Friday, April 29, 2011

Tule Elk Footage - Central California
I videoed this Tule elk footage from over a half mile away on my way to Parkfield, CA for a hog hunt back in February. At one point, the bull elk herds up his cows and gives out an awesome bellow. You can't hear it on the video, but I was bless to be able to hear it. So cool! Two satellite bulls were sparring on a far hillside, too. It all happened in 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Scouting Trip Photos From February (Part 2)
Like I said in my prior entry, back in February, my friend Michael and I took a trip down the Cleveland National Forest to do some scouting. Our goal was to explore some new areas, see what game animals we could find and to see if we would want to go deer hunting here in the Fall. Here are some more of the photos from our scouting trip. It was a very successful scouting trip with us spotting some deer and me getting tagged by a big, nasty tick.

The water was flowing rapidly from the mountain streams.
A nice group of deer we spotted. There was a big buck (nubs were sticking out of his head) with them.
Favorite photo of the day: This is actually the reflection of the hillside in some water.
The sun was going down and we we still 2 miles in. It was great!
Some of the views speak for themselves.
This was tick #4 that I found when I got back. He was camped right on my snake boot.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Scouting Trip Photos From February (Part 1)
Back in February, my friend Michael and I took a trip down the Cleveland National Forest to do some scouting. Our goal was to explore some new areas, see what game animals we could find and to see if we would want to go deer hunting here in the Fall. 

Instead of writing a lengthy post about how we hiked 7 miles, pulled ticks off us all day and saw lots of deer, I decided to share a few photos I snapped throughout the day. I just used my trusty Nikon point-and-shoot to capture these. Enjoy.

Spike deer skull I found on a plateau.
Michael glassing the hillsides.
One of the beautiful views from our glassing point.
I have lost 25lbs since this photo was taken.
The only shed we found that was really chewed up.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Green Thumbers Unite: 3 Million Trees To Be Planted
Hunting in Southern California is tough. You have the heat, the traffic, the long drives and the competition of every hunter out there if you are on public land. Add to the equation a forest fire, and in this case, the Station Fire that destroyed 161,000 acres of forest land. For me that wasn't just any land. It was my hunting area. The only area that I had come to know well in my short time living in California. A fellow hunter had shown me his spots, we became friends and hunted together. All of the area we scouted fell within the Station Fire burn zone. Here's the scary part, I was up there scouting the week before the fire scorched the mountain sides. Not only was it humbling, it was also depressing. I was depressed on a completely selfish level. My hunting spot was gone. What was I going to do?

I got creative and started asking around. Long story short, I met a few people and now have a few different areas I can hunt. Still, I want to get back to the Angeles National Forest to hunt and while it might still be a few years before it can recover well enough to do so, there is a movement to help it along. The L.A. Times reported this story about the replanting efforts.
Almost two years after the Station fire scorched 161,000 acres of the Angeles National Forest, the U.S. Forest Service has embarked on a large-scale reforestation project that may re-engineer the region's historical pine and fir woodlands.

The project... aims to plant 3 million pine and fir trees over 10,000 acres scarred by the fire in an attempt to restore the area and offset greenhouse-gas emissions from a refinery in El Segundo.

The campaign is the first major ecological response to a historic arson fire that burned for weeks, claimed the lives of two firefighters and cost more than $95 million to battle, leaving an area roughly the size of Chicago blackened.
While I commend the efforts of the Forest Service in taking steps to encourage regrowth, I have to ask, is this good for the forest and the animals that live there? Bear with me here. I am all for helping promote regrowth and making the world a better place, but should we be planting trees that are not native to the area? One of the comments left by environmentalrep at 3:41 AM April 16, 2011said this:
This disturbs me a lot, because the USFS knows better. Nature has time. Planting locally derived native trees like Grey (foothill) pine and Big cone pine seedlings are the only acceptable plantings. So what if it takes another year to collect and sprout local seeds, do it right or stay the heck out! Let nature recover alone, and recover better absent this ill considered, invasive planting(s), a total waste of Forest Service personnel valuable time, tight tax money, and misuse of well intentioned volunteer efforts.
I am excited to get out there and start helping with the recovery and to start scouting the area again. 

