Heather's First Deer
Nick B
A father's proud account
Heather's First Deer - 10/29/99
Nick B (Washington)

I gotta tell you guys about my daughter's 1st deer. We had picked-out a nice field of wheat stubble with a ditch running through the middle of it. We got into position about 2 1/2 hrs before anything would be coming out and waited. A knot head with a passenger came along the tree line with his ATV and then cut up along the ditch to about 50 yards from where we were laying. I stood up, and he split across the field double quick. He then proceeded along the tree line of the field next to us....nothing ever came out.

The next morning, we joined with a couple of guys that had permission to hunt on a farmers land. They went one way around the field and we went the other. As we met along a large draw on the other side, everyone took up a position to wait and let the other hunters do some of our hunting for us. We were on the east side of the draw and the sun was warm on our backs, (finally). 2 doe, (my daughter had a permit) came along the bordering fields horizon about 1000 yards away. As we watched them, they started to mosey along our way. We were hoping they would come along our side of the draw, but as luck would have it, they started along the stubble line on the other side. Heather got into a prone position and used my daypack as a rest. We watched them for about 15-20 mins, when they broke out into a trot. I figured they were goners because of the distance. I heard Heather take 2 deep breaths, then a 3rd which she held 1/2 way. Then a loud BANG! The lead doe went down immediately. A single shot at 375 yrds! With a range finder. I was impressed! She was so calm and cool, she racked another round into the chamber and watched the deer till it was still.

Almost professional. One of the things that came to mind was, I hope I don't see anything within 200 yrds, cause if I miss now, I'm never gonna live it down....

She shoots a Remington youth cut .243 with a 3X9X50MM Simmons, and used a Speer Nitrex100 grn bullet. This was a hunt that we'll both remember all our lives.


Got One Deer!
10/18/99 Chesapeake (Maryland)

Went out Friday to a hot spot, found a good tree and set up 24' off the ground. After a little while, I had a young doe cruise by but she wouldn't respond to calls. A little later, another came through just outta range and again wouldn't respond. Minutes later a 3rd came by and I suppose had heard my calls as she walked directly beneath my stand. While there the 2nd doe had circled back to me and was only 15 yards away but I had no shot. I had to remain motionless as I didn't want to alarm either deer. Well deer 3 moved off a little and deer 2 kept coming. She was only 10 yards in front of me and when she walk behind a tree, I drew. She saw me reach full draw and was staring right at me. I was already on target so I let it go and TTHHHEEEWWWPP!

Buried it right behind the shoulder. She stumbled turned and ran outta sight. I sat for15 mintues and looked for my arrow. Yep, passed clean through and stuck in the ground just behind her. I tracked her for about 100 yards and found her lying motionless. She was huge. 111 lbs. dressed! Bad part, I had to drag her about a 1/2 mile to the road. I was whipped! (Thank GOD I got the monkey off my back. This doe was my first in two years and also my first outta my API stand that I bought 2 years ago.)

Got up Saturday morning and headed for the Bay. Was able to knock down three mallards, a drake and 2 hens before calling it quits.

All in all a damn good weekend.

A Perfect Day
First Buck
A Perfect Day - First Buck - 10/16/99
Hotshot (Indiana)

A perfect day Friday the 15th. I started out the day being able to teach my classes in the woods. We put together a theme unit utilizing the woods behind our school. I had kids weaving mats of cattail fibers. We discussed the many uses of the plant and had a great day. Suddenly, out of the woods emerges a lady from our local Walmart, she handed me a check for $1500.00 dollars for my DU Greenwing activites!!!!!

I hustled home from school, showered, and decided it is time for a hunt. I headed out to the farm, walked out to my stands, and thought... "Which one should I sit in tonight". I grabbed my binocs, Yes! The farmer had picked the corn field this week. I headed to my stand that edged the woods. To eat corn tonight, the deer would have to walk right by me! As I put on the sneak to get to my stand, bam! Three deer ran off, luckily in the direction opposite my tree. Then three more, a buck! I continued walking as I considered this a good sign. As I approached the stand, I bumped a few more. Two ran off FAST. I think they were from the second bunch I kicked up.

