Saturday, March 26, 2011

Look out turkey's. The kid's got your number.

 So the grind of school is drawing to a close and the sun is coming out. I was all excited last week as I saw the snow vanish. My thoughts turned to the looming turkey season. That euphoric feeling ended when I woke up the other morning and saw a frozen world buried in snow. I'm trying, however, to stay focused on the positives. Like 5 days until the end of class, Thirty days until the opening of turkey season and 32 days until the end of exams. As you may notice there is a bit of an overlap. This could pose a problem. For the exam.

My spring journey to the Toronto Sportsman Show has come and gone. I had only one day to go this year which was fine. They didn't have the Gold Whistle Retriever trials this year so that reduced what to do a lot in my books. I also didn't get to check out the Thompson Center Arms Venture. I've heard good things about it as a very accurate entry level rifle and I really was hopeful. Sadly Thompson Center decided not so send a display and none of the dealers had one. I managed to check out Tikka and Savage entry level rifles. I have to admit that when I got to Bass Pro yesterday to finally see the Venture it seemed much better than the other two. Now I just have to figure out how to get one without spending any money. I'm considering trading a couple of old bows and some odds and sods for one if I can get the dealer to say yes. Wish me luck.

The guys I met at the Trophy Line booth weren't there with a trophyline booth this year. That made me sad because I know they've found some additional things such as a climbing system to go with the tree saddle I really wanted to see. Kevin Bartley from Gobblestalker Calls was there again this year. After a bit of a discussion I handed him $45 for a hand turned custom crystal on slate call.
It's a great call. At first I thought it was a tad pricey. Then I went to bass pro and discovered I don't know what I'm talking about. I saw calls between 70 and 90 dollars and I don't think they're nearly as good as this one. So score one for me. Now I plan on entering his video contest to win some more calls. It will be my first attempt to video a hunt of any kind. I'm thinking this might finally exceed my blackberry's photographic ability.

After last year's poor turkey success I made some decisions for this year I didn't think I would make. I've hung the bow up for now. I might still use it a bit but I have this nice new shotgun that hasn't seen any work. So I've decided that the plan for this year is no bow until I can prove I can actually get one with a shotgun first. If I can shoot one in the head, knock him down dead and watch him come back to life, with a shotgun then I had best perfect that problem before I try the stick and string approach. So I attended a seminar given by Adrian Hare while I was at the show as well as shopped for shotgun.

So as sad as I was to not find anything as exciting as the tree saddle this year it wasn't without it's cool moments. I found the trophy line guys at the Vortex booth working the room. My neighbour, Rick Bullman who was invaluable in giving me advice this past season introduced me his friend and pro staff member Rob Pade . This is where the day gets exciting. Rob invites me turkey hunting. Rob is  a die hard turkey man and full of information. So now I'm stoked. He immediately starts giving me advice. I have to admit when these guys give me advice on what to buy and what not to buy it has always been good. My favourite piece of the day was when he told me that if I showed up with one of those little turkey stools he was just going to through it away. His solution was a bit of burlap and a cheap trailer inner tube. Sadly the Vortex Strikefire he showed me for my shotgun wasn't nearly so cost effective. And I fell in love.

So I'm almost ready to start patterning the my Benelli spaghetti gun. The Indian Creek choke has been purchased and installed. The ammunition is selected if I can ever find it. All I need to do now is buy an inner tube, select an aiming system, organize a useful videography  solution. I'm completely stoked. My 10 year old is intrigued too. I told her she could come and be my official caller so she's started her practicing.

I guess we're going to have to get her some camo. Hope I get a turkey before she gets old enough to beat me to it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Staring at the snow wishing I wasn't studying

OK so clearly the fact that I'm blogging is a good sign I'm not studying. I have 2 days before my next exam so I'm sneaking in a minute or two to bring you up to speed. There's some news but not a lot considering it's the off season.

I keep tabs on the forums on the Magazine Ontario Out Of Doors website. A week or so ago someone set up a blackberry group from there. I decided to join and it's been an interesting experience. a great way for new hunters to immediately ask a question as there is usually someone with an answer within minutes. We were trying to organize a coyote hunt for yesterday. It was going to be great. A couple of experienced guys sharing their experience with us newbies. Sadly the weather didn't co-operate. It rained. And it rained. And it rained.

I'm not sure if I told you what's happening this summer but it's pretty exciting. We were in basspro a few weeks ago and it went like this...

Me : How about this pair

Alissa: You are NOT dressing our baby in camo

Yes it's true. We are expecting. Another little hunter on the way. Not sure if it's a boy or girl yet but we have an ultrasound scheduled for this afternoon to find out. Stay tuned.

On other related wife news my super wife did a great thing for me the other day. She was having a meeting with a family for work and somehow the topic of hunting came up. Next thing I know I'm talking to a guy about joining their hunt camp. Moose, Bear, Deer etc. It's all very exciting. I think I'll have to hang up the bow for the big game with them due to the style of hunting they do. That's ok. Gives me a reason to buy a rifle now. I'm considering a .270 so I can use it all over the province including on coyote down here. Lots of Moose guys use rifles above .300 which I can only use in the north. My uncle in BC always used a .270 on moose so I know it can be done so I'm not sure using something bigger is necessary. Oh the decisions.

He was off to talk to the rest of the camp this weekend but figures it won't be a big deal to them. They do a trip in May for the opener of walleye. He suggested I join them to see how we all get along. Wise idea I think. It'll be some seriously remote bush we'll be in and bullets flying. Always wise to know and trust the guys you're going to be in that environment with.

So now I'm waiting for the Sportsman Show. Turkey season is coming so I'l have to start getting organised for that. Looks like opening day is 2 days before my last final exam this season. Good thing it wasn't on the same day. Would have been sad to miss that exam and fail the course.