Friday, December 30, 2011


       With the New Year quickly approaching, I wanted to take a little time and talk about New Year’s resolutions.  Most people make resolutions to change things they don’t like about themselves, for example someone might make a resolution to lose 20 lbs or to quit smoking.  We sportsmen and sportswomen aren’t exempt from those types of resolutions; in fact quite a few of us could stand to lose a few pounds, myself included.  But those aren’t the type of resolutions I am referring to.  The resolutions I am talking about are related to whatever outdoor activity you choose to pursue.  My passion is bird hunting with pointing dogs and a budding interest in fly fishing, so here are my resolutions for this year in no particular order.

1.        After being deployed for almost all of the 2011 hunting season, priority number one will be getting my dogs into as many species of birds as possible.  This year I resolve to take my dogs on as many trips as I possibly can.  This will include a trip to either Montana or Idaho to chase Hungarian Partridge, a bird I have been dying to hunt for some time.

2.       Resolution number two is more training related.  This year my goal is to have my two year old Ryman Setter steady to wing and shot, and to bring my Pointer back to that standard as he has regressed in that department over the course of the last year.  This goal will likely be my toughest challenge, I have all the tools, launchers, homers, e-collars, ect what I lack is experience.  Luckily I have several friends who are excellent trainers and can guide me along as I take on this demanding task.

3.       My third resolution may seem a bit odd, but it is very important to me.   The only fault our dogs have is that they just don’t live long enough.  My goal is to do a better job of documenting what time I have with my four legged hunting companions.  A friend of mine lost his 14 year old Gordon Setter, Cookie this year.   Sadly he doesn’t have a single picture of her pointing or hunting.  That is something that I cannot abide.  When I am old and gray and my mind isn’t what it used to be, I want to be able to open my journal and photo album and relive old memories of hunts gone by.

4.       My last resolution is simple, ever since I moved to Colorado I have wanted to learn to fly fish.  I have been a few times but have yet to come anywhere close to learning how to cast properly.  I hope to not only learn how to cast, but to become somewhat knowledgeable in what flies to tie to be at least moderately successful at catching fish.  So if you see me on some remote Colorado stream, don’t be alarmed I am not really having a seizure, I’m just trying to learn how to cast a fly.

       So there you have it, my outdoor resolutions for 2012.  I hope I am successful in bringing these goals to fruition, as I am hopeful that you are equally successful in your resolutions.  May this year bring health and happiness to you and yours this holiday season.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Gift

Not really hunting related, so I hope you don't mind but I wanted to take a chance to talk about Christmas.  Christmas is wonderful time of year.  It brings friends and family together like no other time of year, and I love that aspect of it.   However, it can be easy to get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas and its deviation from which it was originally intended.  While it is perfectly acceptable to have a tree and exchange gifts, and decorate the house with lights and ornaments, and enjoy the company of loved ones that you rarely get to see.  I challenge you to remember the real reason for the season, which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and best gift you will ever receive…..your salvation.  From my family to yours I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with friends and family to include our four legged hunting companions.  Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Recharging the Batteries

The main reason I love being in the outdoors is the sense of escape from whatever is troubling me at the moment.  It could be anything from financial worries, or stress at work and at home.  But regardless of what troubles me I can always find solace in the unrestricted beauty that is nature.  Jose Ortega Y Gasset a Spanish liberal philosopher who penned the book “Meditations on Hunting “ was spot on in my opinion, when he wrote this little gem….. When you are fed up with the troublesome present, you take your gun, whistle for your dog and go hunting.”  Unfortunately my vocation does not afford me the opportunity to grab dog and gun whenever life sends me a curve ball.  My trips afield are few and far between and because of that, the memories of the sounds, images, and smells of a hunt have to carry me through to my next one.  Knowing that, for six months I planned my most recent trip to be full of memories to last me the final five months of my deployment to Afghanistan.   Here are a few of those memories.