1 Hour Texas Show
5:00am 6:00am 1:00pm 2:00pm 6:00pm
2 Hour National Show
Keep up with all things "Big Billy Kinder Outdoors"
I stood in awe of the sight, roaring sound, massive power and indescribable beauty before me. I’d had that feeling before on occasion, and here it was again. My view was from a steep mid-September back road in Yellowstone National Park. The north wind was fierce that day as an early and strong front slammed the wilderness. It would turn out to be the heaviest September snow and winter blast in Wyoming’s weather records. The cutting winds pouring in from Arctic north with huge snowflakes swirling and moving like those big flocks of birds that seem to fly together in choreographed motion, coupled with the awesome rugged canyon and roaring waterfall before me, all lead to my sense of awe. I was reminded of just how small I am in this universe. I felt that I was sitting in God’s living room, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. Robin and I spent the remainder of the day, and the next, picking our way through this national treasure, then exited the park to the east as afternoon shadows began to stretch out. Ten minutes later I pulled up the drive to Elephant Head Lodge, so named because of the massive rock overhang that looks a whole lot like an...yeah, that’s right.
Buffalo Bill’s niece built the old trapper cabin and original buildings here back in 1910. Things are to this day rugged and tough in this country, I can't begin to imagine the hardships confronted by the folks that settled down here over a hundred years ago. Our century old pine log cabin would shelter us for the night. I looked forward to coffee in the morning as God’s glory would rise in the east and light up the mountains of the Shoshone National Forest that cradled us. It’s a sunrise that I have replayed again and again in my memory.
Once every five to seven years or so, the clover will bloom in South Dakota. We were there to fish the deep blue waters of Lake Oahe and gather our walleye for the year. The clover bloom is another of those gifts that only God can bless us with. The clover covers hundreds and hundreds of thousands of acres, and is the sweetest smelling perfume. The yellow flowers that it produces makes the countryside, for as far as you can see, a rolling vibrant yellow blanket. As we trolled the deep blue walleye water, surrounded by hills covered solid by the clover, I knew that I was in a special moment of my life. It impacted me. We fish with an ole South Dakota bronc rider named Jim Lawhon on Oahe. Jim explained that the knee high clover would be cut and baled in many places, then when the deep winter rages South Dakota style, and you roll out one of those clover bales for the cattle, springtime fills your nostril’s all over again. Special.
I could go on about the morning movement of millions of doves from an Argentina roost, the splendid colored leaves that flicker and fall around you as you put your fly rod to work in the Ozarks of Arkansas' White or Norfork rivers. The stillness of the deer blind deep in December when the only visible movement is your breath floating away and dissipating, and on and on. I've heard several times in my life that these settings are “church” to outdoors men. No, it's not church. It’s a mild display of God’s creative beauty, just a glimpse of what Heaven looks like. There was no one in any of these settings telling me of my sin, teaching me of Paul's travails and travels and example. Jesus' name and His salvation for this lost and dying world didn’t echo from the yellow rolling hills. It’s easy for some to slip up and worship the creation as opposed to the Creator. Do I feel a sense of God’s awesomeness in these settings? Of course! Do I worship and thank Him in these situations? Absolutely! Is this a church setting? Maybe, if we are reminded that God created it, man sinned and messed it up, Christ died for our sins and rose from that grave. Salvation, is a gift that makes majestic beauty pale in comparison. Just like God gave us this creation splendor, so did He give us His Son. Gave, free. That’s big. Do you believe?
DECEMBER 2, 2016
…and I plan to do the same this year. The remaining presidential candidates, the ones that make the news anyway, have huge teams of excavators that work 24/7 digging up any smut or image damaging info they can find on their opponents. With the moral record of these two folks, it doesn’t take Indiana Jones to find a nasty nugget or two. In fact, I’m quite sure that my 5 year old granddaughter with her plastic beach shovel could come up with headlines that the daily rags and television opinion time-killers (formerly known as news channels) would love to have! These folks are down-right filthy. Just like me…and you. Before we all cast another stone at these folks, let’s refer to the Good Book for a little wisdom and guidance…ah! Here we go…
Romans 3:10 - There is none righteous, no not one…
Hmmmm, that’s ME, and YOU and Ronald Reagan and Lincoln and Washington and Kennedy and…everyone that’s ever cast or received a vote.