I squatted, donned my head cover, and grunted three times. Amazingly, a mama and her two good sized young 'uns stuck around. I have been trying out a new product, called deer dander. It contains the smell of deer hair in it. I really think it works. The three deer went about their business unalarmed by me. I am happy with how well I finished up my sneak into the tree. I did not bump these three again, and they remained within 50yards.

Things settled, a few squirrels, and hey! that is a deer sticking her nose back in the woods from were I walked in. It was mama and the two young'uns. I had a clear lane at mama! I raised my bow. They were downwind! The shot was iffy. I let her walk. One of the young 'uns also gave me a shot. The distance was a little too long for me to be comfortable.

I sat there for a little, mentally arguing, the shot was okay, not okay.... I heard a bounding noise, budump, badump.. Looked into the field, a deer. OH MAN this one has stuff above HIS head!!!!

He slowed to a walk and entered the thicket area between the CRP field and the woods. It was closer than the does, This was a shot for sure! I thought, looks like a fork horn, but with the baby on the way, and me with a bow. I'm shooting. I drew, waited a few seconds for a clear shot, took one last look outside the peep sight to make sure I hadn't missed a tree limb that would ruin my shot. Nothing in the way. Looked back through the peep. Found brown quartering away chest, and hit the release. SSSSSSSSSSSSS thwack! a hit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I watched him bound back the way he had come. He fell once, twice. I climbed down. Found first blood, okay first tub of blood. He was bleeding incredibly. I marked the spot with my quiver, and walked, okay jogged back to the truck by a route that would not disturb him.

I drove home (all of 7 minutes). Jumped out told the wife, I'd be a little later than expected, and returned with flashlights and such. I drove back to the edge of the woods this time, and started the tracking job. One of the easiest tracks I've made. An obvious lung hit as blood was sprayed all over the CRP field.

I found him 60 yards from the hit. Opposite of the common ground shrinkage, he grew points. Although not wide, he had 7 points. three on one side, and four on the other. A tall skinny rack, but very graceful. Most important to me a very good sized body which meant lots a meat!

This was my first buck ever -- all methods. In my 10th year of hunting, I finally got a buck. Not a trophy that will show up in a magazine, but one that will live in my head forever as the wrap up to a most perfect day.

I'll take pictures and post a few when the film is finished. It is now Sat morning, 10:30 ish. I gotta go butcher!!!!!

Mason was really excited. HE keeps calling it "our buck" I get a kick out of him including himself in the event. In a way it is ours, he helped me choose the stand site, shot with me all summer, and will grow tall and strong on its flesh.

I am truly happy.


First Buck
William Bredernitz
First Buck
William Bredernitz (Michigan)

It was my first time out gun hunting and my father was sitting on a lane about 100 yards away from me. When we got to my hunting spot that day before daylight, I never thought that I would be the lucky one that day. I had sat there for about 2 hours and didn't see a thing when I heard 2 quick shots behind me. It was my godfather who was about 200 yards away. I quick got up because I thought that if he had missed his buck that it might run by me when it fled. He didn't. But about 5 min.'s after he shot a doe and a fawn walked out of the pine trees next to me about 30 yards away. I had fun watching the little fawn play in the snow. They left and walked off the lane that they were standing on. A little whole later I saw them appear in front of me again. And when they came out they looked at me got nervous and trotted away.

About 30 min's later in a little hay marsh in front of me, I could barely make out three deer jumping trough the tall grass and they were going to walk out on a lane and give me a perfect shot. The first deer walked out and it was a big doe. I didn't see antlers so I let her go. Then her fawn came out of the marsh. It seemed like it took hours for the next deer to come out but it was only probably 30 sec. When he walked out he stopped in the lane and gave me a perfect shot. I brought my old semiautomatic shotgun to my shoulder and lined up the sights just behind his shoulder. I pulled the trigger slowly like I had done many times before on other animals just not a deer. As the gun sounded, I saw him jump into the air and I knew I had hit him.

