2017: A Great Year To Come Home!


2017 was a good year to move back to West Virginia. After working for the U.S. Navy for 30 years, I decided that I wanted to go home. A place where the outdoors is a way of life. Many people ask me about “retiring” from the Navy, but I only retired in name, not reality. I put in 19 years, active and reserve, six years as a government contractor and five years in government service, all intertwined to equal 30 years. Confusing huh? Let’s just say I joined the Navy in 1987 and left in 2017 and leave it at that. Needless to say, I made a good choice. I have never been healthier, never been more at peace as I have been since I moved home.

I got back to West Virginia on a Saturday, and unloaded my bed, and some belongings so that I could have a place to sleep that night. After a good night’s sleep, I got up early Sunday morning and had a cup of coffee and sat outside enjoying the cool breeze and just taking it all in. I decided to walk to the creek and see if I could catch a bass. After about 10 casts of my buzz bait, a musky hit and for the next 15 minutes of fighting, he just spit it out. It was a great welcome home for me!


For the next few months, I spent a lot of time with family, fishing with my nephews, taking my niece to the movies. It was a great summer, and catching up with everyone was priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We caught fish, turtles and really had a good time, just the way summers used to be when I was growing up.

 

 

 

 

As summer ended, I needed to get back to work.

Of course going back to work, meant
that my time spent with family and in the outdoors was going to be limited. But I still had time to hit the woods a few days.

 

 

 

 


 

I was able to spend a day here and a day there working the trail cameras that were set and each time we looked at them, it was like Christmas morning, we were always surprised. First morning of rifle season and all the preparation paid off, when I took my largest buck to date.

 

 

But the biggest highlight of 2017 for me, was being able to be with family for the holidays. It had been many years since I had been in West Virginia for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I can say it was worth coming home for.

I believe that 2018 will be a good year for me, but 2017 was a great year!

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What Historical Person Would You Like to Share a Dram With?


As published in the Bourbon Zeppelin Newsletter .

Since I was a young boy I have been fascinated with the old west characters. Heroes who tamed the cow towns and brought justice to a new big land. People like Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickock just to name a couple. But If I had one chance to sit down and have a drink and a cigar with someone, I would like to have done that with John Wayne.john_wayne

John Wayne has always been at the top of the list not just because of his iconic movie roles, but that he had stated that his portrayals of lawmen in his movies came in part from meeting and talking with Wyatt Earp when he was a young man working as a prop boy in early movies.

I would have to say at first, I know I would be awestruck and mention how much I loved his movies and the no-nonsense way he took care of business. Above all, I would like to sit and talk about just being a cowboy. In my mind, no one ever paid homage to the Wild West like he did. I would tell him how much I appreciated the fact that he had Cowboy Ethics, and lived by that code, even in life. In the movies, he never shot a man in the back and was very adamant about that. He treated people with respect until he was disrespected and that stayed with me my whole life.dw_jw

I think that before we had that drink, I would ask Mr. Wayne if he would take a ride on horseback with me and maybe take in some target practice, just so I could say that I shot alongside of him. We would then sit down and discuss everything from movies, politics to horses and shooting. Then I would ask him one thing, “Tell me about Wyatt Earp.”

John Wayne was a man above men, back when handshakes meant something and you didn’t talk unless you had something worth saying.

We could use a few more like John Wayne these days.

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Squirrel Alert: Using Natures Sentries to Score.


I have lived in Tennessee for close to 16 years, hunted deer a few times here, but most of the time, I would drive back to West Virginia to hunt. When I did hunt in Tennessee, it was on TWRA land, and myself along with other hunters who didn’t own land to hunt on would be there.

This year I was fortunate enough to have a land owner offer his land to allow me to hunt and the best part, it was only five miles away. So, opening day of gun season came around yesterday, it was sunny, but cold. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the ground was soggy from the storms the night before. I can’t really remember a time that I went into the woods and never saw a deer, but opening day 2016, that is just what happened. img_4119I stayed out all day, trying different locations, knowing the deer were bedded down, but one of the other parts about West Tennessee, is that it is fields and brush.

So as tough as it was to admit I didn’t see a deer opening day, I got up early the second day (today) and decided to try a new strategy. I started out in a 50 yard open woods (pretty much the only open woods on the land) that I had placed a game camera in img_4117before season. I had seen many does, turkeys, and what I thought (and still do) to be wild hogs. I hoped that something would come by. But as the time went on, nothing, and so I moved.

