Tag 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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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!

On the Road with HIVIZ ……and the Stupid Stick!

Don’t get me wrong by the title here, this was a fantastic open house!  The hospitality of the owners was over the top!  The “stupid stick” comment you’ll see at the end of the blog.  Just thought I’d share a little of what women experience working in the male dominated gun industry.

Sports World Open House

I just spent five days in Tulsa, Oklahoma with Sports World, Inc.  They had a huge open house going on.  Gun manufacturer reps were there, Ruger, S&W, Sig, Mossberg, Remington, Springfield, Benelli along with other industry companies such as myself for HIVIZ.  The place was hopping!

I was the only female sales rep there in attendance.  Although they did have several women, including the owner of the store, working there.  It was a smothering 106 degrees one day with humidity off the charts…  The store was a cool welcome haven from the heat outside.   Entering the store you were on cozy wood floors with rows upon rows of long gun racks overflowing with “smokin’ deals”!  To your left was the handgun counters snaking their way around and filling most of the left side of the store.  Above and behind the counters yet more long guns!  Animal mounts adorned the walls with two towering bear mounts drawing your attention through to the back of the store.  To the right was anything from safes to clothing and knives.  The most interesting part was a little cafe tucked in the back corner with old bank teller windows separating it from the rest of the store.  You could sit and have coffee, soup or sandwiches during your visit here.  Very quaint! 

We had customers galore in and out all day long for four days straight.  Saturday was a killer!  The second evening they had a local live radio broadcast that I was volunteered to do an interview for!  Nervous, I quickly thought about disappearing to the restroom and locking the door for a few hours until they left.  But I put on my reading glasses (somehow that makes me feel more confident…gee, maybe because I can see!) sat down and did the little radio interview.  Turned out to be fairly painless.

Two days later and after a little personal shopping of my own in the gun department, I was ready for some R&R.  Kelly Bostian, an outdoor writer, who was also a part of the live radio broadcast, invited me out to the local gun range to try out the HIVIZ sights on the 5-Stand.

www.tulsaworld.com/site/articlepath.aspx?articleid=12287&b=1

 We had a “blast” and returned to work the rest of Sunday at the store.  Here is where the “Stupid Stick” reared its ugly head.  It’s bustling in there.  I’m in my HIVIZ attire, standing in the midst of probably 500+ long guns with just as many handguns too, when a younger guy walks in and proceeds to explain to me that he is not from the Tulsa area, can he buy magazines.  I’m thinking why wouldn’t he be able to?… before I can answer, he says “….not the kind you read you know….”  Now I’m thinking, does it look like I’m standing in the middle of Barnes and Noble…does he not think I know what he’s talking about?  Ok…where is my “Stupid Stick” so I can tap him on the forehead?!

Ah, yes… occasionally, but repeatedly women get these few (and thank goodness it is just a few), men out there with these kind of remarks. 

Overall the trip was a great experience including the chuckle I got from the magazine remark.  🙂

Anyone passing through the Tulsa area, I’d recommend stopping in!  You can visit their website at www.sportsworldtulsa.com.

 

Skull Cleaning 101……That is Just Plain NASTY!

  When I returned from my bear hunt this past May I took the frozen hide to the taxidermist the next day to have a wall/rug type mount made.  I knew they extracted the skull and use foam forms when mounting so I told him I’d like to have this skull back before he throws it away or whatever it is they do with them.  He then told me he could clean it, etc. for about $125 or so.  Well I’m thinking….I can surely handle cleaning a skull, right?  I tell him to call me when he skins it out and I’ll pick it up.

My Black Bear Skull

  Two days later I get the call and drive up the canyon to his place to pick it up.  YUCK!  I get this garbage bag with a nasty looking head…eyes, tongue and all.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly got the “package deal”….even a good portion of neck attached.   Oh yippee.

  I take it home and put it in our basement refrigerator until I have time to do this because I know it is going to be a long process.   Several days later….before this thing begins to ripen in my frig, I pull out the biggest pot I have and put the skull in to boil outside on the burner next to our gas grill.  Bears are very strong-smelling when they are alive and I can’t imagine it getting any better while cooking a head!  Hours go by and before quitting for the evening, I pull it out and try cutting off as much of the meat as possible.  Meaty little bugger he was!!  I repeated this process several nights in a row.

  In the meantime I am telling my coworker, who does a lot of his own taxidermy, about my endeavor…and whom I’ve jokingly dubbed “Norman” …as in the Norman Bates character from Psycho.  He tells me I will need this chemical powder to add to the water that dissolves the cartilage.  “Norman” was very nice to bring some in for me the next day. 

  Wow, what a difference this made.  The remaining meat, cartilage, and misc. unidentified parts easily fell from the bone.  Now I pulled the skull and used a small brush to clean his nasty choppers and other small tools to reach into the numerous (more numerous than I had imagined), cavities and extract everything.  Apparently there were some things this bear just didn’t want to give up that easily.   Cool, I am done, finito, outahere!  Not so fast! It just dawned on me I never extracted anything from the brain cavity…oooooo!   I slowly turn the skull over, peer down in there and sure enough there it is.  Now how am I going to get that out?  I grab the handle end of a fork and swirl it around in there  I feel like the ancient Egyptians preparing a body for mumification…N-A-S-T-Y!  Turn it upside down and shake, turn the faucet on and turn upside down again and …well, it’s like the directions on the shampoo bottle, “lather, rinse and repeat” only about 20 times over.   Oh I can’t tell you how nasty this was!  Now I know why they charge what they do to clean skulls.  I don’t know how they did this with my buffalo! ….on second thought, I don’t even want the visual of how they did this for my buffalo skull…

  It was quite the learning experience for me and I think it turned out relatively good for a first, and probably last, attempt!   “Norman” seemed quite impressed with me if nothing else…  Thank you Norman!