I figure the only way to vote rightly, is the same way that voting has always been done rightly. Vote for the sinner that thinks most like me. I’m going to vote for the constitution of the United States. I’m going to vote for my religious freedom. I’m going to vote for my right to speak up and out. I’m going to vote for (here’s a biggie) the Supreme Court. Our next sinful leader in our sinful U.S. will have the power to heavily influence our greatest moral guiders, decision makers as far as the law goes, for the next 30 years. 30 years is a big chunk of time in a 240 year old country. 30 years represents 1/8th of our entire time as a nation. 30 years can rock your world as you know it and set the course for a new way of life that you don’t like-Life without your Second Amendment rights, or the right to pray and teach scripture in your church, or the right to hunt, fish, or go to the shooting range with the kids.
This thing that looks like a very bad comedy script playing out before our eyes is actually very important. The Senate and House seats are too…So are your state and local officials. We must take our voting very seriously.
If your Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear that shotgun, rifle, pistol, AR, or whatever is important to you, please click on Gun Vote and you will find a list of sinners that claim to love and protect the Second Amendment as well.
Cast an educated vote! Maybe the next generation of sinners will love and respect this great country that has nurtured and loved so many, of all colors, all over the globe and accepted within her own borders more that we have. Let’s vote in a way that at least gives them a chance to see it, or hear about it.
Okay, that’s my voting view, I’ll step down from my soapbox now…WAIT, one more thing.
You idiots that are kneeling or sitting or whatever during the playing of our National Anthem-Stand up. You don’t know what you’re talking about, your ignorance is showing, and you’re a sinner in need of the Savior. Just like me. You will kneel someday…WILL. Before Holy God. At that moment, I suspect that we will all realize just how little we all matter, and how unimportant we were in our lives.
OCTOBER 14, 2016
Your wife shoots better that you…just the facts.
Robin and I just returned from another Dallas Safari Club S.A.F.E.T.Y event.
DSC along with the Dallas Ecological Foundation host these events twice per year and have for a long long time.
6 stations including bow, rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, pistol and shotgun.
4 mega bus loads of Jr High and Sr High school students
4 mega bus loads of Jr High and Sr High school parents
0 cell phone activity allowed during the day
150 or so DSC/DEF volunteers
1 really, really, REALLY nice west Texas ranch
The kids, most of whom have never touched a bow or a gun receive one on one instruction at each station and have the time of their lives.
The parents, most of which have never touched a bow or a gun receive the same treatment…if time allows after each student takes his/her turn.
I have been blessed to work several S.A.F.E.T.Y. events thru the years and have observed enough to know that your wife shoots better than you.
I teach shotgun at these events and no matter the experience, I teach each student/parent the same thing. Four simple steps…
1-mount the gun properly…
2-lay your cheek on the stock…
3-weight forward…(on the left foot if right-handed shooter/right foot if left-handed shooter)
4-shoot the nose, or leading edge of the target as it flies
You would be amazed how many first-timers break all 6 targets that we throw for them. The students listen and take instruction pretty well. The moms listen and take instruction better. We men…uhh…miss. I will take the first time lady shooter over the first time male shooter every time in a friendly wager.
Women step up to me on the range and eagerly listen. Men step up and, many times, ask me how far to lead the target. I have learned to just say fifty yards and let ‘em have a whack at it. They’re not listening anyway. The women break 4-5-6 targets. The men 2-3-4. Averages. The bottom line? Students, moms, dads, instructor’s all have an incredible day together.
New target shooters and hunters are born at this event, right before our eyes!
Bad thoughts and beliefs about guns disappear right before our eyes!
Hurting family relationships are HEALED right before our eyes!
Meek and mild ladies become sharpshooters right before our eyes!
Male ego’s are in need of a 911 call as they wilt right before our eyes!
I am a hard headed male, so I know of these things. My wife tries to tell me things but she just doesn’t understand. I already know! I’m way ahead of you honey…I’ve got this! Of course I miss the target about 100% of the time when I do that. So the S.A.F.E.T.Y. event is a good reminder to me that my male ego needs to calm some too. It’s a good event, and it’s good for all of us involved.
Please consider volunteering at next Spring’s DSC S.A.F.E.T.Y. event and look into starting an Outdoor Adventures Program in your local schools. The DEF has already written the curriculum, and it is a huge plus in the lives of every kid that participates. It actually replaces P.E. for those that are not involved in athletics and for those who just don’t like P.E…they love the OA class!