As I walked up there my heart was beating so fast I couldn't hear anything. When I got to the spot where he had stood, I saw some blood on the snow. I walked about 10yards through a thin strip of pines and poplar trees and I found a lot of blood. As I walked out on to the next lane he was dead on the lane. I was so happy I don't think my feet touched the ground 3 times over the 150 yards to my dad. I told him I had just shot a nice eight point and I had found him already. He just smiled and told me to calm down and we would go get him.

As we walked to my deer, I must have told him the story 3 times. When we were almost there, we saw my godfather coming down the lane to us. He asked me if I had shot one and I said you bet I did! He is over here. We went to my deer and I gutted him. I went up to the house got the tractor and put my deer in the bucket. I took him up to the house and skinned him all by myself and watched Michigan win their football game later that day.

This was my first buck I ever got and I know I will never forget it.

William Bredernitz
8 point buck
170 pounds

Woodchuck Hunt & Long-Range Shooting
Cliff Claven
Woodchuck Hunt and Long-Range Shooting - 6/18/99
Cliff Claven (Pennsylvania)

A few months ago, I met the owners of a custom rifle manufacturing business, Hart Rifles, at a sports show. It turns out they had read one of my stories. We got to talking and they invited me on a hunt to test out some of their rifles. I got a varmint hunting magazine to agree to a story on this, so I was all set to go.

The Harts called me and we decided to go on a hunt on Friday. We would be hunting a farm fairly near State College, so I met them Thursday evening to check out the guns and make a game plan.

Wally Hart's father passed the rifle making business onto him, and he passed it onto his son Bob. Bob and Wally are quite the characters, guys that take their guns and hunting seriously but keep the focus on having fun. Also shooting with us would be Ray Sweet, who builds the FBI sniper rifles and trains FBI snipers. He was also a Marine Sniper for many years and was a close friend of legendary sniper Carlos Hathcock. Talk about stories! Two other avid varmint hunters would also be along on the hunt.

We met Fri morning and arrived at the farm. They had talked to this farmer on the phone and he guaranteed plenty of long-range shooting. But what he considered long range was different from what the Harts had hoped for. Oh well, we'd still shoot the rifles.

Now, what we were doing was not "hunting" per se. The Harts have become somewhat famous in the long-range world for their rifles which push the long-range envelope. Bob's longest kill was at 1540 yards...waaaay out there. There is a story on them in Petersen's Hunting this month ("Chuck Bustin'" is the article).

Anyhow, there were no 1000 yard shots, or even 600 yard shots. But we set up the rifles on benches. I took a few practice shots with their "light" long-range rifle. This rifle is built on a Remington action with McMillan stock. It is chambered in.30 Hart, a wildcat they sell based on the Norma .300 Weather by case. It had a very nice 2pound trigger. I fired at a few targets and then woodchucks started appearing.

I shot 3 at 220 yards, and one at 375 yards, which gave me a feel for the rifle. I also tested a nice 22-250 that was designed for walking and hunting. Then they brought out Ray Sweet's competition rifle. This monster weighed 76 pounds, had a barrel 1 1/2 inches in diameter and had a 2 OUNCE trigger pull. This rifle was designed for shooting farther than 1000 yards.

Well, the farmer's fields were separated by woods, and way off in the distance was a field. They asked permission and the farmer said they could shoot it. I cannot overemphasize how far away this was. Anyhow, this next part I swear is the truth. A crow landed and a few shots were taken. I saw one of the avid varmint hunters, Tom Flickinger, fire, there was a pause, then dirt and stones flew all over the crow. I saw this through a spotting scope.

Now, you say, big deal about the miss. But here's the truth: This was at 1900 yards! I would not have believed if I was not there. I think those of you who know me know I'm not big on the bullshit stories...but again I saw this. That was farther than a mile. He was holding some thirty feet over the crow. It was very close for that range and the Harts were whooping up a storm even though it wasn't a kill. The crow jumped in the air, shook itself and flew away. Their goal is to make a 2000 yard kill and I have no doubt they'll do it.

