2014 Elk Camp Seminars

The halls of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Elk Camp are filled with God loving, gun toting, elk hunting, proud Americans and there is no better place to give a seminar about elk hunting than here, the heart of elk country. 

My seminar was an opportunity for me to share some of the amazing experiences that I have personally filmed while hunting elk on public land and the lessons learned while on the mountain. As a relatively young elk hunter, I have been blessed to share the mountain with some of the most experienced hunters in the world from the original inventor of the palate plate diaphragm elk call, Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls and four time world champion elk caller, Rockie Jacobsen, wildlife biologist John Caid, Red Creek Outfitters Steve Woolstenhulme and of course, my father Lewis Titus. All to which have helped and mentored me along the way to success in elk camp, all which in their own right have contributed to the format of my seminars through time together in the field doing what we love, hunting elk.

It is an honor to share what knowledge that I have of the elk language both bull and cow sounds and some basic hunting strategies based on what the elk are telling us with that language. My hope is that everyone who attended learned something new and had a renewed vigor to climb the mountains in pursuit of elk. 

2014 World Champion Elk Callers Crowned

2014 Elk Camp Closes, Record Expo Attendance

Magpul Dynamics Backcountry Hunters Course

 

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. – Seneca

In the field, when Mother Nature is calling the shots, successfully taking advantage of that opportunity of a lifetime comes down to preparation and training. When the animal of my dreams steps out and provides that opportunity that I have been waiting for, I want to be certain that I have done everything possible to make that one shot count.

Magpul Dynamics has teamed up with Guiderite Adventures to create the ultimate instructional program specifically designed with the hunter in mind that has the desire to take on do it yourself, back country backpack hunting adventures. Having trained with Magpul Dynamics for three consecutive years in a row, I can personally attest to Caylen Wojcik being a top notch firearms instructor combined with Luke Carrick from Guiderite’s backcountry hunting expertise, attending this course was a no brainer and I couldn’t get signed up fast enough.

The course is set up for five days of comprehensive instruction and provides the opportunity for experienced and inexperienced backcountry hunters alike to understand equipment capabilities and limitations as well as teach students how to maximize the effectiveness of their hunting rifle while training under real hunting conditions, shooting realistic angles and pushing both your mind and body through some of the same rigors that one can expect during a backcountry hunt.  No matter how long you have been hunting or shooting, there are new skills that you will learn and develop during this course.

Precision Hunter

The five day course begins with two days of instruction on the range providing students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with their own personal hunting rifle, its capabilities and limitations as well as providing the opportunity to learn or practice the fundamentals of marksmanship.

The most basic but critical components of our individual firearms are discussed at this time; everything from correct rifle fit, scope mounting, ammunition selection, rifle slings, the use of bipods, and on to the basic fundamentals of marksmanship. Caylen takes a tremendous amount of time discussing the fundamentals while providing a controlled environment for students to practice and develop those fundamentals in as realistic hunting conditions as possible while on the range. This practice is designed to extend each students comfort zone in the field creating responsible, ethical shots during the hunt.

The basics in angular units of measure, both milliradian and minutes of angle are taught. Everyone then learns which unit measure their particular optic is and how to understand the function of the scope from turrets to reticle.

Mother Nature is anything but predictable, so Caylen teaches how environmental conditions affect bullet trajectory. As a hunter, it is critical to know where your rifle zero is and where your max point blank or terminal range is based off of that zero. Students are also taught how to use personal ballistics software to define where the max point blank is for your individual firearm.

No two hunting situations are the same and we as hunters must learn to be adaptable making the most of each opportunity. Rarely one has the opportunity for a prone rest, so we practiced numerous resting positions, and proper rest building techniques.

Backcountry Adventure

After spending two days behind the gun on the range, everyone was anxious to begin our three day, two night trek into the Cascade Mountains of Washington. The great thing about backpacking is that there is tons of gear readily available on the market today. The bad thing is that for the novice backpack hunter, selecting the best most functional and versatile gear for your trek is not always easy.

Having nearly two decades of experience backcountry hunting, prior to beginning our trek, Luke Carrick, Owner/Operator of Guiderite, provided students with a comprehensive breakdown of each component of our necessary gear from pack selection, fit, loading and wear, firearm carriage, nutrition and hydration, tent selection based on seasonal use, sleeping bag selection based on seasonal use and fill component, sleeping pad selection, water purification options and meal planning.

With a more comprehensive understanding of what primary and necessary functions that each piece of equipment needs to facilitate while in the backcountry, students were then able to evaluate and discuss personal equipment and borrow necessary equipment for the trek if needed.

