Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

This has been the fastest five months. It seems like it was a few days ago I pulled the Colorado Department of Wildlife envelope out of the mailbox fully expecting a refund for failing to draw a tag. Instead of a refund a tag was in it’s place starting a whirlwind of preparation that leads to tomorrow as I leave town headed north. I’m hoping to be in Amarillo by dinner time, I’ve always wanted to visit the Big Texan home of the 72oz steak challenge, a challenge I don’t plan on taking part in but hope to witness someone attempt it.

More to come stay tuned……

After setting my Moultrie trail cam up and driving 4 hours home I began to worry would it work, will there be pictures, and if so would there be any wildlife to speak of? Two long weeks I waited for the answers to my questions. You can imagine the relief when I plugged the D-65 into my laptop,  I could see thumbnails of something. I wasn’t sure what the quantity or quality of the animals were, but I knew in fact the camera did work and I had more than just pictures of  bushes blowing in the breeze.

Much to my amazement this was the first picture I saw. I was in the turkeys for sure!

This was my first confirmation that deer were finding my feeder.

Early bird gets the worm??

First buck, albeit a button buck. More to come on him in 4 to 5 years.

First look at a strutter and possible squabble breaking out to the right.

A better picture of this particular tom in strut.

I just thought this one look cool.

Strutting in the evening.

This is the only corn thief in 500+ photos. Raccoon or Ring-tail Cat? Leave your answer in the comment section.

First and only mature buck so far, possible big bases. Button buck makes another appearance.

Double beard???

Another cool one of a strutter in the fog.

After seeing these photos I felt as good as I would after a successful hunt. I think it’s safe to say I’m a believer in trail cams now, and I am completely happy with the performance of my Moultrie in its first two weeks.  My son and I are heading back out this weekend to give  Mike first crack at turkey hunting, lets see what my D-65 has waiting for me. I can’t wait!!!!!!

The alarm clock rang at 3:50am Friday, “man that came too fast”, I thought, as I drug my half awake self, to the shower. I wanted us on the road by 4:30am so I could get most of the day at the lease. I knew it was going to take at least three trips into town for materials. We had packed the truck the night before, all we needed to do was to get dressed and get going.

We made decent time arriving at the ranch around 9am, quickly unpacking, and then headed back to Ozona.

After a quick stop at the grocery store we went over to the Davey Crockett statue to snap a quick picture. The story of this statue is funny; it seems that it was originally built for the town of Crockett in East Texas, but for whatever reason it was not accepted. Then was given to the County seat in Crockett County (Ozona, TX) Davey never came within 300 miles of this area.

Many thanks to Russell and all the folks over at Triple C Hardware http://www.triplechardware.com. They had everything I needed, from the fence, feeder, and feed all at a fair price. To top it off I had some of the best customer service ever. The workers in the storage yard were able to get the feeder and fence in my truck, so I only needed to make one return trip to pick up my corn next morning.

Unloading everything was a snap, I just backed the truck up on the spot I wanted the feeder, and drug the materials out of the truck.

The feeder was surprisingly light for all that steel, but I was able to slide the legs on it and just leaned it up right, then the ladder just hooked in. After getting the feeder set up I called it a day. I was exhausted from the drive that morning. I knew next day was going to be a killer.

Saturday morning I picked up 500lbs of corn to fill my feeder. When I arrived back to my spot I was relieved to see my feeder still standing after a windy night,we had over 20mph wind the night before. I immediately realized that carrying ten 50lbs bags up that ladder in this wind was sketchy at best, but I managed to get it done with no mishap or injury. Note: the green streamer hanging from the varmint cage, lots of wind.

Michael found a new favorite spot to supervise the effort.

I had zero knowledge of how to build a feeder pin, so I was very fortunate to meet Clovis, one of my fellow lease members. Him, his wife, and grand-kids were there for spring break. He was kind enough to give me a hand in building my pin. Now I know why you hear building fences is no joke. I thought I was drinking enough water while working, but the dry air climate was sucking the water out of me faster than I could drink it. I was glad when we were done, I was completely tapped out.

I’d say it was a job well done. Thanks to Clovis!!!!!!

After completing the feeder and pin, and near exhaustion we drove to the top of a hill where there is an old caliche drilling pad to relax and soak in the day accomplishments while watching the sunset.  The last thing I needed to get done was hang my game camera. Fixing my blind will have to wait for another weekend.

As Michael and I headed out that night we made one last stop by the spot to set up the camera, and with that we headed back to Austin, knowing we were well on our way to a great 2011 deer and Turkey season.