 

I decided to set up behind a log, near a large field. Hoping that I could glass the fringe of the brush. Around 10 a.m. I heard a squirrel barking and I knew something was there, I just could not see it.img_4122

After about 10 minutes of listening to the sentry alarm, I caught a glimpse of something on the ground. At first I thought it might be a rabbit or the sentry, but as it came up over the rolling field, I saw the first deer in the past two days of hunting. It was a nice one, not a wall-hanger, but a trophy for the plate. So I waited until he stopped walking and shot. He began to run, so I shot again as he ducked into the woods.

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I walked over to find a bright red trail and within 20 yards, there he was.

 

 

Trophy for the plate, a nice six point. Every day I am able to hunt, I thank God for the beauty he put on earth and the food to fill my freezer.img_4130

 

Even on days that I don’t see a deer, I call it a success, because I am able to enjoy the outdoors.

 

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The Smell of Fall: Hunting Season is Here!


Ah, the smell of fall! Leaves falling (not fast enough in the south), squirrel season is open, bow season is open and people are hitting the woods. In a few short weeks, all the leaves will be down, the smell of firewood will drift through the air and then comes the grand-daddy of seasons, Bucks Only gun season.
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Every year, during the early seasons, it is a time to get out with family, scout your areas, sight in your guns and have some real fun, all to get ready for buck season. Of course in the south, that same time is also a great time to fish.

 

This year I was fortunate enough to be allowed to hunt on a piece of land very close to where I live, so I bought a new trail cam and set it out. Every time you check the camera card, it is just like Christmas, because you don’t know what you are going to see walking past your camera. Today I was happy to see some deer, a coyote, raccoon and an armadillo (as you can see in the photos below).

img_3926This past weekend, I decided to go to a wildlife management area and hunt some squirrels, as stated above, the leaves in the south are very reluctant to leave the tree right now, so it made it hard to see the little nut eaters!

I was successful in taking one squirrel, which will taste delicious very soon. But more important it was just a nice stress-free day, with no noise except for the wildlife. Believe me, I need about 364 days of that!

Now that we are full into fall, awaiting the first frost, just being outside allows you to breath better, think better and relax… until the BUCK shows up! The excitement is always swift and never goes away no matter how old you get. A few years ago, I went back home to West Virginia to hunt with my family. The day before season came in, we took a drive and got some great photos of deer. Buck-2One in particular was chasing does in the field across from the house. The next morning we got up to hunt. It was freezing rain and cold. As I sat in my favorite spot before daylight, I noticed my eye was twitching. After a couple hours, it bothered me so much that I decided to go to the house to find out what was wrong. Walking along a path, I looked over this bank into this “holler” and I saw a deer. It turned its head and I saw it was huge, the same buck I saw the day before. So I pulled my gun up and my scope was wet and fogged up. I cleaned it quickly and pulled up again, only to notice the deer was moving and I had the scope set on the highest power. I saw brown fur and pulled the trigger! Dang it, I missed and because I didn’t take the moment (that I didn’t think I had) to readjust the setting! 

Needless to say, I kicked myself all the way to the house to find out I had put my contact lens in backward. So two lessons learned and a 10 point was still running the hills.

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Fortunately, a couple days later, I took a nice nine point
The lesson here is, that at 52 years old, I still get excited, even after harvesting close to 100 deer in my lifetime, each one brings something a little different each hunt. Also, missing is still part of hunting. You will never get every thing you shoot at. I had a guy tell me once, I have taken every deer I have shot at. I told him he needs to keep that to himself, because being cocky and thinking you are a great shot will come back in a big way. And of course it did, he went turkey hunting, had a nice gobbler 15 yards away and missed. I didn’t let him live that down, nor should I!

With all of this being said, the one thing to take from all the jibberish I just wrote, is go out, enjoy the outdoors, make memories with your family and tell tall tales about the one that got away. Next year at this time, I will be back in West Virginia in my old hunting grounds and filling my tags. I sure do look forward to that!

Best of luck this hunting season and I hope that the your aim is steady and your freezer gets filled.

Note: I really like the app called Prisma, turns a normal photo into a work of art. As you can see from some of the photos above.

 

 

 

 

 

1st Amendment Vs: 2nd Amendment


So, I will make this short and sweet. If the 2nd Amendment meant only muskets, I guess we have to give up computers, landlines, cell phones, TV and Radio because the 1st Amendment meant Voices, Pen and Paper!

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Do More Gun Laws Really Work


Another terrorist decides to kill Americans and the focus by those who don’t believe in the right for law-abiding citizens to own guns of course blame the gun! if you have read on many outdoor, conservative, firearm and hunting blogs, you have read all of the reasons why the liberals think it is alright to blame guns, gun shops, gun and ammo manufacturers, and all the reasons they are just nuts! Many times I have written about the myth of the assault rifle, as well as the non-existent “gun show loophole!”