Once our own personal gear for the backcountry portion was organized and properly loaded into our packs, we were ready to begin our adventure.

The day was warm, sun high in the sky as we began our trek climbing the mountain. Destination, adventure.

New school meet old school. Technological advances have come a long way and I am guilty of being completely reliant upon my GPS unit for the basics of land navigation. As I learned in the backcountry portion of the class, an old school map and compass for land navigation, offers a lot of tools that are both necessary and helpful during the hunt.  

Stopping along the trail, students were taught the beginnings of basic land navigation and compass use, everything from how to read a detailed topography map, attain and track current location on a map, and tips for easily and quickly noting general direction of travel. We were even taught how to create a solar compass.

After a long day’s hike in some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, it was time to set up camp. Luke walked students through the process of proper camp site selection for hunting  scenarios and fire starting techniques.

The evening was spent on the mountain, behind our optics practicing newly learned observation skills with the hopes of identifying wildlife just like in a real hunting or scouting scenario.

The next morning, the mountain goats, elk and mule deer were all on the move from their feeding to bedding areas. Sitting on the side of the mountains with my binoculars in hand, I took delight in watching the sun began to peek over the landscapes lighting up the valley below.

A new day had just began and the excitement for the days happenings were already stirring inside me. After packing up our camp and grabbing water, Luke taught us a new tip for hiking in steep terrain with a heavy load without stopping for breaks called the resting step. Using this method, our entire class hiked over one hour straight up a mountainside without a single break. As a mountaineer, this is arguably one of the most valuable techniques I have ever employed. As a hunter, this is going to help me pack out trophies for the remainder of my life.

Sitting on a rock cliff, behind the gun, three targets stretched out below me, in this first course of fire, I had five minutes to employ my newly learned observation skills and fundamentals learned on the range to identify the three hidden steel targets, range estimate them, make necessary dope adjustment and engage them with a two shot per target ammunition allowance.

The thrill of the hunt was on. Searching for targets in dark hidden folds of shadows and terrain features, just as if you were searching for that bedded trophy of a lifetime. This was the live fire, real life in-field shooting that I had been looking forward to. Three courses later, I had successfully located, range estimated and calculated dope for every target, in every scenario within the time limit and with first round hits.

The backcountry hunters course would not be complete without pre-season scouting tips and tactics. Part of success as a hunter is monitoring the game we seek and during our trek down the mountain, we checked the trail cameras that had been placed a couple of weeks before giving us all an opportunity to evaluate the area wildlife which included, a wolf.

This incredible experience will make any hunter, novice or experienced, a more confident capable shooter that is better equipped with knowledge and tools to embark upon the most epic of hunting adventures, backcountry backpack hunts.  

Click here to learn more about Magpul Dynamics Backcountry Hunters Course.

Cabela's Cheektowaga NY Grand Opening

 

Western New York is vastly different from what comes to mind when many think about New York. Cheektowaga, a suburb to Buffalo, the second largest city in New York; here in the western border, you will find the head of the Niagara River, the eastern shores of Lake Erie and nearby Canadian border, and the highest number of licensed hunters and anglers in the state, the perfect location for the state’s first Cabela’s store.

The 88,000 sq. ft. store serves the large local population outdoorsmen and women. True to Cabela’s Grand Opening fashion, thousands lined up out front of the store, anxiously awaiting the grand opening. The promise of taking in over 200 mounted wildlife displays, including the famous wildlife centerpiece nestled amongst a stunning waterfall and 7,000 gallon fish tank.

The store has something for everyone; gun enthusiasts welcoming the opportunity to shop, trade, and view antique guns in the famous Cabela’s gun library. In the indoor archery range, where new shooters can experience the thrill of archery or existing shooters can try out a new bow or crossbow.

When it comes to Cabela’s, it’s the selection that draws in avid fisherman, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts, all are certain to find just what they need.

Knowledgeable Cabela’s staff of Outfitters are readily available answering questions about anything and everything outdoors. Personally, this is my favorite part of the Cabela’s family; the sharing of information, knowledge, and experiences, the true foundation of the Cabela’s legacy.

Listening to the tales of local fishermen and women, whitetail hunting stories and the future plans of that dream fishing or hunting trips make each store unique and a delight to attend.

Folks that love to get out and explore new areas should visit the state park commemorative wall where New York state parks and maps are on display, while you are at it, you can pick up anything that you might need to make your trip more comfortable.