Til next time, keep your weight forward and your eye on the beak of the bird…and I can STILL outshoot my wife!
OCTOBER 5, 2016
I’m not referring to the college football conference that produces high scoring offenses and exciting fall gridiron action. The big 12 in my book will forever be roaming the drainages and deep cover of Baylor county Texas.
I have hunted quail primarily on my friend’s ranch outside of Seymour, Texas for the past 20 years. Ken has been so kind to me all of these years with gate and barn keys, and a hearty welcome to hunt his ranch. In the beginning I rarely saw a deer at all while walking miles each day behind the bird dogs, but through the years that began to change. I started seeing a doe here and there, then a basket rack buck, then a spike, then a group of 4 or 5 does, then some better bucks. It was obvious that the deer were moving into Ken’s country over time. It was also obvious that the quality of the deer in both body and antler size were improving. I guesstimate several reasons for the increase.
* habitat improvement-the mesquite bottoms and brushy cactus country on Ken’s ranch has grown taller and thicker through the years. Perfect cover.
* plenty of feed available-annual winter wheat, sufficient spring rains.
* a thick, thick, thick deep bottom-about 40 or 50 acres that seldom sees a human and is ideal for loafing/bedding deer
Here’s the bigun though…
* Educated hunters have been hunting more selectively over the past twenty years. Once upon a time, that little basket rack 6 would have been a prize in most hunting circles…draped across the hood of the car, or on display with a lowered tailgate and driven thru town a time or two, with a stop at the café thrown in just to make sure the local boys knew that you had bagged a buck, any buck. Thinking has changed drastically. That basket buck would still be taken today, and still with great pride. The difference would be properly placed enthusiasm. Once the pride was placed on the antlers, it is now placed on herd improvement. You don’t want that buck to pass along his genes to future generations of 5 and 6 year old 6 points with a 13 inch inside spread. Take him out of the reproduction cycle, enjoy his delicious venison and watch offspring from better bucks grow up. Another benefit from educated hunters, and this one is a bit more difficult for many, is properly aging deer before pulling, or not pulling the trigger. There he is, a tall 8! Looks like a 20 inch inside spread! Beautiful!! WAIT!! While he’s giving you a good luck, try and age him. If this great deer is 3 ½ years old, let’s give him another year or three to develop. If he’s 6 ½ or older, he’s reached his peak, should have plenty of offspring nearby and will start to decline so let’s go ahead and harvest this animal. That mindset has helped grow and improve our deer herds across America the past couple of decades, and I surmise that these are the reasons for the big 12 showing up.
I’d never seen him before, as far as I know nobody had. There was no camp talk of him, no game cam pics hanging in the barn. He showed up mid rut at about 7:30am. I saw him coming from a distance and when he hopped the fence and the sun gave me a good look at his crown, I knew immediately that in all of my years on this ranch, I’d never seen anything close to him in comparison. I was in a blind overlooking a feeder that the girls enjoyed on a regular basis. He was on a dead run to see if the girls were at the buffet…they were not. He ran to within 100 yards of me, never stopped. Took a look, no does, and on he went disappearing into the thick cover.
I sat back and exhaled for the first time in about two minutes. Wow…what a deer. Through my binocular, I saw him again at about 9:30am. On the neighbor’s wheat, and he was a good mile from me. He wasn’t far from cover, and didn’t stay exposed very long. I like to crawl in the blind an hour before legal shooting time, and stay all day, or until I make harvest. I did pull the trigger that day just before dark, on what I believe was one of the big 12’s kinfolk. Perfectly symmetrical like the 12, 8 tall and wide points. I went ahead and filled my tag and freezer with the best buck that I’d ever taken on this property, and one of the best I’d ever seen in Baylor County Texas. I still wanted more meat in the freezer and I will never in my days on earth get enough time in God’s perfect creation, so back to the woods I went day after day, studying the deer and with a keen eye out for the 12.
