Archive for September, 2008

Gathering Opinions on Crossbows…

Monday, September 29th, 2008

I hope you all will be willing to share with me your opinions, and I know (or at least hope) that you will have varying positions.  I am working on an article on hunting with crossbows, and would like to know what you all think.  Here in WV, it is illegal to hunt with a crossbow, unless you are handicapped in some way and cannot use “traditional” archery tackle.  Right across the river in Ohio, it is perfectly legal to hunt with crossbows.  I know the debate on this issue has heated up in some states, so I’d like to see the pros and cons of the arguments.  So, if you will, answer for me the following questions in a comment at the end of the post:

  1. What state do you hunt in?
  2. Are crossbows legal, in any form or under any conditions?
  3. Do you think it should be legal to hunt with crossbows during the general archery season?

Feel free to expound on any of the questions, and give me a good argument for or against the practice.  I look forward to hearing from you all!

Thanks in advance for your opinions.  I’ll be sure to link my article when it is published so that you can see my opinion on the matter.  I have my ideas formulated, but this is your chance to change my mind!

More Dishonest Campaigning…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Things are heating up here in West Virginia as the presidential election nears.  The democrats have lost the last two presidential elections because the candidates were against 2nd amendment rights.  Both Gore and Kerry lost because West Virginians thought they would impede their rights to own guns.  Barak Obama is not about to let that happen (or so he thinks).

There are ads that are currently running in our state that feature the president of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, which claim that McCain and Obama are just alike when it comes to our guns, and therefore, we should vote for Obama because he will do more in the area of jobs, and the economy.  I suppose that there are some people who will be ignorant enough to just accept this commercial at face value and decide that Obama is an ok choice for those of us who actually enjoy exercising our second amendment rights.  I am not one of those ignorant few.  I decided to take a look at this organization and see what they were about, and see why they are endorsing Obama rather than McCain (or some other candidate).  What I discovered was that this group is not really interested in our best interests!

The American Hunters and Shooters Association is really a global warming, eco-extreme group.  The website (linked above) will show you that they have one issue in mind, and they are far more focused on it than for protecting our gun rights.  It is fine for them to be an organization that stands for what they believe in, but don’t hide it under the guise of standing for my 2nd amendment rights!  Most of their website is focused on bashing the NRA.  I am sure that we can all agree that the NRA has made mistakes, but they have certainly done more for protecting the 2nd amendment rights of Americans than any other organization.  To spend so many pages bashing the NRA tells me that the American Hunters and Shooters Association is not nearly as interested in gun rights as they are for their pet project of global warming.

This group only supports those in congress and the senate (as well as presidential candidates) who will say that they think global warming is a serious, man made issue.  Any candidate that believes that global warming is the result of cyclical climate changes is “against conservation.”  This is evident by reading the quotes that they put on their site, as well as the ratings of the various candidates on the site.  It is a ridiculous proposition that one must believe that global warming is both man made and ultimately destructive to be able to work for conservation!  Many smart, educated people disagree with the leftist positions on global warming, and yet do much for conservation.  I am one, and many of my friends fall into the same category!  In fact, as far as animal conservation is concerned, I will take real hunters every time over the typical conservation organizations.

The assertion that Obama and McCain will protect 2nd amendment rights in the same way is blatantly dishonest.  I have written an article that chronicles Barak Obama’s positions on gun rights.  It shows that Obama has not been a friend of gun owners.  He has done his best to outlaw semi-automatic fire arms in his home state, and I believe that he will continue to work toward this end.  He had no record of being “for guns” until well into this campaign, when he needed to start winning over “rural America.”  In other words, he tells people just what they want to hear.  And that is exactly what this commercial does!

I guess that this group thought that putting “Hunters” and “Shooters” in their title would make those of us who are really hunters and shooters to just accept what they have to say.  They obviously think that we are a stupid group, who have no ability to think for ourselves.  They also must be desperate to get Obama elected.  I know that many will vote for Obama because they think he is best for the country.  I don’t think that is the case.  Please don’t be deceived into thinking that he will be good for our 2nd amendment rights.  He will certainly degrade our rights any way that he can under his umbrella of “common-sense enforcement.”

