Sunday, November 27, 2011

Introducing Boone Derbar

I have been thinking for quite some time that it was time for me to start training hunting dogs again.  As my drive for hunting has been increasing over the past few years, I have been in need of a retriever on land and in water. In short I am getting tired of having to wade chest deep water with a stick trying to retrieve my ducks.  So in comes in Rocky Point Retrieves in Carona, CA.  They had two 10 week old males left in their litter, both with a genetic trait that caused both of them to have speckles on their paws.  Boone Derbar or Boone for short is a AKC registered Chocolate Lab with yellowish spots on his paws and a few on his chest.

  For me a few spots on the paws does not mean much to me.  Color is color and I have hunted over a few dogs, that were pure as pure can be and they were nothing more than high priced wastes of training.  Out of the two Boone, was more interested in playing with me than his brother.  So I was sold on him. Then I was off to the mecca of the west, Bass Pro Shop.  Oh ya, luck me it was on the way home and I just so happens to be in need of a few dog training items.  Boone got his first lesson within an 20 minutes of being picked up the lead.  It was shaky for the first 5 minutes, but he ended up taking to it well.  By the time we made our first of many passes up stairs he was good to go and we had "Sitz- Sit" down by the second round.  I forgot to mention I train my dogs in German, so they do not get confused by other handles and not to confuse my other house dog.  
  It was funny to see how many people I had petting him and asking to take him home.  I had more people around me than the candy machine at a Jenny Craig convention.  I eventually had to just pick him up and carry him so I could finish my shopping.  So for our first adventure out together he was a winner, A+.

  After 4 days, I've got him on lead, fetching on mark, sitting, stay, lay, waiting on the handler to go in the door first, and a few other tricks. So well see how the rest of the week goes for us.  Hope you enjoy the video.

The Bearded Boar
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Monday, November 21, 2011

A Love One Lost & A Lost Love Discovered

     I do not usually get too personal or divulge deep feelings of my life over the Internet or discuss things about my family too much, but this week a few things happened to me that caused me to rethink my commitment to keep the blog centered on "The Beard".  First on a sad note my grandmother Joyce Kathleen Summers-Catalde passed away at the distinguished age of 93 years old.  She was a wonderful woman that loved me and my family dearly.  Always a kind word and a smile for me as far back as I could remember and she always had a warm embrace to give to anyone who would take it. So before I go any further "Thanks Grandmom. Miss ya."

    At the same time while I was loosing something so dear to me something else brought me more joy and amazement than almost anything else in my entire life, I took my 6 year old son hunting for the first time.  Sure we've gone out to spot n' stalk Black Tail deer at grandpa's house but this was a whole new adventure, a whole new world of dirt and discovery.  Just "Chew" and Dad, the boys out to get dinner for the fam.  I'll be honest I did not have high expectations of the trip, I mean I knew that there were ducks at my spot, but I did not think he could stay still long enough to allow me to get a shot off.  And for the record we did have a set of Mallards and flock of teal come in earlier and he was so excited he just kept yelling "get'em dad!" and "great shot!"  But the funny thing is I think they knew we were there from a mile away, something about a little boy, guns, dad and hunting that can turn up the volume on a normally quiet kid.

   Life was good even with the busted fly by of table fare. We just sat there and honed his skills of marksmanship by shooting his slingshot at lizards, rocks, and the river.  I had to explain to him that he wasn't Rango and "we do not shoot hawks."  He just replied, "hawk dead, snake comes." All you parents with kids know what I mean.  So after a break from our little "Lord of the Flies" adventure, we took to our boots and headed down the road.  After some creative stalking on a few ducks we were able to call a nice Gadwall in to join us for dinner. The turn, the approach, and the shot all went perfectly.  Luckily for me the tide was low and I was able to wade out in the river and pull her to safety.

  What happened next made my year, my son's first experience with a duck.  The video does not do it justice in the least.  His amazement and wonder at the duck was astonishing, he had to know everything about the duck and studied it's intricate details for the rest of the hunt.  I am still not sure if it was my duck or his, but the more I think of the day, it was our duck.  We, together, provided for our family and were able to fill the freezer. Chew's words of encouragement, "great shooting" and "let's get a daddy duck" will always stick with me.  I am not sure who enjoyed the afternoon more, me or him.  I guess all I really know is we both gained something that day, Chew got a little older and closer to being a man and I found the best hunting buddy a man could ask for, his son.