I read a comment on an article the other day that said there is no difference between an AR-15 and a M16. So I ask the person that if a car runs over people, can we classify it as a tank? Of course they didn’t have the answer because they were too busy drinking the koolaid! I have done some research, updated the FBI homicide crime statistics on what kills more people.  You can see my slideshow here

You can see a steady decline in the homicide rate, while incidentally, the rate of gun ownership increased, (of course if you take out Chicago, DC and a few other big liberal cities, there are almost no homicides).

So, the liberals in congress, the president and others who do not have a clue about guns decided that terrorists are really not the problem, but the it is the guns fault and they want to make more laws that criminals and terrorists will ignore, instead of enforcing the laws on the books and you have to be politically correct!

So my take is, if they really want to make a difference and slow down the gun violence, they need to make a mandatory maximum sentence to anyone who is convicted of a violent crime using a firearm! You rob a store while armed, 15 years! You shoot someone, attempted murder, no less than 25 years! You take the criminals off the streets and you will slow down the violent crimes! Yes I know, it won’t happen over night, but this is a much better idea than to punish law-abiding gun owners because of the acts of criminals. Terrorists, well, first off, we can’t be held back for calling them what they are! We can’t cower to them and hope that love and hugs will keep them from trying to kill us! We have to get tough and we have to fight back.

When did the liberals become so wimpy? Why is it that they would rather make America a target than to deal with the real threats? They [liberals] love to coddle the people who hate us most and that just doesn’t work! You have people like Michael Moore and Piers Morgan who are peace loving and non-violent types who think that if you grab your guitar and sing to the criminals (and terrorists), that they will drop their guns and sing along! They have gone so far as to take rifle icons off of Apple products. I am guessing because, like the so called “journalist” from the Chicago Sun said when he shot an AR-15, it will give you PTSD!

The second Amendment was written for a reason, and the president, Hillary, Piers or any other liberal thinks they will take our guns away are sadly mistaken.1911-45

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Where are all the Cowboys?


As a kid growing up in the late 60’s through the 70’s I used to hurry home from school to watch all of the western TV shows I could watch. Seemed to always be a show on, with the good guys vs the bandits. Bonanza, The Big Valley, The High Chaparral, Gunsmoke and my personal favorite,  The VirginianBefore these came to be, you had The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Cheyenne and Maverick.

That is a lot of westerns in a time that was simpler. You idolized the stars of the TV shows because they did everything they could to do the right thing. Were there people shot? Yes. Were there fights? Yes. But you always knew that at the end of the show, the good guy was going to win. As kids we went outside and played cowboys and indians, or cowboys and bandits, and no one thought twice about it. You had side kicks like Tonto, Gabby Hayes, and Festus, who were always there to help out when needed, even when outnumbered.

That was a long time ago, but it has always stuck in my mind. It always taught me that there was a right way and a wrong way and if you were a bandit, you were going to get caught.

Nowadays, kids have no westerns, no heroes to look up to. They are either watching the Kardashians, Jersey Shore or some other moralless show that allows the public to watch people who do not care that kids watch, and have no regard for decency.

Now there are a few movies out there that uphold the rules for a good western, with my personal favorite being Tombstone which is based on a true story. Again, the good guys come out on top and the criminals are either arrested or shot. Yeah it was a rough time in those days, but that is how it had to be. Another favorite, is Pure Country where there were no guns, a little fighting, but had a moral to the story. In my haste to remember all of the great western movies, I would be remiss to not mention Tom Selleck as being one of the best for bringing authenticity to a movie. In the movie Monte Walsh William Devane had a great moment explaining what being a cowboy really meant:

 

Western movies are few and far apart these days, but there are a few that worth watching.

Because we as a culture have lost our way, forgot our past (except when convenient for political reasons) we tend to not talk about or teach our kids how history shapes things. The many movies made about The Alamo are all my favorites as well, as it told the way that we as Americans fought for what we believed in, even outnumbered by 6000. Heroes of the day, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and all those at the Alamo fought along side of 200 others against the Mexican Army of over 6000 and held them off for 13 days.

Those are the real heroes, those who fought against all odds!

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It would be nice to come home at night and once again be able to sit down with our family and cheer for the cowboy to beat the bad guys once again.

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of the reasons I have decided to try and build my dream around an old west town, and ranch. Because I think that not only will it be fun, but also bring back the heroes from the old west.

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Maybe just maybe the simple life will come back!

Via Con Dios, My friend!

 

 

 

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