The residents of Cheektowaga and surrounding areas welcomed Cabela’s and myself to the community with open arms, hot fresh pizza and world famous chicken wings. After meeting so many wonderful people and hearing so many tales of good hunting and fishing, I am looking forward to returning to the area again to experience more of what the area has to offer.

 

Magpul Dynamics- Precision Rifle 2

FUN●DA●MEN●TAL:

A basic principal, rule, law, or the like that serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part.

The attendees of PR2 have all attended Magpul Dynamics Precision Rifle 1 and are very familiar with the fundamentals of marksmanship. Mastering the fundamentals of marksmanship is the key that separates novice from expert shooters. Precision Rifle 2 from Magpul Dynamics is a course that will put those fundamentals to the test.

Summertime in Yakima WA is sweltering HOT and typically there is no wind causing shooters to boil on the line of fire. This week we lucked out, high temperatures coupled with 20+ MPH winds were the perfect conditions for us to train with our precision rifles putting our fundamentals to the test.

Caylen always takes a gear or equipment issue and turns it into a classroom learning session so when we had a scope malfunction, Caylen demonstrated to the entire class how to properly mount a rifle scope using a scope level kit and how to properly torque your scope rings.

Time to hit the 100 yard line, get behind the gun, confirm zeroes, attain muzzle velocities, and run some fundamental practice drills. This is where the gear shake down begins. Having attended Precision Rifle 1 not once but twice, my gear was pretty set up and I was ready to shoot.

The 100 yard line is a great place to verify that your optic is tracking and adjusting correctly, verify that it is mounted level, ensuring that your ammunition is feeding correctly through your detachable box magazine and anything and everything else. I was thankful that for the first time in the three years I have been training with Magpul, my gear did not need shaken down.

After inputting our individual firearm caliber, average muzzle velocities, bullet information and density altitude in to our ballistics computer program we were ready to confirm our data charts on the long range. The sound of ringing steel is music to my ears. This was my first opportunity to really drive my new Proof rifle and I was beyond thrilled to stretch her legs out to 902 meters with sub ¼” MOA accuracy.

Day 2-

After confirming zeroes on the 100 yard line, we set up the barricades for some hasty rest shooting position drills from the 100 yard line. We had 16 rounds total, 8 rounds were to be engaged off the barricade from the standing and then the next 8 rounds were off the barricade from the kneeling. It was up to us as shooters to attain natural point of aim and when Caylen called out a color dot, to engage that color for time and consistency. We only had one shot at each color and shape.

This is a great drill that will help you as a shooter determine if you are driving your rifle and how well you perform under added stress. This is a FUN drill and I could not have been more pleased with my perfect score. All 16 rounds were perfectly placed indicating natural point of aim and solid fundamentals, even under stress. Happy girl!!!

Next, Caylen gave us a class on angled shooting. Angled shooting seems daunting and I have personally watched many hunters miss fine game animals by shooting over the tops of animals backs on steep declines or inclines.

Shooting angles is really pretty simple. On an incline or decline, the bullet performs the same, so the math is the same. The trick is attaining the correct angle and inputting that angle and the time of flight distance into a mathematical equation to derive the actual distance that you should dial your elevation turret to.

Of course, there are some general rules of thumb and tricks to make it really simple. One interesting point that Caylen did make out was that as your angle to the animal or target increases, your perception of the target decreases. That makes for an interesting hunting scenario.

The most valuable tool that I learned was that I should make a 10⁰, 20⁰ and 30⁰ drop chart with varying yardages to take into the field with me. Additionally, creating some data charts for varying calibers of rifles clearly demonstrated the advantages in angled shooting scenarios for having efficient calibers.

Now that everyone had a more thorough understanding of angled shooting, it was time to burn it down on the range. The top of the mountain is the perfect place to shoot targets at a decline and Caylen had two courses of fire lined up for us to shoot in shooter/spotter pairs out to over 800 meters.

Surprisingly enough, once we determined our angle cosign and did the math to attain our gravity distance on each target, the shooting part was easy. Well….kind of. In 25 mph winds, nothing is easy, especially at long range targets. This was a great opportunity for us to not only practice shooting angles from hasty resting positions but as spotters to read wind cues and direct the shooters holds for accurate shot placement based on the spotters observations.

As a shooter, I find this especially fun as I watch my own bullet trajectory in flight, based on spotter calls, I am learning to self-spot. After all, we don’t always have the luxury of having a trained spotter behind us calling our shots, not to mention the value of being able to self-spot in the field and know where your bullet impacts on a big game animal. Staying on the scope and watching your bullet impact will also translate in the field to being able to cycle a round and stay on an animal for a follow up shot if needed without ever coming off the rifle. That is training time well spent!