What I love about hunting is getting close to wildlife and nature. The long-range shooting doesn't give me the same thrill. But I did get into seeing these firearms and what they are capable of. Woodchucks are extremely over-abundant and need to be controlled. I don't think I could get into shooting a deer at 900 yards, which they have done, but to each his own.

The Harts are great people and build great rifles, including hunting rifles at a reasonable cost. It was a great experience and I learned a lot, especially from Ray Sweet. They've invited me out again and I'm looking forward to it. Well, that's a long one but I thought it might be of interest to the gun nuts. A story with more details on the guns, etc will appear in an upcoming issue of The Varmint Hunter Magazine.


My Buck Tale
My Buck Tale
Nimrod (Michigan)

This one was meant to be. I hunted this area all bow season and never saw him before. He was the 8th different buck I saw last year but I never stayed out all day. This was the first day of the gun season and I planned on staying out most of the day. I told my son we would head up to house for some chili about 11:00. At 10:50 am I looked in the woods from my ground blind and saw some movement! I saw the main beam on him and knew I wanted him! He was walking a 25 yard perimeter inside the edge of the woods. I picked a opening and at30 yards I squeezed the trigger! *~&%#$+! In the excitement I bumped the thumb safety on! I could only watch as he made his way to the corner of the woods. He never left the woods, he walked under my bow stand and turned up the end of the woods. I picked out another shooting lane and watched as he slowly walked into it. I shot and lost sight of him! I reloaded and as I pushed the 300grn. sabot home I heard some thrashing in the woods. I slowly stalked through the shooting lane expecting to see him dead. THERE HE WAS TROTTING OFF!!! I had to side step some trees and there he was standing there looking out into the field on the other side of the woods! I could tell he was hit bad! I pulled up and did a Texas heart shot on him and it was over!! I walked over to him and gave thanks for him. He was the biggest deer I ever shot! As I walked over to get my son's attention a voice said, "Who are you"!!!

It was the other guy who had permission to hunt there also. I pulled down my face mask and he knew then. He said he had the buck in his sights when I shot! He said it drove the buck on his knees. I must have heard him getting up. My son came over to take pictures and help drag him to the two-track. The first shot went through the liver and a lung (quartering away) but didn't hit the shoulder. He placed 6th.in the local contest with a dressed weight of 174. His double brow tines and tips made a 12pt out of him. He was only 2 1/2.Must be something in the water.

My First Buck
My First Buck
Nimrod (Michigan)

When I was 14 my dad asked if I wanted a 20ga 22 for rabbits or a smoke poll. I got a54 hawkins kit and went to work. I carried it for seven years before I pointed it at a deer.

Dec.'82 I headed out before light and sat 400yds behind the house in a fence row. It was about 10 deg that morning and the sunrise was (that's the crack off dawn to some of you folk) sure looking good.

At about 8:30 I watched three doe run across the field and into the fence row. Then I saw2 more!! And I grew horns on the second one. I thought oh boy, my first buck and with a MLWWWOOOWWW!!!

I pulled up and KUBOOM!! It was a 100yd. shot in the tall grass. The doe he was chasing ran into the fence row 50 yds. to my left, the buck stood out there at120 yds. and walked slowly to were the doe went. I poured 4 30 gr spouts down the barrel, opened the patch box and put it on the barrel, pulled a ball from the possibles bag and the starter and shoved it in the barrel.

The buck is still coming!!! Then I rammed it home. Fumbled in the bag for a cap and put it on with my cold fingers. I pulled up and, at 50yds KABOOM *%$#@!@#$$~? (CAN YOU SAY BUCK-FEVER!) I shot right between his legs. HE JUST STOOD THERE AND LOOKED AT ME as I poured and counted to 10, dug out another patch, fumbled for a ball RRAAMMED it home!!!

Then he kept walking after that doe. I finally got a cap on with my fingers and pulled up KABOMM!!! Down he went. I spinned him. I poured and stabbed a ball on top of the powder and ran over and plugged him in the head. 4 shots with no speed loaders or capper. Never again! My biggest mistake was replacing the sight pin without shooting it first!

My first shot hit in the hind 1/4, He dressed out at 170lbs. the right antler was broken off the left had 4 nice pts. on it.

