Tag Archives: Lone Wolf Distributors

Glocking for Bears: part II

19 Jul

*Look for a version of this story to be published in an upcoming issue of Bear Hunting Magazine!

I always am mesmerized by the pads of a predator and take the time to study them...almost like some sort of Palm Reader would analyze someone's "life line". I can't help but wonder what trails have been trod and how many miles had been laid down in this bear's 15-20 year estimated years.

I always am mesmerized by the pads of a predator and take the time to study them…almost like some sort of Palm Reader would analyze someone’s “life line”. I can’t help but wonder what trails have been trod and how many miles had been laid down in this bear’s 15-20  estimated years. A quick note on field judging bears, based on the size of their pads: measure across the pad and then add one inch to equal what the bear would square. This bear’s pads almost measured six inches across, which jived perfectly…as the bear squared over six feet.

There is a saying that “every dog will have his day” and this most certainly applies to hunting. If you spend enough time in the woods, you are bound to experience an “epic” encounter at some point. A few weeks back, my number was apparently up to be thrown a bone and I was to experience one of these “epic encounters”.

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29 Days: Alaska, here we come!

25 Jul

I crave the remote and wild places. It’s something that burns in my blood and creates a wistful feeling that haunts me throughout my days. This picture was taken while on a spring Bear hunt in North Idaho early this year.

It’s been a dream of mine…for as long as I can remember. It seems that everything “North” curdles and surges in my blood. My body and soul CRAVE the remote and rugged country as much as they do food and water. sustenance for the primeval DNA that is buried deep in my genetic makeup; I have been waiting to satiate this appetite for far too long. This wait became too much to bear…I had to do something before it was too late!

Planning a trip to the North country has always seemed like a very daunting and almost insurmountable task. So finally I just sat down and figured out what it would take to get it done and then just started crunching numbers, pecking away at the details and taking steps to make it happen. The planning started mid last year and then finally started to seem to solidify, as the early December snow started to coat my hometown mountains.

I decided to pitch the idea to my best friend and hunting partner, not really sure of what he’d think. When I say “best friend”…I should explain that, Darin is more like a brother to me. We have been “best friends” ever since…well birth, basically. We have tackled  almost every major life obstacle together and I was elated when he picked up a bow and joined me in the woods six seasons ago. So when he seemed as excited as I was, the hunt was on and the planning had begun!

My Toelke Whip gets first crack at a Caribou, come next month! I’ll be shooting Grizzly Stiks (by Alasks Bowhunting Supply) tipped with the new 125 gr. broadheads from The Solid Broadhead Company.

At first this was going to be a DIY Caribou  hunt along the Dalton Highway; better known as “The Haul Road”. But then somehow it morphed and it was decided that it would be a “drop” hunt instead. We were to fly in with a outfit that had been highly recommended (70 North) and then just like it sounds…dropped! They would provide the major camp essentials: a tent, cots and kitchen etceteras. But we would provide everything else. It seemed like the perfect adventure; out in the middle of the wilds of Alaska…just us two against the “Land of the Midnight Sun” and stalking caribou with bows in hand!

We stuck to this plan for a while and it even went as far as corresponding with Mike, the owner/operator of 70 North and reserving a time slot. Just when the trigger was about to be pulled and money paid…reality smacked us good. Upon checking flight info; Darin noticed something very important that we had previously missed. This “small” detail; was that airfare doubles when you are flying all the way into Deadhorse, instead of stopping in Anchorage or Fairbanks. The cash register was already clanging out of control and my butt was in major pucker mode…becuase I was wondering if I would be able to come up with the funds to make this happen.