Some of the pine cones out here are gigantic.

Native American naturalist and reforestation project supporter, Corina Roberts is quoted as saying something that truly bothers me as a human being.
 "Nature can and does regenerate on her own," said Roberts, whose photographs are on the Forest Service website. "But I also believe that planting trees can help satisfy a need people have to do something good and important for a forest that was so hideously burned."
Really? Satisfying a need over nature recovering on her own? It's like the story of the farmer who comes across a butterfly struggling to escape from it's chrysalis. He cuts open the shell to allow the butterfly to escape and the butterfly promptly falls to the ground and dies. The moral of the story is that nature needs to struggle to become strong to do what it needs to do. Helping it along in the wrong way can cause irreversible damage.

How do you guys feel about the planting of non-native seedlings and spurring the recovery effort along? I am very curious to hear what you all have to say. I'll admit, I am ignorant when it comes to environmental issues such as this one and with tomorrow being Earth Day I hope you all chime in.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Avoid Being Bitten By A Rattlesnake
Image © Gary Nafis
Imagine belly-crawling up a draw as you sneak in to get into position to draw back on a big hog when you hear that bone-chilling *rattle* of a rattlesnake. What would you do?

Another scenario that is all too common is climbing up a hill and reach for a small shrub, or using the ground as a third point of contact. You reach down to support yourself and get tagged by a rattler. No sound. No warning. Just two-holes in your hand because a snake felt threatened. They blend in extremely well. Would you know what to look for?

Check out the information and the photos of these common rattlesnakes in Southern California on the California Herpetologist website. I was very impressed with how many snakes there truly are and what they look like. Some of them I had not seen before.

You would be surprised at how many people are actually bitten on the hand vs. the foot. I was chatting with a local paramedic last year and that was one of the key points he made clear to me. He said most of the cases he's run into were when someone was reaching into a bush, grabbing a bush to pull themselves up, or crawling on the ground when they got tagged by a rattlesnake. That is something to take note of people.

I love snakes. I think snakes are one of THE coolest, most interesting reptiles on the plant. With that being said, I do NOT like the though of encountering one while I am putting a stalk on a Pacific-Hybrid deer, deep in the bush. Sure, I have my snake boots on, but not my snake-proof gloves or snake-proof jacket or snake-proof face mask. In order to plan for such an occurrence, I am constantly talking with other hunters, reading up on snake avoidance and just being cautious in the field. Most of my hunting buddies have seen a Mojave or a Western from a distance. I hope I never have the grand fortune, but should I encounter one (and the odds are that I will), here are some tips to avoid becoming a pincushion.

Here are some tips for avoiding rattlers altogether: 
  • Stick to marked trails.
  • Snakes are cold-blooded and warm themselves in the sun, so don’t mistake one for a stick.
  • Don’t hike alone.
  • Go around a snake if you see one. A rattler will go out of its way to avoid human contact, but may strike if you get too close or if you step on it.
  • Carry a walking stick. If you discover a rattler close to you, you may be able to move it away with the stick.
  • Snakes have bad eyesight, but they can sense sounds and vibrations, so stomping your feet may scare it off.
    Baby rattlers may be even more dangerous  than adults, Norton said. An adult will try to save its venom to immobilize its prey, and may not inject any when defensively striking a human. A juvenile, though, doesn’t know yet how to moderate its venom “dose,” so it could give you the full wallop.
    If you do get bitten, here are some survival tips: 
    • Get away to avoid further bites.
    • Try to remember what color the snake was. It could help the ER staff.
    • Later, remove jewelry and shoes in case of swelling.
    • Don’t do the Hollywood thing and cut across the wound or try to suck out the venom. You might make it worse.
    • Don’t take aspirin or ibuprofen, which can worsen bleeding.
    • After you go home from the hospital, watch out for unusual bleeding or bruising, as well as any allergic reaction to the antivenom, if it was administered. If you have any of these symptoms, return to the ER right away.
    Do any of you have any tips? How about a rattlesnake story you want to share? Please share some stories if you have them. I'd love to hear what happened.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    The New York Hog Explosion!
    Ok, I am being a bit overzealous in my title, but I couldn't resist with all of the talk of hogs and invasive species. I was reading the Democrat and Chronicle from my home state of New York when I came across an article on feral hogs yesterday. There are reports that feral hogs are starting to infiltrate farmland in Central New York.
    New York wildlife officials are scrambling to confront an invasion before it becomes an environmental disaster.