I called my dad up to help me dress it and cut it up. Here ends one of many stories.

Caribou Hunt in Alaska
Rolly Jurgens
Caribou Hunt in Alaska - August 1997
Rolly Jurgens

Would you like to hunt in Alaska? How would you go about it? How much does it cost? Those have been questions on my mind for along time. Hunting in Alaska is certainly a dream of most hunters in the lower 48.

In the Winter of 1996, I made the decision to hunt caribou in the fall of 1997. I asked professional wildlife photographer and close friend, Tim Christie, if he was interested too. He was.

Our first challenge was to find a good place to hunt. Tim checked with a friend who hunts in Alaska and he recommended ado-it-yourself hunt along one of the many lakes in caribou country. I was hesitant, and told Tim that because this might bemy only trip to Alaska, I really didn't want to worry about all the logistical problems required for an un-guided hunt . We decided on a fully guided hunt.

The next question was, what guide should we hunt with? As luck would have it, one of the teachers where we work, is related to Justin Johns, a guide and outfitter in Alaska. We contacted Justin and received a beautiful brochure of hunts including prices and an extensive list of references. We contacted references and heard glowing recommendations. We booked for an early August hunt near Dillingham.

We began planning. What would the trip cost? Justin charged$2,800 for his guide services. Round-trip airline flights to Dillingham were arranged via Alaska Airlines from Spokane, Washington. The flight from Spokane to Dillingham cost each of us$575. I found that some airlines won't carry hunter's horns so the choice of Alaska Airlines is a wise one if you want to avoid a hassle bringing your trophies home.

It wasn't long before we were on our way. Our first stop after leaving Seattle was in Anchorage. We took a cab into town and purchased our caribou tag ($375), fishing license ($30) and general hunting license ($85).

We returned to the airport and hopped our flight to Dillingham. We arrived in Dillingham on Saturday, a day prior to our departure to camp, so we could rest up and snoop around this small Eskimo fishing town on Bristol Bay. We stayed in the Bristol Inn and it cost $74 per night, each person, for a double room.

Sunday morning, we hooked up with Fresh Water Adventures Aviation for the flight into camp. We loaded our gear aboard a twin engine, amphibious, Gruman Widgeon, and away we went. The trip to camp was uneventful even though our altitude above the ground reached a maximum of 250 feet. Low altitude flying may leave you a bit unnerved, but weather and terrain dictates much of the flying in Alaska. The round-trip flight cost us each $400. This included one trip to take us in to camp and one trip to take us out.

Camp is located on the north shore of a lake within the Wood Tik-Chik State Park. The buildings are varnished wood sitting on concrete footings with anodized metal roofs. The cook cabin has a wood stove for heat and the guest cabins have kerosene heaters. The guest cabins are neat, clean, dry and very inviting. Each one has a permanently installed propane light and is just the right size for two or three guests. A camp shower provided a bit of luxury we weren't expecting this far away from civilization.

After unpacking and meeting the five camp staff, we found we had the entire camp to ourselves. We visited for awhile and then unpacked our guns to sight them in. I had my Ruger M-77 in .270Winchester with 150 grain Nosler Partition bullets. Tim had a Garrett Accrulite rifle in .284 Winchester with 140 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets.

We took only 20 cartridges per gun, so we didn't have many extra rounds to re-check our scopes and still have enough shells to hunt with. A target was set up along the beach and we did our shooting, prone, at 100 steps. Justin usually carries a .375H.&H. as a backup gun, due to the number of brown bears in the area and he wanted to check his gun too.

Justin said it is not unusual to have hunters show up in camp who have rarely fired their guns. "My gun was bore sighted by the sporting goods store just before I left home." is a common comment. Justin reinforced our own thoughts, "Bore sighting is just not good enough to go hunting. Every gun should be sighted in by shooting it at a range. If people can't do it at home, we have to do it here before we go hunting."

Monday morning we got up well after daylight and had a leisurely breakfast. About 9:30 a.m., Justin told us to round up our gear and meet at the boats to begin our hunt.