  I lost my father a few years ago and I'll be honest, hunting just hasn't been the same. Last Tuesday, I had the same feelings of being connected to another person while hunting that I had not had since my last dove hunting trip with my father.  It was not just a good day, it truly was one of the greatest days of my life. I look forward to taking my son, and someday my daughter, out hunting as much as I am able too.  So yes, I did loose something this week, but I found a lost love with my new hunting buddy.


The Bearded Boar

****This is my submission for the Sportsman Channel Writing Contest for Hunters hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network.****
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Friday, November 18, 2011

Survival Straps- Review

The Intro
 They say necessity is the mother of all invention and that rains true for my new favorite company Survival Straps.  Not only do they make products that are useful and practical, but they are a company that encompasses the American dream and Spirit.

The Company
  Five years ago Kurt, the owner and founder, had a need.  On a spearfishing trip his watch band had broken and using what he had with him he fashioned together a watchband made of some loose para-cord that he had stuffed into his bag.  It looked good, it was practical and others saw it liked it too.  Then and there Survival Straps was born, first out of his garage, selling on eBay and now they are 60 employees strong and moving to a larger facility to keep up with the demands of consumers.
  Looking at the product I know that I could make something close to what they have, but please realize that there is more to this story and the product that meets the eye.  Survival Staps prides itself on that from start to finish your strap, dog collar, belt, key chain is 100% American made.  Everything they do it driven to keep American great, from the manufacturing of the cord to the assembly of the straps in house they are creating jobs and imputing money into the US economy and not a foreign county or buisness. Heck in the last 6 months they have hired about 30 people and it did not take a multi-trillion dollar stimulus package to do it, just good people, good product and a smart business plan.

Wounded Warrior
  My father, Uncles, and Grandfathers were all military and I live in a military town.  I support our troops and their families any chance I get because of the sacrifice that they all make for my freedom and yours.  The tipping point for me to actually want to talk to Survival Straps is their work with the Wounded Warrior Project.  Some people donate some proceeds at certain times of the year, they go way beyond that.  10% of all their standard items and 50% of all the WWP items go directly to The Wounded Warrior Project. They are also currently trying to raise $1,000,000 by Christmas for them.  That is not some small amount or money nor is it money that is coming from some large business.  This is hardworking Americans who are putting their money where their mouth is and helping the soldiers that have sacrificed so much for us.  This alone made me a life time supporter of Survival Straps, they could be selling toy monkeys and I'd be down.

The Strap
  Okay on to the strap itself. First let me say I am a rope junkie, I always have some kind of rope either in my bag, pack, truck or even on my Nalgene bottle.  It gets in the way, it gets knotted up and I never seem to have it next to me when I need it, but not any more.  I wear my rope now. The construction is top notch, sturdy, tight and durable.  The standard clasp is a plastic buckle, but in my estimation just go with the Stainless Steel Shackle, it is more useful and will not fail.
  I was thinking to my self, okay I need to take it apart and try to find something to use it on now, but I did not want to fake anything just for a review.  So I decided to wear it until I actually needed it and yesterday while duck hunting I needed it.  I had gone duck hunting without some kind of postmortem carrying device for my ducks. So, in comes my Black Survival Strap.  I untied the band, cut a section out and made a self-cinching knot that held my ducks while I made the mile and half walk back to my truck. Good stuff, ducks in the truck and I was still free to move and hike. One might say, "I just used my Strap for my ducks and I don't have a killer strap to wear anymore".  Not so fast.

The Replacement Policy
  "If you use it we replace it." Thats right folks, they stand by their product till then end.  No customer service in India, no endless waiting on the phone for help, Spanish Inquisition style questioning to prove you actually used it.  Just send them an email detailing how you used the product and send them a $5 donation and you have a new strap.  The stories go on their website for all to enjoy too, some nominal and some are down right hardcore! Here are a few a few of my favorite.

