Sunday, January 27, 2019

So long Dallas, Texas, hello Tennessee


Dallas Texas.    One of America’s finest.  Thank you.  

Thank you for the memories.

To the best State Fair on Planet Earth, thank you.  To the arts scene and the philanthropic bent of its patrons, thank you.  To the trains, the airports, forward thinkers at the Dept of Transportation, the Uber and Lyft professionals, what a great ride!   To the Stars, Rangers and Cowboys and all the Texas cowboys who ride and ranch across this great state, and of course the great ATT PBR event that brings the worlds best to Dallas, thank you.   To the Mavericks, keep working to get better and good luck in keeping your owner off the bench and his mouth shut.   To the Dallas Safari Club leadership and membership best of luck and thank you for all you do in conservation across the planet.   To the high school bass fishing scene, keep it going.  To the Texas high school footballers, you guys set the bar in America! 

To the great restaurants in Dallas and those who toil to serve the likes of me, thank you.  The French Room in the Adolphus is a TOP FIVE on my life list!   To the Capital Grille, Fearings, Perry's, Del Frisco Double Eagle, Yao Fuzi in Plano, Steel, Mercury, Meza Maya, Doc B's, Bistro 31, Pacifica Grill, just keeping doing what you all do so well.  To the Texas night life on McKinney, don’t stop doing what you do, even for old guys like me it is world class and very entertaining.  To Ryan and Emma Jean at the Rattlesnake Bar in the Ritz, thank you for all the good times. To the great bartenders at the action-packed Moxies, you guys are great in a crowded theatre of testosterone and story-telling.   To mates Lindsey and Nicole, how can I thank you enough?  Your care and concern for taking care of BOO was so appreciated.  I wish you both the very best in your careers.  To my black, gay friend Ronnie, I wish you tremendous success with your line of cosmetics.  To Brandi Coco King, keep on making Dallas a better place with your smile and attitude.  To my old friend and teammate, Mike Miller and his wife, Cindy, I wish you both the very best in retirement and in your golf game.   To the breakfast crew at the Zsa Zsa Hotel, thank you for your excellent service.   
To the Ft. Worth Stock Show, please keep getting better and better, there’s nothing like it.  To the Katy Trail walkers, keep on keeping on, you made it a pleasure to hammer out the miles.  And to the owners of the ICE HOUSE, you do one heck of a job for an outdoor venue.   To pastor Robert Jeffress thank you for bringing His word to so many,  you are in charge of one of the best church’s in the world.   To the great men and women of the Dallas Police Department your attitude and demeanor in a world on a dopamine binge is heroic after putting up with the carnage inflicted on your brothers a couple years ago.   I hope the DPD pension mess gets straightened out sooner rather than later!  And last but not least to the morning shift crew at the Waffle House on Ross, keep those eggs scrambled and the coffee hot and quiet. 

To the many corporate chieftains who call Dallas home, thank you for your civic responsibility to make Dallas a better city every year.  To Chloe, who took care of us for so long at Ruth's Chris, thank you.  To the big money people, whoever you are, that are behind the caretakers at the park on Harry Hynes Blvd  and Cedar Springs a huge shout-out, your generosity never went unnoticed.

Dallas, you are everything a city could want, keep it that way.  The Dallas vibe is a beautiful thing, may it always reflect the friendliness, the pride and the people of the Great State of Texas!

As the new offices of Chippewa Partners are complete, I look forward to Tennessee, but Dallas, you will always hold a special place in my heart!    Hook 'em horns!!!!!!!!!!!          


Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2018. MONTANA. COLORADO



I hope your year was as good as mine.  I turned 65 on 12/20!  I’m a senior.  Yesterday the young girl in a McDonalds served me a “senior coffee” without even asking for it! C’mon man, how’d she know I had a birthday?  I reckon I have that “senior” look going on.   Tell me again how I got to 65?  Seems like only yesterday the body looked sleeker, the legs moved far faster, but for sure, the years aren’t slowing down.  Lets hope the best is yet to come and that 65 is the new 40!    One of the things I want to do in 2019 is to write more. This will be my first shot.   If you get bored, I'll need to work harder.  And yes, just like you, I miss the hunting season, any hunting season.  I miss the early morning stars.  I miss the steaming hot coffee spilling in my lap.  I miss the glass hanging around my neck.  I miss the mid-day sun that provides a mid-day siesta on whatever out-of-the-wind place I feel like.  I miss grunting putting on my boots.  I miss making darn sure the TP is in the fanny pack.  I miss the rush of getting to where you want to be when first light shows in the east.  I miss the laughter of friends.  I miss the anticipation.  I miss the sights and sounds and smells of it all.  Whether it’s winged fowl, bulls, bucks or song dogs I miss it.  I know you do to.

2018 was a fun year.  If laughs were money, I’d be filthy rich.  I started my hunting season off with a trip down south.  Way down south.  South as in Argentina.

I chronicled the trip in a post that can be found here, just click on the link: 


By the time you read this I will for the first time in my life, be a Tennessee resident.

We bought some property in Cumberland County in 2005 that is now our permanent residence.   I hope to have the opportunity to wear out the coyotes, fox and cats in the coming years so don’t hesitate to inquire if “your” fawn crop could use some experienced help in the years to come.  If you want to be killing those big bombers down the road every coyotes death today helps your cause.  My grandfathers were both good trappers;  I have always been a good student.  Trapping my way through college is what gave me an early “stash” to head west to find some opportunity in California a short 40 years ago.
And speaking of trapping I am here to give-back.  If you, your son, daughter or grandchild would like some instruction don’t hesitate to ask. If the trapping community doesn't get more younger people involved these days the future is dim.  Trapping built this country.  I can speak coyote. Passing the torch is something I can do and getting help can do wonders on your coyote intel.  Many,  if not most, novice coyote trappers do an excellent job of coyote education and it can raise havoc with a beginner’s confidence.  Remember, it is far more difficult to reeducate coyotes to get caught than it is to educate trappers!
I do business with and have learned the lessons from some of the top trappers in the nation and have taken coyotes from sea-to-sea and a lot of states in-between. Guys like Tim Caven, Dave Amberg, Ray Milligan, Bob Young, Mark June, Gary Meis, Mike Martinz, Dwaine Knouse and John Graham all have contributed to my understanding of song dogs.    I like to think I have a lifetime of coyote education behind me and like a coyote, being an opportunist,  in understanding what I am to look for and what is before me, has helped me in life.  

It's been a short 40 years ago for me.  In January of 1979 I loaded my Mazda and headed west.  It was 30 degrees below zero when I left Minnesota and took off for San Diego.  I spent 10 years in California and wouldn’t change a single day of it.  It was good to me.  I may never again set foot in the state but the 1980’s served me well and hunting mule deer on Camp Pendleton was a highlight.  I guess the only thing I would have changed would have been to own a bigger sailboat.  Living in San Diego and working in LaJolla was living the dream.  I miss the ocean swims and my only regret is that I didn’t hunt Baja Mexico or kill enough migrating sea ducks.
As I have gotten older a lot of things have crystalized in my thinking of what hunting is all about.  To me, hunting always meant a lot.  Hunting started early for me.  I was fortunate in growing up.  I had parents who cared and later in life I learned I chose great parents.    I had a dad who wanted me to hunt with him.  A dad who took me gopher trapping in the first grade with a kid who remains a very close friend of mine today, Dave Amberg, creator of the Amberg snare.  If you are a serious trapper you know Dave Amberg.  I hunted with Dave again this fall. Back then we earned a quarter for every pair of front feet on a pocket gopher.  That was big money in the first grade!  

Growing up, Dad gave of his time, we didn’t have much money.  Dad was a role-model who growing up was the first guy in his office.  In 1944 he volunteered for the US Army Air Corps where he served until the end of the war and was a bomber pilot. In my early youth Dad ran his own business and was a member of a flying club. As a kid he would fly us around west central Minnesota looking for big whitetail bucks that lived in those cattail swamps that no one could ever get to. 