About that time; the Outdoor Photo Contest was going on here at the Back Trail. One of the winners, Brandon Lefebvre just happened to be a Fairbanks local. A couple of emails later; it became apparent  to me, that my dreams were far from being dashed! Brandon turned out to be a solid guy and offered to help us; if we wanted to make a go at the Haul Road hunt. Plans quickly began for us to meet Brandon in Fairbanks, rent a truck and camper, stock up and head North, hoping to cross paths with some migrating Caribou.  It turns out that Brandon owns a production company; SISU Productions and he was all over the idea of documenting this trip for us. This is another detail that I could have never dreamed of! Darin and I had already decided to “make a production” of the trip…we even went so far as to approach Vortex Optics and G5 with our plans; hoping that maybe they would see our dream in the same mind frame that we did and want to help us out with some gear.

Vortex was kind enough to loan us some key pieces of “glass” for this trip (thank you Scott Parks!). Of course I had to immediately get out and become aquainted with the Viper HD 20-60×80 spotter and Viper 10×42 HD binos!

I like to set goals that are outside of my comfort zone; to push myself harder than I might have pushed before. By approaching these two outdoor companies with our plans of documenting our trip and delivering content that “all could use”…well, this was setting the bar high enough. And  I knew this trip could only be epic and nothing less. I often have “grand visions”, but just don’t know how to make them come to fruition. And I’ve come to realize that to make things come to fruition; sometimes you have to think outside of the box and approach things  in a manner (or angle) that you would never consider approaching. These situations, where you limit yourself and therefore get stuck against the same walls…all come down to comfort zones and “angles”. In this case I am hitting angles and breaching almost every comfort zone I’ve ever set for myself.

Another key piece of my AK gear: My LWD built, Glock 20SF (10mm). This will serve as my “Bear Spray”. In the background you can see what gets second up at some Caribou; my Bowtech Destroyer 340.

So, it is only 29 days until I get to realize a dream and hunt Caribou in Alaska…in a manner that Fred Bear, Glenn St. Charles and many other of my archery heroes have done in years past. This is something that my father and I had talked about in the years before he passed away. Every season with a bow in my hand holds an emotional edge and is linked to my Father. Now I get to fulfill a dream that he had, long before he had ever planted the seed of the same dream into my head.

29 days until Alaska…29 days until the realization of a dream that’s more than one generation old. 29 days until that starved part of my soul gets to feed and drink in deep, of what it has been craving for far too long.

Stay tuned!

Montana Momentum Part 1

10 Feb

Setting up on a ridge; enjoying the sunset...life is good in Montana!

As I sit here in my living room, looking out at the beautiful Selkirk Mountains draped in snow; I can’t believe how time flies. It seems like yesterday that I was chasing elk in ninety degree heat and now all is encased in snow and tormented by icy winds. I don’t think I’ve stopped moving since the start of hunting season, back in September and now I’ve just returned home from SHOT Show in mid January. Too much time has passed; now it’s time to sit down and recall my time afield, chasing elk for the first time in beautiful Montana. I hope it hasn’t been too long…to recall our “Montana Momentum” which propelled us on into a stellar hunting season.

Packing out the last load of Darin's elk on a hot; september night.

To recap a little; September started off with a bang…or a “twang”, if you will. Darin was able to arrow a young cow that came into my calls on the afternoon of opening day. From that point on; I spent my Washington elk season sleeping in a tent by night and in my office chair at work during the day. It seemed like I was always having to end the hunt just shy of victory and never had a decent opportunity to send a razor-tipped shaft at an elk.

This was okay with me though; because I knew that Darin had an excellent chance in Montana and I wanted to give my full support. Giving my full support meant using my normal 9-10 days of vacation to help him fill his tag; instead of grinding it out, trying to fill my own. Montana has always held a certain mystique for me. It seems so wild and untamed; filled with ancient Indian lore, lost gold mines and epic adventure. Even though I absolutely love where I live; it wouldn’t be hard for me to pack up and move to Montana, given the chance. So of course it wasn’t hard for me to give up my elk season in aide of a friend; I knew that it would be well worth it and looked forward to hearing the bugles of a Montana bull.

Darin and I glassing a meadow the evening of day one.

