Wednesday, October 18, 2017

October 17 Podcast--Resources

The pic above illustrates how efficient a hawk can be devouring a duck if you leave it in the field for any amount of time.

Listen in on this week's "The Montana Dream Cast" as Scott and I talk the end of the Packer's season, being "bear aware," prep for the rifle season, youth hunts and Ryan Zinke as he fulfills Trumps mission to undo everything Obama did with the exception of the parks and national monuments out here in Montana.

Bear aware:

Youth hunts and the apprentice hunter program:

Ryan Zinke:

And check out all that's happening at Ten Mile Creek Brewery this weekend!

Keep 'em where they live...

Monday, October 16, 2017

Moving On

If you're a Packer's fan, today might feel like the end of the world. I am and I'm pretty bummed but the reality is, is one injury to an NFL team can and often does, cost you the season. I'm just glad I have other things to look forward to for this time of the year.

1) I haven't shot an elk with a rifle in 15 years. That's right. For the past 8 seasons, I've shot 7 elk during bow season so by now, I should be done. This year however, I couldn't capitalize on the few opportunities I had so now it's time to put my brand new Ruger Hawkeye, .270 to the test. I have yet to shoot anything with it so I'm excited to break it in.

I realize that many people feel the .270 is a bit light for elk but I'd rather go for accuracy than knock-down power. I've struggled with the pump action Remington 760, .30-.06 I inherited from my dad so I'd rather know I'm going to hit 'em than just try to hit 'em hard.

2) Ducks...

3) Mule deer. I still haven't shot a big mule deer since living in the West. I've seen some monsters when I haven't either had a tag or had permission to shoot one, so I'm hoping this is the year. I have whitetails on the wall, antelope, elk; even a 30 inch walleye but I don't have good mule deer. Again, the Ruger is going to get some work this season.

4) Jill is going to shoot a deer. Yep. Jill has shot ducks, she's shot huns but she has never shot a big game animal and this year is the year. We're going to start her out with a whitetail and see how she does. Will it be a one and done situation? Will she get the bug? Will she even pull the trigger? We will find out and you can hear about it on The Montana Dream Cast.

5) Upland birds...I haven't really hunted upland birds for a few years. Maybe this is the year to get back into it.

So yes, I feel like my football interests have reached a 1 out of 10 now since Rodgers went down but it just get's me off the coach and up in the mountains to do more exploring. Oh yah, and the World Series is also coming up.

Keep 'em where they live...

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Guns, Gun Violence and the NRA

I know, you're probably thinking, "Every time something happens in this country to stir some controversy, this guy thinks he needs to add his two cents..." Well, I do because I think it's important that we discuss these things and try to move forward.

A buddy of mine and I were driving along, listening to the account of what recently happened in Los Vegas, when he turned to me and said something to the affect of, "You know what? Maybe it's time we just get rid of all these assault weapons. This guy would have never been able to do what he did if the guns weren't available." He went on to say, "I'm just tired of hearing about all these shootings and we can do something about it."

(You can hear more on that conversation and about our hunting trip by going to:

The guy that was saying this is an outdoors-man, a father, a gun owner, hunter, angler, likes to shoot shit, and pretty damn conservative and also, I would say, reflects the feelings of most of us outdoors people. What he was saying was pretty consistent with most of the hunters I know and this conversation was similar to a lot of the conversations I've had recently with other hunters, even before this shooting. So what the hell is the problem? Well, I'll tell you. It's the National Rifle Association. Yep. And if you think it's not, just keep reading.

Do you know how many people think it's a good idea to have universal background checks in order to purchase a weapon? It's well over 90% of Americans, both Dems and Republicans according to a recent poll conducted by Hart Research Associates in June of 2017. In the same poll, the majority of people thought we should have stricter gun laws in general and again, the majority also felt we would be putting ourselves in more danger if we had more guns on the streets. Here's the deal though, as it pertains to stricter gun laws and whether or not we should have more guns on the streets, it is obvious that Republicans' and Democrats' views are pretty different even though ALL of the research that has been done shows that more guns on the streets and in people's homes equates to more gun violence--over 30,000 deaths per year! And yes, a third are suicides but how many of those deaths could have been prevented if the gun wasn't so readily available? (,

Anyway, let's get back to the assault weapons.