The last and final day of PR 2 Caylen put us up to some extreme shooting challenges. Target acquisition, hasty rest building, range, angle compensate if needed and engage, all for time and with a limited round count. Oh goody now we are talking some fun. We had four targets in the bottom of a gorge to engage. Time to burn it down.

The next course of fire, same story, different scenario, we were shooting across a gorge. The distances varied out to 900 meters. After attaining all my necessary data for engagement, the wind was calm, I press off a center hold on the target and miss by 3 mils. WHAT??? This is where as a relatively new precision shooter, without a spotter you begin to seriously doubt yourself.

Knowing my fundamentals were good, I tried another round with the same impact. Something was going on that I was unaware of but trajectory is trajectory, so I adjusted my wind hold to 3 mils and reengaged with a hit. That particular hold for me was equating to a 25 mph wind and there were no visible wind indicators, so as baffled as I was, I engaged the entire course with this dramatic wind hold awaiting a debrief from Caylen.

Caylen is a great instructor, he lets us make mistakes, figure things out on our own and then ask questions offering support where needed. This is PR2, the advanced long range precision course, this is big boy/girl stuff so no hand holding here. After the course, Caylen briefed us all and pointed out some topographical factors that were causing such dramatic impact shifts due to wind that we could not visibly indicate.

The wind was calm where I was and where the target was located, however, during flight, the bullet trajectory was flying directly across a gorge that had strong winds funneling down that were driving my bullet off target. This was a factor that I had not previously taken into consideration. Kudos to you Caylen, you set us up for a tricky scenario that had tremendous learning opportunities for all of us. The best part of this lesson was the solidification that I should be trusting in myself and my skill set. I had in fact made the right call and practiced correct fundamentals. Hooray for me.

Next Caylen took us to another hill top. There were three targets below us, Caylen gave us the target size in inches and we had to use our reticle to mil the range to each target, estimate our wind and angle, set up our resting position of choice and engage the target, once again all for time. Okay, I had not practiced milling targets since PR1. Time to test myself in a big way. Time was up and I was pleased with my target measuring skills.

I was however displeased with my resting position of choice. Caylen had not pointed out what type of rest we had to take and for some reason I chose to engage the targets off of a tripod in 25 MPH winds. Bad decision. I could have easily taken a prone rest and been much more successful in engaging targets, instead, I struggled to steady my rifle with wind gusts blowing me and my gun off target more than I would have liked. Another great lesson served, whenever possible, especially in the wind, you want to get as close to the ground as possible.

Not practicing and thinking through how to take the best rest possible in a given situation could cost you the trophy animal of a lifetime. Had that course of fire been a buck or bull of my dreams, my rest could have caused me to go home empty handed. Always use everything that you have on you to help stabilize your resting position.

The final course was four targets, we were not allowed to attain ranges, we had to guess based off our previous shooting scenarios as they were close by. This is a great chance to really test out your ability to range estimate visually, engage a target and make necessary and correct elevation and windage adjustments for successful hits. This one was pretty fun and I even ended the course with a first round hit.

Precision Rifle 2 was very different from Precision Rifle 1, building upon skills and putting those skills and our basic fundamentals to the test. As a hunter, I honestly believe it is our ethical responsibility to understand our own individual firearm, its components, how they function in varying conditions, the weapons limitations as well as our own.  I left the course looking forward to returning in 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

RMEF OR Rendezvous 2014

There is nothing that gets a bunch of elk lovers more fired up than the sound of a bull elk’s bugle. During the Oregon Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Rendezvous in the John Day River Valley, RMEF Founders Bob Munson and Charlie Decker gave attendees quite a display of elk calling…gone bad. Honestly though, I can’t think of a better way to fire up a crowd than with two of the four founders that started with a vision of what RMEF could accomplish and have proven what we can do and we are only getting started.

RMEF believes that Hunting is Conservation and having conserved or enhanced over 6.4 Million acres since 1984, we are proof that hunters are the best conservationists. I was proud to take part in the celebration of a very special project that took six years, countless volunteer hours, and a true team collaboration to permanently conserve and protect 13,082 acres located at the head of the John Day River.

Oregon is my home state, this is where I live, these are elk herds and forests that I have literally grown up surrounded by, this is what the RMEF is all about. We are a team that works together to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. The John Day headwaters project is not only going to benefit elk but is also critical because of the essential cold water tributaries that are sourced on the land benefitting salmon, steelhead, bull trout, redband and cutthroat trout, all located in the heart of elk country.