I didn’t see him again for a couple of weeks, but I did see him again, three times more in fact. Baylor is a two buck county, but only the 12 would satisfy my second buck tag, nothing less. On a muddy morning, after an all-night rain I stepped out of the barn/apartment with my coffee just before sunrise. I could see deer feeding in the wheat. Thru my binocular I could see 5 does and one really big buck. Each minute brought better light, and before long I knew that I was looking at the big 12. The rut was full swing and he’d lost control of his protective senses. He had now exposed himself in an open wheat field, ours by the way, and made himself vulnerable. A lot of humans do that too. I ranged him at 276 yards, I’m comfortable with that shot. I was not comfortable with the man standing beside his pickup a half mile behind the deer. I guess his ol’ truck had broken down, or he found the one spot that had cell service…whatever his reason for stopping in the middle of nowhere, I couldn’t shoot. I waited and waited and waited. The pickup didn’t move, but the deer did. The does were moving east and back toward heavy cover, the big 12 travelled with them. I had studied their movement enough to know where they were going.
I immediately moved west and took the long way around to the trail that I knew they were going to use. My plan was perfect, my execution of it was not. I should have stopped 100 yards shy of the trail but I pushed it. I wanted to cross the trail before they got there and catch a better wind. As I popped out of the brush 10 feet from the trail, so did HE! We were face to face for about .0003 of a second and then of course he was gone. I knew I had blown a golden opportunity. I saw him once more on the very last day of the season, a cold windy January day. He was across the fence on the neighbor, about 500 yards away, and all alone, the way he spends most of his year I recon. I watched him for half an hour before he slipped into a depression and disappeared…again. That was two seasons ago and far as I know, he’s still there.
I didn’t harvest the 12, but the chase, the strategy, the hunt and the time is just as big in my memory. Special memory. I’ll carve out a little time to look for him some more this year and share great tales of great adventure with campmates. We’ll eat store bought beans with unfulfilled tags, and backstrap fillets when our shot finds its mark. Happy bow opener to you! Make memories and send me YOUR story and pics along the way. I look forward to that!
SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
Dove season is upon us! The first domino to fall in a chain of fall splendor! Are you ready? Let’s visit about how to be prepared for those 55 mph gray rockets.
First and foremost is not practice, it starts at your favorite sporting goods store. You will see a LOT of shells on sale at unbelievably low prices right now. Be careful! Don’t buy junk. The best shot in the bird field will drop big time in consistency when under-shelled. I like a one ounce load at least, in 7’s or 8’s. Dependable names are good, American made a must. *12/20/410? I'm a 12. I carry a little lightweight 20 o/u while hunting quail and most other upland birds, so why a 12 when dove shooting? Several thoughts...
-I'm usually closer to a covey rise of quail than I am a high flying dove
-The quail shot, 95% of the time, is a straight away shot about 6-12 feet off the ground-dove are at all angles, heights and speeds
-I'm standing still in a single spot most of the time while dove hunting as opposed to walking many miles chasing quail, the lighter 20 is a must for the hike-the added weight of my 12 doesn’t bother me in a still hunting situation-I do have a sling on my 12, allowing my shoulder to bear the weight during lulls
-Camo...don’t go overboard. Camo has become big business and the birds don’t care how stylish you are...find something that matches your terrain as much as possible...that might be a gray t-shirt and shorts...cover up any shiny jewelry...check your local army surplus store for a bargain.
-decoys...again, you really don’t have to buy the most expensive latest and greatest to get a doves attention...an old-time method of mine that works VERY well is inexpensive and effective...a cheap piece of rebar from your local hardware store bent into a U shape...push the ends down into the ground and use cheap clip on dove decoys...I’ve seen birds perch on the rebar with the decoys...that said...I DO LOVE the Mojo motion decoys. I've also seen birds try to land on top of them, while in motion, many times.
There are the basics, now take your GOOD shells to the sporting clays range and shoot a few rounds before the opener. You’ll amaze your under-shelled, under-gunned under-prepared buddies when the real thing rolls around.
If you pick up your empty hulls and discard them, you're much more likely to be invited back to a dove field again. While you're at the hardware store pick up a roofer’s magnet. It’s a magnet on a stick that will collect your hulls without you having to bend over!
AUGUST 5, 2016
Sunjack Portable Solar Charger, You need this!
I am taking some time over the dog days this year to feature some items that will come in handy, or in this case, could be a lifesaver during your next wilderness trip or fishing excursion. While it’s too hot to do very much outside of early morning and very late evening, it’s a great time to “gear up” and get ready for the fall seasons that will begin to unfold soon.
I have been spending some time with the Sunjack Portable Solar Charger of late...and I like it. I like it enough to tell you about it. I won't ever lie to you or invite you to purchase junk. Sunjack is a keeper and like I said, could be a lifesaver...no exaggeration.