We were expecting to spend our nights in a tent and fending for ourselves; but Darin’s in-laws had other plans for us. Debbie and Grant possess a rare kind of generosity and always insist that you take advantage of their hospitality; hence we slept in a cozy motorhome instead of out in a tent. Normally I would resist an idea of this sort, on principle alone…it takes away from the experience. But common sense has a way of winning over one’s sense of “adventure” at times…and besides it would be just plain rude to turn hospitality down…right?!

The view down into "The Valley" on our first morning in Montana cattle country.

So, we spent our nights in a very spacious motorhome; parked out on a rustic ranch property that was about a 10 minute drive from our hunting area. Early in the year we had been granted permission to hunt some “cattle-lease” land, which did not host any cattle at the time. The ranch hands assured us that this spot (about three miles square) was  filthy with elk on a regular basis. Judging by our previous scouting trip; it would appear that they were not exaggerating! During our previous trip to the property; it didn’t occur to me how “suburban” the area really was. It was sandwiched in between upscale housing developments on two sides, open ranch land on one side, leaving the remaining side that was bordered by the freeway…! There’s nothing like the sound of a humming freeway at first light; blotting out any chance of hearing a bugling elk!

It didn’t take us very long to acclimate though and it wasn’t long before we heard our first bugle. The first morning didn’t produce much; but we did hear a few bugles and saw plenty of fresh sign. We basically circumvented the entire property between the morning and afternoon hunts; which helped to paint a picture of how the animals were moving and got us familiar with the lay of the land. I must add that this type of country was quite a bit different from what we were used to back home. It seemed like every tree was perfectly spaced apart from its’ neighbor; deceptively giving off the appearance of some very open country. Things appeared quite a bit flatter, in comparison to our stomping grounds. But this was a deception as well; because the land was everything but flat.

Darin peering into an open meadow; just after we heard our first bugles of the trip.

With things being so much more open that what we were used to; this lead to quite a few times when we were able to spot and just “walk right on up” to game. It was a good learning experience; spotting the tell-tale silhouette of a deer, or elk’s neck and head, sticking out of the grass time after time. Not only did it help us get familiar with what to look for; but also proved that if we just moved along nice and easy; our camo would allow us to stalk within bow range fairly easy. This lesson stuck with me once we got back into our home woods. It proved that there were just as many animals hiding out in the thick and brushy terrain; you just had to slow down and look for them.

I snuck right up on this bedded doe...without even realizing I had done so! This happened repeatedly on this trip and was a never-ending source for amazement and amusement for me.

A bino view of the bedded doe.

The second morning is when the excitement really started. Leaving the truck with the sound of the freeway buzzing in our ears; we had no idea what was to unfold. We waited until we got several hundred yards from the truck, before we started to throw out some soft cow calls and actually look around. It was exciting to see quite a bit of fresh elk tracks over top of yesterday’s tracks; which seemed to help us tune in to our surroundings. The roar of the freeway seemed to drift away as we heard the high pitch whistle of a bull elk as he bugled into the morning’s first light.

Darin setting up while I did a calling sequence...just trying to coax a bull into betraying his position.

This definitely woke up our predatory instincts and spurred us into action. We paused briefly to survey the surrounding woods and come up with a quick game plan. The bugle seemed to be coming from the ridge above us; where the evening before, we had taken the time to distribute some cow in heat scent. About the time we thought we knew what we were about to do; another bugle sounded off,  lower down and in front of us. Did we hear the first bugle wrong? Was the bull really below us and not above us like we’d thought? Either way; we knew that we should just keep along a straight line; this would split the difference and give us a chance. The wind was in our favor as we scooted down the logging road; pausing every few minutes to give a few cow calls and listen. Now; it sounded like there were in fact two bulls bugling…one above us and one below. Darin moved up about seventy yards in front of me as I began a calling sequence. I gave a few chirps on my “All Star” diaphragm call, followed up by some hot estrous sounds; on my “Temptress” reed call.