I asked Justin how we were going to hunt. He said we would cruise the lake, stopping frequently to glass for caribou. He said it would be very unusual to see any caribou cows or calves but we should see bears and moose in addition to caribou bulls. There are no black bears in the area.

Justin, an assistant guide, Tim, and I were soon on our way. Our boat was a 20 foot, aluminum, flat bottomed craft, powered by an 80 horse outboard jet. We went just a short way before Justin hollered over the outboard noise, that he was stopping to show us something. We motored up to a small creek inlet where crimson, humped-back sockeye salmon were staging in preparation for fighting their way upstream to spawn. We beached the boat and got out. Justin told us to stay close together and talk loudly. Bears could be anywhere. The dry ground along the creek had a wet path sloshed over it made by a hastily retreating brownie. Dead and dying salmon were all over as were those salmon that were oblivious to the carnage who still had spawning on their brain. Justin had his .454 Cassul out of the holster and ready. We went up the stream about fifty yards and stopped because the alders were closing in and frankly, this was a dangerous place for us to be. The last thing we wanted was to provoke was a bear attack. As we walked back to the boat, a brown bear stood up on the beach as if he was checking to see if we'd left his pantry. He was gone in a moment, but even at 100 yards, a brown bear looks BIG.

We got back into the boat and motored down the shoreline looking for a good spot for glassing. Suddenly, we spotted a terrific caribou bull, trotting along ahead of us. We beached immediately and got out of the boat. The bull slowed to a walk but obviously was spooked and soon faded into the bush. What a rush. Here within a couple miles, we had seen a spawning stream full of salmon, a brown bear and a keeper caribou. This was the Alaska I had read about. I hoped we would see this bull again. I wanted him.

When sitting on the lake glassing for caribou didn't pan out, we walked up onto the tundra to glass some of the fields that were hidden from view. We were hunting local bulls who spent the entire summer around the lake. Later in the season, the caribou would herd-up and begin their fabled migration.

Tuesday evening, we found two caribou bulls feeding along the shore line. It was Tim's shot and one of the bulls looked like a good trophy. We beached the boat and made a stalk. With the wind in his favor, Tim made a single, 45 yard, drop on the spot shot, on a very nice bull. After the chores, we returned to camp for a very late supper.

Wednesday was a dry day for caribou. We saw a few, but they were too spooky for us to get into stalking distance.

On Thursday morning, we again saw the same bull in the same place as we had seen him on our first morning. His antlers were unusual, with high, large palmated tops. He reacted the same as earlier. As soon as he heard the boat, he started trotting and disappeared into the bush. There was no chance for a stalk. Justin knew this was the bull I wanted and he knew how we were going to hunt him. He said we'd hole-up until late in the afternoon and then sneak back into the bay and wait the bull out, hoping he'd return to the lake shore.

We did just that. About 5:00 p.m., we raised the big motor out of the water and installed the 6 HP Honda back-up outboard, onto the transom. At idle speed, the little Honda moved us slowly and quietly into the bay.

As we approached to within 200 yards of a shallow island at the tip of a peninsula in the center of the bay, the target of our quest burst out of the brush at the far side of the bay. The bull was tossing his head from side to side and running around the bay right toward us. We went into what we called "full-stealth" mode. If this bull was still as spooky as he'd been earlier, we had to be quiet.

We got within wading distance of the island and Justin and I got out of the boat and I loaded my rifle. Justin said to rest my gun on his shoulder and shoot after he had his ears plugged and the caribou had stopped. We knelt down into the mid-calf deep, water. Within a few seconds, the bull was running right at us. He was tossing his head around, obviously bothered by insects. Once, he shoved his entire face below the lake surface and splashed himself with water trying to rid himself of the nuisance. When the bull rounded the tip of the peninsula, I was ready and Justin began waiving his arms and shouting, "Hey caribou!". Suddenly the bull stopped broadside at about 200 yards and looked at us with amazement, as if to say, "Now, where did you come from?"