RMEF included in the weekend some very important on the ground work projects for The Logan Valley Meadow Restoration Project where volunteers fell encroaching lodge pole pines,  performed noxious weed control, removed old down fence lines and even removed conifers in vital Aspen stands.

After a busy workday in the Malheur National Forest, RMEF volunteers, members and staff ensured that a good time is had by all.

Let the tailgate party begin…

 

 

 

RMEF members are a family and when you attend a rendezvous weekend at the Lake Creek Campground you are sure to feel like part of that family. The weekend festivities were kicked off with a huge oyster feed. Everyone got an opportunity to share in the wild game harvest or a favorite home cooked recipe with the good old fashioned potluck.

After everyone was bursting full, we all gathered our lawn chairs around center stage as up and coming country music sensation Jesse Taylor performed. The party wasn’t over there…the rowdies burned the midnight oil around a giant bon fire sharing stories and some were probably even true.

Paradise Rose Chuckwagon Catering brought the Western back to life with outstanding real cowboy cuisine that was sure to knock the boots off of everyone during breakfast, lunch and dinner.

World famous outdoor chef C.W. Welch or better known as “Cee Dub” shared some tips for easy Dutch oven and outdoor cooking, he even shared the finished product with the now hungry spectators. If you are like me and love to cook and eat, be sure to have Cee Dub help make your next meal more enjoyable by purchasing his cookbooks online at www.ceedubs.com.

Then Dr.Clint Epps, OSU Department of Fisheries & Wildlife discussed the technical complexity and challenges therein of switching to lead free ammunition.

World Champion Elk Caller Bryan Langley and myself took the afternoon center stage giving an elk calling demonstration of bull and cow sounds and even a few ins and outs of how to make your own calls work a little better for you. Plus we threw in a few secret hunting tips and strategies that have worked well for us.

Everyone had the opportunity to participate in volleyball, horse shoes and raffle tickets were sold and a silent auction was held.

During happy hour hors d’oeuves were complimented with Stein Distilleries offerering a free tasting which included Oregon’s exclusive Team Elk Whiskey. Evening entertainment featured true blue country singer Joni Harms.

Sunday, we loaded up and headed up for the John Day Headwaters Celebration and project tour. Seeing the wildlife through our optics during the project tour brought everything full circle. Together we are creating a legacy that will last long beyond our lifetime, ensuring that elk and other wildlife have the needed habitat to not only survive the test of time but thrive.

If you are not a member of RMEF, you should join today. Go to www.rmef.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Youth Safari Experience

Dreams about adventures in the field shooting a hunting rifle or bow, putting a tag on a big buck or bull start at an early age and last a lifetime. Hunting and shooting sports are fun for the entire family at nearly any age. It is up to parents and mentors to help introduce kids to our heritage, helping to ensure the continuation of our time honored traditions and to create excitement in kids that translate into a thriving dedicated community of new hunters that are well equipped with outdoor skills, shooting fundamentals, hunting ethics and conservation principals.

The FREE Annual Youth Safari Experience at the Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association range is a day of shooting and fun for the entire family. This year hosting 143 kids with a total of over 300 people including volunteers and parents. The event includes a 22 Rimfire Varmint Shoot, 3-Gun Airsoft, Cowboy Action Rimfire, Cowboy Lever Action Rifle and Shotgun, Archery, Wingshooting and the NWTF brought the Jakes Take Aim inflatable air gun range.

Adults mentor kids in a hands on, fun, positive environment instilling a solid foundation of safety, etiquette and ethics, often times before kids have attended Hunters Safety. Many stories were shared of shooting success building self-esteem and confidence within each child.

The kids had a great on the range while learning gun safety and shooting fundamental skills and ALL of the participants went home with a prize for attending. It is an honor to be part of our next generation of hunters and conservationists. 

 

LIVE Worldwide from RMEF Headquarters

It’s pretty rare that all of humanity can focus on one specific thing at one precise moment in time, but in this day and age of high tech gadgetry, at least it is possible. Thanks to the far-reaching influence of the World Wide Web and a few strategically placed laptop computers, web cameras and microphones, people from just about anywhere across the globe had the opportunity to take a live look into the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s national headquarters.

It happened on June 11, 2014. RMEF sponsor-partner Cabela’s hosted the Google+ Hangout, a 67-minute live chat session with Cabela’s Ambassadors Luke Bryan, Justin Moore and RMEF Team Elk’s Kristy Titus. They took turns answering questions from moderator Storme Warren and those tuning in via the Internet. They also shared their favorite hunting and outdoor adventures as well as their most memorable Father’s Day recollections. 

