Archive for April, 2008

Dreamin’ Big…African Safaris!

Friday, April 11th, 2008

T. Jeffrey Safari CompanySince I was old enough to hunt, I think I’ve dreamed of being able to go to Africa and Hunt. Then, when I went off to college, my first roommate was from Africa, and told stories about living there. That only fueled my fire to want and go and hunt there. Unfortunately, I have not yet been able to do so…maybe someday!

I came across a pretty cool website today of company that runs African Safaris. T. Jeffrey Safari Company offers a lot of different safari options, including a Namibia safari hunting trip. Be sure to visit the website, so that you can see all of the great animals available for hunts in South Africa!

This website is very well put together, and has all the information that you need to inform you on African Safaris.  What really surprised me is the relatively low cost of the Safari.  In fact, you can take an African Safari, and have the opportunity to take several animals, for the same price that a guided elk hunt usually costs in this country.  I found it ironic that there are some North American hunts offered on the same site, and an antelope hunt is comparable to an African Safari!

The pictures of harvested animals on this site are great.  I would like to see the pictures be a little bit bigger, but that is probably just because I love looking at that kind of picture.  It’s great being able to see people who have been successful on such a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Viewers should beware, there are several harvest pictures with a lot of blood showing.  There are even some pretty graphic pictures of head shot game, which does not bother me at all, but I thought I better warn you about it.

I think you all will enjoy taking a look at this website.  It has a lot of great pictures of African game species, and a lot of happy hunters.  Who knows, if you ever have the chance to go on an African Safari, you might wan to check out T. Jeffrey Safari Company!

Thanks to the T. Jeffrey Safari Company for supporting this post!

A Little Glimpse of Summer…

Friday, April 11th, 2008

I was looking at some of the videos that I have loaded up on YouTube, and came across one that I put up a long time ago, one that I found on my camera that I had forgotten about. This was taken when my son was about 2 years old. We had a strawberry patch that produced an amazing amount of strawberries through the summer. Jacob liked going out and picking them right off the vine (we didn’t use any pesticides) and eat them. He would have strawberry juice dripping off of his elbows!

I miss having that strawberry patch, so I may have to try and get another one put in where we live now. It may take a lot of work, but it was certainly worth it in the end!

This video isn’t the greatest quality, but hopefully it’s good enough that you can enjoy it!

Spring Has Finally Sprung in the North East!

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Spring Flowers in BloomSpring is finally here in West Virginia. We have been seeing the trees bud for a while, and the Weeping Willows have been looking great. The grass has been growing quickly; it was hard to cut it on Monday because it was so tall in some places. But, today, we got up, and a lot of the trees and flowers had actually bloomed! We have 3 Bradford Pear trees in our front yard, and 2 Dwarf Plum trees beside our house. We also have an apple tree in the back yard. Everything is out in bloom, making it smell great, and look just as good. I guess it may be hard on those that suffer from allergies, but I love it!

Now, if we can only get a few days without rain, at the same time that I can take a day off and head to the mountains to do some trout fishing!  I was hoping to go this weekend, but again, we are going to be having a lot of rain and thunder storms.  Looking forward into the the weather forecast, it appears that next weekend may be a good time to head on up to the rivers.  I have been dying to get up there (as you well know, if you have been reading this blog all spring).  I know its going to be a great time, and that the fish will be biting, since I have had to wait so long to go!  It wouldn’t be so bad, but it takes me about 3 hours to get to the good fishing.

One more design note.  I just added feedburner to my site, so if you have subscribed to this blog, please switch your subscription to the feedburner feed.  If you haven’t subscribed, be sure and do so…it is the easiest way to keep up with new posts.  Make sure and subscribe to all the great outdoor blogs that you read!  I just recently started using the Google Reader to subscribe to feeds, so I am keeping up with all of you on my iGoogle page!

Tuesday’s Tracking: A New Look Here!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Tuesday's TrackingThis Tuesday’s Tracking is a bit different today from what I have done in the past. I have reworked the theme here again, and think it is working better now. It still doesn’t look quite as good in Internet Explorer as it does in Firefox. I have a good solution: Download Firefox! I do think it is better, but at least now you can actually read this blog in IE!