    Feral hogs, abundant for years in many Southern states, are slowly creeping into New York, and they are not a welcome addition.
    Now, if this is the case I expect to see many more stories from my NY hunting buddies regarding feral hogs. I haven't heard of anyone taking any hogs or going on a hog hunt, but I am sure it''ll happen.

    I do have my doubts, call it skeptical, but I think this may be getting more press because it's a hog and not another invasive species. I don't know. What I do know is that hogs cause incredible damage to farmland and New York is home to some of the most fertile farmland in the U.S. With many cash crop farmers growing corn, beans, buckwheat and barley, the hogs are certain to flourish without some aggressive action. The next time I plan a whitetail hunt with my family in New York I wonder if I'll be on the hunt for a hog as well. I think it'll take long than a year or two for things to get that far.

    You can be certain of one thing though. If the hogs are left to abound, you will start seeing more and more "outfitters" popping up offering hog hunts for a hefty price. Ugh!

    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Things That Set Me Off
    The news is always on in my world. I am constantly checking the online news, especially local news to see what's going on in my neck of the woods. In my case, its my section of freeway.

    In the past couple of days, I have read about two instances where archers or bow hunters or incompetent assholes that feel they need to shoot anything that moves. Stuff like this pisses me off to no end!

    First, there was a cat that had been impaled with an arrow in Santa Cruz, CA. Fortunately, the cat survived.
    Authorities so far have no suspects in the shooting, but Stosuy said an animal control officer working full time on the case and canvassing the neighborhood had already developed a few leads.

    He said if anyone was found to have shot Max intentionally, that person would likely face animal cruelty charges.

    Then I read in today's news that someone in one of our local outdoor archery ranges, located in Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley, decided they (and possibly others) used some Canadian geese as target practice.

    One of the three is still alive at a Costa Mesa veterinary hospital.

    One of the geese was reportedly euthanized last week because of a severe shoulder wound.

    Another died after undergoing surgery.

    Seriously? All I can say is that I hope that the people get busted and fast. Maybe one of their friends will turn them in, or a local, or maybe they'll narrow it down by arrow style, make, etc. However the police decide to approach each situation, I hope the criminals are brought to justice quickly. These are the kinds of people that give us respectable hunters a bad name and it has got to stop damn it!

    If anyone out there does have any information on either of these cases, please go to the authorities and say something. Do it anonymously if you are worried about your name being used, but please do something. I know plenty of people that are bow hunters who practice at Mile Square and are legit. These fools shooting animals just to shoot something are going to ruin things for everyone else.

    I am stepping off my soapbox now.

    Thursday, April 14, 2011

    Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays Invitational - June 11, 2011
    You might remember that back in March I went to the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, CA where I perused the venue and attended a few seminars. Mentioned in my blog post recapping the day was actor Patrick Kilpatrick – the actor / producer / director / writer who’s been in over 100 movies / television shows. 

    He is the highest profile current actor with the same agenda that you and I possess – the preservation of America as we know it.
    Patrick is hosting the 2011 Hollywood Celebrity Sporting Clays International on June 11, 2011 in Newhall, CA. This event is to promote firearms, archery, and hunting in Hollywood and to get other celebrities involved. This is a Pro-American, Pro-Military, Pro-Hunting, Pro-Shooting event. You would be surprised to hear how many celebrities shoot or hunt and don't talk about it. This event is open to the public, with the purchase of a ticket of course. You can purchase the entry ticket, get set up on a team and have a fun day of shooting, getting to know other shooters and best of all - having fun! Here is the email I received from Patrick today.