What Online Views Saw ....... What We Saw at RMEF Headquarters

Kristy, in our humble opinion anyway, had the best seat of all the participants as she pulled up a couch in what we call the “Hunting Heritage Cabin” of the Elk Country Visitor Center. She felt completely at home and seemed to relish being dwarfed by the massive record bull elk mounts behind her. She also offered some sage advice about the joys of hunting, experiencing the outdoors and strengthening relationships with nature, family and friends by spending time in the woods and mountains.


After a lot of laughter, smiles and swapping of tales, the web chat seemed to end about as quickly as it began. But at least it gave World Wide Web surfers the chance to look in and taste a little flavor of the RMEF.

If you missed the Google+ Hangout, watch it below.

Story Courtesy of The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

Paraglide with Max Fanderl

There I stood with the Columbia Valley stretched out nearly 6000 feet below me, the top of Mt. Swansea was nothing short of spectacular. Waiting for the wind to get just right, I took the time to enjoy the panoramic views that lay in front of me. To the west, the Purcell Mountains and to the east, the Rocky Mountains with beautiful Lake Windermere below me.

My heart was pounding so hard I could feel it in myBrent DuBois in flight. ears knowing that within moments, I would literally be running off of the mountain and into thin air to fly amongst the clouds on a tandem paraglide with world class pilot Max Fanderl.

Growing up, you always hear your parents warn you about the company you keep as you often times end up doing things that they enjoy doing. The company that I keep tends to be on the daredevil adventurous and slightly crazy side. I am not sure what that says about me but the old saying is birds of a feather flock together.

Tanya DuBoise getting ready to fly.Brent and Tanya DuBois from A/Z Outfitters have been paragliding for nearly a year and when Brent and I had a break in our spring bear hunt schedule, I couldn’t resist the invitation to go flying for the day. Especially with a world class pilot in one of my favorite places on earth, beautiful British Columbia.

I felt at ease having watched both Brent and Tanya run off of Mt. Swansea earlier that morning making a safe flight and landing into the valley below. Knowing that Max was behind me gave me great comfort even though I was scared to death and Max knew it.

Okay, I was more scared to bungee jump in New Zealand than I was to run off this mountain but scared is scared and running or jumping off a cliff has the same psychological association.  

When the wind got right Max gave me the word to start running and to not stop running until he tapped my shoulder. We literally ran off the side of Mt. Swansea, until my feet no longer struck the ground, instead they blew in the wind.

The thermal activity was strong and as soon as our wing took flight, we were grabbed by the air and pulled high into the sky. It literally felt like being sucked up a vacuum hose. I couldn’t stop giggling, the sensation was exhilarating, like nothing I had ever before experienced. The giggles were probably more out of nerves than anything but they were unavoidable, so I giggled more.

Max is an expert pilot, literally one of the best in the world. He has been on Team Red Bull X-Alps Adventure Race three times which is the world’s toughest adventure race. Racing through the Alps by foot or paraglide, a straight line distance of 1,000km. To compete you must be an expert paraglider and excellent endurance athlete covering over 900 km by foot by race end.

Once I was settled in and my giggling had stopped Max demonstrated some “tight turns” with the paraglide that was reminiscent of a wine cork screw. Spin, spin, spin. We flew through the air sideways round and round and round. The G-Forces pulling at us tight, my giggles resumed.

At one point, I thought I might get sick but I stuck it out like a champ. This flight was not for the faint of heart, this flight was for the adventurer the person that wants to live every moment to the fullest, this flight was for me and I loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

Back on the ground, it took me a couple of hours to come down from the rush of adrenaline that I had experienced in the air with Max. I am already looking forward to my next trip to fly beautiful British Columbia with Max, Brent and Tanya.

 

 

 

ACM Awards Show 2014

The Cabela's Family at the ACM Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attending the 2014 ACM Awards in Las Vegas, simply put amazing. Blake Shelton and Cabela’s ambassador Luke Bryan hosting the biggest night in country music, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

The performances were, well some of the best that country music has to offer, Stevie Nicks joining Lady Antebellum got me out of my seat and screaming with delight. Country music legend, Garth Brooks, performance took me back in time to my glory days in high school. Everyone at the awards show was thrilled to join him in singing “Happy Birthday” to Merle Haggard for his 77th birthday.

