Showing posts with label My Outdoorsy Side. Show all posts
Showing posts with label My Outdoorsy Side. Show all posts

Hunting Today

Warning: If you're a vegetarian or have any animal-rights-activist leanings, you may not appreciate this post. But it's my blog, and this is my life, and I'm going to talk about it - no nasty comments please, you're not going to change my mind, and I don't expect to change yours. Just so long as we're clear.

As you read this, I will be on top of a mountain, searching the landscape for some deer.

Those of you who have been following for a while will know that I hunt. My family has always hunted, and I grew up with it. It's in my blood. It's wonderful to just get out into the fresh air and enjoy the Lord's creation, and one way my family does that is by hunting.

We hunt because we enjoy it, we love the outdoors and wildlife, and we're conservationists - hunting is a huge part of conservation.

Another large reason why we hunt is because we live off the meat all year long. I don't ever buy ground beef or steaks from the store - if we eat a dish that calls for beef, we use elk or deer meat instead. I can't tell you how much money it saves, plus the meat is lean and organic - can't get much healthier, really. Derek and I are really hoping to contribute some meat to the family freezer this year.

So, as I lug my sluggish pregnant body up the hill, I'll be shivering in the crisp air, feeling the wind on my face, and enjoying the time with my hubby. And hopefully being successful in my venture.

If you're so inclined, pray for a blessed hunt for me, whether I get something or not. Thank you. If I get any good pictures, I'll do a recap post like I did last year.




P.S. If you're curious, here are more posts on hunting: Memories With Dad and Fun Time, No Buck.

Fun Time, No Buck



I guess the deer are safe for one more year.

Yep, I didn't get anything this year. But I was so close! Here's how my last morning of hunting went (for those of you who are against hunting, please no nasty comments - you aren't going to change my mind, and I don't expect to change yours, so let's just peacefully ignore that controversy, shall we?).

I had a tag for a buck, and for some odd reason buck deer are scarce this year. On Saturday all we saw were female deer.

But then on Saturday night it started snowing. It snowed about six or seven inches and bright and early on Sunday (well, actually dark and early) we set out hoping to see some deer.

We hiked for about a half hour, and suddenly we saw a group of deer ahead of us. We couldn't tell if there were any bucks in the group at first, but I dropped down to a sitting position and found them in my scope. I saw that one of the deer was a buck and I got my cross hairs on him.

However, the wind was blowing snow in our faces, and my shooting eye was watering like a faucet. I wasn't totally steady on the deer, so I had to pause and blink a few times. But before I knew it he had turned and walked out of the line of fire, and the deer wandered off around the hill.

We decided to go after them and after we went a little farther we saw them gathered on a distant hill. They were a little too far away to shoot, so we crawled about a hundred yards. Through six inches of snow. With the wind blowing in our faces.

Let me paint a picture for you of my appearance. I'm in my camouflage, my big clunky hunting boots, rifle slung over my shoulder, covered with snow, Elmer Fudd style hat pulled down low on my forehead, and my supposedly waterproof mascara running under my eyes. Yeah. Not very glamorous. Thankfully Derek still thought I looked pretty cute.

Anyway, the deer didn't even see us coming! I felt very stealthy. We got close enough that I could have shot one of them, but the buck was nowhere to be found.
Finally the deer started to suspect something and wandered over the ridge of the hill. I was shocked they actually weren't more spooked - I don't think they really knew where we were. That doesn't usually happen - deer have amazing hearing and senses of smell, and they usually see us before we see them, but somehow we snuck pretty close before they left. And wouldn't you know, right as the deer decide they don't want to stick around anymore the buck comes prancing out from behind a tree. I knew he must have been up there somewhere. Rats, that tree.

Those people that think hunting isn't a fair fight for the deer have obviously never acutally tried to sneak up on one.

It's okay though, because it was a pretty exciting morning, and my wonderful hunting guide (Derek) and I had a great time just being outside and chasing deer together, even if I didn't get one this year! Here are some pictures that I took just so you guys could see!

Derek and me about to head out on Saturday morning!


My wonderful guide!


Me, in the cold snow. Thankfully you can't see the remnants of running mascara in this picture!


On the way back Derek stepped into some clean snow, fell backward, and proceeded to make a snowman!


Then I did the same thing. We were laughing pretty hard!


We had a pretty fun time! And that's what makes it all worthwhile.

Busy, Busy

We had a very busy weekend! I'm usually better at commenting on all of your blog posts, but I fell behind this weekend, just because I was gone for most of it.

On Saturday I had a wonderful visit with a friend that I haven't seen in a while, and I finally got a bag of candy corn! Then I realized that this may have to be my first and last bag for this year - I ate practically half the bag myself. And candy corn is pretty much pure sugar. I don't even want to know the glycemic load on those things.