About that time; something made me look back, along my backtrail. I could see something moving down the ridge behind me…ELK! I could see several elk streaming down the ridge on a line parallel to our location. I shot a glance at Darin; who was hopping over a barb wire fence. What to do, what to do? About that time; I heard something very close behind me. I looked over my shoulder and couldn’t believe my eyes: there were a group of ten or so cow elk; crossing the road thirty yards behind me. The very road we had just passed on…and with the wind blowing our scent the very direction they were coming from! This was unreal! It just goes to show the importance of using copious amounts of scent killing products. Oh man, what do I do? All I could think of was that Darin had no clue that “the elk are over HERE!” Once the cows cleared the road and dropped down into a little cut beside me; I tried to get Darin’s attention. About this time; I heard a loud and powerful sounding bugle sounding out somewhere above and to the right of us. I looked around for something to toss at Darin and ended up hucking a rock in his direction. He spun around and looked towards me; I expected him to see what I could see, but apparently his view was obscured. “ELK!” I hissed. “Over HERE”, as I enthusiastically gestured in the direction of where the herd had disappeared. At the time; I didn’t know what had held his attention so well, was in fact another bull; bugling his challenge from a position somewhere in front of us.

Darin quickly hopped the fence and moved off in the direction I had last seen the elk. At that moment we experienced a thrill that neither of us will ever forget. A megaphone volumed bugle, that was both hoarse and deep, sounded off from very close to us. At the same time all we could see was ELK…ELK…ELK, streaming into the field in front of us. It looked as if they were being squirted from a garden hose; it was like something out of Yellowstone! I excitedly started throwing mews and chirps in the herd’s direction; which had little to no effect on them. They paused briefly and almost seemed confused; when another thunderous bugle erupted behind them. This time we could see it’s owner; a HUGE bull, with hind-end scratching main beams that bristled with points. I immediately tried to get my anemic point and shoot camera into action; but couldn’t zoom in enough. Once again; excited cow calls erupted from me…almost unknowingly. This turned the bull to face us….oh MAN! Look at how wide his antlers are! He was about a hundred yards out; but man did he look HUGE! All I could think about was trying to get the bull a little closer; but about that time another bugle sounded out a challenge. I really couldn’t tell from where it came from; but it really didn’t matter to this herd bull. He promptly screamed out an answer and started his harem into motion. The only thing I could think of was to bugle a challenge of my own at him; hoping that since we were basically inside his “wheelhouse”; that he’d feel threatened enough to come closer.

My calls and bugles didn’t have any effect on the bull, or his herd. Once they started to move out they just kept on going. We paused for a second; excitement overcoming our good sense. We quickly realized that the herd was getting away and made a sprint for the other side of the meadow. Once we were across the meadow and inside the timber; we could hear several different bugles, coming from the direction the herd disappeared to. This was one spot that the trees weren’t spaced so far apart and visibility was limited.

Once we got across the meadow and into the timber; things got a little interesting. It seemed that there were several satelite bulls that would respond to our calls; but we could never get a good look at them...frustrating!

It didn’t take us too long to figure out that the herd must have kept up their pace and kept on the move. Yet; we couldn’t be so quick to jump to conclusions and proceeded as stealthily as possible. We had split up and moved off through the timber; keeping tabs on each other with soft mews. Knowing that it did myself no good to get out too far from Darin; I tried my best to use the wind and stay behind him as we snuck through the pines. Several times a bull would bugle at us and seem to be coming in on a string; only to go silent. We’d meet up scratching our heads, wondering out loud where he went; when out of nowhere, a sudden bugle would break the silence…the bull had snuck in silently almost into our lap! But of course big bulls don’t get big by being completely dumb and would prove to out smart us time and time again. This corner of the property seemed to be thick with satellite bulls; but they were hesitant to leave the herd for long.

Darin checking a fresh rub on our first morning's hunt.

Stay tuned for part two….

Glock-ing for Bears! My first season chasing Black Bear with my Glock 20.

