walk down the road from the cabin on the ranch.  Lots of ground squirrels, two young elk, and one lonely badger.  Absolutely gorgeous.

Sunrise from our balcony in Albany

After a huge breakfast, fixed by our character of a cook, Kyle, we headed out about 1 hour drive north to another ranch to set up for a full day of dog hunting.  Four shooters and the guide did some spotting for us.  Now look beyond my scope…. there is a whole lot of what looks like nothing out there.

“Wide Open Spaces…”

So, Brandon, our guide/spotter kept telling me, “you have one…look just left of the white spot by the sage”; or “there’s one in the tall grass”.  “Tall” ….Believe me, there is nothing tall on this prairie!  And white spots and sage bushes describe just about everything you can see!  We had some good laughs at his vague descriptions…  But anyone wanting a lot of trigger time, prairie dog hunting definitely fits the bill.  We had expected 2 full days of hunting for four of us and ended up with that plus 2 half days in addition.  Between the different rifles, the four of us had probably a minimum of 4000 rounds and went through nearly all of it.

It wasn’t the “killing” that was thrilling to me at all.  After all, I did have my reservations about this before hand.  But even while we were there, predators were helping themselves to the spoils.  Lots of birds while we were still shooting were coming in to feast.  The coyotes came in the evenings and you couldn’t tell we had even been in the area.  All the brass was cleaned up before we left the area.

My longest successful shot was just around 550 + yards.  Having my first elk hunt lined up for this fall, this experience really boosted my shooting confidence level.  Afterall, if I can hit this little guy at that distance, surely I can place an accurate shot on an elk at 200 yards or so – right?

Napping?…I think not!

I would highly recommend Texas Specialty Hunts, www.texasspecialtyhunts.com, to anyone looking for a reliable and friendly guide service!

What’s all the Hype with Prairie Dogs Anyway….?

Are you looking at me?!

     What is all the hype with hunting prairie dogs?  I don’t know, but when mentioning a prairie dog shoot to a buyer or rep, they are all over that!  When can we go?!   I have never done this before and had reservations about doing this…since it isn’t something you actually eat around here.  They are very destructive for ranchers and other agricultural properties.  They live in burrows and have 1-6 entrances per burrow.  The entrances, ranging in size from 4-12″ in diameter, can be what they term craters or dome craters, where they mound the dirt about a foot high.    They live in large colonies or “towns” than can cover hundreds of acres.      Plus I figured shooting them on the plains is better than poisoning them like some urban developments do and then having possible poisoning to the hawks, Golden Eagles, fox, badgers, ferrets, Burrowing Owls, and other  predators that are going to dine on these tasty little fur balls.   So, in the circle of life, I deemed this not so terrible after all.  Oh, did I mention they are susceptible to bubonic plague where many wild colonies have been wiped out from time to time.     So much for that… my boss in past years has hosted some OEM accounts to prairie dog hunts in Wyoming and they still talk about how much fun they had!  Apparently this is pretty big business in Wyoming..and I’m sure parts of Colorado and a few other states in the region.  But I was surprised to find out they actually have “guided prairie dog hunts”…tons of outfitters up there that conduct these, some complete with lodging, meals, and they combine it with perhaps a little fishing in the area over the summer months.  I had no idea this was such a big deal.  I mean, growing up back east, we shot squirrels…but I don’t think there are “guides for that”.  

    We had one distributor in particular that just grew phenomenally last year for us!  The Buyer there has done a fantastic job!….oh…and our rep too.  I invited them to join us this summer for a prairie dog hunt.  Their eyes lit up immediately!  They’re in!       Now I need to get geared up for this…I only have a tricked out 10/22 that I use in competitions…ok for closer yardages, but I didn’t have a “varmint rifle”.  So late last summer I picked up a Remington 700 model .22-250.   Everyone I asked had different opinions on the proper scope I needed… how confusing!   I decided to go to the top and spoke directly with Cyndi Flannigan of Leupold to get her recommendation for the proper scope.   How could I go wrong there? 

   The Leupold scope is a 6.5-20 x 50mm ….very nice.  One of the guys in here instructed me on mounting the rings, and lapping them before attaching the scope.  I learned so much!  I’m sighted it in finally when the weather warmed up a bit here in Colorado.  This was the first time I had shot this caliber…a little more “punch” to it than what I expected!  As I was doing this by myself at the range one day, I started at 50 yards and shot one to see how far off I was, made the adjustments on the windage and elevation.  Shot one more that was very close and moved over to the 100 yard range.  Shot a few more with minor adjustments and had a good group, slightly high at 100 yards, but then I am expecting to shoot closer to 200 yards on some of these shots anyway.  I called it good, …yadayadayada…so I’m not a perfectionist.  The groups were good!

  The scheduled hunt (shoot) is next weekend already!  Ammo supplies were getting tight this spring.  Luckily I had ordered the different calibers we were all bringing early before they were all running out of stock.  (Gee, could be an election year.  Anyone else seeing a pattern here?) A few days up at the base of the Snowy Mountain Range in Wyoming, out to the plains for lots of shooting during the day and a stop over at the Saratoga Hot Springs on the way back!  Not that’s how I see a nice finish to a fun couple of days!