More and more, our gadgets are part of our hunting and fishing, birding, boating and hiking. Whether it's keeping up with our favorite football team while spending a day in the blind, keeping up with our remote trail cameras, recording our hunts/fishing trips, or using the phone for business or family concerns, we are forevermore attached to our electronics. At BBKO radio we spend a great deal of time each year in a hunting scenario, or on the boat. When we cover events life the Bassmaster Classic, we're on the water recording and photographing the event and burning up the batteries posting the latest to the social circles of the world. Power has been a problem in the past. That’s why I was thrilled to find out about the Sunjack, and why I was even more thrilled to find out that it does exactly what the folks at Sunjack said it would.
*recharge my devices at wall outlet speed
*fit the small storage areas in my boat and hunting pack
*handle phone/tablet/GPS units/GoPro cameras/etc in short order using only God’s good sunshine.
*durable and dependable time after time after time
It folds to up to a small 9x7 inches. When unzipped and laid out flat in the sunshine, it stretches to 26 inches of sunbathing power plant that works...and works fast!
The unit features two USB ports for multiple charges directly from the solar panels, as well as a separate battery pack for even smaller back up power in your pocket, pack or tackle bag. The separate battery pack also features a small built in L.E.D. flashlight (just in case) and a L.E.D. power level bar that tells you exactly how much power is available.
I have met a lot of folks that hunt off of the grid...waaaaaaay back in the out yonder (I’m talking remote Alaska, Africa, Tajikistan etc.)-Areas that you DO NOT want to hang out for 7 to 10 days without power that can give you a life saving connection to tamer places. Same goes for your boat, you don't want to be on a lake that you know well when the motor stops or that unexpected storm beaches you in a bad spot.
Be ready. I recommend it, Sunjack Portable Solar Charger. Lay it out or hang it up in the sunshine while you're out on the boat or busy hunting, then charge up to eight of your devices while you wait for tomorrow to show up. Remember this one...Sunjack. It Works!
JULY 15, 2016
Somewhere in Chicago, or Philadelphia or Dallas, LA or Atlanta, somebody thought it would be a good idea to spray paint their message on the side of a railcar. Maybe they thought it was art. Maybe they were needing a voice for their frustration. Maybe they were high and don’t even remember their crime. That railcar, along with a whole string of others wearing the same decoration sat there waiting for the power of an engine to propel them further down the line, and they looked so out of place. The background had changed from the industrial background of a working city and railyard to the great Rocky Mountain range in Montana. A herd of elk a mile or so up the foothills enjoying spring grazing. Mule deer in velvet, snow melt running down the ravines and purifying itself over smooth river rock in the creeks below-Nesting birds of all varieties from song singers to waterfowl.
A lot of folks have worked very hard to preserve our pristine countryside creation gifted to us from The Almighty Himself, and now here is a rolling string of eyesore trying its best to scream “look at me” louder than the landscape. This is a scene that repeats itself over and over again as we travel our nation. Some call train tagging a long standing American tradition, some folks appreciate the artwork. I don’t, but rather than sit here and whine, I’ll turn the pointed finger back to myself and ask what I have done to help the cause of our national parks, wetlands and BLMs? I research and respond financially to organizations that actually follow thru and put their money where their mouth is. I’m mindful to leave hunting, camping and fishing spaces at least as clean as they were before my presence. I try. I try to share the conservation message here and on the airwaves. I’m not grandstanding; I’m not the original thinker of these simple ideas; I’m just doing what others before taught me, and that is precisely where I fall short.
As I stare at those railcars and inspect my role in the graffiti, it dawns upon me that I’m not doing enough to share what I have with others. God’s great gift of the outdoors. It’s so so sooooo easy when a day off comes along to hit the lake alone, or with familiar company for a day of fishing. How many kids, vets, lonely, hurting folks will I pass along the road to the lake? How many of them would enjoy learning to gather sustenance from a lake with a string and a hook? How many fished for decades before time and lack of family and fishing friends relegated them to Matlock reruns and three square meals between doctor visits? I fall into a category of stinginess here. I’m stingy with our great gift. I seldom invite new folks along to fish or hunt. There are so many opportunities to teach someone about, or renew an old flame for the outdoors. There are nursing homes within a short drive from my home. There are veteran’s organizations and therapy centers. There are organizations like the Dallas Ecological Foundation, Bass Brigade, Big Brothers Big Sisters and endless others that can introduce me to a youngster that would LOVE to just go fishing. Shame on me, and if you're guilty, shame on you too.