The vast majority gun violence, according the Huffpost article referenced above, doesn't come from assault rifles or rifles in general. The overwhelming majority comes from handguns. So gun-owners and the NRA point to these stats to justify the overall risk in owning the guns isn't significant enough to ban those guns. However, what's the benefit of having those guns? Because they are fun to shoot? Or, because they're used to eradicate feral hogs? Really? How's that working? And you know what else is fun? Driving through the streets of Chicago at 100 mph in a Porsche but that's not legal either.

Here's the point; when things do happen with assault style weapons, it's usually pretty massive and it's overwhelmingly an assault on innocent people like kids at a school or people at a night-club or a concert that are taken by surprise and have no way to defend themselves. Even if every one of those concert goers in Vegas had a handgun, none of them would have been any safer or could have defended themselves against the onslaught of violence that was raining down on them from 32 stories above. Nor does a police officer have much chance of even defending him/herself, much less the general public, when a couple shooters are equipped with such weaponry like what happened on February 28, 1997 in Los Angeles. It's because of the depth of the violence, the potential of loss, and the innocence of the victims that we see these attacks as different and more significant even though the numbers show that it's only a small percentage of the overall gun violence that assault weapons are involved in. We should look at these shootings outside of the overall incidence of gun violence because one; they are so massive in the sense that one incident creates so much devastation and two; because it can be prevented.

Do you know what the original motto of the NRA was? “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation.” This was back in 1871. The NRA was developed to help promote efficiency in shooting and firearms safety. In the 1920's, an arm of the NRA actually proposed legislation to require handgun carriers to have a permit. The point is, is that the NRA has a history of  promoting legislation that actually makes people safer as it pertains to gun laws and restrictions on gun ownership. This was consistent all the way through the 60's until an incident happened to NRA member, Kenyon Ballew in 1971, where he was shot an paralyzed for being suspected to be stock-piling illegal weapons. ( 

From that point on, the NRA has been acting like it has some vendetta against any agency or any person they feel is attacking one's right to own and bare arms as they interpret it says in the 2nd Amendment. An exclamation point was firmly placed on the NRA's position on gun control during the 2000 election where Charlton Heston rose a replica of a gun above his head proclaiming that anyone who wanted to take his gun would have to pry it “from my cold, dead hands.” 

Since then, CEO/Vice President and now President of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, has championed the efforts of the NRA to absolutely destroy anyone opposing them by dumping millions of dollars into attack campaigns and propaganda influencing elections on local and national levels. Because of the amount of money the NRA is able to raise by instilling fear in gun owners and outdoors-people through the "slippery-slope" of any gun control leading to taking all our guns away, the NRA has achieved a ridiculous amount of power and has the ability to ruin people's carriers when they stand up to them. Over $34 million was spent by the NRA to defeat 19 candidates in last year's general elections. Over $37 million was spent in total against the dems while only about $2k was spent in support of a Democratic nominee. About $17 million was spent supporting republican candidates while only a couple hundred dollars was spent in opposing a republican candidate. Basically what that says, is over twice as much money is spent attacking candidates that oppose the NRA versus money spent supporting candidates. ( It's because of this power, that nobody wants to stand up to them even though most of us don't believe in what the NRA really stands for. Most of us want reasonable and responsible gun control measures and the majority don't feel like assault styles weapons should be protected by the 2nd Amendment. 

Let me just make this point clear; if the NRA really gave one rat's ass about you or me and our rights as American citizens, they would use their power to lead the charge to make us safer and find some compromise. Instead of putting out lies and propaganda in order to defeat those that are trying to protect us, they would actually promote the truth behind what makes people more at risk for experiencing gun violence and they would do what they originally set out to do, which was to promote a safer gun culture through training and legislation. Through those kinds of efforts, they would go much further to protect my rights and my heritage as a hunter and an outdoor enthusiast and I wouldn't have to worry about the all or nothing sum that such opposition has created.

Now I know, you're going to say that the NRA did support the banning of fully automatic weapons, which may be true but the reality is, is semi-automatic weapons can easily become fully automatic and the banning of "bump stocks" will just lead to other ways of getting around that kind of restriction. And even if we are limited to just semi-auto weapons, how many rounds do you think a person could get off in a ten-minute period with a semi-auto assault rifle and a dozen or more 100 round clips?

