Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show!

If all goes well I am headed to Harrisburg, PA this Sunday to meet with some outfitters. I plan on talking with them about ideas they are going to have for the website and learn if there is anything they really would like to see for the development of the site.

If you are interested in learning more about this show please check out the EASTERN SPORTS & OUTDOOR SHOW. It is the biggest show on the east coast and has a wealth of outfitters, conservation organization and vendors covering over 11 football fields of show floor. This show is big and you will not be able to see the entire thing all in one day!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's my birthday and I can blog if I want!!!

I am an old man today of 37! My Birthday wish is a couple million hits on the website, a ton of happy hunters, a ton of happy outfitters and good hunting for everyone for the upcoming year.

Pictures from the Philly Show

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Links from the Philly Sport Show

I haven't had the time to put up a ton this week because I have been working on the deal for the development of By Friday of next week I will have signed the master agreement for the development of this site and we will go live in under 90 days. The negotiations were tough and the site is going to cost me a bit more then I planned on spending for the development but I really feel that the added features and benefits for you the user will be worth it!

I apologize to those of you who I have not yet gotten links up for yet from the Philly Sport show.

I have not gotten the opportunity yet to check out all of the following links but that being said, I wanted to get these all up so you can check them out and see what might interests you! I met some really great people at this show and I had an amazing time.

Here are all of the links

Steve Jones
Hatteras Chaser

Ingogo Safaris
Walter Slippers
If you are looking to book this Safari, please call Butch Mellinger at 610-863-5678.

Butch Melinger
North American & International Fair Chase

Island Point Lodge, Inc.
Petersburg, Alaska

Hambleton Creek Farms
Chestertown, MD hunting Geese - Doves
These guys have a live Wildlife cam online at all times!
Contact Sam Owings at 410-810-7500

Stewart's Archery
Custom Longbows and Recurves
Leon Stewart
Leon has some really beautiful artistic bows made out of Bamboo, Yew, Lacewood, Osage, Zebra, Bocote and Curley Maple. These are the work of a true artisan!

Olive Grace Sportfishing

Instigator Sportfishing Charters
Capt. Dave Wentling

Four County Outfitters

Team Xtreme Womens Tournament Fishing Team
If you are a woman and you want to experience some real adventures in competitive fishing this team is looking for true competitors. It looks serious and it is.. Go and check it out!
Contact nikki at

The Reel-istic
Monster Shark Fishing!

Big Game Outfit
Clint C. Small
I have known Clint for the last couple of years and he is a class act. I plan on hunting with him in the next couple of years. Hopefully in 2008 if all works out well!

Xtreme Management Hunts
Whitetail Deer Hunts in IOWA 140 class Minimums. If you are looking for big Iowa bruisers check them out at

William J. Slusser
William is one of the last great true artisans out there creating hand crafted Flintlocks. William does not have a website but you can call him at 717-486-4817. I will have some pictures of his handcrafted artwork online in the next post.

Motsomi Safaris
In the next 5 years, I am going to find a way to go on a safari. When I get the chance to go, I am going to go with Pieter at Motsomi Safaris. Please check them out at

Sandy Ridge Furniture
Cedar and Pine Furniture created by the Amish! True craftsmen and some beautiful work.

There were some great people out at the show and I had a fantastic time meeting everyone. I will be at the Virginia Sport Show next on February 17th, 18th & 19th, 2007. The beauty of that show will be that I am going to have wireless so I will be able to blog from the show floor! Pictures in the next post!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tree Walker Treestands

For the last 5 plus years at just about every show that I am at on the east coast I run into Logan and his father. I have sent them several people looking for stands and Brandon and I both own one of their stands. The thing I like about them is that they are light, easy to set up and comfortable. The two of them only sell their stands at outdoor shows and on the website. Logan is a really great hunter as well and if you see them at the shows ask Logan to see the pictures from the last couple of seasons. They have knocked down some monsters in the last couple of years and the pictures are worth looking at. Please check out their website at TreeWalker Treestands

Sandy River Outfitters

I met Harry about a year ago when I had a booth right next to him for two separate shows. I have really enjoyed our conversations and he has always provided me with some great advice. Harry is a straight shooter and I appreciate that. I just booked a bear hunt and a deer hunt for 2008 with him and I am really excited to get out there and spend some quality time with him and his team. Harry has been an outfitter for 14+ years and his team has been with him almost as long. That means that when you get into his camps you are going to be with some of the most experienced guides in the territory. His bear hunters have taken some monster bruins and his largest deer in 2006 was a booming 183 BC scoring monster! His average deer is going to be between 130-150 class and if you put in the time you can be looking for a monster!