"NASTY"

……oh the things we go through to gain a little respect!

Saskatchewan Bear Hunt with Marty Fischer

 
Marty Fischer and I at bear camp.

I had the wonderful opportunity to go on a bear hunt recently in Canada.  This was another first for me and only my second time hunting.  Had I not been prodded by my younger brother from Pennsylvania, who suggested we look for a bear hunt, I may never have done this.  In hind sight I am so glad I did!

My brother had suggested this in early January and while attending SHOT Show a few weeks later one of our HIVIZ Pro Staff members, Marty Fischer, also co-host of TNT Outdoor Explosion, mentioned they were hosting a bear hunt in May in Saskatchewan.  Not knowing which outfitter to go with, or even where to go, this was perfect!

I told Marty we’d take the last two spots they had available for the camp.  I was soon to learn all the ins and outs of traveling with a rifle into Canada.  The outfitter hosting the hunt was helpful but I also researched and was able to get the firearms forms online.  There are only a few ports in Canada where they actually allow you to pre-register your firearm.  Saskatoon Airport was one of those.  I filed the proper paperwork and faxed it to Canadian Customs about 6 weeks prior to the trip.  Receipt of approval was returned via fax about 3 weeks later.  I’m thinking this is a “cake walk” so far!  There is, however, a US Customs form, which I found out upon my return to the US, that I should’ve filled out for getting my rifle back into the US.  There is a registration form with the Homeland Security for firearms. This needs to be filled out and signed by a US Customs official prior to leaving the US….and apparently before arriving at the airport, in other words at the local Customs Office, which for me was in Denver.  I was able to get it back in, but was a little rattled by the Customs Officer and at the same time trying to tow a cooler with the bear hide, gun case and large suitcase all by myself.  So check and be aware of ALL the requirements prior to hunting in Canada.  Makes for less stressful travels!

Eddie, Me, Gregg Miller, and a couple guys from camp: end of day 1

We stayed at Larson Lake Lodge in Spiritwood.  The first day we took our rifles out one at a time to make sure they were still sighted in before the guides would take anyone out.  At about 3:00 PM we broke into groups of two and three per guide to drive to the various stands.  Larson Lake Outfitters hunt over 6600 acres in the area.  With trucks parked we loaded up the quads and headed the rest of the way on small paths through the woods to our tree stands.  Marty went up the tree stand before me and attached his portable stand above where I would be sitting so he could film.  The stand was about 20 feet up.  Marty now settled and camera secured, I headed up and affixed my rifle rest and settled in.  As the guide was readying to leave on his quad, he whispered up for me to load my rifle now, before he left, as bears have been known to come in to the bait even a few minutes after they leave.

Well almost four silent hours and many squirrels later, suddenly there is crashing from behind us.  My adrenaline starts and I think here we go…get ready.  At the same time, I’m thinking that crashing is way too loud and fast for any bear!  A huge moose came crashing through the stand area and ran up the other side of the hill.  Beautiful!!!

Back to silence again, except for thousands of tree frogs and one duck that didn’t quit the entire time…for two more hours and no bear sightings.  It is now about 9:15 PM, starting to get dark and I’m getting a little chilled.  Marty breaks the silence from above and behind me and asks if I still have light in my scope.  Checking, I could still see fine.  No sooner had we stopped whispering, I heard foot steps on the leaves coming in behind us.  I knew immediately we had a bear coming in finally!  I couldn’t believe it!  Two minutes ago I was ready to pack it in for the night!  I got down on my scope and sighted on the bait area, continuing to hear him walking in from behind.  I don’t think Marty heard the footsteps until the bear reached the base of our tree stand.  He stopped just below the stand, sniffed and snorted around the ladder at our foot steps.  I was afraid to move off my rifle to look down at him, thinking I might startle him with too much movement.  It is getting darker out.  I hear him starting to move towards the bait barrel and I finally peek over my rifle and see he is a cinnamon colored bear!  I’m whispering to Marty to make sure he is a big enough bear and Marty is whispering back, “YES!”  Now I have the bear in my scope and this uncontrollable adrenaline hits.  Thank goodness for the rifle rest!  The bear is at the barrel and standing up making his way around the entire barrel.  Before hand, Marty had told me to not shoot right away because he wanted to get as much bear footage on the camera as possible.  So I am waiting a bit…it’s getting darker, …with head down on the scope I’m whispering to Marty, do you have enough footage?  He’s whispering back and both of us being shooters, neither one of us can hear what the other is whispering!  Ok, time for my lone executive decision now as it is getting darker.  I have the perfect shot and a good solid hold, despite the adrenaline rushing through my body still. 

I pulled the trigger and will never forget the view through the scope, almost dark with red muzzle flash and the bear going down!  I was elated!  He went down, struggled to get up and ran a bit.  He made a semi-circle back towards the tree stand…..I’m reloading now just in case, and he drops about 15 feet from where he started.

WOW!  I can’t tell you what a satisfying feeling it was to know I did this on my own.  I was apprehensive prior to the trip, traveling to Canada by myself with firearms and never having shot from a tree stand and at a bear nonetheless.  I am definitely hooked on hunting now!  The people at the lodge were fantastic and I hope to return later next year for an elk hunt with my daughter in tow this time.

                                       Gregg Miller’s beautiful black bear!