And listen, I know what you're going to ask. What makes an assault weapon different than, let's say, a Remington 750 semi-automatic .308? Well, they were never set up to be a fully automatic weapon so to my knowledge, there is no attachment or add-on that would make them fully automatic. Also, the clip only holds 4 shells and one in the chamber and you can't buy a hundred round clip that fits it. The largest clip or magazine for that gun I found was ten-rounds. To me, that's a big difference but in all honesty, if you think they're the same then I'm ok with treating them the same and maybe we should talk about whether or not anyone needs even a semi-auto rifle. After doing quite a bit of research, the bottom line is what the gun can be set up to do and causing mass amounts of destruction in a very short period of time seems to be the consistent attribute for assault style weapons whether they are handguns, shotguns or rifles.

Do you know what the percentage is of AR-15 style weapons versus hunting rifles that are available to the public? Nobody does but estimates from a few different sources puts the AR-15 style of rifle at around 1%. As far as the number of other assault style weapons? I think it's safe to say that they're numbers are also not that significant in the grand scheme of gun ownership, which tells me the people that own them are definitely in the minority. Again, most hunters and outdoors enthusiasts really don't care to own them so what are we fighting for? Why do we need them?

The NRA keeps digging its heals in by releasing statements that put the blame on the ATF for not banning bump stocks years ago and instead of supporting legislation to address the problem, they're trying to pass legislation that puts more guns on the streets suggesting we would be safer if "more of the good guys had guns instead of the bad guys." The real research is overwhelmingly consistent in that more guns create more gun violence and the vast majority of the victims are innocent people, kids, and unintended targets. The likelihood that someone actually defends themselves in an act of violence is far less than someone being either accidentally killed or the gun being used on themselves. Those are the facts but the NRA will tell you otherwise in spite of all the data.

So what do we do? If you're a sportsman or woman and you want to protect your rights, help lead the charge for a safer gun culture and tell your representatives that you want to protect your heritage as a hunter and an outdoor enthusiast but also realize there might have to be some compromise. Tell those representatives to grow a pair and stand up to the NRA. Join in on the discussion and seek out the facts and support those people and organizations that want to make you safer. If you're dumping money into the NRA in membership fees and donations, I would suggest you stop. At the least, I'd tell Mr. LaPierre that you're unhappy with where the NRA has gone in the last 45 years and you'd like him to be a part of the solution. Ask him what the point of a freer America is if you're dead. Tell him you also want a safer America and hold him to that.

Keep 'em where they live...

Friday, October 6, 2017

Archery Camp 2017 Meat Pole

Need I say more?

We will talk about our 2017 archery camp adventures on the next episode of The Montana Dream Cast. If you missed it, check out Jill and I talking about preparation for the trip on last week's episode:

Keep 'em where they live...

P.S. I apologize to the folks I've offended by this post. 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

To Kneel or Stand...Really?

I've been reading the Twitter box and let me just say, there are a lot of crazy people out there and of course, I'm going to write about it. I'm sure some of you are surprised I have yet but I was getting my thoughts together and wondering if I could do this in a way as to not offend people and lose some followers but now, I don't care. After reading the visceral comments and just the hypocrisy of some people condemning the NFL and its players for taking a stance against social injustice, I'd rather you didn't read this blog. It's your choice.

First of all, let me just say that if you decide to stand and put your hand on your heart during the National Anthem, I don't think you're crazy. But, when you decide that your freedom of expression is more important than someone that decides to kneel because they're tired of being discriminated against in this country, which it absolutely does happen, then I feel like you're leaning to the cray, cray. And then, if you decide to publicly come out and use such violent speech, suggesting that we ought to have rules to worship a flag or fire those son's 'a bitches if they don't, then I believe you have full-on leaped into crazy. Yep. 