I bought a cute dress and belt for a wedding that Derek and I are going to in a couple weeks - I didn't technically need a new dress, but my other dresses didn't seem right for an evening wedding in October. It's really cute, and the dress was only ten bucks - the belt actually cost me more than the dress did! I'll try to post pictures sometime here.

On Sunday we ended up not going to church - it was one of those weird weeks where my family couldn't go to church, and Derek and I were going to go by ourselves, but then Derek got an offer for some cheap wood for the winter. He's been worried about getting enough to last us all winter, so he went on Sunday morning to get wood and we missed church this week. I hate it when that happens.

Anyway, Derek and I did our Bible study together instead and then went over to my parent's house for a little while. Derek and my dad watched football, and then at halftime we all went outside and shot our rifles. I need to get in practice for hunting season - the past couple years I keep missing when I get a shot at something. So I want to try to get in more practice before my season starts this year, and maybe I'll actually hit something this time!









After we finished shooting we enjoyed some delicious hamburgers for dinner, then headed down to town for Derek's hockey game. His games are usually really late at night and I can't go when they are that late, because I have to wake up at five in the morning for work. But this week his game started at 8:20 PM, so I got to watch part of it before I had to go home and go to bed. I got a few good pictures! I left at the end of the second period, but later I was wishing I had stayed, because Derek's team came back to win it in the third period and Derek made a goal. And I missed it! I really wish his games were earlier in the evening.

My parents came to the game too!


Derek is the one behind the ref.


That's my honey - number 99!


Derek is the one in front of everyone! He did great!


Anyway, there's my weekend in a nutshell. This week will be crazy again, because Derek has a training in town for work, so we'll be staying at a hotel tonight and tomorrow night. Then I have one night at home on Thursday before I head out on Friday morning with my sister to visit a friend who lives on the east side of the state. We'll be gone until Saturday night, then my brother and sister-in-law are having a party on Sunday after church, so this may be a slow blogging week! I'll try to check in at least once though.

Have a great week everyone!

Scary Bugs, Wet Air, and Subtle Colors - My Description of the East Coast

Hello from North Carolina, soon to be Virginia! Derek and I are on the road to Washington DC today, and amazingly I do have consistent coverage way out here (it shouldn't surprise me, but for some reason it does), so I thought I'd write a post since we have another three and a half hours until we get to DC. We're planning on getting there and setting out to hit one of the Smithsonian museums today before we head back to our hotel this evening.

We spent the last couple days with Derek's brother and sister-in-law, and we have had a lovely time so far. Yesterday we went to the beach. I've never seen the Atlantic ocean before (not technically), so it was exciting to me to go see it. It struck me how different the colors are when you are near the Atlantic, as opposed to the Rocky Mountains where we live. The colors back home, of the landscape and man-made structures, are just deeper and richer. At the beach all the colors are subtle and soft. The ocean is a gray/blue; the sand is beige; the ground cover is pale green; the buildings are either painted white or pale colors, or if they are just wood it's a gray weathered wood; and even the sky is a more pale blue because of the hazy humidity. Those of you who live on the east coast will laugh at me for being amazed by this, but I live no where near any ocean or beach, and like I said, the middle west part of the country in the Rocky Mountains generally has deeper, vibrant colors. I felt like my outfit almost clashed with the landscape at the beach. I should have worn more beachy colors.

I loved experiencing the Atlantic ocean beach atmosphere though. It was very serene, and alot of the descriptions that I've read in books suddenly came to life.

We enjoyed lunch in Beauport, which a town right near the ocean, and we walked along the street and looked in gift shops. Then we went a little further inland to dinner with Derek's sister-in-law's family. Afterward we walked through the woods and they are so dense in North Carolina. Dense and dark. With humidity. It felt very ominous and spooky (almost like a haunted wood), but in a romantic, down-home kind of way.

There are trees everywhere. And it's foggy as I write. It looks just like all those Civil War movies. I realize now how miserable the Civil War must have been, because can you imagine fighting a war in this humidity? They were probably more used to it, but they had to get pretty wet and sweaty, even if they were accustomed to it.

Once again, you probably will all laugh at me for being so impressed by some of this simple stuff, but I've never been to the East coast (except for Florida, but that's different), and the climate and atmosphere is just so different in this part of the country. I'm enjoying the new experience with Derek.

Allow me to show my mountain girl, never-been-east-of-the-Mississippi side - the air is so wet. It's like I'm breathing water. Sometimes I feel suffocated, like I can't get a good breath of nice, dry, thin air! I like thin air. It goes in and out easier.

Secondly, they have fuzzy red ants here! I was horrified. They are terrifying! I think if it bit me I would probably die. Something that scary-looking has to be poisonous.