27 Aug

Bear Medicine: My film dipped, Lone Wolf built, Glock 20SF 10MM. If you are planning on doing a similar build up using components from Lone Wolf Distributors; be sure to use promo code:” backtrail” when you order! Just trying to hook my Back Trail fans up!

As every year comes and goes, a lot of changes may take place….but one thing stays the same: I dream about the month of September all year long. Usually this time of year, all I can think about is chasing rutting, Bull Elk with my bow and everything else that goes along with the preparation. But this year is slightly different.A couple of months ago, I was at work discussing some marketing campaigns and strategies with our Marketing guy, Zack. I work for Lone Wolf Distributors; which most would consider the “King of the hill” when it comes to anything having to do with the Glock pistol. It’s been in my mind for a while now, to help push us into the Hunting/outdoor market, instead of just catering to the competition/Law Enforcement venue that we’re known for. After all, according to the CEO of the company, JR Shepard…that was the whole reason Lone Wolf was founded: to fuel his passion for hunting and fishing! So why not? One model of Glock in particular; the Glock 20, chambered in 10MM has long been regarded in some circles as an ample hunting sidearm. I’ve been a long fan of the 10MM cartridge and know good and well what it is capable of. I’m never found very far away from my G20 and Lone Wolf offers quite a few performance upgrades that turn it into a hunting beast. So…an idea was hatched. I had already made claim to be the one with the first known kill, using our 9G AR carbine (now called the “G9” http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Products.aspx?CAT=3682) last year while in Texas, when I took a very nice hawg from the ground. But that was not enough! I wanted to whack something with my Glock 20 and I wanted to very badly.

So, what could I set out after, hunting with my Glock?….The first thing that came to mind, was a picture a customer of mine sent me last year. It was of a huge Alaskan Black Bear that he had leveled with his Glock 20, which (of course)  had been pimped with our long slide and 6″ barrel. Plenty of bear medicine!

I always have a bear tag in my pocket; however I’ve never just set out after bear as a species. Bear have always been a secondary to the Elk and Deer I love to chase during the archery seasons. I gave up rifle hunting almost 10 years ago and it was hard to leave my bows at home; but I knew what I had to do. This is my last year hunting as a WA resident; but luckily the unit only minutes from home, opened to bear just a couple of weeks ago. I knew going into the month of August, that I’d have only a couple of weeks to dedicate to bear hunting, before the madness of September set in. Since then, I’ve already been out a few times; but so far not so much as a decent look at a bear.

The mild winter and relatively short summer has left the woods around here still very lush and green. The berry patches are six-foot tall and very abundant; this leads to a food situation akin to an “all you can eat buffet” for  bears! The trick is finding “the right berry patch” and being at the right place at the right time. I’ll be out until the end of the month, busting brush and Glock-ing for bears! Expect to see more of my bear season…hopefully the next title will be: “Bear down!” Some info on my setup:Glock 20SF: film dipped in Mothwing Woodland Mimicry 1.0, Long slide and 6″ barrel by Lone Wolf Distributors, trigger job (3.5# connector, 6# trigger spring, skeletonized striker and polish job.) LWD stainless steel guide rod and 20# ISMI recoil spring. Ameriglo “Hackathorne” sights.http://www.lonewolfdist.com/Default.aspx?PAGE=Main

Ammo: Double Tap Ammo: 180 gr. CXHP http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_25&products_id=122 and 200 gr. FMJ. http://www.doubletapammo.com/php/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=21_25&products_id=39

*Make sure to read “Glocking For Bears: part II“…I finally am able to put my Glock 20 to the test.

 

***If you are thinking of building up your Glock pistol to become a more effective hunting tool, for competition or just for defensive purposes; you Can’t miss this: EXCLUSIVE TO WATCHING THE BACK TRAIL FANS: go to www.lonewolfdist.com and use discount code: “backtrail12” to receive 10% off  your purchase of Glock parts and accessories!***