That incredible forest, mountain and river scenery that I spend much of my life in, needs those graffiti painters just as much as the artists themselves need to be swallowed up by vast natural expanse. It’s healthy, and healing for those without opportunity to see, breath and hear nature. For those resources to remain, future conservationists must learn now of their importance. *President Teddy Roosevelt was sickly as a kid. Asthma, near sighted and later heart disease beset him according to many historical accounts. As a young man, it is written that Teddy’s dad said, “Theodore you have the mind but you have not the body, and without the help of the body the mind cannot go as far as it should. I am giving you the tools, but it is up to you to make your body.” Teddy responded positively to dad’s message and changed the conservation world. What will that newcomer that I introduce do with his/her knowledge?
I will make an effort to provide some tools for them. It’s important.
*McKay, Brett and Kate. (2007, December 31). Lessons in Manliness: The Childhood of Theodore Roosevelt. Retreived from http://www.artofmanliness.com/about-2/
JUNE 22, 2016
I'm asked from time to time to speak to different groups. It's always humbling to be invited and to actually stand before these groups. Even though I've been in the radio business and spoken publicly for decades, it also scares the bejeebers out of me. I'm much more comfortable alone on the bow of the boat searching out slab crappie or big bass.
When I do stand before these groups, I can tell of the 8 ponder that I caught last week. Where I found her, what bait I was throwing, water temp, water color, weather conditions and other details that MIGHT help these folks out. I can tell them about the brushpile deep in a body of water that holds mega numbers of crappie this time of year and that MIGHT help them some. I can give some stats, numbers and accounts of how remaining in your stand on guard for big bucks has paid off many times at 1 in the afternoon rather than at daylight or dusk.
But...What I have to say, or anybody else for that matter, is only yesterday's news, or a guess about tomorrow...unless...we are speaking God’s word. THAT is my only confidence. That is the only pure truth, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I'm not a preacher, God didn’t call me to that. I am saved by His incredible grace, and I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love, and that I can speak of with an overwhelming confidence.
There's lots of public speakers out there right now that are talking about walls, gun control, international terrorism, our suffering economy, how the US can be great again and so on and so forth. Yesterday's news and tomorrow's speculation. There is but one way to make America great again. I sure hope you'll call the family in, click on the LINK and listen to "Who is God’s Candidate?" You can have confidence when you base your vote and your daily choices on what God has to say.
JUNE 10, 2016
This is the time of year when even the most ardent land lovers glance at those shiney new boats and start daydreaming about big fish, evening cruises, and family time on the water. The water provides tremendous pleasure, even therapy. It’s a direct contrast to 5mph traffic, constant people contact and as my friend Will Primos put it “this cell phone, laptop, computer infested world”. Your decision to buy a boat or not is very personal and not one to be taken lightly.
Ask yourself this question and give a sincere answer. How often will you truly use a boat? There are 52 weekends in a year. How many of those will be consumed with work/family/duty commitments that keep you away from the water? Do you have 8-10 spare weekends in a year? 10-20? 20-30? If you have limited time but still want to hit the water, consider rentals. Someone else pays for the boat, storage, upkeep, insurance and licensing. You pay an exorbitant fee for a half or full day rental and refuel. But you pay as you go. One-n-done.
If you, like me, LOVE to fish, consider using various guide services. If you can't get to the water as much as you’d like but 1-10 times per year is an option, you don’t have the time to “figure out” the fish and their seasonal habits and travels. The guides do and the fee that you pay a guide is well worth the money for a much much higher catch percentage option.
If you’ve thought it over and decided that you and your family are indeed able to get to the lake more often than not, and you want to take the ownership step...good for you! Before you load a single fishing rod, wakeboard or water ski on that boat give some serious thought to safety. The law requires proper flotation for each passenger on your boat and a fire extinguisher, but...I like to take it a few steps beyond lawful requirements. Here's my short list:
~Weather radio...these are cheap and an absolute must! Buy one that allows you to switch it to alert only. Keep fresh batteries in it, and every time you head out onto the water-pretty day or not-turn it on. It can save your life, the lives of your family and friends, and your boat gear etc with early warning that lightening, big wind, foul weather is approaching.