I am not a “one issue voter”, but 2nd amendment rights is on my list of “must haves” in a candidate.  If Barak Obama will lie to me about what he believes on this issue, how many other issues will he lie about?  This is not a matter of a “mistake”, it is not a matter of being “unclear.”  He has been clear throughout his career, and that is what speaks louder to me than the words he spews now.

© Kris Brewer

Why I Hunt…

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Some time back, Arthur over at Simply Outdoors asked us why we hunt. He posted a request for me to write on that topic, and I have put it off for several months. I have had the thought brewing in the back of my mind for some time, but have wanted to make sure to give it the attention that it deserves before sitting down to do some actual writing. The reasons we hunt are probably very similar across the board. However, I would like to throw out my own personal thinking on the subject, and tackle some of the reasons that I started hunting, and why I continue to do it today.

When I started hunting, it was because my family did it. My dad hunted. My grandfather hunted. My older brother hunted. I can still remember the first year he got to go out, and I had to stay behind at the house because the age limit in Pennsylvania was 12 years old. He is only one year older than I am! That certainly didn’t seem fair at the time. And when he came back with a nice 8 point that first year, I must admit that I was jealous.

The next year, when I finally got to go out, I can remember sitting in the stand (which was a barn on an old farm) and wondering if I would actually be able to pull the trigger. Many people think that hunting is all about killing something, but in my experience, killing the animal is only one part (and a small part) of the experience. I was happy to discover that I could indeed shoot at the deer that stepped out in the field. That first year, I started out with a decent 7 point from Pennsylvania.

Those first few years, I was driven by the hunt itself and the competition between me and my brother. But, it wasn’t long before I really started to hunt for the experience. I hunted because I loved being outdoors, enjoying God’s wonderful creation. In fact, by the time I was in High School, the great outdoors had become a significant distraction for me. If something was in season, I’d come home from school and grab the .22 or a bow, and head out into the woods. I don’t think I even opened a book to do homework for my last 2 years of high school!

Hunting, for me, is a lot more than just killing an animal. There are many things that come together in hunting that make it an experience that I hope I will be able to do for my whole life! Here are a few of the things that I think about when it comes to determining why I hunt:

I hunt to spend time with family and friends. Very rarely do I go hunting by myself. Even when I will be hunting by myself, I typically take my family with me to camp. I cannot understand those who try to get away from their families. A couple of years back, there were some guys who were looking to buy the land beside our camp, and they made it clear that they wanted a place to get away from their wives and kids. All I can say is that their families must not be like my family. I love taking mine with me, and the joy on my kids’ faces every time I bring a deer back to camp reminds me why I like them being there, and how much I enjoy their company. I can’t wait (in some ways) till they are old enough to really hunt with me. I know that hunting with my dad was some of the most special times I can remember growing up, and I know I have a lot of stories that come from those times spent together. I also enjoy sharing the hunting experience with friends who are new to the sport. I have taken a few friends, and started them on hunting. It is great to have that in common with others. I enjoy watching people learn the skills necessary to be successful, and it is great to see them enjoying themselves in the area that I love so much!

I hunt to enjoy the natural world. It is so easy to become consumed with the pressures and cares of this world. Hunting provides an escape from those pressures. I can go out into the woods and become completely immersed in the surroundings of nature. The sights, smells, and sounds of the woods cannot be matched anywhere. Far too many people today are stuck inside, and have no idea what happens out there in the natural world. Hunting gets us as close to what is “natural” as possible. It is one of the only ways that we can take part in the natural hierarchy, just as God created it.

I hunt for the challenge. There are many who do not hunt who claim that there is not challenge in hunting, and that the animals have no chance, especially if one is hunting with a rifle. But, those who say such things have no idea what hunting is about. If the animals have no chance, then why is the success rate for hunters so low? Hunting is far more difficult than most non-hunters can ever imagine, and they will never understand it because they are unwilling to examine it. Learning to take white tailed deer on a regular basis takes skill, and it takes the ability to learn and conform. Changing environments, changing weather, and changing circumstances can make it very difficult to be successful. However, learning to change and adapt to these changing elements can make one a very successful deer hunter. Every day afield leads to growth as a hunter, and learning to change with the various elements causes us to be better at our endeavors.