I also had the pleasure of meeting Harry's young 13 year old son who got a chance to head out Saturday and devastate some Pheasants and is headed to Texas to bust some good hogs.. Hopefully we will have some great photos soon!

My deposit is in for 2008 and if you would like to join me on this hunt drop Harry or I a line and we can discuss it!

Please check out his website at:

MacFarland Adventures

Here is a quick photo of Bill MacFarland. Bill is a good friend of mine and a class act in every way! I am hunting with him this fall and really looking forward to it. Check out his website!

All Guided Hunting

If you have not had a chance and you are an outfitter or hunter you need to take a look at They should be a good resource to find some outfitters and for outfitters to put up a link or two to gain some new business. I have talked with Brady Krchnavy from The Outdoor Agency and he is full of excitement and full of integrity.

Allpoints "Poly"

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Christina and Richard Pea this weekend from AllPoints "Poly". They offer poly/fleece gear for cold weather hunting. With a wide selection of products and a 100% American made product they were doing a heck of a great job getting gear out to the hunters headed into the woods at the Philly Sport Show. If you are looking for some great gear please give Christina and Richard a call, and check out their website at

I think this is some great gear and you should check it out for your late season hunts. The price point is exceptional and the product is first class.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pictures from the seminars

Thank you for the pictures.. More of the review of the Philly Sport Show in Reading, PA and more pictures that I have to share coming and links to some great outfitters and vendors.
All will be up and online by Friday I promise!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Philly Sport Show

I just got home from the Philly Sport Show in Reading, PA! I had a wonderful time seeing some old friends and meeting some new ones. I had some great seminars and hopefully I was able to teach a bit and those that attended learned something that will be useful to them. I have a ton of pictures and a ton of links to put up from the show and all of that will happen later in the week. For now I need to get some sleep as I am headed to Cleveland, OH on some business and hopefully I can find some great farm land for this falls season.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Philly Sport Show Day Two...

I spent a good day meeting with many outfitters and many great vendors. I will have pictures to follow as the show refused to make any effort to allow me wireless hosting from the show floor. I really wish that I had that option but they want to charge me for the service and I refuse to pay $100.00 for wireless service for 3 days.

I picked up a new client today from Manitoba, CA to assist him in promoting his Whitetail business and I got to see some really great pictures of some of the deer I am going after in Manitoba with another outfitter.

More to follow soon.......

Philly Sport Show

Today, I am at the Philly Sport Show. If I can get them to allow some wireless access I will be blogging from the show floor. I may or may not have pictures but I am working on getting a card reader for my camera today so that I can upload the pictures right onto the web. I have two seminars scheduled today. One for 3:30pm and one for 8:00pm so I am very excited!

Looking forward to getting out and seeing some old friends!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Virginia Sunday Hunting News realease

Good news on the sunday hunting issue. Maybe we are getting closer. I really hope this gets people into and action mode in Virginia. I think that with the overpopulation of whitetail deer in Virginia we really have a legitimate opportunity to get Sunday hunting if we band together push our state legislature to look into it. Along with that Virginia needs to seriously look at the issue of elk hunting in Virginia. I really want to see a real elk herd in this state!
Press Release!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Another Great suggestion

Bill MacFarland of MacFarland Adventures sent me another great suggestion for my gear list for elk hunting. BTW..Bill is another one of those few greats out there in the world of booking agents. Bill has hunted in the past with me and I am hunting with him this fall on a wonderful trip into Manitoba to go chase some really great big Whitetails.

Read the following!