I got tracks!!!!!!!

(Part 2 of 2)

“Hurry, dad, before the sun comes up!”

After assuaging his fear of being late to his very first day out hunting, Michael–my son–obliged my request to get some breakfast down before heading out.  One banana later and our day had begun.

A drive that once took well over an hour was cut in half due to the completed construction of toll roads on the North-side of Austin.  Before we knew it, we had arrived at our happy hunting grounds.

We pulled up to the front gate about fifteen minutes before we were set to meet Nick, my long-time friend and hunting buddy. That was plenty of time to get Michael’s bird-vest on and set up my Mojo dove decoy.  Right around the time we finished with that, Nick’s truck pulled up behind us. He jumped out with that familiar SO-glad-to-be-up-this-early look on his face.  When I hollered, “top of the morning to ya, goovnah,” he just shook his head.  We pulled the trucks inside the fence and completed our final preparations.

Michael and I decided to set up along a fence line that was overrun with cedars, while Nick wandered off out of sight.  Dove enjoy flying along fence-lines, and this particular fence had no shortage of cover.  After setting our buckets down, I found an ideal spot for my decoy.  I staked the Mojo into the ground and–just after I returned to my bucket sitting no more than 50 feet away–I turned to see a dove readying to land near the decoy.  At the last moment, it hesitated and pulled away.  Nonetheless, I thought to myself, “the Mojo really works!”


About fifteen minutes later, it was light enough to legally start shooting.  We sat on our buckets and watched the sun rise over the horizon.  There weren’t many birds directly above us, but it sounded like World War III on the far side of the pond.  The land-owner’s son-in-law was putting his new Benelli through the ringer.  Each bird that flew even remotely close to this guy way chased off with a rapid succession of BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! … I guess he was never informed that you’re not obligated to unload your gun at every possible opportunity.  The way this guy was shooting, you’d think he was trying to bring down a squadron of B-52s.

The hunting was slow that morning; Michael sat quietly (and, considering his soaked boots, as patiently as possible) without one complaint.  Finally, I saw a bird flying right along the fence-line towards us from about 60 yards away. I told Michael, “this one is yours.”  He raised the 870 to his shoulder, clicked off the safety, and he fired.  The bird gave a little dip of the wing and flew away unscathed.  I glanced at him, and I could already see the tears welling up.  “It’s okay, I missed my first dove too.  You’ll get the next one–I’m sure of it.”  Mere moments later, another bird (following the exact same pattern as the last) approached us.  “Here it comes!”  Michael stood up off his bucket, raised the gun to his shoulder and… wammo!  When the ringing in my ear stopped, I heard Michael shout, “I got him!”  He ran over and held up the bird, grinning. and announced, “found him!”

After a quick photo, I looked to him and said, “Good.  Now you get to learn how to clean it.”  Even that revelation couldn’t wipe the smile from his face.

(Part 1 of 2)

My son had reached an age where I felt he was ready to be introduced to the world of hunting–and I went about it by drawing from my own experiences. Once he learned the fundamentals of basic gun safety with air guns and my 22LR, I chose to start him off with a shotgun. Last May, I headed down to a local sporting goods store by my office to browse their selection. I had enough in my budget for a youth Mossberg or (if I stretched a bit) perhaps the Remington 870 youth. After getting hands-on with the two guns, I felt the extra money for the 870 was a better buy, so I asked the clerk to wrap it up.

My son, Michael, turned ten last May; so my wife and I gave him the gun for his birthday. He was thrilled to finally own his very own gun! A family-friend of ours owns a large ranch not too far away from our house, so we spent many Saturdays shooting clay pigeons while continuing to work on proper gun safety and handling. I have to brag on the kid here: he has been a fast learner. I’m so proud of him and, considering his young age, how seriously he’s taking gun safety.

In August, we got him his first hunting and fishing license. He was bouncing off the walls of my truck all the way to the store–though I managed to calm him down enough to actually get him into the store. When we walked up to the counter and, before the clerk could ask if he could help us, Michael blurted out, “I’m here for my first hunting license!” It was a proud moment; I knew that, from here on, he would give serious hunting an earnest chance. Every morning after that he would wake up and let me know just haw many more days remained until dove season opened.

When opening weekend fell upon us, he was like a kid on Christmas morning. He couldn’t wait to get started: “Hurry! Hurry, dad, before the sun comes up!” I gave him a pat on the head and assured him we would be there with plenty of time to spare.