    Our event is not just sporting clays, it's a HUGE 3 ring circus with rifles, pistols, sub guns, cowboy / trick shooting, champion shooting, magnificent archery, fabulous fly fishing demos, global fishing trips, exquisite boating / kayaking booths, interactive product displays, a high end, bargain filled live auction, a red carpet (where pictures of celebrities with sponsor products will be taken – a media wall will be present too), massive gift bags containing all kinds of surprises will be given away, there will even be a crank Gatling Gun to shoot! – the list of attractions goes on and on and is growing all the time!!! Fiocchi Ammunition provided all our ammo last year + plenty of the revolutionary Cyalume Illumination Shotgun Tracer Rounds which light up during both the day and evening. They will be participating at an even greater level this year. It’s a stunning, brilliant place for everything encompassing the great outdoors – including you!

    WHAT:    The Hollywood Celebrity Sport Clays Invitational

    WHERE: Oak Tree Gun Club
                         23121 Coltrane Avenue
                         Newhall, CA 91321
                         (661) 259-7441

    WHEN:    June 11, 2011, 8am – 8pm

    Even the menu will be 5 star – we have an exquisite caterer, Captain BBQ, who will be preparing a mouth-watering Western theme BBQ with wild game (also on the menu is seafood and various wonderful vegetable dishes) that has been donated by the San Fernando Valley chapter of Safari Club International. Also catering are 2 Guys Grilling who have a complimentary style to the whole day and are two of the most delightful people on the planet – cooking up a few surprises on another part of the course. Last but certainly not least, is a veteran chef, who was part of our venue last year – The Camo Gourmet who is truly a master of his craft. We will also have many food sponsors present – everything from confectioneries, coke, tequila, even different wines from an up and coming but scrumptious label!

    Add to that lots of international media (everyone from CNN, E! Entertainment, Sportsman Channel, Outdoor Channel, Orion Multimedia, Versus to name a few), lots of celebrities, actors / entertainers of all levels, sports champions, shooting champions, the Beijing Olympic US Gold Medal Shooting Team along with many, many others (check out our website for all the up-to-date information as things are added all the time), LOTS of possibilities for you!

    It’s all for 501(c)(3) charities so it’s all tax deductible – which in these financially challenging times is a real plus. This year’s charities have the theme of Children of Heroes, Wounded Warriors and Wildlife Conservation. The superb 501(c)(3) charities we have decided to benefit are both grassroots and deeply committed to themselves and pro America efforts -- they are: The Paralyzed Veterans of America (, GuideOn (, Wounded Warriors, Children of Hero's Wish Program (, GallantFew (, The Audubon Society (, and Shriners’ Hospital For Children ( which continues the presence of a large hospital organization at our events.

    Check out our website ( then either phone or email us to customize your participation – we never do the same thing for another sponsor – this is just as much about serving you as it is the charity. We would very much LOVE to have you be part of it all, giving you major exposure into the heart of Hollywood itself. This is truly a unique and remarkable event for Hollywood – nothing has been done like this, to this extent before. You can reach us here in the office: 323.962.3200, Patrick’s cell: 323.252.8702 or email:

    Although there is no set time limit for sponsorship – sooner is better than later. Without putting pressure on you, be aware that we want to maximize your participation which includes putting you in all press releases, radio / tv spots that our celebrities will be doing to advertise the event (see the attached list of celebrities that have been invited, a vast amount of them will be there as they were last year) which is done best if we know ahead of time of your participation. We also have ongoing expenses for the event that need to be covered before the actual day of the event – these include catering expenses, PR, the actual range (Oak Tree) itself is charging us for the venue and require payment before the date of the event and such.

    When you get a moment please send us your logo in both .jpg and .eps formats so we can post it on our website and on our media wall – we are all about getting your name out as much as possible too!

    We really hope you’ll choose to join us at this one of kind Hollywood event.

    Very best,
    Patrick Kilpatrick

    I think this is going to be one kick-ass event! If any of you are interested and want to see the flyers and such, please email me. I'll be sure to send them to you. Unfortunately for me, I am photographing a wedding that day and cannot attend. I hope some of you can make it and if you do, please share your experience with me!

