Thursday, January 31, 2008

Catch A Dream

The Catch a dream foundation is a wonderful organization designed to give youth’s with life-threatening illness’s a great outdoor experience, below is more info about the program and of course a link to their website if you would like to explore it further.

Catch-A-Dream grants once-in-a-lifetime outdoor experiences to children 18 years old or younger who have a life-threatening illness.

Catch-A-Dream's singular purpose is to provide consumptive use outdoor experiences to fill the “gap” created when the Make-A-Wish Foundation established national policy that precludes granting a child a wish that involves hunting or use of “...firearms, hunting bows, or other hunting or sport-shooting equipment.”

A Program for Youth with Precious Little Time to Lose

Catch-A-Dream gives children with life-threatening illnesses the chance of a lifetime to experience an outdoor adventure

Bruce Brady, noted outdoorsman, author and sculptor drew strength and hope from his beloved outdoor experiences. During the last days of his personal struggle with cancer he was deeply concerned that the world’s largest children’s wish granting organization had established national policy that created a glaring gap in its service to qualifying children. Thus, one segment of the qualifying child population would no longer be able to realize their greatest dream; a dream that Bruce and countless outdoorsmen considered worthy and appropriate. He envisioned a program that would fill this service gap and provide life-changing hunting and fishing experiences for children facing life-threatening illness at a time when “....these children need to know that hope does, indeed, exist.”

Although Bruce did not survive long enough to accomplish anything beyond sharing his vision with friends and family, the program was created a few months after his death in 2000 by some of those same friends and family members. Ultimately, in 2003, the Catch-A-Dream Foundation was chartered to provide a 501c3 home specifically to support the Program by the same name.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)”

It is this very message of hope, as promised in Isaiah 40:31, that we seek to instill in these children and their families. We use hunting and fishing as opportune tools to expose them to the “…wonders of God...” that await them in “The High Country,” as they spend time in the outdoors, away from the bleak and sterile world of medical facilities, treaments, and hospital gowns, but in the presence of The Creator who is the Author of real hope.

On each trip, the children and the family members who accompany them, are surrounded by outdoors-minded people who understand that these children are often “...sick and tired of being sick and tired!” A designated Catch-A-Dream host accompanies each family and, together with outfitters and local volunteers, facilitate their dream experience, love and nurture them through the strong personal relationships that inevitably are forged in the lodge, on the stream or in the woods. Hosts and volunteers often become their best friends, and remain a part of their families long after the dream trip has concluded. As one volunteer eloquently stated, “We can’t change the whole world; but we can change someone’s whole world for at least a short period!” Many parents have confirmed that the mission is consistently accomplished!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tribute to Chris Ward and Eric Hale of Drury Outdoors

I don’t know these fellow Virginians but they sure did the rest of us proud on Drury Outdoors, Dream Season 2! I have watched this season and I feel that they would have been my favorite team even if I didn’t know their hometowns were between 20 and 45 minutes from my home. They just seem like guys I would love to share a hunting camp with. They seem fun and entertaining while being completely professional, serious, and dedicated hunters. It’s a privilege being from the same state as those fellows and I couldn’t have picked a better couple of guys to represent the Old Dominion. I have never met these guys and changes are I never will but I can’t help feeling that I know them because they represented the attitudes and values of many great sportsmen that I have the privilege of knowing! Kudos to both of you for being great and true ambassadors for hunting and Virginia!

I know that this tribute is a couple of years late but I just now got around to buying the DVD and I did not have the Outdoor Channel at the time of the original airing.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Dream Hunt

Last night I landed a big 10-point whitetail! I know what you’re thinking, isn’t hunting season closed? Is he a poacher? The answers are yes and no. The reason I was able to land such a large buck when season is closed and not be illegal is that I killed it in my dreams. It seems my obsession with hunting has led to being included in my nightly slumber. I’ve read that your mind will often help you try to work out problems in your life while you’re asleep. You’re mind is naturally more clear then and is free to solve problems, so my mind being as nice as it is apparently is trying to help me make sure I get a deer next hunting season! I can’t say that I mind it either; it’s fun to be able to dream about a great subject every night and if it somehow it makes me a better hunter then that is great as well!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The privilege of working with fellow outdoorsmen

I just realized today how lucky I am to work with several other outdoorsman. Today as I was discussing archery practice with one of my coworkers it occurred to me how much I had learned just from having every day conversations. The experience levels of the gentlemen I work with varies from 40+ years to one younger fellow whose first experience with hunting was 2007 and I have to say I’ve learned from all of them. It’s also brought us together closer as friends and in fact one of them has became like a second dad to me. We are all always-exchanging information from everything to guns and bows to hunting techniques. Every day I thank God for the opportunity to live in such a great country that allows us to do the things we love so much. Hunting is not a gift and a freedom that we should take for granted nor should we take for granted fellow hunters. Even people who vary in opinions from ours are worth listening to and learning from. Most all of us are in it for the same reason, the joy that hunting and nature bring us. So go out there and strike up a conversation with a fellow outdoorsman, you may just learn something that will help you take your next big one!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Something to look forward to every day…

