Earlier in April, I had two events with Cross Water Outfitters which is a men’s fishing ministry based in Central Texas. We headed out to Lake Buchanan for the first weekend of the month to Thunderbird Resort with the local Bridges Ministry . We hosted students from different faiths from 32 different nationalities and man did we have a blast. Spring White Bass action was hot on Lake Buch this particular weekend and part of our group was invited to go fishing on a private boat dock owned by a friend of the ministry’s supporting church. Here are some photos of the fun:
The following weekend we had our regular bi-annual soldier and family event on Fort Hood’s BLORA (Belton Lake Outdoor Recreational Area) on Lake Belton. This event was also well attended and staffed and we caught a lot of catfish – I mean A LOT of catfish. We fed a lot of people and had a blast serving those who served us. I was my friend Dennis’ boat and we hosted a 19 year old soldier. On Friday night, we caught a 4 1/2 foot 16 pound gar which we decided to release. Here are some photos from this event:
I love to serve and so do my CWO brothers. We only get together a few times a year but when we do, it is like we have been fishing together every weekend. God shows up and everything falls into place. God is good indeed.
There are some things you get in life that you never forget. Things you hold onto and cherish. Such was the case of The Timber Bass from Lake Conroe on a December 2014 fishing trip with Cross Water Outfitters. We annually do an event with CWO ever December and January. What once came aboard the boat of my good buddy Steve Gardipee while we were fishing looked to be a piece of driftwood but Steve saw something more. This gift, pictured below, was given to me during a presentation Steve did for me this past December 2015. If you have been following my blog long at all, you will remember Steve as a Vietnam veteran with a life after death story I recorded on this video. He turned a piece of drift wood into a true work of art. I love it! What character it has! It really is a Timber Bass!
Thank you as always for watching, reading, and listening!
One of the things I like to do besides filming and editing my own hunting, fishing, and other outdoor adventures is to edit and produce video from my friends. I just recently finished a new article for Texas Fish & Game Magazine entitled “Arrows from Above” about summer bowfishing. Here are a few videos from my friend Tim Jackson who is an avid bowfishing guide with my other friend Marty McIntyre and GARQUEST Bowfishing Adventures. Man, I get fired up watching these! I hope you enjoy!
I have often both written and spoken about the importance of spending time with your family in the outdoors. One of my favorite springtime and summer activities is going down to Brushy Creek Lake Park in north Cedar Park here in Central Texas with my son, Jackson, and go “perch jerkin'”. Finding a feisty nest of bluegill is a blast and provides hours of family fun with no more than an ultra light fishing rig and a canister of baby night crawlers. Here are some pictures from our latest adventure down at the lake last weekend:
Now these may not be trophy bass or monster catfish but the memories we make together are priceless. So many outdoorsmen I run into are all about hunting and fishing for their own means and desires. There is an old saying I heard from Korby Taylor of the Wild Game Hunting Podcast in one of his recent past shows. He was making the point of our sometimes selfish nature as outdoorsmen. The saying goes something like this: “Get all you can. Can all you get. Then, sit on the lid.” Korby used this illustration to say that “canning” and not sharing all of our experiences in the outdoors, keeping them all for our own self interest, is shallow but many men and women are happy to do it. Hunting and fishing is a means to and end for them. I don’t see it like that.
I write and speak often about the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts needing the best possible examples of outdoor “champions” who model what it really means to live a positive outdoor lifestyle. There are more things than ever that compete for our kid’s time and attention in our world today. We need to teach values, conservation, good ethics, and other positive character traits in the outdoors in order for kids to “get hooked” on what so many of us older folks consider a life long passion of the outdoors.
I know it is easy to get caught up in who won the big money pot at the local bass tournament or who shot the biggest deer of their lifetime last season but if we don’t take time to share what went into making our love of the outdoors such a passion for us with the next generation of sportsmen, our youth will quickly get swept away from our sporting traditions we hold dear to our hearts. In order for the heritage of our sport to survive the changing times and atmosphere of our frantically paced world is to take time to share the gift of the outdoors.
I am thrilled to hear about hunting and fishing champions in our world who give outdoor experiences to kids that might not normally have them. One of my fondest memories when I was growing up was when my Dad and his fishing partner participated in a promotion with a local Texas Boys Town and took a young man our fishing on the boat with us. I will never forget how much that young man, who was about my same age at the time, enjoyed learning how to fish. We all had so much fun together. I am sure that young man, where ever he is today, will never forget that experience. I know that I won’t. That is giving back with a generous heart. That is what outdoors is all about.