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Product Review: Carbomask Face Paint
    Wearing a face mask when I go hunting is something I despise. Partly because I wear glasses and partly because there's always a chance of having the fabric getting caught in the bowstring. I always fear the latter.

    For the past few years I have used a oil-based face paint that works well, but it has a stink to it and is a royal pain to take off. During my search for an alternative face paint last year, I came across Carbomask and decided to contact the owner of the company. He not only got back to me, but he also shared some video footage with me and sent me a couple of tubes of his product to test out.

    Inside the box was the Carbomask, some carbon soap and some Crystal Deo Spray. Carbomask is carbon based and is supposed to go on easily, dry, and wash off with a wet washcloth. Time to give it a go!

    First, I needed to try out the carbon soap. It's color is black as night from the charcoal. When you use it you will get dark material all over the shower, but it washes off easily with water. This stuff cleans well, it does reduce your odor and it also feels great. It leaves behind no film or soapy residue like any of the other scent-killing soaps out there. This actually makes your skin feel great, too. It looks like glycerin and charcoal mixed, but it works. This stuff will go quickly though. For an entire hunting season I recommend having two bars.

    Once out of the shower, you spray down with the Crystal Deo Spray. 
    This product is water-based mineral salt formula, no additives, preservatives. Use after showering for powerful, effective protection, Especially against scalp odor, pits, stinky groin and butt, and foot odor.  Don't be a duesh! Wash your groin and butt, and use it. Fights Masculine Musky Odors. This is not a bio-active material, and contains no biocide, germicide, bacteriocide, or other anti-microbial chemistry or even enzyme chemistry. Simply places a barrier between you and the odor causing environmental interactions we face every day.
    I tried that as well. It goes on well, but I didn't find that it worked too well. I didn't feel it reduced my odor much, if at all, but it was worth a shot. My body odor was back in no time, but like the website says, everyone is different.If you think this will be some miracle deodorant, keep shopping because there isn't one, but you may want to give this a try.

    The Carbomask is something new and easy to use. It goes on in seconds. Yes, seconds. This is the description from the website. It's great!
    1. Carbomask is professional grade face paint.
    2. Carbomask Contains no grease, oils, esters, petrolatum, or paraffins, these smell and are ingredients used in lipsticks, and other pretty make-ups. (crayons, and military grease paint, cold creams, sticks, or compacts)
    3. Carbomask does not clog pores, like lipstick would (or mayonaise).
    4. Carbomask does not smell. (like lipstick, makeup or crayons do). (emphasis: there is no odor)
    5. Carbomask is not a "film-former" on the skin, and therefore will not suffocate your pores.
    6. There are no anti-irritants in Carbomask, because it is not irritating. Carbomask is mild.
    7. There is no soap or surfactants built in to help it wash off because it does not need any, and therefore it is not irritating, and therefore does not require an anti-irritant.
    8. Carbomask is not permanent. It will not "stain" your skin like lipsticks, make-ups, grease paints do.
    9. Carbomask stays on and comes off, conveniently.
    10. There is no "scrubbing". Carbomask "rinses".
    11. Carbomask is like a mud-mask, but does not dry your skin out. Carbomask will clean your pores when removed, and leave your skin fresh and invigorated.
    12. We use pharmaceutical grade activated charcoal which adsorbs skin oils and odors onto its microstructure. (Hence the name "CARBO"mask.)
    13. Carbomask is not "Water Proof". Do not stand in a downpour rainstorm and look up, or go swimming (our clients typically do not do these things).
    14. Carbomask will not "run" nor change the color of your perspiration. Your sweat will remain clear and un-inhibited.
    15. Carbomask can be used on the palms and hands, and you wont even know it is there. We demo our product by putting our hands in our pockets, without coming off on your slacks.
    16. Carbomask is preferred by U.S. snipers over grease paints.
    17. Carbomask can be used to "dull" any shiny object: your bow, stool, canteen, helmet, ring, etc.
    18. Carbomask comes in a waterbased gel, and feels like water (pudding) when pinched between the fingers, the gel is smooth and works into a thin coverage with gentle smearing.