James the Sniper

The Wrap Up
  Okay, as you can see I am a little smitten for sure, but man this is the stuff that gets me fired up.  A company that cares for others, hires Americans to do the work, is a success from scratch story, and makes hardcore outdoor products!  How can you not be?!  I am one Strap down, but you can bet that I will be getting another on for sure.  If you are looking for a gift for someone this year for Christmas, Survival Straps is the place to go for sure.  Let us all help them get to that $1,000,000 Dollar mark and prayerfully beyond.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Adventure is under a hat.

  I was cleaning out my truck today when I realized something, I have and wear a lot of hats. Camo, Trucker, Visors, Bennies, Meshed and more.  I like to wear certain hats to do certain things, My Matthews hat is for Deer Hunting in the cold or at the archery range.  My HS hat is meshed so I use it for hot weather and turkey hunting, my red Patagonia hat I wear surfing and I can't forget about my blue Patagonia hat that I wear flyfishing.  Lets just say we would be here a while if I were to describe all the hats and their "Job Descriptions".

  With all the hats that I have it reminds me of why I love the outdoors, for every hat I have there is an adventure under each one.  Each hat has a story and has been with me though thick and thin. I guess you can say an adventure for me starts under a hat.

So cheers to the  fleece, cotton, and canvas we wear
The brim, the flex fit, the mesh and the ones lined with hair.
Our brows are shaded from the sun,
So in hopes that while outside we can  "Git R' Done".
We find warmth on the days the snow is falling,
And cover when we pursue the ducks we are calling.
So here is to the hat the increaser of odd,
Your are truly an invention that is straight from God.

The Bearded Boar
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Monday, November 7, 2011

The Bearded Boar On the OBN!

So all I can say is wow. 

    A big thanks to Rebecca and Joe over at The Outdoor Blogger Network for selecting me as one of the "Weekly Featured Bloggers."  I'm not sure whether I should thank Rebecca or be offended, "You never know what he is going to blog about."  Well I guess it is a complement, I am pretty random.  So thanks and Cheers to Rebecca and Joe!

Check out the post


The Bearded Boar
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

  The "Snow Months" for most people means hunting big Mulies in the mountains, Whitetails in the hardwoods, Elk in the foothills, hunters freezing their butts off in a duck blind waiting for the skies bring forth our favorite feathered table fair or simply huddling around the tv watching football glad we have the heaters set to 85 degrees.  Not me, I think about the four magical months where trout fishing in California can be one of the most memorable adventures an angler can have and not a sole in sight.  Snow shoeing for 2 miles into an area usually does not appeal to many people nor does camping in 16 degree weather.  But for me it does.

  Last January I was introduced to to a new facet to fly fishing by my two slightly insane fishing buddies.  The conversation started with something like, "Hey, lets go camping in the back of my truck in the middle of January in the snow, ya it 16 degrees at night, but hey no one will be there fishing."  Something like that at least, details are a little fuzzy.  Long story short, we rolled in late at night, parked on the side of the road and slept till the morning.  Oh wait, thats not right, we went for a 3 hour snow shoeing death march into the night looking for the hot springs that we never found.  Fun times.

  All that aside, the fun, the camaraderie, the frost bite, the next morning we geared up and trekked into a now isolated creek that seemed to be untouched by anglers.  I wont say the fishing was off the charts, but it was fun to be able to fishing with snowshoes strapped to your back and at times on your feet.  The nice thing about Hot Creek near Mammoth Lakes, CA is that the streams have thermal hot springs and that means the fish are a little more active during the winter.  And after a day of creek crossing, deep snow and tying on the smallest flies in our arsenal we ended with a sigh of accomplishment victory.  We even ended up staying the night in a guys house that we met on the stream that day.  Let me tell you that it is much warmer sleeping by a wood stove then spooning your fishing buddies in the back of a Toyota Tundra.

  So as the fall leaves turn to gold, orange and crimson, and most outdoors men are settling into the doldrums of winter, I am anxiously awaiting the death marches in the snow.  It may not always be the best of fishing, but how many people can say they have been fly fishing in the middle of the winter with snowshoes?  So if you don't here from me from January to March, it is a good bet I am wading a stream somewhere in the Eastern Sierras meditating on the rhythmic motion of the rod and the song of the river.

The Bearded Boar
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