Trash bags and zip locks for the hunt. Serves many needs. I always pack my clothes in bags or scent fee bags inside my duffle bag. Not only does it keep scent to a minimum when traveling or in camp. Many times when picked up at the airport you ride in a pick up to camp. If it is raining. You may be the only guy with dry gear before you start your hunt. I have also used
trash bags for wind/rain/snow, raingear, keeping backpack dry on stand, packing meat or cape etc. Also while in tent camp or damp locations I keep all my stuff in trash bags, it keeps clothes, pillow, and sleeping bags dry. Kind of like duct tape....


I agree with that.. A box of trash bags is a cheap solution to staying dry and protecting all of your gear.

Eagle -vs- Fox

Pretty amazing photos! I am not sure where these came from but my good friend Dennis Brauchle sent me this set to view! These photos were taken by Pekka Komi. And now the RMEF has used one of the pictures in a recent issue.

Kevin Gear List for Elk Camp


1. Sitka Gear System
2. Carol Davis Sportswear Body Suit
7. Chemical Hand Warmers
8. External Frame Pack
9. Daypack with Water Canteen
10. Game calls Hunter Specialties. & Primos Calls
1 1. Flagging Tape, Electrical Tape & Duct Tape
12. Game Bags
13. Range finder
14. 2 headlamps
15. 1 flashlight
16. Batteries
17. Topo Maps of the area you are hunting
18. Camera and Video Camera
19. Spotting Scope
20. Tripod
21. Survivor Whistle
22. Survival Kit
23. First Aid Kit
24. Cleaning Kit for Rifle
25. Alarm Clock
26. Block & Tackle
27. Insect Repellant
28. 550 Parachute Cord
29. Sleeping Bag -20 Cabelas Alaskan Guide Series
30. Toilet Paper
31. Toiletries/Medicines
32. Scent Free Wipes
33. Licenses and Permits
34. Pack Boots Schnees
35. Hiking Boots Rocky Boots
38. Extra Shoe Laces
39. Emergency Space Blankets 2
40. Camp Clothing One Set
41. Wool Socks Cabelas
42. Sock Liners Cabelas
43. Tape Measure
44. Butane Lighters
45. Wax Fire Starters
46. Rifle or Bow and any repair kit you need to keep it in clean working order
47. Ammo Barnes Triple Shock Bullets

This is a working list and can only improve. I know I am missing something but not sure what. Any suggestions, let me know!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A couple of really great suggestions!

I got a couple of really great suggestions from Bill Durnan today. Bill has spent many many years as a booking agent for one of the great booking agents out there Butch Manasse Outdoor Adventures. There are a few really great booking agents out there, there are a handful of really good booking agents and there are hundreds of horrible booking agents out there. I personally have used Bill and he is one of the greats.

Bill told me a couple of friends he hunts with told him that on their trip up to Saskatchewan they hunted in below zero weather from tree stands and froze. He stated that all hunters should ask whether they are hunting from blinds or from tree stands? I want to add that in northern climates you should definitely ask whether those stands or blinds are heated.

Bill also added that we should always ask about success rate but that opportunity rate should also be discussed. If the opportunity rate is really very high the area has the animals and may just have a problem with hunters passing on animals looking for larger trophies or the hunters may just have missed the shot. I can definitely confirm this observation. While I was an outfitter we had a bear camp that went two weeks with each and every hunter getting a clear opportunity and we went 2 for 16 with 4 missed archery shots and 7 missed rifle shots and one hunter that passed up 3 bears in one day. So always ask about success rate, and always ask about opportunity rate and put your real weight behind what the opportunity percentage is for the outfitter.

Bill also had the following to add:

A thought about booking agents. If we send you on a bad hunt you won't book with us again. I have been on more bad hunts than good ones. We don't book for the bad ones. We have been told many times by clients about bad hunts they found on the Web. (there are good ones out there) We try to find the good ones. Some of our clients that have been on good hunts call and tell us we may want to look at an outfitter and we also get calls about outfitters we should not hook up with. My feeling is I don't want someone to spend several thousand dollars on my say so and then end up with a bad hunt. Repeat business is a must for us. What most people don't know is the price is the same if you book with us or go straight to the outfitter so why not let us eliminate the bad operations. Also, we have a little pull with the outfitters if something goes wrong. We can help the hunter make it right. Thoughts from Bill.