I am still working on my blog roll some, but I have made some changes. I have followed Blessed lead, from over at A Blessed Crazy Life, and have instituted a “Daily Read” list. I will try to keep that updated with the 10 blogs that I read most often. I try to get to all of them daily, but you know how things go. We all get busy, and it makes it hard to get everything done that we need to (or want to).

So, to kick off the new blog look, and to show some appreciation for the great blogs that I read regularly, here is my First Daily Read List (in alphabetical order):

So, that is the list as it stands today. There are many other blogs that I read when I get the opportunity. I try to read these most days. A lot of times I try to comment, but that has been few and far between as of late. I’m going to try and be a bit more diligent about it.

For those on the list, if I haven’t covered your blog in my “Tuesday’s Tracking” feature, I probably will be before too much longer! To those who haven’t made this list, perhaps you will move up there before long. It will be difficult to figure out how to shuffle these great blogs around. I may have to expand my “Daily Reads” to more than 10!

As for the new design, be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  I think this is a bit more functional than my last design, and I really like the the 3 Column look.  I think I have made some changes that will speed up the loading of the page as well.  My biggest problem now is too many pictures!  But, I hate to leave those off, especially if they are of my kids enjoying the outdoors!

Adding a Little Levity to the Day…

Monday, April 7th, 2008

I came across this video today, and thought you all would enjoy it as well. This is done by a guy named Tim Hawkins, and he is hilarious. You can go to his website and see some of his other work. There are also some more high quality videos on the website.

On a more personal note, yesterday’s post was my 100th for this site. That seems like somewhat of a milestone! I have certainly enjoyed keeping up with the site, and befriending so many out there in the cyber world. I have recently made some changes and gotten some good feedback from a couple of you. To the rest, let me know what you think! Do you all like the new design? Thanks for dropping in, and for reading!

EDIT:  I just discovered today that my new theme is not compatible with Internet Explorer.  Go figure.  5000 WordPress themes, and I choose the ONE that won’t work in both Firefox and Internet Explorer.  I am going to work on finding another template that is similar to this one,  and get it worked up to fit the genre of the blog.  My apologies to those of you who are using IE.

Charlton Heston, Great Defender of Gun Rights, Dead at 84…

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Charlton HestonCharlton Heston, well known to the general populace as a great actor who starred in a ton of movies, most notably Ben Hur and Planet of the Apes, died last night at the age of 84. According to Wikipedia, Charlton Heston made some 100 movies. You can see a short list of his popular movies, as published by the AP by clicking here. Though this is quite a career for anyone in Hollywood, it is not these accomplishments that make his passing noticeable to this writer.

Charlton Heston had a major impact on the political climate in the United States, particularly in regards to his defense of the 2nd Amendment. Charlton Heston served as the high profile president of the National Rifle Association (NRA) for five years, ending his presidency in 2003. Heston, with his popularity, was able to make conservative politics popular. He helped to develop the NRA into a major force, lobbying for gun owners in Washington D.C. He had, perhaps the greatest impact in the 2000 elections, when gun rights and the 2nd Amendment were a central issue. At the time that he stepped down from the NRA, Jeb Bush, then Governor of Florida, credited Heston for President George Bush’s election to the U.S. presidency. He said:

“Were it not for your active involvement, it’s safe to say my brother may not have been president of the United States.”

According to an article by the Associated Press, Al Gore lost the election because of this issue. Statistics show that nearly half of voters in the 2000 election were gun owners, and of them 61% voted for George Bush. Voters from households that did not own guns voted for Gore at a rate of 58% to 39% for Bush. Charlton Heston, with the power of the NRA, was able to make gun rights a main issue in that election, and they have actually changed the way Democrats now portray the issue. Al Gore was staunchly against gun rights, and ran on a strong anti-gun platform. But, the democrats learned quickly. In 2004, John Kerry put on a flannel shirt and acted like he knew what he was doing with a shotgun. That was about as realistic as Michael Dukakis poking his head out of a tank to act like he supported the troops.