Let's look at the hypocrisy here. How many examples are there of people disrespecting the flag in this country? If you decide to wave a confederate flag, does that not show disrespect for the American flag? I mean, we did have a war, right? The confederates on one side and the United States of America on the other? Right? We lost more American soldiers in that one war than like all of the next five wars we fought in combined. But that's somehow ok? Or, let's say you decide to wave a swastika around claiming it's your right for freedom of speech promoting the ideal or supreme race, knowing how many people Hitler killed mercilessly. Somehow that's not as offensive as kneeling or sitting or locking arms peacefully at a football game as a way to bring attention to the minorities that don't feel apart of this culture because of the way they've been and are being treated?

And here's the deal, all you people blasting the NFL and its owners for siding with their players; are you serious? The majority of the players belong to a minority group. Many have come from areas in our country that have been left behind. Many have seen and experienced the brutality and the unfair treatment of our judicial system and other American institutions and they are the product that's on the field making these owners their money. It's because of those players that the owners enjoy the success they have so what would you do? Side with a president that refers to your bread and butter as, "Son's 'a Bitches," or support those players that are supporting your ass? 

You can't force people to side with you. They either do or don't. Hopefully, we create a culture and a system of institutions that people will agree to and align with. It's called a democracy. And when people are getting the shaft, they should speak out. That's also a key part of being a democracy. When we limit or deny a group from speaking out, that's called fascism. It's something we fought World Wars over. It's something we continue to fight against today in other countries. Is that where we're heading? Is that what you want? 

Two things kind of bum me out here. One is that what was a peaceful protest to bring light on social injustices has now become an entirely different argument thanks to the pres. Thanks pres. But at the same time, his ignorance and volatile comments has just brought more attention to the situation and has united more people to the cause, i.e., the owners and coaches and the vast majority of the players locking arms and uniting. But please, let's get back to the issue that started this. Let's have some dialog not about kneeling or standing but about how we can include people from all these different cultures, races, ethnic groups, and backgrounds that we all benefit from, into our culture and find a way to reach some kind of social justice. We can't burry our heads anymore. Racism exists. Discrimination exists. Police brutality exists. Let's do something about it. 

And the other thing I want to make clear is that of those players that decided to make a statement by kneeling, which is their right, use your voice by also participating in the institutions provided by our government. Vote. Yeah, that's right Kaepernick, go to the fricken polls and vote! And if any of the other players that decided to protest didn't vote, then shame on you, too. 

Keep 'em where they live...

Monday, September 25, 2017

How The Power Bugle Ruined Archery Hunting

How The Power Bugle Ruined Archery Hunting

Yeah, I said I--on last week's "The Montana Dream Cast." Click the link and check it out.

Here's the deal: I was hunting the other day in my little honey hole and after hiking for a couple miles in the dark, I positioned myself to start glassing and checking out the parks where I had shot multiple elk before and these guys started blowing the Power Bugle--my hunt was pretty much done.

The problem is, is that this call, as well as many other calls, have allowed dudes from all over to think they might have what it takes to call in an elk, just by blowing into a tube. They don't do their research. They don't consider the time of the rut they are hunting, and they can't call for shit. And as a result, the elk stop talking. And the funny part is these same dudes blame the wolves for the elk not talking. Really? How long have elk and wolves inhabited the same regions? Hundreds of thousands of year? And how long have elk been bugling during the rut? Hundreds of thousands of years? And how long have inexperienced hunters been flooding the mountains making horrendous noises with this Power Bugle? A couple decades? So where's the problem when in the past years, the elk just won't talk?

Keep 'em where they live...

Monday, September 18, 2017

That Ought'a Put a Damper on Things

This is looking up at one of the more iconic landmarks in the area; the Sleeping Giant. It's so socked in, you can't see it. A very welcoming site for us right now.

The past weekend brought much needed snow to South West Montana. In some areas of the high-country, this storm dumped a couple feet, which should douse the fires. If that didn't do it, this next storm coming in should. 

I don't have the official tolls but it's been said in multiple publications that over a million acres burned up in Montana, killing 2 wildfire fighters and millions of dollars in property damage. Apparently, this was the driest summer since 1929 out here. Couple that with the beetle kill, the fact that we've been fighting fires for so long not letting some of them burn, there was an exorbitant amount of fuel in the mountains. I know it won't look pretty for a while and I do feel for those who lost property and more importantly, the lives of those firefighters but we did need the burn--not sure we needed it all at once though...

Keep 'em where they live...