Bill thank you for your wonderful compliments and I will add them to my article!

Monday, January 15, 2007

How to choose a great outfitter!


The last several years, I had the pleasure of being an outfitter in Idaho and Montana. I spent a majority of my time on the phone and a portion of my time in the field. I have talked with literally thousands of hunters over the last several years and I have answered literally tens of thousands of questions about hunting elk, mule deer, whitetail and spring bear. The following advise comes from all of these hunters and also my own quests to find great outfitters and great trips to pursue my own dreams of chasing trophy quality animals with first class outfitters and first class people. My definition of a first class outfitter is more about attitude then anything else, but sometimes everything else is just as important. The following is a list of ideas and questions that you should be thinking about.

Species/Type of Hunt

My first advice that I offer you will be to choose the species and the type of hunt you are looking for first and foremost. Do you want a whitetail hunt out of a lodge, or a backcountry elk hunt 20 miles from the nearest road? Are you looking for an arctic adventure chasing Musk Oxen or Polar bear in the frozen north or are you looking for a spring bear hunt for that 400lb black bear? Are you looking for a combination hunt for several species. Define what it is that you are looking for and only seek out specifically what it is that you want.

The type of hunt you are looking for and the conditions of that hunt are the first questions you want to ask yourself before you step out into the world to look for an outfitter. Do you want a lodge hunt where you have warm showers or are you willing to stay in a tent in the backcountry with no running water and a stream to bath in? Are you willing to ride a horse? Are you willing to fly in to a remote location? Remember, this is your hunt, and you are paying for the opportunity to take a big game trophy in the conditions and the manner in which you desire. Are you willing to deal with bugs, heat, snow, rain and altitude in your quest? Are you looking for a hard hunt or an easy hunt? What is it that you desire for your dream hunt?

Define a Trophy

Define early what you consider a trophy. Are you looking for an average deer or elk? Are you hunting for the meat from the animal or are you looking for that Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young trophy of your dreams? Define early what you would be willing to take on the first several days of your hunt? Define the minimum you are willing to take on the last day of your hunt? If you have the opportunity to take some time and look at various pictures of the animals that you are seeking and define exactly what it is that you are looking for? An example of this would be that with elk I define a trophy with a rifle as anything over a 300 class Boone & Crockett bull, but with a bow I would be willing to take any good bull and it would be a trophy to me.

Physical Conditioning

Define early what your personal conditioning and be very accepting of exactly where you are personally in your physical fitness? Are you already in shape enough to hunt the species you are looking for? Do you need to get in shape for your specific hunt? Are you willing to do the work to get in shape for your hunt? Is the hunt out of your range of physical fitness? These are specific questions that only you and your doctor can really hope to answer. These types of questions are sometimes hard to answer yourself and you may want to elicit the advise of others about your physical conditioning. I always recommend that any hunter over the age of 35 take a prehunt physical and create a work out regiment early in the year to gear up for a hard back country hunt.


Know exactly what it is that you are willing to spend on a hunt. Be very accepting of exactly what your budget is for the type of hunt you are willing to do. Are you willing to accept a budget hunt where you may save a few dollars and fore go a few amenities, or are you willing to wait until you have the budget to afford the right outfitter and the right hunt for what you are seeking? Be honest with yourself about what you are willing to accept.


Are you willing to put in enough time to do the practice necessary to be successful on your hunt? It always baffles me to see hunters come in to camp who have spent big money to come in and go hunting who have not taken the time to practice with their bows or rifles. The opportunity to take your trophy of a lifetime can sometimes happen in a matter of seconds. The choice for success in the field at the moment of the shot is truly yours. Are you willing to make the time to practice the weapon of your choice to be a great shot? If you are willing to practice, are you willing to practice in all kinds of conditions and all kinds of distances? Are you willing to push yourself in your practice to shoot at distances that are outside of your comfort zone?

Choosing an Outfitter

There are 4 options for you to pick out an outfitter these days.

• Ask a friend who has hunted with an outfitter.
• Use the Internet to research outfitters
• Attend your local outdoor shows
• Elicit the help of a booking agent

All four have advantages and disadvantages and the following set of questions and advice should assist you in researching the hunt of a lifetime.