In my advertising work with Texas Fish & Game magazine, I came across a new company with a portable fishing sonar system that connects to your smartphone or tablet called Deeper. It is a really revolutionary fishing product and I think it will catch on here in the USA, especially for those of us who do not have a fancy boat and maybe prefer bank fishing on many occasions. In working with this company on their ad campaign, they sent over a video that really touched me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did:
The outdoors is about family and also about sharing our passion with others who will carry the proverbial torch into the future and preserve our legacy of the outdoor realm. There is so much beauty to behold, so much land and water yet to explore. There is so much “out there” yet to be discovered. Thank you so much for watching, reading, and listening.
After three years, I finally made it back to SHOT Show in Las Vegas! If you’ve never been to SHOT before, imagine the biggest gun show you have ever been to and think of roughly 62,000 people being there in a huge (I mean HUGE) space. Then imagine every gun manufacturer you can think of having a huge booth staffed with knowledgeable people who love the shooting and hunting sports. I have been to three SHOT shows now in total. I forgot how big SHOT is and how much walking there is to do there. By the end of each day, I was ready to crash into my bed at the Excalibur hotel. The Las Vegas strip is considered one of the main realms for vacations and conferences in the world. It is a wild place to host such a giant convention for a bunch of 2nd amendment fans and Sin City was full of many like minded individuals that believed in God, Guns, and Country. Few trips have been as memorable as my SHOT show expeditions. There are so many new products, companies, media folks, attendees, celebrities, and more. To quote one food service employee I overheard talking to another worker, “These guys are gun owners. They want two things: meat and beer!” That may be a bit of a stereotype but… I digress. Here are a few pictures from the show floor and a night shot of my hotel:
Who Did You See at SHOT This Year
Eva Shockey, Jim Shockey, Bruce Mitchell and Troy Landry (and sons) from the Swamp People TV Show, the cast from Duck Commander/Duck Dynasty (yes, including Uncle Si). No, I didn’t stand in line for hours to get an autograph from anyone but it was a star studded experience seeing all of these people I have watched on TV for years.
I did get to visit with a couple other TV celebrities that I hold in high regard. The first one is a fellow outdoor writer for Texas Fish & Game magazine and winner of Top Shot Season 3. Dustin Ellermann makes marksmanship and the shooting sports look easy. He is a true professional in many ways and I had the chance to eat lunch with him at a media event last Wednesday. I’ve been a fan of Dustin since he starred on Top Shot a few years ago and he is an awesome guy. In the picture below, you get two Dustins in one picture. Dustin squared!
My apologies for the lighting of this photo. It was one of those quick, in the moment, hurry up and take a picture, kind of photos. It was awesome to finally meet him in person.
The second celebrity I ran into was Mark Millis but you may know him better as “Uncle Millie” from the past show Deer City USA on Outdoor Channeland now Huntin’ the Backwoods TV show on Sportsman Channel. Mark was awesome to meet in person and I hope to stay in touch with him as we both are involved in many outdoor industry projects.
So What was New or Super Cool this Year?
I’m glad you asked! I was at SHOT show this year with Elliott Donnelly, Chester Moore, and Ardia Neves from Texas Fish & Game magazine (notice a theme here?). Elliott is the digital publisher for TF&G. Chester is editor in chief and Ardia is our advertising director. We had a great time together. Ardia and I concentrated on advertising work for the magazine and Elliott, Chester, and the other Dustin walked the long hallways, ballrooms, and exhibit halls searching for what was new and awesome. Since I didn’t have a chance to cover the entirety of the show from a media perspective like they did, I wanted to post some to their blog posts from last week and this week:
Dustin Ellermann’s Range Day and Shot Show Blogs
Slideshow of SHOT Show Finds
Chester and Elliott’s SHOT Show Blogs
(Click on image below to open blog)
One of the most unique tactical finds I ran across was this DP-12 double barrel bullpup shotgun. It holds 16 rounds and is a newer addition to the line up of tactical shotguns. Normally I am not very impressed by guns like this but this one caught my eye for sure.
There are so many outlets that cover SHOT so this is certainly not all of the media coverage out there. Our team did pick some of the best of the best in new products though.
I also picked up a styling SHOT Show long-sleeve shirt which I wore out on a trip to my deer stand right after I came home. Yes, I took a “selfie” photo of me wearing it! I pulled my ground blind, game cam, and other gear out of the woods for the season. I had a great deer season and have one more hunting video from this year which I am still editing and will release shortly. See my videos, articles, other blogs and podcast at DustinsProjects.com. Thank you for watching, reading, and listening!