I had good mentors.  My boss in Montana, pushing 96 years of age today was a very hard worker.  My grandfather, a simple farmer who quit school in the 8th grade to work the farm, the one I lived with in college was the hardest working man I have ever met in my life.  Trapping in college started me on my way to an education that my degrees in economics and social science never could.  Outside of working on a ranch, at the moccasin factory in high school in Pine Ridge, SD  and at the State of MN Highway Dept in college I have never had a real job in my life.  I never, ever had a salary or a guaranteed paycheck, in my life.  My entire income in life has always been based on me getting out and getting the job done without a boss telling me what to do.  I’ve not had any daily instructions from a boss, never had a “job description”, and never had anyone give me “creative” direction, I always came up with that on my own. My job was to help people.  

Trapping taught me about hard work, to never quit, the early bird gets the worm, to keep hammering and to understand that hard work also required smarts and increasing the learning curve to make more money. While I am on the subject, the job I had at the State of MN was the worst job on earth. It was my first exposure to how taxpayers get hosed, of how brown-nosing works, of how politics often plays such a huge role in getting ahead and how hard some state workers “work” to not get caught not working!   Yuck, just thinking back on it gives me nausea and I am sure not much has changed in working for the man.   If you are in a job like that you are on my prayer list.  

For anyone interested my career can be readily covered by a quick click on this website:

https://www.nativeamericanadvisors.com/

My first deer hunting trip was to the big woods of northern MN.  I was in the 5th grade in November of 1964.  I was 11 years old, 5’4”, 75 pounds and my license cost $5.00.  I was using a .30-.30 and missed 2 deer out of a stand that was so poorly constructed I am amazed I didn’t fall out of it.  I missed because I got too excited.  I still get excited.  I still miss. I hope you do to. It’s one of the quarter million reasons I still hunt.    Here I am on my first deer hunt.  50 years later I still have vivid memories of what happened on that trip!  Good stuff and the start of bigger things.
We all have our firsts in life.  Like you I remember the first deer I killed.  The second and third not so much but the memory of Deer #1 probably stays with you too.  I shot this doe on the 5th shot with a .30-.30, open sights, shooting nearly straight down into the North Dakota badlands on opening day.   I skipped school that day (parents approved) as the ND rifle season started mid-day on a Friday.  Emerson Baker, my junior high basketball coach literally kicked me in the ass when he saw me in the hall on Monday.  He kicked me so hard he should have broken my pelvis.  If he were still alive and I saw him on the street today there is a good chance I would kick his ass.  You see, he was a control freak.  A coach with a problem, there are a lot of them.  He reminds me of Nick Saban berating his players these days. He was about 6’7”.  He kicked me for going deer hunting instead of going to his basketball practice. These days he would have been convicted of assault.  I got my first deer wearing orange, it was the law. Dad said deer can’t see colors and it will keep you safe.  I listened and preach orange today.  I like to think I had my priorities in order then.  I hope I still do today.    
My first 4-point, (western count) came in the fall of 1970 in the southern end of the Black Hills above Angostura Dam.  We were actually on a deer drive for muleys and this buck busted out.  Missed the first shot and he then ran towards me and killed him at close range.  Note no sling, no scope.  I probably killed my first 25 deer with no scope as Dad couldn't afford spending money on a scope.   
This fall, like every fall before was memorable.  The little things make it the best.  Here is a weasel in winter coat.
In 2014 my wife and I made a dream happen.  Growing up I worked on a large ranch in MT during my high school years.  We bought some property in Montana.  452 acres on the tax rolls to be exact.  Two miles of river front on an oxbow on the Yellowstone River.  A property that with hard work has improved its capacity to grow deer to maturity.  We took three bucks this year and not enough does.  My brother-in-law, Adam Hild of Crossville, TN and his son, Nathaniel Hild kicked things off with these two dandy’s.   The buck Adam killed would have probably been dead in another couple of weeks.  It had a bad smell, weighed maybe 125 pounds and had a fecal problem as you can see.  Nice double droppers on Nat's buck!
The buck also had these lesions on its brisket.  Rough.
Nathaniel understands the importance of hard work in putting in time and effort to kill mature deer in TN and in years to come will no doubt show you some good racks.  Here is a buck he killed in TN this fall.  His screen name is NEWT. Give him a shout-out!     
My good friend Ron from Tifton Georgia came out and killed a nice buck.  Ron and I have been hunting together since the fall of 1992 when he invited me to hunt his family farm in South Georgia.  I didn’t have any of my orange gear so I made do, used his .35 with open sights and with no climbing stand, shot a small buck while standing on a stump.   It was the first deer I shot after the birth of my first son.  I know what you are thinking.  Yes, a corny picture but it cemented a hell of a friendship and started the carnage on a good number of elk and deer across the country.
Ron has a genetic defect.  We call it the lack of a hold-back gene and Ron has been married several times to prove it!  Ron just can’t help himself at times and as many times as I told him to just sit back and give himself time to find a really big buck on my Montana river bottom what did he do?  Yup, you guessed right.  The very first buck that walked by his stand, at first light on the first day of a planned 7 day hunt he didn’t hold back.  He hammered a dandy.  
As you can imagine, the buck/doe ratio is wacked on my ranch and there isn't much I can do about it.  Nonresidents pay nearly 3 figures to kill a lonely doe.  We took several does off the property this fall. Here is a friend of ours, Parker Smith, from Belgrade, MT who shot a fine doe.  Parker also killed a cow elk and a nice Pope n Young black bear last fall.  He goes hard and is a good hunter.  
As for me, I didn’t kill a deer on my property in Montana.  In fact, never killed a deer in Montana last fall for that matter. Saw a monster whitetail, didn’t get a shot.   My oldest son, Hunter, now a Captain in the United States Air Force didn’t kill either.  He passed on some great bucks and killed a coyote.  We like to hunt.  I don't know who had more fun.  It’s not about the kill.  It’s about the right buck and some luck.  My youngest son, Jordan, now a senior in college at the U of GA, majoring in electrical engineering didn’t even draw a Montana hunting tag.  Even though his parents pay thousands in property tax and feed a couple hundred deer year-round he was shut out of the opportunity to hunt.  That’s life.  Hopefully next year.    
        