I hunt to provide food for my family. I know that I could go down to the Wal-Mart and pick up meat for my family, but the meat I provide is much better quality. I don’t have to worry about what drugs or other unnatural concoctions have been put into my meat. It is amazing to me how many people out there encourage organic, and natural foods, but then complain about those who would hunt. This is the most natural way of providing food for ourselves and our families that exists. I am happy that I am able to provide food for my family in this way!

I hunt to kill. Yes, you read that right. I hunt to kill animals. I could enjoy most of what I have written thus far without actually killing anything. After all, I could sit in the woods with a camera, and take pictures of the animals that come by my stand. That would be fine. But, I like being a real part of nature. I enjoy everything about the hunting experience, including taking a game animal. This is a part of nature. Kill to eat, eat to live. I once read that if you eat meat you are either a predator or a scavenger. If you go down to the local market and buy your meat, you are eating what someone else killed, and thus you are a scavenger. If you hunt, you kill your own meat, and thus you are a predator. Personally, I prefer the idea of being a predator.

I hunt to be a good steward. Hunting is a crucial part of our ecosystem. There are few natural animal predators left to control the ever increasing game animal populations. At least in the eastern United States, there are very few predators left to control deer herds. Many people complain about the deer herd eating their decorative shrubs, and causing damage to vehicles when collisions occur. Without hunters to help control populations, the deer herds will continue to grow, and will continue to cause more and more damage. We as hunters play an important role in making sure that the balance of animal life in our areas are well maintained. Overpopulation of any animal leads to serious problems, such as disease and destruction. We should be good stewards and do our part to control these populations.

I am sure that there are many other reasons that could be discussed as to why I hunt, but these cover many of my thoughts on why to hunt. I know hunting is not for everyone, but for those of us who choose to do it, it is a way of life. I look forward to hunting season every single year. Many will read this and be angered by my choice to hunt. But, it is my right, and I will continue to enjoy that right as long as I have a place to hang my stand!

© Kris Brewer


Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Several years ago, I bought a charcoal smoker.  This was back in my college years, when my wife and I lived in a little trailer in Auburn, Alabama.  We wore that thing out smoking venison quarters, chickens and just about anything else we thought would taste good.  It literally fell apart on us!

Fast forward about 10 years.  I have looked in the Cabela’s catalog and drooled over the hi-tech smokers, but cringed over the price tags.  In a perfect world, I’d drop that $400 for a top of the line box smoker with all the bells and whistles.  But, for now, I just can’t swing it.  Well, lo and behold, I was in Wal-Mart a while back, and discoverd the Brinkman Smokin’ Grill, which serves double duty.  It is charcoal fired (which provides the best flavoring in my opinion) and cheap (just $28.99).  That is a combination that I can deal with.  So, we brought it home, put it together and then broke it in on a few hot dogs.  My wife then laid out a beautiful deer roast (had to be 10+ pounds), which I threw on the smoker.  About 6 hours later, we had perfectly smoked, perfectly flavored venison.  All we did was rub the outside with olive oil to keep the juices in, and then sprinkle it with grilling seasoning.

In the “old days”, I would mix up my on concoction for smoking, involving just about every kind of seasoning and sauce I could find in the kitchen.  It was great, but I found that this new method was just as good, and a whole lot easier.  Combining the venison with some home fries, and coleslaw was just the ticket.  I’m looking forward to a lot more meals like that!

We have been trying to clear out some of our older venison, since our season is quickly approaching.  I have been giving away a ton of meat.  I’m surprised we still have so much since we don’t buy any red meat, we only eat venison.  But, it is nice to be able to share with friends in the area who don’t get the opportunity to have deer meat much.  I’m thinking I may have to pull out a few more roasts, and get them smoked.  Maybe I’ll have some folks over to enjoy the bounty!