Thirdly, all the bugs in the woods were scary. I could hear them all buzzing and making noise in the trees when we walked through the woods, and a spider, or something like one, got on my leg. I was tough and just brushed it off, because I didn't want to reveal my vulnerable side to our hosts, but goodness, I wanted to shriek! But I didn't. I can be as tough as the rest of them. I've been told I have an amazing poker face.

Fourthly, it's amazing how everyone out here isn't fat, because there sure is alot of sweet tea. If I drank that much sugar every day, I could be three hundred pounds. Maybe they've built up a natural immunity.

That's all for now. I'll try to post some pictures the next time I get a chance!

Gatorade, Beef Jerky, and Paydays - Memories with Dad



This Father's Day weekend I find myself reminiscing about times I've spent with my dad.

My dad has always tried to spend time with each of us kids, as a family and individually. Many times that has involved the activity of hunting. My dad is a brilliant outdoorsman, and it's very rare that he goes a hunting season without shooting something.

(Yes, people, I said hunting! I am a hunter, thanks to my wonderful dad! If any of you are animal rights activists - hey, this is my blog, and this is a unapologetic account of my hunting memories with my dad. We do it because we love the outdoors, and we love wildlife; we're conservationists, and hunting is a big part of that. You've been fore-warned; and no nasty comments please, you're not going to change my mind. Now that we have that out of the way . . .)

When I was twelve my dad took me and my brother and sister to a hunter's safety class to get our hutner's safety cards. The class was held in this little log building in a tiny town near our home. The same game warden who had taught my dad hunter's safety was still teaching the class. I remember sitting with my dad in the class as the game warden spoke, and as we watched videos, preparing for that all-important test that would determine whether I could apply for a tag that fall. The test came, and thakfully we all passed - the warden made my dad take it again too, just for fun, and my dad got 100% just like the first time he took it.

I have many good memories of hunting with my dad. We would wake up at some ungodly hour and I'd get all bundled up in my winter clothes and camo, and strap my fanny pack containing my tag, chapstick and other essentials around my waste. We'd drive to wherever we were going, and then most times we'd hop out of the truck and climb onto my dad's four-wheeler and drive even further in. At some point we'd have to leave the four-wheeler and start walking. My dad was always in great shape by the time my season rolled around, because his seasons were always first - so I'd get tired much more easily, and he'd let me hold on to his backpack straps and he helped pull me up the hill. He always made sure to stop several times and let me rest. My lungs certainly would get to burning at times.

When I think of the best moments of my hunting seasons, I always think of two seperate things that were likely to occur at some point every year. The first is when we'd be waiting for the sun to come up so I could shoot at something, and my dad would say a quick prayer that the Lord would give us a successful hunt that day. He'd grab my gloved hand and we'd bow our heads as my dad said the prayer. There was always something special about praying out there in the stillness while the sun snuck up over the hill, before the birds had even started chirping.

The second best moment would have to be when I actually killed something. It didn't always happen every year, but when it did, it was one of the most exciting things that have ever happened to me. We'd run through the snow or brush, my ears still ringing from the shot, scanning the ground for the elk or deer that I had aimed at. When we'd find it, my dad would give out a big shout, I would laugh and grin ear to ear, and he'd call out a "Thank you, Lord!". My adreneline would be pumping at this point, so I'd usually have to peel off a layer of coats or two, and then we'd get about the business of field dressing the animal and quartering it for the treck back to our vehicle. After the dirty work was done (which I always found rather fascinating; remember, I'm a biology nerd), we'd break out the Gatorade, beef jerky, and Paydays and eat our snack. I don't think I've tasted anything that could quite compare with Gatorade, beef jerky, and Paydays after a successful hunt.

There's nothing quite like getting outdoors and doing something with your dad. It was very bonding, even when I didn't end up getting anything some years. I think what made it special was that this was something that I could do with just my dad and me - it was enjoyable, and my dad was able to teach me so much about nature and wildlife and how to be a successful hunter. It's that legacy, the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next. Just thinking about it is making me anxious for this year's hunting season!

I am extremely blessed to have a dad that invested time in us kids like that. Not only did he take us hunting and on many other family outdoor activities (almost every weekend in the summer), but he was always there for me, to give me a hug when I was little and the other kids had made fun of me; or in more recent years, when a few days after Derek and I were engaged I started crying because things were changing, and I knew they would never be quite the same. To hear my dad say that he and my mom would always be my parents, and they'd always be there for me, meant more than I could say. The support from my parents and those words from my dad gave me that little bit of extra courage that I needed to face all those changes head-on.

Yes, the Lord certainly blessed me with a wonderful dad, and I don't think I could find a better one. Thank you, Daddy, for everything you've done for us, and Happy Father's Day! I love you very much.

Love, Callie
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