In the current election cycle, the democratic candidates are following in Kerry’s footsteps because they learned that they cannot win an election without the support of the pro-gun contingent of this country. Hillary Clinton has now started claiming that her father taught her to hunt when she was growing up in Arkansas, and she “even shot a duck”. Again, that is completely disingenuous on her part. After all, Bill Clinton did a hatchet job on gun rights during his eight years in office, and we did not once hear about Hillary’s great love for hunting and the shooting sports. Barak Obama has tried to appear to be in favor of gun rights as well, touting his “belief” that guns are an integral part of our American culture, used for sporting applications as well as self defense. However, when he actually has a chance to vote on the issue, he votes in favor of restricting gun rights (such as the gun ban in Washington D.C.)

These changes in the Democratic Platform are a direct result of the work that Charlton Heston and the NRA did from 1998 on. They are truly a force to be reckoned with! Heston’s work for the 2nd Amendment endears him to gun lovers and outdoorsmen. The NRA benefited greatly from his work and his popularity. He made a great splash when he told the NRA convention in May of 2000 that the government could have his guns when they “pry it from my cold dead hands.” This has become the rallying cry for many gun rights advocates, and has shown up on countless bumper stickers.

I for one am glad that there are those that will fight so hard for our rights to keep and bear arms.

More Evidence Against Barak Obama

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

I know I have been writing quite a bit on here lately about Barak Obama. But, the truth of the matter is, he has put himself forward as the candidate of honesty and integrity, and he is anything but that in real life. If you are a Barak Obama supporter, I don’t mean to offend you. I write these things so that may be you will be able to see that he isn’t really all he cracks himself up to be.

Obama has been trying to act as if he is for the 2nd Amendment, and the right for Americans to keep and bear arms.  In fact, while campaigning in the Midwest (predominantly “red state” regions), he has included much about how he is for the rights of the people to keep weapons for sporting applications and for self protection (and protection of family).  However, he has been for the handgun ban in Washington D.C., which means that he doesn’t want those people to have the right to protect themselves, or own guns for sporting purposes.  He also tried to get most guns banned in Chicago.  So, I guess he is for your right to keep and bear arms, except when he decides you live in a place that he doesn’t want you to have them!

Recently, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review published a piece about the various candidates positions on the 2nd Amendment, and issues that surround it.  Obama has backed off of his attempts to push for a wide spread registration of guns (which is what he wanted to do in Illinois), probably because it is so unpopular among the American people, and could be his death knell.  He has, however declared that he is against concealed carry.  Now, most states already have conceal carry laws on the books.  Would he push for legislation to repeal those laws by a national law (which could supersede the state laws)?

Alan Gottlieb, the Chairman for  The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), has put his finger on the main point of this issue.  In an article published on Townhall.com, he said:

Barack Obama ignorantly believes that legally-armed Americans are as reckless and irresponsible as the criminals with whom his political sympathies evidently law (sic).”

He went on to say:

He has been insisting for months he supports the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but here he is now campaigning in Pennsylvania, stating essentially he would prefers Americans not exercise that right.”

The sad truth is that we are seeing the two faces of Barak Obama.  He is for guns when he is in a crowd that wants him to be for guns.  He is against guns when he is in a crowd that wants him to be against guns.  But, how will he legislate?  What is his position when he is in his office all by himself?  I think that is pretty evident.  He is against guns, and will do what he can to make it as difficult as he can to attain guns legally.  His track record in Illinois is enough to show what he will do if he makes it to the “big show”.

If you still think that Barak Obama will protect your rights to keep your guns (and buy new ones), then you better wake up!  Bill Clinton was the worst president we have every had as it applies to this issue.  Hillary would be in th same vein.  Al Gore was defeated, primarily on this issue.  But, Barak Obama is probably worse than all of them!  He doesn’t want you to be able to buy a gun, or own a gun.  Are you willing to accept that?