The Hunt is On Baby! ….(for Women’s Hunting Apparel!!!)

My daughter and two other hunters maybe...all rolled into one!

I just put down a deposit on my first guided elk hunt for this fall!  I am so excited.  Bison, black bear, and now my third hunt EVER…bull elk in Colorado.  Bit by bit I’ve been acquiring hunting gear, as I was starting from scratch not long ago.  Must haves first, my Remington 700, 30-06 rifle and Luepold scope.  Nice rifle sling, range finder, and some Primos Trigger sticks, www.primos.com.

The first hunt I was fortunate enough to be at the Prois, www.proishunting.com,  shop in Gunnison during a WOMA Retreat, www.thewoma.com, nearby and picked up some fantastic women’s RealTree camo pants and jacket.  Great fit and feel.  They did it right!

The second trip for bear, as it was being filmed by TNT Outdoor Explosion, www.tntoutdoorexplosion.com, and their other sponsor was Mossy Oak, I was now scrambling to find some Mossy Oak pattern clothing to wear.  This entailed a little more searching on the internet as just about every major outdoor retailer carries Mossy Oak patterns, not as many carry women’s sizes.  I thought maybe I can settle for a men’s small.  Well, the smallest they carried was a men’s medium!  I finally found some at Russell Outdoors that still carried Women’s Mossy Oak …and one of those items was now discontinued.  I did find pants and jacket in my size, but it wasn’t my first choice at the time.

Now as I am preparing for my fall elk hunt, I need the blaze orange vest and hat.  Hat no problem…vest is another story.  I know I don’t need to be fashionable out there, but the first couple outdoor retailers I visited had 3XL and 2XL.  Really?  I finally found a men’s medium…again the smallest they had out.  Took it home and it was huge even over my heavy camo jacket.  Three retailer visits later, I ended up returning the vest.  This running all over shopping is making me tired…I’m thinking I’m going to have to train hard this summer if I’m ever going to keep up on an elk hunt now!   In my searching I came across one lone ladies vest.  Nice but $160 was not getting me too excited here.  Now my physical ailments have just been compounded with a headache!   This vest hunt will continue at a later date I’m afraid.

Last week I returned from the NBS show in Fort Worth.  While there I came across another vendor, Kenetrek Boots, www.kenetrek.com.  They had some fantastic insulated women’s hunting boots.  I had boots already, but not good quality insulated boots.  I know if I’m going to enjoy my hunt, warmth is a big plus in my world!  I spent a little time in their booth.  He measured my foot and let me try on a pair.   I’m sold!  I was able to purchase my boots the following week and have had them out twice so far. Very comfortable.  He suggested I put about 30 miles on them before the actual hunt to break them in.  Plenty of bike trails close to the house and as the temps warm up a bit, I can hit the trails in the foothills by Fort Collins.  I’m determined to be in shape and have comfortable boots!

Gloves:  I have some “youth” hunting mitten/gloves that aren’t too warm.  I found plenty of men’s huge  gloves….which is ok if I don’t have to actually handle a rifle or use the reins on the horse I’ll be riding in on for the hunt….gee two things that may be slightly critical.  I did come across another vendor, Manzella www.manzella.com.  At the end of the show when I had a little time to look around, I stopped in his booth and noticed he had only men’s large sizes in his booth.  I spoke with him a few moments and shared my plans for this fall.  He remembered and at the next trade show he brought over 2 pair of women’s gloves for me to try!   Outstanding!  My fingers actually fill in the gloves!  I can be functional with these.  Such a little thing, but it means a lot to have fit and functionality for hunting.

While I am piecing together my clothing, the outfitter sent a checklist: minimum 0 degree sleeping bag.  I thinking if he is suggesting 0 degree bag for his usual big burly hunters, -30 degree bag is going to be my minimum to stay warm at night!  I found one online at MidwayUSA, www.midwayusa.com.  It delivered this past week and my gosh, am I glad horses are packing us in!  This is huge!  Definitely not your backpacking size bag; very toasty though!  Along with this, I am taking an insulated foam pad to put beneath the bag on the cot.  This will keep the cold air from permeating through.

I have one more item to get, a good hunting pack.  I have my eye on a Badlands pack model 2200.  It has the hydration pack available and the gun pouch for the butt of your rifle when strapping it to your pack.

I’m more fortunate than the average person. Working the trade shows in the industry, I am able to at least see what is available for women. Granted it is still somewhat limited, but the women’s market is definitely growing.  Don’t give up and settle for the men’s clothing that doesn’t fit!  A little time researching and you will find what works best for you.  Really, it has to be better than the men’s 2XL and 3XL’s adorning all the local retailers racks!

“Bearly” There for Christmas!

 The week before Christmas and also happened to be my birthday..the taxidermist called to let me know my bear rug from my May hunt in Canada was finished!  Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to me! 