I had an elk-deer combination tag in Montana and had the privilege to hunt a 25 section (640 acres is a section or square mile) ranch after the owners party departed.  They shot 5 bulls on the property the first week and like last year had pretty much ran all of the elk OFF the property before I got in there.  Elk are nomadic, not like deer that are territorial.  Elk just leave after the gun fire erupts and will run 10 or 20 miles after a barrage.   Last fall I never saw a single elk on the ranch.  This year I saw 4 elk and killed this bull.   I was hunting an area that with the sun and wind conditions I thought could turn one up and I got lucky.  I killed the bull on the second shot, dead run, double lunged him with my BAR .243, probably 85 yards out.  He was bedded with a cow and a calf and he followed them at full tilt.  Yea, sure, you might say, a lucky shot.  No, just 50 some years of hunting smart and shooting animals on the move. Coyotes, fox, beaver on the river,  I have probably killed more deer on the run or trot or walk than most people have ever shot.  I have wounded and lost 2 deer in my life, neither running.  They still haunt me.  One a great whitetail in ND, and the other, a fine muley in MT.  I doubt either animal died but there was blood initially in both instances.       
I love hunting alone and in big country.  When I am way from it, it keeps tugging on me.  I am still undecided if it is the actual hunting or just being in such remote and desolate country that I enjoy but either is enough to keep me doing what I grew up doing and what I love. 
The winter last year was horrendous on wildlife in Montana.  I found 27 deer carcasses on my property in March.  Many were killed by the maker of these tracks. Coyotes and bobcats found yearlings weak and easy meals.
I also found 11 dead this fall, all fairly near a water source.  You guessed right.  EHD or blue-tongue get some every year on my ranch.
On the last day of the season I made the 93 mile jaunt north to give a big muley one last whirl.  It is always such a great feeling to strike out from the truck in the dark and be in position to find movement early.   At first light I found a great buck on the hunt, moving along at a solid clip.  I knew I had to back off the canyon rim and run to get caught up to him as he was about a half mile from a boundary fence and I had to catch him.  I have always said that killing big muleys and big bulls invariably is a game of nanoseconds and inches.  And oftentimes being able to run is important.  Well, I got up to the rim, caught my breath, and slowly, ever so slowly, shooting sticks at the ready moved up to get a glimpse of Mr. Big.  I figured it would be a downhill 250 yard shot at most.  Well, even the best laid plans go to hell in a handbasket.   The buck was somehow coming up the canyon rim on a trail and we  came face-to-face at about 10 yards.  Geez.  It all happened so fast.  He busted out along the rim and there happened to be a small hill between us so I had to run around the hill and try to catch a shot but it was futile.  Maybe next year if he makes it.  It was the only deer I saw that day.  25 sections, 1 deer.   The deer population in that country is terrible.  Winterkill was hard to believe and it will be years before the population will get back to where it was just a few years ago.   Coyotes, cats, eagles need to eat.   The population is without a doubt less than one deer per square mile.  I doubt MT Game Fish Parks biologists will recommend any changes in the harvest.  Too much money at stake. I wish MT would shut down the season on mule deer bucks on November 15.  Wyoming, Utah and Colorado all give their herds a shot at breeding without gunfire.  Those big boys get awful stupid and most residents simply do the "Ford-Sneak" and bag their deer from the truck in the last couple weeks of the season.  If they shut it down earlier it would allow more bucks, bigger bucks and better hunting for guys like me who ground pound the rough stuff.  
  