It has been far too long since I visited my local gun range. A month or so ago, in a pinch for time, I visited a local Austin indoor range but they charge by the hour and I like a more relaxed feeling when I am immersed in the shooting sports. Like most people, I don’t like to be rushed by the clock doing something I enjoy. My normal range is an outdoor range located Northwest of Austin and they charge a daily rate for shooting time. This range is also where I cut my teeth at learning about guns, calibers, ballistics, and other working pieces in the realm of firearms. Formerly Stan Shooting Range, the Lone Star Range & Academy has undergone many transformations under its new owner and I was impressed, to say the least. at the new developments at this range.
I visited the range to sight in one of my beloved guns, a custom FN Mauser chambered in .270 as the scope had been off on its last outing with a friend of mine. The main reason for the trip was to spend some time behind the “Texan” from Airforce Airguns, the most powerful big bore production air rifle on the market.
The Mac & Prowler TV show team came up with the name of “The Beast” when shooting the first prototype of this gun. It shoots a .45 caliber slug at around 1,000 feet per second which is impressive to say the least. This is a true big game air gun and I plan to film a hog hunting video with it very soon. So it’s powerful. How about accuracy? I’m glad to asked. Here is a picture of one of my groups. This was before I dialed it into the 10 ring later:
It is most definitely one of my favorite guns and one of the coolest guns I own. Check out the podcast “Prowler” Bill Henson and I did on this gun and the other airguns available from Airforce:
My plan is to take this gun on a hog or exotic game hunt in the very near future. If you haven’t checked out airguns in the shooting sports realm, now is the time! It is fun way to enjoy the shooting sports and Airforce Airguns makes some phenomenal airguns. Thank you as always for watching, reading, and listening! Have an awesome day in the outdoors!
It’s been over a month since I posted and I apologize for that. Thank you for watching, listening, and reading. In my most recent hunting video, shown below, I harvest a cull 5 point buck in Brady Texas at a family ranch. I finally made it back to Brady after all of the attempts to make it there last season. I think you will like the wildlife shots I also got on this hunting trip which I feature in the video.
Today is New Year’s Eve and I have a lot to celebrate from 2015. This year wasn’t an easy one by any means but I grew in a lot of new ways and provided a lot of value to a lot of people. I hit the 1,500 subscriber milestone on YouTube and had my first videos reach over 100,000 views.
Life is good and 2016 is going to be even better. I am excited and I hope you are too. We have so much to be thankful for and so much to look forward to in the future. Our best years are still ahead of us. God has a plan for each and every one of us and that alone is exciting. Thanks again for tuning in and Happy New Year!
Success in the field! Finally! It has been a slow and hard deer season so far. I never give up hope thought. I lost two game cameras and a feeder timer so far this season. One of the game cams was able to be fixed. I ordered a new game cam and bought a new feeder timer. All is well now. The only issue was that I haven’t had a shot opportunity at a deer this season up until last weekend. That all changed when my father-in-law got an invite from a good friend of his to hunt a ranch he owns in Mason County. This short video tells the rest of the story. I hope you enjoy it!
Last season, was an emotional roller coaster. Early in the season, I shot the best archery buck of my life which we named “Mr. Big” as he was about a 120+ class Whitetail buck. I shot a doe and missed another doe that season and my Brady, Texas hunting trip, which I have done annually since 2006, was canceled and rescheduled a number of times and ended up never coming together.
In any case, Mr. Big was the highlight of my 2014 season. I just got him back from my good friend Danny Barry at DB Wild Game Processing and Taxidermy. Danny learned taxidermy from one of the best teachers in our area and this mount turned out incredible. If you live near or around Central Texas, I highly recommend Danny for all of your taxidermy needs. Here is a picture of Mr. Big hanging on the wall in my office:
The memory of that hunt will last a lifetime and I still can’t believe I had the opportunity to shoot a deer of that caliber in a very urban area. It all goes back to managing wildlife to the best of your ability and culling out the herd where needed. I culled out many does and management bucks for several years before something as nice as Mr. Big came along my path one day. Thank you so much for reading, watching and listening!
Recently I was featured on the blog of Garilo.com, an online superstore of hunting, fishing, boating, and other outdoor gear, due to my work in the outdoor industry. This was a fun Q&A interview. Check it out here:
Also, released the next week, I was interviewed by the Bowhunting Freedom Podcast hot Phillip Havens and we had a blast on this one! Check it out here:
Thank you so much for watching, reading, and listening!