After 30 years in country music and a non-stop top artist his entire career, the man of country music George Straight, took “Entertainer of the Year”. Talent like his has never before been heard by country music fans and possibly never be replicated.

 

When Florida Georgia line came on stage to announce the fan voted “New Artist of the Year,” I was back on the edge of my seat. Cabela’s ambassador Justin Moore was a nominee, he is our team, having lobbied for him on social media, when he was announced the winner, it really was a win for everyone in the country that loves the outdoors, hunting and fishing. Justin embodies our heritage and is working tirelessly to ensure the continuation of our great legacy.

A HUGE thank you goes out to Shawn Cassidy and RFDTV for the outstanding seats. Thank you so much!

Cabela's ACM 3D Archery Shoot

Cabela’s has been the link to family and friends in the great outdoors since 1961 and the ACM Cabela’s Great Outdoor Archery Event hosted by Cabela’s ambassador’s Luke Bryan and Justin Moore on April 5th fueled the excitement for country music lovers from around the world to experience the Cabela’s Regulator bow and invite them to take up the sport of archery.

You get some of the most talented artists in country music all together for an archery competition, it’s bound to be a good time and it’s as true blue American as it gets.  Social media was a frenzy over which team you would vote for to win the event. #TeamLuke: Tyler Farr, Austin Webb, Kristy Titus, Brian Kelley, Dallas Davidson, Dustin Lynch, Tyler Hubbard and Lee Bryce. #TeamJustin: Wade Middleton, Chuck Wicks, Ashton Shepherd, Chase Rice, Thomas Rhett, Josh Thompson, Chris Janson and Brantley Gilbert.

Everyone was split up into teams to compete in a real deal 3D archery tournament with targets positioned from 10-30 yards. Well known radio personality, Storme Warren was emcee and entertainment for the event keeping the crowd on fire cheering for their favorite team.

Online, fans could vote for their favorite team and at the end of the competition, the team with the most votes received an extra arrow. Fans on Twitter that tweeted #ACMCabelas were entered to win a Cabela’s Regulator bow.

It was a close race but #TeamJustin took the lead with 280 points, beating #TeamLuke with only 226 points.

After the event, fans were invited to stick around and try their own hand at archery where myself and other Cabela’s Outfitters helped them through their first time shooting a bow.

Being part of the Cabela’s family is such an honor and to be invited to promote the sport of archery with some of the best in country music was beyond my wildest dreams.

No matter what team you voted for, we are all on #TeamCabelas and we all loved the Regulator bow.

 

ACM Folds Of Honor Bowling Tournament

The second annual ACM Folds of Honor Bowling Tournament sponsored in part by Cabela’s had some of the best in country music teamed up to help raise more than $50,000. Folds of Honor is a non-profit organization that provides educational scholarships and other assistance to the families of military personnel who have been wounded or killed in service to our country.

The evening of fun helped raise much needed funds to families Lee Brice and Josh Thompsonaround the country helping dreams to come true, hope and healing. Country music stars Katie Armiger, Lee Brice, Josh Thompson, Tim Dugger, Kenny Foster, Craig Campbell, Lewis Brice, Joel Crouse, Will Hoge and Ashton Shepherd all bowled alongside Folds of Honor Scholarship recipients.

Cabela's Christiana DE Grand Opening

 

 

The smell of fresh candy roasted nuts hung thick in the air, life sized animal scenes that are reminiscent of the pages in National Geographic decorate the store, the mass of shoppers were nearly shoulder to shoulder, some pushing carts, others carrying baskets, as families eagerly explored the 110,000 sq. ft. of shopping paradise; I had finally arrived the Grand Opening celebration of the Cabela’s in Christiana Delaware.

Hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts from near and far were all gathered here to find the latest and greatest in outdoor gear, shooting supplies, footwear, camo, guns, ammunition, archery and more. Inside each Cabela’s you will surely be able to find something for everyone.

Little Carin arrived at the store with her mother and said, “This is a boy store,” thankfully I was there to prove her wrong. You see Carin's mom brought her over to meet me and we had a nice chat about hunting, fishing and the outdoors and I showed her that girls can do it too and Cabela’s has everything for us girls, not just the boys.

My favorite part about Cabela’s Grand Openings is taking the time to talk to the kids in the store. Through the eyes of a child, the world is a very different place, having them talk about their own outdoor adventures that they have experienced; the striper and bass fishing tales, rabbit hunt success in the backyard, squirrel hunting stories with BB guns, how they shoot their bow and arrows, hunt for whitetail shed antlers only to find turtle shells and even the stories they have only dreamed about, for some it was moose hunting tales or cheetah hunts, all unique stories all special, all touched my heart.