    This list says it all. I am very happy with how easy it applies and the flat color. The CM applies like a cream and is not oily at all. It's super easy to use and you truly can apply it in seconds. I have the smaller tubes, which fit easily into my pack. Here's where the true review comes in. I hike a lot to get to my hunting spots. I also so plenty of spot-and-stalk. And I sweat. The Carbomask stays on the face well, but around the ears and neck, if you are seating and your cloths rub against your skin, it will come off. I think this stuff is great for sitting in a blind, a treestand or even just a short jaunt into the woods. It's nice to have it on when doing a stalk, but just be prepared that it will wear off in certain conditions.

    Still, I love this stuff. It doesn't feel greasy on your face or hands. You can wipe it on your clothes and it won't stain. The best part? When you get back to your car/tent/house you can remove it with a Wet-Wipe or wet cloth. I tried both and I like the Wet-Wipes. It took three or four to get it all off, but it comes off super fast. Your skin really does feel good, too. My face felt soft, clean and dry. If you want something that will apply quickly and can be removed easily, this is your ticket.

    I used two tubes throughout deer season, the green and brown. Depending on how much you cover your face and hands, these will last for a while. Both tubes lasted me the season. You can see from my photo at the top that I cover most of my face, but not everything. I just want it to break up my pattern, not seem like a blog of color.

    I would give the Carbomask a 4 out of 5 stars for Southern California hunting. I'd give it a 5 out of 5 for Western NY hunting. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 out of 5 for SoCal is because I hate having to reapply face paint when I am hunting. In NY, the Carbomask lasted all day long. I think this is a great product. It's inexpensive when you consider how long a tube will last, too. For anyone looking to get rid of that cloth face mask, or the oily face paint, give the Carbomask a try and tell BobRay that The SoCal Bowhunter sent you.

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    SoCal Public Land Wild Turkeys
    Now that we are full-swing into our Spring turkey season, and I have been busy enough where I haven't had a chance to get out to hunt, here is a video clip I shot about a month ago. If this doesn't get you charged up for turkey season, I don't know what will. 

    My buddy, Michael and I were headed into turkey country to do some scouting to an area we knew held turkeys. Take a look at the video and you tell me if we were right.

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    CA DFG: Volunteer Academy or Cheap Labor?
    The below press release breezed across my desk yesterday and before posting anything about it I wanted to ponder exactly what the DFG was offering. It peaked me interest, at first, but after reading more about the process on the website I am thinking otherwise.

    My first impression is that this just appears to be a way for the DFG to get people to volunteer time to do office work. I am not saying that is exactly what it is, I am saying that is my impression. The times you can 'volunteer' is during regular office hours and 'occasional weekends.' Why not have people volunteer on weekends and evenings if they have the time? 

    I was actually thinking that this might be a great way for some people to help give back by sharing with others about conservation, hunting, fishing, the outdoors, but it doesn't really look that way to me. Maybe I am being too hasty in my views on the subject. Go check out the DFG website and let me know what your impressions are. I would really like to hear them.

    The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is recruiting applicants for the Natural Resource Volunteer Program (NRVP) to serve in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

    The NRVP provides conservation and enforcement education through public service while providing biological, enforcement and administrative staff support to DFG.

    DFG is holding an NRVP training academy in Los Alamitos from April 25 to May 6, Monday through Friday. Graduates of this academy become volunteers for DFG. These positions are unpaid.

    Interested individuals go through a selection process which includes initial screening, application, interview and background check. If selected, individuals attend an 80-hour conservation course to prepare them for a monthly service commitment of at least 24 hours. After completing the academy, volunteers work with a trained volunteer mentor implementing their newly acquired skills during a six-month probationary period.

    Applicants should be teachable, accountable, have basic computer and writing skills, and a willingness to talk about conservation principles to the public in the field and in a classroom setting. Applicants must show a desire to work well with others in a team environment to do tasks that free up time for paid DFG staff.

    DFG Natural Resource Volunteers have no law enforcement authority and are trained to be educational ambassadors for the department, donating their time in a variety of areas. Some of these areas include responding to human/wildlife incident calls, instructing at NRVP academies, representing DFG at community outreach events, patrolling DFG lands, ecological reserves, and coastal and inland fishing areas, and disseminating useful information to the public.