~A VERY loud noisemaker. Some states actually require a whistle. I carry a whistle, and a compressed air horn. The air horn was designed to get a bear out of your face in the woods, but I promise you it will grab attention in distress from across the lake.
~GPS is waaaaaaay too common, inexpensive and user friendly these days not to have one with you. Mark your boat ramp before you take off on a new lake just in case you lose your bearings. Small handheld units are great, but I prefer to spend a few more bucks and install a unit that includes or can be loaded with lake maps, bottom contours for safe boat travel, local marina and emergency services information etc. I have two Garmin devices on my boat. One of them in red lettering has a man overboard button. If someone falls in, throw a float cushion and hit the red button. It will mark the exact location of the accident in the event that emergency personnel are required.
~Always...leave a plan with someone that will actually miss you if you don’t come back in time. That plan should include: 1) The water body that you will be boating 2) How many others will be in your boat, names, phone numbers 3) The boat ramp/parking area that you will access 4) A description of your vehicle and trailer, along with license plate #’s 5) A time to expect you back 6) A description of your vessel, and registration numbers from the exterior bow of your boat
Have a great summer and we’ll see ya on the water!
JUNE 3, 2016
Turkeys are one of my absolute favorite hunts. They are unpredictable, tough as a rhino, and nervous nelly when it comes to anything that looks or especially moves out of the ordinary. Just when you think you’ve got 'em figured out, they surprise you with a totally different game plan for the day. I hunted turkeys on a ranch near Junction, Texas a few years back. Broke traffic laws for 400 miles to get to the ranch before dark. My goal was to try and locate birds and roost them for the night, giving me a distinct advantage over them the next morning. “Roosting” your birds is simply watching the flock and which tree or trees they choose to sleep in. This happens as the last drops of daylight slip through the hourglass, just before dark. More times than not, they will fly down the next morning in the same direction that they flew up. Slip in pre-dawn and get set up right, and you're in good shape for a wonderful turkey dinner.
Well, I made it in time and stood in wonder, mouth breathing and wide-eyed as I watched the biggest flock of turkeys that I’ll probably ever see go to roost. I estimate 400 to 500 birds. Believe it or not, they flew across a shallow creek that ran along the base of a cliff and filled up the live oak trees halfway up that cliff! It was wonderfully amazing to see. They HAD to fly down to the same open area that they had used as a launching pad. They weren’t going to fly up. They were mine! No escape! Next morning I make the 8-10 mile drive in the dark over rough ranch roads for my rio roundup. I parked a half mile away, an hour and a half before sunrise. I was taking no chances. This was a slam dunk and I didn’t want to mess it up. I walked in by moonlight and settled under a small live oak. The scrub brush around the base of the tree provided a great natural blind. After settling in, I blew the owl hooter to reassure myself that they were still high above me on the cliff. They were. It sounded like hundreds of gobblers answering the locator call. It was a long wait, like the days leading up to Christmas morning for a youngster. Finally I heard soft yelps on this cool clear morning. I mimicked what I heard with my mouth call. Decoys set up and ready at 15-20 yards. Finally! One, two, four and eight at a time they started to fly down. It took twenty minutes for the trees to unload all of those birds. Problem…they chose to fly further than the launch pad to a rough, rocky, boulder riddled area that you’d NEVER suspect they’d use...except for two little hens that did exactly what I wanted the masses to do. These two came down to the soft open launching area and started slowly feeding over towards my decoys while the other 498 birds hit the rocks and headed in the opposite direction. The little hens came within 8 feet of me, circled me and my decoys twice and pinned me down, keeping me from plan B...moving along the creek bottom to get past the birds that were now headed in the wrong direction. Heckle and Jeckle hung around until the flock was gone and then took off trailing behind. Everything was perfect...I had done my work...I had the fool proof plan...then, the unimaginable happened, and I never fired a shot.
Life is that way. We make family, retirement, short term and long term plans, fool proof, every base covered and it's gonna be great. Then life changing news comes our way. That’s when we see how small and insignificant we, and our plans are. In the Bible, Proverbs 23:4 tells us not to trust our own cleverness. The one thing that stands through it all is a never changing God. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Full of love and grace for you and me. If you know Him as Lord and Savior, and He is your all in all, life’s curveballs and hard knocks are not nearly as devastating, and hope becomes your most prized possession! He is the only source of true hope!
APRIL 15, 2016