Pets by day, killers by night

They stalk the suburbs by night. With catlike quickness they pounce upon their unsuspecting prey. With no respect for the concept of fair play the nocturnal monsters toy with their helpless victims, often flinging them into the air or swatting them with cruel paws. Eventually tiring of this sadistic game, they commit the unthinkable… they DEVOUR their prey, often while the pitiful creatures ARE STILL ALIVE!

Though these hairy monsters assume their evil deeds are hidden by the cloak of darkness we, thanks to the ubiquitous trail cam, know the truth.

 

 

 

 

 

Camo Wars

Every year hunting apparel manufacturers bring out at least one new camouflage pattern. Pity the poor soul who shows up at hunting camp sporting last year’s pattern. And if       you’re seen wearing the original old government issue brown-over-more-brown pattern…well…turn in your man card and go play jumprope with the girls.

This story was published in the November 2003 issue of Bowhunting magazine.

 

Rich Man, Poor Man

In 2012 I was writing columns for two publications: Wildfowl magazine and Wyoming Wildlife News. It kept me so busy I hardly had time to hunt and fish.

The Wildfowl page was called Fowl Thoughts. Here’s the column from the September 2012 issue. Click on the text to enlarge it.

 

 

 

 

Back yard bucks

Long time friend and fellow Outdoor Writers Of Kansas member Dave Zumbaugh captured these whitetail bucks with a trail cam in his back yard. That’s right. His back yard! Dave lives in a semi-rural area of Johnson county, KS near Kansas City and is treated to sights like this on a regular basis.

No. He won’t let you bowhunt in his back yard.

 

 

 

 

It’s shed time

It was nice of this 6-point whitetail buck to pose for my friend Dave’s trail cam in his back yard. Actually there might be another tine hiding back there. Anyway now it’s a 3 or 4-pointer. It’s a little early in our part of the country for bucks to start shedding antlers but maybe this guy just wanted to get a head start and beat the rush.

End of a duck season

The season ended so suddenly at the Five Guys And A Swamp Duck Club that we didn’t even have time to pick up our decoys. Then we froze solid, and now the water has finally thawed and we can finally get in to do the job we should have done earlier. When we waded in hundreds of mallards took flight. Where the hell were they in November and December? With this fall’s weather they were probably still in Canada or North Dakota.

Dave’s dog Mota

My friend Dave Zumbaugh has a German Wirehair Pointer named Mota. This loveable dog is the quintessential all around sporting dog. Dave uses her for upland bird work, waterfowl hunting, and for all I know she fetches the morning newspaper.

These photos of Mota were taken on a frosty morning at Clinton Lake near Lawrence, KS in 2014 when Mota was still just a pup.

Mota on ice
Good dog!

 

 

A Bionic Pheasant Hunt

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Pheasants Forever Journal.

 

bionic hunt

It was barely dawn when Bob pulled my truck off to the side of the road. We had left home before daylight so I let Bob drive because he can see better in the dark than I can. He’s had his cataracts removed and I’ve still got mine.

“It’s good to be pheasant hunting again”, I said as I eased my bulky body out of the truck. I was anxious to run a few rounds through my new ultra-light 20-gauge. The Doc had suggested I trade in the trusty old twelve after my rotator cuff surgery a couple of years ago. I had missed last season because of Tommy John surgery. I should have known not to keep yanking that damn rope when the chainsaw wouldn’t start.

We both had trouble finding hunting clothes to fit because we had gained a lot of weight over the years. I had to leave my pants partially unzipped but Bob had a new pair that fit him perfectly. He pulled up his coat and I could see why. I didn’t even know they made maternity brush busters.

It’s a good thing my old setter Maggie was still snoring in her crate, otherwise I might have forgotten about her.

“Rise and shine, old girl”, I said as I unlatched the door. She opened one eye, stared at me with that “leave me alone” look, then closed it and started snoring again. I decided to let her snooze a bit but I left the crate open so she could join us when she was ready.

We sat on the tailgate and rested a while. It takes a lot of energy for guys our age to get out of a truck.

I noticed Bob rubbing his knees.

“They bothering you?” I asked. ”I thought you had them fixed”.

“I did”, he answered. I could hear his knees creaking as he flexed one leg, then the other. “But they need regular maintenance and I’m overdue.”

“Time to go back to the Doc, huh?”

He slid off the tailgate and hobbled around a little. “Nope. The Doc put these things in.” He pulled one pant leg up to show me.

“Grease nipples. I get the old knees lubed every time I take my car in for service. Works like a charm but I gotta get them lubed every 6000 miles or six months. Don’t want to void the warranty. “

Maggie stood up, yawned, and stretched on the tailgate, her signal that she was ready to roll. We hefted her down and she looked around but couldn’t find anything stinky to roll in so she lay down and went back to sleep.

I put an electric collar on her and we headed out across the field. Since I started wearing support hose and arch supports in my boots I could walk almost thirty minutes without wheezing.

We hadn’t gone fifty yards when we heard the wail of a siren.

“What the hell is that?” Bob wondered aloud.

I grabbed Maggie and turned the knob on her collar down. “Sometimes my pacemaker creates some sort of electronic field with her e-collar and it winds up on the local sheriff’s frequency. Picks up 911 calls too.”

After I adjusted the collar we could still hear a squeaking, grinding, clanking sound.

“Now what?” grumped Bob.

“The squeaking and grinding is my artificial hip”, I said. “It does that at times like this when I’ve walked too long. The clanking is Maggie’s Kevlar stifle joint. She’s had it so long it’s starting to rust. The vet says I should mix a little WD-40 in with her kibbles.”

Suddenly Maggie stopped walking and sat down. “She’s getting birdy”, I whispered.

Bob stared at the dog. “Isn’t she supposed to point?”

“She did when she was younger”, I said. “Now she just sits down. I guess you could say she’s more of a sitter than a setter.”

Bob wasn’t convinced. “How do you know she’s not just resting?”

“When she wants to rest she lies down.”

Bob took a step forward and a cock pheasant burst from the underbrush thirty yards away. We both shouldered our shotguns but not a shot was fired as the bird sailed off into the distance.

“Why didn’t you shoot?” I asked.

Bob swore at his shotgun as though somehow it was the gun’s fault. ”I couldn’t get the damn safety off. Why didn’t you shoot?”

“I forgot to load my gun”.

Maggie gave us a dirty look, then lay down and immediately started snoring.

“Oh well”, I said. “There’ll be more chances.”

I fumbled at the loops on my vest, trying to remember which side the shells were on. I keep shells in the loops on the right side and suppositories on the left. Or is it the other way around?

I woke Maggie up and then, squeaking, grinding, creaking and clanking, the three of us marched off across the field together.