Every since I have renewed my interest in the out-of-doors my life has been enriched and more interesting. If nothing else I have one more thing to look forward to each workday. There is a small park just across from where I work and every workday going to and coming from work I pass it by. My new interest in this is brought on by the fact that there are several deer that are infrequently seen in the field beside the park. I’ve inquired several times about bowhunting this property, owned by the town, but I’ve always been refused. So for now all I can do is enjoy the majesty of the beautiful animals for what they are and not what they could be. I’m extremely thankful that I’ve rededicated myself to discovering nature because it brings me new joys each and every day!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Deer Scouting Wytheville VA 1/12/08

I went on a scouting trip today, I got started late so I didn’t get done all that I wanted to but I still managed to cover quite a few miles today. The following are the voice records that I recorded.

• Down here in the first valley you come to if you stay in the flats until you come in I’ve found a stream in the bottom between two ridges.
• I’ve seen no definitive deer sign by this creek, I’ve seen plenty of turkey sign though. It makes sense that deer would be in this area though so I need to keep an eye on this area. It has just rained so it there may not be enough water here during dryer times.
• To think I couldn’t find turkey back when season was in, this place is ate up with turkey sign.
• Just found deer scat and some kind of other unidentified scat as well.
• On top of the first really steep ridge I’ve had to climb I’ve found a ton of deer paths.
• Looking across the road here I see a large open public land plot that I’ve somehow missed before, make sure to investigate when at home.
• The wind has been blowing in a north-eastern direction all day, it has been perfect as it is a crosswind heading to the road away from either direction I would want to go in.
• I’ve been heading in a south-eastern direction most of the day.
• Idea for the future, the land deep into Big Bend is not privately owned on one side, hiking in and hunting for a day or two may be a good idea sometime. (random thought I had while walking)
• I could be on to something, the second or third ridge here across from the green field on the other side of the road seems to be ate up with trails.
• I’m following this path up this ridge and haven’t seen anything good for bowhunting but this ridge could make for a could late season rifle/muzzleloader site.
• It’s funny how adventure and excitement always seem to be over the next ridge. Sometimes it’s not there but when I look up ahead up a hill I always get excited. Every time I think I’m too tired or I don’t feel like continuing on I see that next ridgeline and my curiosity and wonderment keep me moving on!
• I’m getting to the top of the mountain and I’m seeing plenty of deer tracks.
• Every time I venture up a path to the top of a mountain or deep in some woods and I think I’m somewhere that few people have traveled there is always some litter to remind me that I’m not.
• Looking down to where I came in I appear to be on the highest ridge in the area.
• Turkeys seem to love the top of these ridges
• I’m realizing that the deeper I walk into the woods here that I’m seeing less and less deer sign and more and more turkey sign. The field I was looking for (seen on aerial maps) seems to be way further through here than what I initially thought. I’ve already walked a long way and that field is not even seeable from here.
• I just saw and spotted several turkeys before they spotted me. The season is over but for fun I decided to put a stalk on them. I rushed things as it wasn’t a live situation and they flew off but it was fun to try!
• From a high vantage point here I’ve stopped to have a cup of coffee and watch the cars go by over on the interstate. The cars can’t see me but I can see them and it’s kind of nice being invisible to the world and watch everyone go by as I just sit here in the mountains and enjoy the moment.
• The most deer scat I’ve seen is on a trail right below the interstate across from the third clearing I would come to when I would come in.

I’m sure that it all sounds like a bunch of random thoughts to you readers, and some of it is, but to me it helps me keep in mind where I went and what I saw. As you can tell I learned some about the resident turkey population but the deer sign was scarce. I will check back on this area but it didn’t seem promising enough to warrant a lot of further time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Preparing for Big Game Hunting in 2008

Preparing for Big Game Hunting in 2008

Well the 2007 season is over and my big game hunting efforts came up less than stellar. However my thoughts are already on next season! Next year I will have 5 whitetail tags and despite limited time available I want to use every one of them. If I am to do this then the planning and effort must start now. I must become a vastly better hunter in the space of months. To accomplish my goals I will be doing the following and more… Scouting every single day I have available, practicing my bow skills daily, working on my woodmanship, reading every article I can on deer and deer hunting, and upgrading my equipment. Another step I plan to take is to get in the best shape of my life. This will help me get deeper in the woods and will make hauling all of those animals out a lot easier. Even if my time is to limited to go really deep I will be more alert and feel better wherever I hunt. Even more importantly though my first child will be here soon and I definitely want to be around for him for a long, long time!

I plan to hunt for more than just whitetails but with my son on the way in February my time may be to limited. I would really like to do some turkey and bear hunting as well but we will see how that goes. As much as I love hunting nothing is more important than my family so the most important off season move I can make is to learn to successfully balance my family with my passion for hunting. I will update my progress as often as possible, for now I wish all of you the best!