    Applications must be received by April 15, 2011. Please contact Lt. Kent Smirl at (714) 448-4215 prior to submitting an application.

    Further information and an application can be found on the NRVP website at

    Monday, April 4, 2011

    Creating Friendships By Paying It Forward
    Sunday was a good day for the archer. I made a new friend and it all happened because I sold a quiver.

    Last week, I sold a quiver to someone I had never met, but who was just getting started in archery. During the course of our conversation I found out that like me, Chris is also a graphic artist, has a love for deep-sea fishing, and, like many of us, is living on a budget when it comes to new archery gear. When he mentioned he was an archery newbie, I mentioned and also offered up any knowledge I might have tucked away in my head. One of my goals for 2011 is to help out new archers (especially bow hunters) in any way I can. They may not realize it, but they also help me learn, so it's a win-win situation.

    Chris and I exchanged a few emails and decided to hit up the El Dorado Park Archery Range in Long Beach on Sunday morning. Chris and were both very excited to get out there to shoot and swap stories.

    The range greeted us with open lanes and beautiful sunshine. When Chris left his house, he said it was raining and almost stayed home. I am happy to say he made the trip! I had the target set up by the time Chris arrived, so we got right after it. Normally, I would warm up by starting at 60 yards and then move in towards the target and finish at 20 yards, but the set-up Chris was using wasn't built for 60 yard shots, so we started in at 20 to loosen up. 

    It didn't take long to get the kinks out of our muscles and for us to start punching holes in the plate duct-taped to my target. For being a new archer, Chris shot well. When we started, we both noticed his arrows were all hitting left. Not a lot, but just enough to drive him nuts. I had a good idea what was happening, so I watched his next round. Sure enough, he was gripping the bow a bit to tight and was torquing the bow to the left. One minor change to his grip and he was back on target. While it is something very simple, and correctable, it is often overlooked.

    A few times I noticed a slight shakiness in his bow while shooting and offered up one of my 4oz stabilizers to adjust for it. After mounting it, he shot and his half dozen arrows were all in the plate with three that knocked out the bullseye. Thinking it might be just the 'confidence' from a new piece of equipment, I watched him shoot again. Right on target! His stance, grip and posture was greatly improved from when he first got out there. Well done, Chris!

    Now, you might think that as the teacher I didn't learn anything, but that's not true at all. I always learn something when I shoot. Out of all of the arrows I shot, I had three or four hit off target. Not badly, but enough that I knew exactly what had happened. Earlier, Chris and I had discussed rushing the shot and that's precisely what I was doing. I hadn't let me body seat into a good position before I let those arrows fly. Once corrected, I was drilling holes into the 3" black circles on the target.

    When Chris was done shooting, I moved back to 60 yards to fling a half dozen to keep my confidence up. It felt good watching the arrow bury itself in my target and hearing a 'WHUMP!' It sounded SOOOOO damn good hearing that! I could almost hear the air being let out of the lungs of a bull elk in the mountains of Colorado. It felt good!

    Now, I am not looking for praise, nor do I want any, for what I am about to share. It's just something I believe in. Paying it forward. I am a bow hunter that has been blessed throughout my years and I don't take that for granted anymore. I firmly believe that if I can help a fellow archer I will - without asking for anything in return. In this regard, I knew that Chris needed a stabilizer. He didn't ask for one, so I offered one of mine up to him. I have been blessed with a couple and I like to share what I have been given. Besides, this one was a perfect fit!

    Now I am going to ask all of you to do the same. Pay it forward. Forget about following the script of the movie, just get out there and share with someone else. Sharing my time with someone that wants to learn to shoot, hunt, learn more about archery makes me feel good and helps promote the sport. If you have some time, spend it with a fellow hunter or an up-and-coming looking for some guidance. If you have a few spare parts that they could use, but have been collecting dust on your work bench, share them. 

    If I learned anything from my wife, it is that you may be surprised by what blossoms out of one simple random act of kindness. I am amazed by it every day.