Friends and Family

Friends and family can be a great source of trusted advice about where to go hunting and what to expect from outfitters. These are sources that you know and who know you and can give you honest information about where you might be happy hunting. The only disadvantage is that sometimes friends and family will steer you onto an outfitter so that they can get a discount hunt with that outfitter or make a recommendation about where they went five years ago and the conditions in that area have changed dramatically. If a friend of yours recommends an outfitter by all means check them out, just do your due diligence just like you would if you knew nothing about the outfitter.

The Wild Wild Web

The wild web can be a wonderful resource to search out an outfitter as well. There are some really great resources on the web to find a great outfitter and the advantage is that you can really take your time to do your homework on the outfitter and seek out specifically the trip of your dreams. Most reputable outfitters have a web site and keep it updated on a regular basis. That being said, I know some great outfitters who in the field I would be willing to follow to the ends of the earth, and yet on the web they look absolutely like a joke. As someone who is here to give you some advice on what to look for the only answer I can say is always judge a book by its cover and never judge a book by its cover. Always be willing to check out every source you can do your due diligence in checking each and every outfitter you can.

In seeking outfitters out on the wild web, I look first for the species and I research everything I can about them. In looking for a moose hunt for the fall of 2008, I have spent several hours looking at research on moose. I then picked a region that I wanted to hunt that was within my budget. I knew I was not ready to hunt Alaska as it was outside my current budget so I chose to look at Newfoundland, Canada. Newfoundland has a herd size of almost 130,000 moose in the region and the outfitters there are within my budget range. I then looked at pictures of all of the moose that I could find that were taken in 2006. I decided what I would consider a trophy from all of the pictures that I saw of moose taken in that region. I am personally looking for a moose over 40 inches wide with very wide palms. I am wiling to spend 10 days hunting for this trophy and I wanted the option of taking a caribou or bear if I stumbled upon a nice one. I then found a list of all of the outfitters offering trips that were of this caliber and looked them each up on the web. I then emailed all of them and asked for a list of 10 references from 2006 and a brochure and pricing and a copy of their contracts. Once I get the time to make the calls and check all of the references I will narrow it down to two or three outfitters and then get on the phone with them and make a choice.

Outdoor Shows

Outdoor shows can be a great place to find outfitters. I have found some wonderful outfitters by cruising the aisles of the various outdoor shows that are out there. Before attending a show, I usually look at the exhibitor list before I attend and look the outfitter up on the web and try and get a list of references for that outfitter first. I then check the references and go with a plan in mind. I also am always open to talking to any outfitter I find at these shows because sometimes personality and attitude play into my decisions on who I choose. When looking for a hunt, I am always open to hearing what someone has to say. That being said, there are some caveats to seeking out an outfitter at the various shows that are out there.

Outdoor shows can be another great place to find outfitters to fill your needs. I have found some very good outfitters by browsing the aisles of outdoor shows. Some points to remember when talking with outfitters at an outdoor show are:

• Don’t judge an outfitter just by the display of racks in his booth or his pictures. They may or may not be a good representation of what they have to offer.
• Always talk to the outfitter himself and not just the guide who is there at the show.
• Get a feel for the outfitters favorite type of hunting and find out if it matches what you are looking for.
• Ask about the experience of his team and the scouting his team does pre-season.
• Ask for a list of references on the spot.
• If this outfitter is offering a show deal that you are interested in, and you want to get in on this deal, ask him for 7 days to check his references and have him put it all in writing.
• ALWAYS check his references!!!!!
• Ask questions, everything you can come up with! If the outfitter is busy, be willing to ask him to make an appointment to spend 20 to 30 minutes with you after the show or have him call you later in the evening.
• Remember that the outfitter want to talk to as many people as possible so have your list of questions ready and don’t waste his time if you are not interested in truly booking a hunt. Don’t be a tire kicker, unless your willing to purchase.
• Ask about success rates and opportunity rates for the game you are seeking.
• Ask if there are any trophy fees or hidden fees.
• Ask about trophy preparation and meat care.
• Ask about group rates and/or bringing a friend or cameraperson.
• Always be very honest with him about your expectations and your physical limitations and demands for your hunt. Will he work with you or is the outfitter dismissive about your concerns?
• Ask about tipping his staff and what their expectations are for a successful and unsuccessful hunt.