Justin plugged his ears. The cross hairs settled behind the bull's front leg and I shot. The bull took off, running away, down the shoreline. I fired again. With that, the bull whirled around and started back toward us. At my third shot, the bull fell. As I approached the bull, I realized what a fine trophy I had taken. The first shot was perfectly placed through the lungs, just behind the shoulder. The second shot had hit the neck but missed the spine. The third shot had entered diagonally behind the left front shoulder and lodged in the off-side hip. Everyone admitted that the first shot would have done the job but I had wisely followed advice my Dad had given me some thirty-five years earlier. Dad taught "As long as the animal is still standing and you still have cartridges, keep shooting."

We took photos and the bull was cleaned, quartered and loaded board the boat. We got to camp about 10:30 p.m., just after sun down. What a day. Supper never tasted so good.

On Thursday and Friday, we intended to fish but the weather turned sour. We had rain and whitecaps on the lake. Regrettably, we had to spend our last two days at camp. The plus side was that this was a wonderful place to spend time. It was warm, comfortable and the food, finger-licking good.

On Sunday, we packed for home and I left a $300 tip for the staff. Sunday night was spent in the motel in Dillingham.

Luggage and package charges for my horns and meat were $65.Everything arrived home on time, thanks to Alaska Airlines. Without including a few minor expenses for snacks and trinkets, the total cost of my hunt was $4,778. Not what you'd call cheap, but well worth it, in my mind.

Not knowing what to expect, I was pleased with the amount of game we saw. In five days of hunting, we saw a dozen moose, four brown bears, and about a dozen caribou bulls. If you'd like to hunt with Justin Johns, you may contact him at Fishing Bear Outfitters in Kalispel, Montana. I can hardly wait until I can return.

Hunting with my Sons
Hunting with My Sons - 12/01/1997

Iowa has a lot of corn, some very nice people, great weather (problem), but the part of Iowa we hunted over the weekend did not have many pheasants.

Son #1 and I left TC at 7:00 AM Thursday, picked Son #2 up in Chicago around noon, had a great turkey dinner at truck stop in Morris Il, then reached our motel in Vinton Iowa around 6:00 PM. Woke up Friday morning had breakfast at one of those great little restaurants you can only find in a small farm community, local hangout for farmers, business men, and all the old retired guys, everyone greeted us as we walked in and had to comment on my sons Michigan sweatshirt. Guide met us back at the motel around 7:30 am and headed out to the field. Weather was warm and foggy. First stop was a large CRP field about 160 acres bordered by cut corn and bean fields. Walked entire field never flushed a single bird, saw two fly out beyond gun range. Weather cleared to become a blue bird day, sunny, high around 50.

Next stop was wide ditch line between two bean fields, ran the length of 80 acres then into woods. At the end of the walk pushed a nice buck out of the ditch. Deer ran about 50 yards into woods and flushed about a dozen birds which we had pushed, no shots. Left ditch and worked fence line to next field when dog pointed first pheasant of the day. Bird ran out into the field about 5 feet from Son #1, flushed and was missed three times. Son #1 took a lot of ribbing on it. Lunch. Pushed two more large CRP fields with no birds, ended the day in switch grass field where dog pointed bird #2, shot by Son #1, redeemed himself, everyone happy. Just before quitting time Son #2 and I flushed bird #3 and shared the kill. First day done, two birds, three happy hunters. Lots of birds were seen in the cut corn, out there feeding because of the unseasonable warm sunny weather, could not get closer than about 150 years before they would run or flush.

Day two started same as day one, breakfast at Lori's Place, guide at motel 7:30 AM. Went to area where there was both quail and pheasants, about mid morning flushed covey, Son #1 was only one in position to shoot, took bird #3. Rest of day spent walking, walking and walking. Late afternoon on Saturday flushed final rooster which again was shot by Son #1.

Two days, miles of walking, 4 birds. It was one of my more enjoyable hunts, spent quality time with two of my kids, they had fun together only the way brothers can, and nobody came away disappointed. We agreed that this would happen again, and would like to do it down south with a quail hunt. Kids grow up too fast, 24 and 27 seem so old, been hunting together since they were around 5. Even grown you should see them wrestle, can't leave each other alone, play little tricks on each other, tell stories, make me laugh, love them boys very much, proud to be their dad.