Being this was my first big taxidermist work, I was very anxious to get it back. I felt like a little kid waiting for that big present at Christmas…. then again, what’s wrong with being a kid at heart? 

Well of course I had to put him on the floor in front of the fireplace for a picture first.  Who hasn’t heard of the nice bear skin rug in front of the crackling fireplace in the middle of Colorado with a bottle of Merlot and… oh…oh another story..ha!

Pictures taken, my daughter came by and helped me hang him on the wall in the livingroom.  After some laughing and a few errant nail holes in the wall, we finally have him placed just right!  Some how on the wall, he looks more like this enormous flying squirrel!  Looked better on the floor, but the wall turned out to be more practical.  We’ll live with it.

Now as I sit back and enjoy the bear skin, I’m eyeing up other wall space for elk….it’s on my list!!!

Shooting Sports & Industry Shaping My Life…..?

Yes, apparently in more ways than I had thought before, most of which are in a positive way…..

  Lepracy. I have been to seminars with various industries in attendance.  Lunch is always interesting as most people begin introducing themselves and what type of business you’re in etc.  Comes around to me and tell them I work for HIVIZ Shooting Systems and we manufacture gun sights.  Well, I think I must have been sitting with a more liberal crowd that day.  There was a “the OMG look” and they quickly turned their conversations amongst themselves and no one spoke to me the rest of lunch.  So now I’m in “sporting goods”….yeah, that’s it.  Much more palatable for lunch conversations I guess.  Gee, now that I feel like the Lepper…  

It’s kind of like wearing one of your shooting T-shirts through the airport when traveling.  People tend to leave you alone.  Works well on the airplane too!  I travel a lot and there are moments where I see this as a benefit.  This one below seems to work quite well. 

Steel Challenge match in Pueblo, CO

Coolest Mom.  In contrast all of my daughter’s friends and the entire store where she works think I am the coolest mom ever only because they don’t know any women that work and do what I do.  I get first class service when I shop there.  Like Molly Shannon, I too am a “Super Star”!…. (at least while at that grocery store).

Coolest Sister.  Growing up in Pennsylvania, just about everyone hunts…out of the male population that is.  My younger brother does a lot of hunting all over.  He tells his friend stories about where I work or shoots I’ve been to and they say, “Your SISTER?!”  Not so common in Pennsylvania for women, but apparently my brother and his friends are impressed.  I think they just need to get out more!

Car Shopping.  A few months back I decided my old Pathfinder was beginning to cost me almost as much in repairs as I could be putting into car payments for a new vehicle.  I never had a brand new vehicle before and I really despise car shopping.  I was referred to an “auto broker”.  I didn’t even have to set foot on a car lot.  I was liking this idea!  I already knew approximately what make and model I was looking for and had my desired price range.

I set up an appointment and met the auto broker in his office downtown across from Colorado State University and upstairs above a little cafe.  Very quaint; I was early and drawn into the cafe to kill a few minutes.  Later I’m in his office and give him all my parameters.  I’d like to get a Toyota 4Runner.  Of course he tries to up sell me on one with all the bells and whistles on …too much.  Half of those bells and whistles I can live without.  Okay, he tries to talk me into a smaller model vehicle.  I’m sticking to the 4Runner.  He keeps steering me to smaller models.  Finally I blurt out, “Look, the rear cargo area has to be wide enough to fit my shotguns and gear.”  It got very silent and I wish you would’ve seen the look I got in return!  Priceless!

The Money Pit In Process - Bear Inspired

Remodeling.  This is still new for me as I’ve only been twice so far.  The bear wall/rug mount I am having done I’m wondering where am I going to put this when it’s done about six months from now.  My front livingroom has a few pieces of antique furniture and wood floors.  Kind of a quiet area and scary bear mounts don’t quite mesh there.  The back livingroom is more my “Colorado Lodge” type room…or at least it’s going to be.  Big brown leather furniture, fireplace, TV, etc. in there now.  I see a wall but I’ll have to move furniture around…  Now I’m envisioning some remodel work here!  The house is about 25 years old and the fireplace looks very dated.  The carpet we were waiting to replace when our aging dog passes…(sorry, I know that sounds cold)…   So what started out as “yes, let’s get a mount done with the bear hide” turned into a renovation project to have the perfect place for displaying it.   To date, the old fireplace was partially torn out, new stonework, mantle, lighting and a wood burning insert installed.  I tore out the carpet and tack strips this past weekend.   Ordered hardwood flooring to install in another week.  Painted the walls and scrapped and textured the ceiling ready for painting next.  Of course now I have two oak cabinets I need to stain to match the cherry wood on the mantle and the flooring coming in.  Almost done!  All this for a place to put that bear!  Well, kind of…it certainly was a motivator and it will look very nice in my “Colorado Lodge” living room.  Now I’m eyeballing a corner where I can mount an elk.  I don’t even have that trip booked yet!!  

See what this has done to my life!…and I thouroughly enjoy it…even if it is occasionally shocking a few liberals….