In early December I headed to Colorado.  I hunted with an outfitter and had a landowner voucher which gave me a non-resident license to hunt anywhere in a specific GMU, game-management unit.    It was good fun on the eastern plains, saw some good deer and learned that killing a deer in wind gusting to 55 mph is impossible.    All in all it was a good hunt.   I killed a buck at 435 yards with a 6.5 Creedmoor.  He went down and never flinched.  Nice caliber, I was impressed with the lack of recoil.  I think I would like to own one and will start my due diligence in late January.
All too often I have found myself, having lived in Texas, in a group where the subject of hunting arises. Many people who only have a TV  hunting show for reference think I spend my time “hunting” in a elevated stand with corn feeders blazing away at pigs.  I do my best to explain to them my desire to hunt deer far away from that type of setting but it usually reverts to the concept of shooting and not hunting which makes my eyes glaze over after a few minutes, similar to when I am at a cocktail party and listening to small talk which I often refer to as ego-generated mind babble.  

History doesn't have a reverse gear and there are no do-overs in parenting.  We all have the same amount of time every single day to do our best.  I always tried to accept the world for what it is and work hard to exploit the opportunities I was given.  Sometimes they are hard to see. This past year I have shut off the TV and stayed away from the trance of the lies and bias of a defeated establishment.  Hunting has shown me how important pacing  one's life is and how important being able to haul ass is too.  It's proven that you are only out of the game when you quit.  There are alot of high peaks and deep canyons in life, all possible to get over if you want to pay the price, your price, not mine.   Those trips many times will take from you, to get you out of that comfort zone.  Those ridges and that rough water will always be there.  In my mind I live deer everyday all year long and have for years. What keeps me going is that I know my time is limited for quality hunting. The day will come where I won't get to hunt like I did.  The legs won't allow it, so I feel like I have to give it everything I can, while I can.  I still can. In closing let me tell you what I would like to see at 65 in 2019.  To see less fraud and farce. To see fewer lies from society. To see less instant replay and less end-zone theatrics.  To see less bullshit and more personal responsibility.  Less government ie my tax dollars and more man up and do it.  To see fewer tweets from our President  on the stock market and Hillary Clinton brought to account.  To see a far smaller balance sheet at our Central Bank and a Fed audit.  To see a level playing field in our capital markets infrastructure. To see less war and less class warfare.  And to continue to hear a large sucking sound in D.C. and in a perfect world to have the Montana legislature shorten the mule deer season by a week to 10 days. More bucks, bigger bucks for the kids and hunters who hunt.  Hey, 65 isn't too old to dream! And thanks for coming along with me!       

Native American Advisors CHIPPEWA PARTNERS