I Think Its Time For a New Look…

Friday, April 4th, 2008

I have made some occasional changes to the look of this blog over the last couple of years, but I think it is time to upgrade to a better template…one that has a little more functionality. I have noticed that my blog has been loading really slowly for a while now, and that is probably due to putting too much stuff on it, at least in one file (the sidebar). So, I think I am going to look for theme that is a little more functional.

I am definitely going to go with something that has at least 3 columns. I like the wide look, rather than a narrow one, so I am hoping I can find something that will let me work with the width of the text area. Some of the newer themes are a little harder for us novices to work with.

Anyway, I tell you all this so that if you pop in, and things look a bit different, you will know what is going on. Hopefully, it won’t take me too long to get everything all set up, and everything functioning properly again.

I may also weed out some of the links from my blog roll. I find I don’t read all of the blogs, and I don’t think they all read this blog either. Hopefully, these changes will make for a better reading experience here. Thanks for dropping in! Come back soon to see what’s new!

Update on My Niece…

Friday, April 4th, 2008

I know many of you have been keeping up with the progress on my Niece over at her website, Cheyenne’s World.  The good news today is that she is heading home.  If they are able to get all the Doctors straightened out in the next little while, then they will be starting the long drive from Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital to their home (which is about 2 hours away).  I appreciate everyone who has checked in on little Cheyenne, and expressed concern for her, as well as all the folks that have donated money to help Aaron and Nikki out during this tough time.  I know that my sister-in-law is ready to head for home, as she has been in hospitals and motels for more than 2 months.  They are certainly happy to have a healthy little girl to take home with them.  You can keep up with Cheyenne’s progress through her website!

Mississippi Hunters Can Bait Deer…or Maybe Not!

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

The state senate of Mississippi has passed a bill making it legal to hunt deer over bait by a narrow margin (25-24).  The state House has also passed the bill (68-51), so now it is on to the governor’s desk.  The problem is that the governor has already promised to veto the bill if it made it to his desk.

Though I haven’t really been following it, it seems that this has been a hot issue in Mississippi…maybe some of my readers from down there can jump in and help me out on understanding all of the intricacies of the issue as it has developed down that way.

It appears that just a year ago, the state gave the DNR the right to decide if baiting would be legal or not.  But, this year, they have jumped the gun and tried to push through legislation that would make the practice of baiting legal.  I suspect that this is at the heart of the issue as to why the governor would veto the bill when it makes it to his desk.  It seems that this move would make the law passed just last year insignificant–going around the law to institute something that was already taken care of.  It seems like they should have just legislated it how they wanted it last year!

I know that baiting can be a hot topic among deer hunters, much like other significant issues (high fence hunting, dog hunting, etc.)  But, as I was reading this article on the Commercial Dispatch Online, I was struck by one of the statements made toward the end of the article.  Quoting from the article:

When questioned about the practice of hunting deer over food, House Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks Chairman Bo Eaton, D-Taylorsville, responded: “It’s all about ethics. If you feel like it’s unethical, then don’t do it.”

I think a lot of hunters spend time arguing over what is ethical, and what is not.  What we should focus on is what is LEGAL.  If a practice is legal, then it is really up to the individual whether or not he or she sees it as ethical.  I may decide not to hunt behind high fence, but if it is legal, I am not going to bash someone else who does it.  The same is true for baiting, hunting with dogs, or hunting with crossbows.  If I don’t like one of those practices, even though it is legal, I don’t have to participate!  That quote makes a lot of sense, and really should help us to see the approach we should take to many of these controversial, but legal issues.

So, what is your take on baiting deer?  It is legal here in WV, and we do have a couple of feeders set up.  What I would say is that we have harvested very few deer because of the feeders.  Most of us don’t hunt near them, as they are generally near the road (we don’t have a 4 wheeler to carry the feed into the feeders).  I will hunt near one a couple of times during bow season, but that is about all.  I know in the south they are used more, especially where there are no open fields.  I have hunted some places where there was little chance of getting a shot at an animal because the cover was so thick.  I can certainly understand using feeders in those situations to try and draw out some animals from the underbrush.

So, what do you do?  Tell us your take, especially if you are from Mississippi–how will this debate affect you and your hunting style?