Booking Agents

I personally have used booking agents for specific types of hunts where I did not know very well the species that I wanted to hunt, or did not have the personal time to really get out there and do the research. I believe there are some really great booking agents out there and there are some really horrible booking agents out there. Just like anything in life, you need to check their references. My personal advise is that if you are just looking for one hunt of a lifetime, you take the time and do the research yourself as it is a part of your entire hunting experience. If you are going to be booking hunts every year or every couple of years, booking agents can be really great resources. I am personally a fan of the kind of booking agent who can assist you in finding great areas to apply and will assist you in the entire application process and assist you in building preference points for preferred species in trophy areas.


The difference between a successful hunt and an unsuccessful trip often boils down to attitude. Sometimes it is the attitude of the outfitter and the guides that makes or breaks a trip for a client but more often then not it is the attitude of the client that makes or breaks a trip. Your attitude on every day of your trip can be the extra boost that you need to be successful. Whether you are sitting on a whitetail stand or running up the mountain chasing a bugling elk it is your happy positive attitude that will help you get there. Remember, you are out there for the adventure, to be in the wild, for the thrill of the hunt. After several years of outfitting I can honestly state that those that came into camp with a positive can do attitude always left camp happy and relaxed whether they got game or not. These hunters took tons of pictures, had fun and learned about themselves and the animals they were pursuing. They made friends with the other hunters and the guides and if they got lucky and got a trophy they smiled even larger then they had all week.

My favorite trip into the wild was with an outfitter in Idaho. For that week we both had such a contagious attitude that we were going to run into the elk of our dreams that we pushed each other to the ends of the territory and covered over 100 miles on horses and on foot in the week. We never saw an elk in all 7 days but I never had more fun. During the week the temperature continued to drop and ultimately the snow fell to a total of 27 inches. On the way off the mountain on the final night of the hunt, we were all yelling into the mountains, “It just doesn’t get any better!” and we truly meant it.. It was the trip of a lifetime!!!


Tipping is a choice that hunters make to pay for the extra service for that you receive from the guides that help to make your trip successful. Guides from reputable outfitters should be paid very well and should not have to rely upon tips to survive. Tips are an added bonus and certainly are appreciated by the guides, packers and the cooks. A general rule of thumb is that 5- 15 percent of the hunt price is a more then a fair rule for hunting with the 15 percent going for truly exceptional service that was above and beyond in every way possible.

Questions to ask the outfitters you are considering.

• What types of hunts do you offer?
• How experienced are the guides?
• How many hunters per guide?
• Will my group be split up?
• Could I be added to another group?
• What is the entire cost of the trip including all license fees, access fees and additional trophy fees?
• What deposit is required?
• What is the cancellation policy?
• Can you provide me with a copy of your contract?
• What methods of payment do you accept?
• Do you provide any references or referrals from other clients? • May I call them?
(If the answer is no here, hang up the phone and do not book
a trip with this outfitter)
• Do you furnish transportation from the airport, or must I?
• What type of transportation is provided?
• How far is the nearest airport?
• What airlines service that airport?
• Will I be need to rent a car?
• Where will I be staying? Lodge, hotel, tent, etc...
• How many guests to a room or tent?
• Can my group share a room or tent?
• What is supplied? Food, sleeping bag, linens, electricity, etc...
• What meals, if any, are provided?
• What is the quality of the food? Sandwiches and chips or grilled steak and steamed veggies?
• How do you handle clients with special dietary needs?
• Is alcohol allowed?
• Are the guides and staff allowed to drink?
• How much travel is involved from the lodge to the hunting area?
• How has the hunting been lately?
• What game have you been seeing?
• What was your largest animal taken last year during archery
and rifle season?
• Have they been active?
• When is the peak of the rut for your area?
• What type of weapons can be used?
• How large of an area will I be hunting?
• What are your success statistics for the type of hunt I am interested in booking?
• Who cares for the game?
• Who will be responsible for butchering?
• Is there a local taxidermist I can call or do I need to make arrangements to bring the game home?
• Who obtains the license?
• Will you be providing me a copy of the game and fish regulations
• Can it be purchased locally?
• How much are the tags and license fees?
• Can ammunition be purchased locally?
• Will I be able to site in my weapon?
• What physical condition must I be in?
• Is this a fully guided hunt?
• What kind of weather must I prepare for?
• What kind of camo is best for your area?
• Do your guides all carry maps and gps units?
• Do you have a satellite phone in each camp?
• Will I have access to the phone if need be for a fee?
• What are your safety regulations?
• Can you provide me a list of your gear recommendations?
• How much gear am I allowed to bring into camp?