The looks on the parents face when their child starts describing an adventure that they have led or dreamed about doing is priceless. Out comes the pictures of little ones being outdoors men and women, proud with their fish of the day or whatever pursuit they were after, even if that pursuit were simply a new adventure, finding some mud or scraping a knee.

I enjoyed sharing my adventures of climbing some of the steepest, roughest mountains in the world, seeing a star filled sky that is so brilliant it lights up the night, and walking through a forest of trees that are so big and grand you can’t stretch your arms around them.

Painting that picture of a not so distant land, a place that each and every one of them can and should venture to explore was a thrill for me, just as I was thrilled with the thought of finding a turtle shell on a shed antler hunt or catching a striper that is nearly my size or hunting the tiny Sika deer that apparently bugle like their cousin, the elk.

Other outdoor experts were also in the store sharing their adventures, Joe Teti, Co-Host of the Dual Survivor television show, Cameron Hanes, Under Armour Athlete and backcountry bow hunter and Sean Mann, Champion of Champions Goose caller were also there.

Across the nation, the love of our family, country, the tradition of hunting, fishing and the outdoors. It brings me a tremendous joy to see the faces of children when they come into a Cabela’s and see a life sized moose, wolf, big horn sheep or mountain lion for the very first time. Not only do these children get to see these animals, they come to realize that the adventure of taking on the outdoors all be it hunting, fishing, hiking or camping can be a reality for them if it is something that they have never before experienced.  Within each child and grown up, Cabela’s is building a dream and offering the gear and the expert guidance from Outfitters to make each dream a reality.

 

 

 

Wenatchee Valley Sportsmen Show

The first ever Wenatchee Valley Sportsmen show was full of buzz and energy from everyone in the community of Wenatchee WA. The show boasted a prime opportunity for everyone to see first-hand the latest in outdoor gear, the newest in fishing boats, motors and accessories, the hottest guides and lodges from all over the Northwest, and even pick up some discount coupons from Cabela’s! There were many special attractions and opportunities for attendees learn from the informative seminars presented by outdoor professionals to which I was thrilled to be a part of.

There is nothing that I love more than elk hunting and having an opportunity to share my love of all things elk hunting is such an honor. On Saturday and Sunday, I discussed elk hunting strategies from scouting to in the field pre-rut, peak rut and post rut hunting gleaming on experiences that I have had in the field.

Saturday afternoon I held a second seminar that was all about elk and the language they speak. Many in the crowd were experienced elk hunters and callers, others were new to elk hunting and calling. Demonstrating cow elk sounds, mews, chirps, estrous cow calls, barks, cow bugles and bull elk sounds, one, two and three note location calls, display calls and challenge calls followed by a discussion in inflection and how elk use that inflection to relay emotion and tell a story.

After this weekend, I am even more pumped up for elk season to open to share the woods with the most majestic animal in the world.

Kruger was even able to make the trip and many children stopped by the Cabela’s booth to pat him on the head and get a puppy kiss. Many kids were proudly showing off their fish that they had caught at the show excited to get home and cook them up for dinner.

I am already looking forward to the second annual Wenatchee Valley Sportsmen Show.

Northwestern Outdoors Radio Show

 

John Kruse, host of Northwestern Outdoors Radio interviewed me at the Wenatchee WA Sportsmen Show. The interview aired on 54 Pacific Northwest regional radio stations.

During the interview, we discussed a little bit about myself, how I fell in love with elk hunting,  the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Team Elk Television Show, did a little elk calling demonstration discussing elk language and wrapped up the interview talking about my Rhodesian Ridgeback Kruger, Cabela's and the ACM Awards show and Turkey Season opening.

Cabela's Spring Great Outdoor Days

The annual Cabela’s Spring Great Outdoor Days is the largest sale and event of the season, held on March 1st and 2nd offering a great opportunity for sportsmen and women to come into the store or visit online to get the latest and greatest products for spring adventures.

The stores host numerous demonstrations on cooking, archery, seminars and workshops that are fun for the entire family. This year, I was fortunate enough to be at the Springfield Oregon store at the Lil’ Hunters Calling Clinic where I was able to demonstrate to kids many of the sounds that wildlife make from and elk bugle, cow elk mew, doe bleat, buck grunt, turkey calls, rattling horns. The kids even had a chance to pet a real black bear skin rug and test out some of the calls for themselves.

Watching the faces of each child light up was priceless. Many kids returned to the booth several times to “hear it again”. I can’t wait for next year!