This is an ever growing list of questions, please do not hesitate to ask any questions that you feel are necessary to know the answers to assist you in making the right decision in choosing your outfitter.

Questions to ask references about the outfitter you are considering.

• Would you hunt with this outfitter again?
(If the following question is no, do not book with this outfitter)
• What was your hunting trip like with this outfitter?
• Did you get an opportunity for a shot at game?
• If you were picked up at an airport, how was the service? Was the outfitter on time?
• Were you allowed to site in your rifle before the hunt? Did the outfitter have an archery target in camp for daily practice?
• Were the accommodations clean and organized or was the camp run smoothly and efficiently?
• Was the outfitter prepared to put you on game the first morning of your hunt? Did they know the area and where the game was?
• Was the outfitter prompt in picking you up from a hunting site at the end of a morning or evening?
• What was the quality of the food? Was there enough to go around?
• Did you have access to showers and clean toilets?
• What were game populations like?
• What was trophy quality like and did you see quality animals?
• Did trophy quality match your expectations?
• How would you rate the guide's experience and knowledge of the land you hunted?
• How would you rate the guide's hunting skills?
• Did the outfitter run a safe operation and did you feel safe? Was there first aid kits readily available? Was there a safety plan in place?
• Did you feel this outfitter ran a law abiding operation? Were all game laws followed?
• What was the success rate while you were in camp?
• If you were the outfitter what one improvement would you make?, what would it be?
• Who specifically was your guide and cook? How long had they been working for the outfitter?
• Do you know the name of another hunter in camp I might call?

A couple of Mexico Muleys

The first hunter is Bill MacFarland and the second hunter is one lucky man! These are two magnificent bucks. I have been reading the famed stories all of my life of Jack O'Connor and someday I am going to take my beautiful 270 down to Mexico and find me one of these giant Muleys!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

A quick joke!

A man owned a small ranch in Montana. The Montana Wage & Hour Dept
claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent out
to interview him. "I need a list of your employees and how much you pay
them," demanded the agent.
"Well," replied the rancher, "There's my ranch hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a week plus free room and board.
The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 per week plus free room and board.
Then there's the half-wit who works about 18 hours every day and does about 90% of all the work around here. He makes about $10 per week, pays his own room and board and I buy him a bottle of bourbon every Saturday night."
"That's the guy I want to talk to, the half-wit," says the agent.

"That would be me," replied the rancher.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Physical Fitness and Hunting

Today, I started my workouts again and I am already sore. Physical fitness plays a major role in whether you are going to be successful for big western game. I am still unsure as to where I am going hunting this fall. I am waiting for Dennis to make up his mind as to whether he wants to go after moose, elk, bear, mule deer or antelope.

Either way, I am out of shape. Nineteen years ago, I did one of the stupidest things I could ever do and started smoking. This last year in Idaho, I really felt the damage that it has done to my lungs and my body. Part of it is that I am getting to be a bit older now as I am about to celebrate my 37th birthday at the end of this month. My goal is to get back in the gym and quit smoking.

My schedule for January is going to keep me very busy but I am determined to spend 45 minutes in the gym as often as I can. My workout today consisted of 20 minutes on the treadmill and 25 minutes of free weights. I usually hit the treadmill or elipticals first to build up my heart rate and then get in some abs work and then chest,shoulders and arms. Working your legs and calves are important because you will be carrying a lot of weight while you are hunting out west, but the main thing you can work on is is your cardio and aerobic fitness level. If your gym has a stair climber, these are probably very similar to what you will have while climbing a mountain.

If you are planning a big game fall hunt, the time to start your routine for training is now. As you get closer to your hunt, fill your pack with your gear and put it on your shoulders and get in 2-4 miles per day for about 3 weeks before your hunt. About 5 days before your hunt, stop training and rest up your body so that you will be prepared for your hunt. Do however keep stretching and eating well. More about fitness levels to come.


Bull Pac's have been around for awhile now and I am a big fan of these frame packs. I have seen them in action this last year in Idaho and they are comfortable, tough and worth the money you will spend on them. Their website could be a little better but they probably spent all of the money on the development and quality of their equipment. They are also strong supporters of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Check out their link at: BullPac's Online.

Whitetail Photo

Originally uploaded by t h e Crow Hand.
I love the the taste of fresh snow. Looks like this doe does too! Great shot by the Crow Hand.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Coyote Hunting

This looks like fun!

Pennsylvania Trappers Assoc District 7 coyote Hunt - Feb 3-5 PA
For more information, contact Joe Mast at (570) 568-0175 or Dave Strack at (570) 924-3505.

Good Article on Deer and Auto Accidents.

I opened up my USA Today and saw a great article on deer and auto accidents today. The link is at: USA TODAY. The article in the print version had the numbers and a really great graph on the number of accidents per state. A couple of states listed that were really high were Pennsylvania with 18,846 auto collisions and deer, Michigan was second with 13,108, Illinois was third with 12,003, Ohio was fourth with 10,480, Georgia fifth with 9406, and Virginia was sixth at 8256. Of course with the lease amount of deer collisions was Hawaii with 12, and DC had 61 for July 1st, 2005 through June 30th, 2006.

Now what they don't tell you in this article is the number of deer that are hit by large semi-trucks that never get reported, and or the number of collisions that do not get reported to the insurance companies. They did state that the average amount for a crash with a deer was $2800.00 and over $10,000 if there was injury to the driver.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Link to all State Game and Fish organizations

The following link provided by the National Rifle Association gives you a page in which you can research the state game and fish laws of every state in the United States of America, as well as links to Hunter Safety Education!

Please check it out at: STATE GAME AND FISH LINKS

It's About Time Massachusetts!

Course on weapon safety needed for hunting license

Come Jan.1, Massachusetts will join 49 other states in requiring new hunters to pass a basic course covering the safe handling of weapons and some of the ground rules for the sport before issuing them a license.

The requirement is part of a new law passed this year. Any adult who plans to purchase a hunting or sporting license (the combined hunting and fishing license) must show either one of the following documents: a government-issued certificate from any state, Canada, or Mexico, showing that they have passed a basic hunter education course; or a previous hunting or sporting license from any state, Canada or Mexico. A state-issued firearms identification card or license to carry handguns will no longer be acceptable for purchasing a hunting license.

All minors (those aged 15-17) seeking a license must produce: a basic hunter-education certificate and a letter of consent allowing the minor to hunt from a parent or guardian; or, a consent letter which additionally says that the minor will be accompanied at all times by a licensed adult while hunting.

The good news is that there are about 300 volunteer instructors geared up and ready to teach the required courses. The average instructor has about 10 years of experience with the state’s hunter-education program and most have extensive hunting and survival skills. The state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has come up with several very flexible formats for the 15-16 hour course; some are available weekday evenings, others on weekends, and a few combine a weekday evening with weekend days. The courses are held throughout the state.

“We really want people to push for the winter-spring courses,” said Susan Langlois, administrator of the hunter-education course for MassWildlife.

“The earlier they take the course, the easier it is for them to meet all of the requirements before hunting.”

New hunters, Langlois said, often don’t recognize the need for a long time line before actually getting out in the field.

“By completing a course early in the year, new hunters have time to apply for firearms licenses, practice newly acquired skills and scout potential hunting locations,” Langlois said.

The state courses are free, as the program costs are financed by the state license purchases of other sportsmen and women and funds that come to the state from federal excise taxes on firearms and archery equipment.

The course schedule is listed on the Web at For further information, call the hunter-education program at: (978) 632-7648.