Friday, October 24, 2014

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Day Five

Long day yesterday. Up at 5:00 a.m. Horses saddleded by 5:30. Breakfast finished by 6:00. On the trail at 6:15. Sunrise at 7:00.

Sunrise in the mountains - two hours after getting up.
Saw a lot of elk. Unfortunately, they were a long way off on a neighboring ranch. However, I did get a close-up view of the ass end of a bull elk as it disappeared over a ridge about 50 yards in front of me. Oh well, that's why it's called 'hunting' and not 'shopping.'

It was a tough day to hunt. The wind was gusting and swirling. It seemed like it was always blowing the wrong way. But on our way back down the mountain we spotted some antelope off in the foothills. After riding hard and fast (well, maybe it was more like semi-hard and less slow) around a large knoll that sheiled us from them, we managed to get around them without being noticed. I slithered over a little knob and there they were. They knew something was up- they were antsy and milling around. But I was able to knock down a nice buck at around 230 yards. So at least we'll have something in the freezer this winter.

Later that afternoon we went out and scouted for elk for the next morning's hunt. We saw a couple of nice bulls to the south, and that large herd to the north. So it's a question of quality vs. quantity. I've still got three days to go, so we're going after the bulls in the morning (5:00 a.m. wake-up ... groan).

Of course, the bulls are in much more rugged terrain than the herd - steeper slope, more heavily wooded, farther away. But that's what makes it fun.

Keep your fingers crossed for me...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Day Three

Made it to my destination safe and sound. Dinner tonight at 6:30. That's a little earlier than I'm used to, but I have to be up at 5:00 tomorrow morning to saddle the horses. Then a quick breakfast and off we go.

Below is the forecast for the days I'll be hunting. Great weather for a picnic, but for elk hunting ... not so much. They tend to hang out at the higher elevations until cold and wet weather pushes them down lower.

I've been going hunting in Wyoming for the past decade or so, and every time I've gone there's been snow on the ground. In fact, last year I almost got stuck when the interstate was closed due to accumulations of snow and ice. I'm sure the locals are loving this weather, but highs in the 70s ... really?

It'll be a new experience, hunting in shorts and shirt-sleeves...

My guide and I, dressed for the weather - not!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Day Two

Finally got out of Texas today. If you've never driven through the Panhandle it's hard to describe it. The word "flat" doesn't do it justice.

Take a look at your tabletop. It is positively undulating compared to the Panhandle.

The horizon is a perfectly flat line.

The roads were all laid out with one tool - a ruler. There are no curves anywhere .

(Well, except for the women. I dated two gals from out there. One was from Post, and the other was from Snyder. They were both cute as bugs and a lot of fun. But they both shared the same flaw - an inability to put up with youthful me. Not their fault - I was pretty immature back then. But still, they could have been a little more tolerant.)

There is also a noticeable lack of trees. In fact, trees are so scarce that dogs make reservations three days in advance.

Once I left Texas the terrain changed rapidly. About an hour into New Mexico I drove through Sierra Grande, at an elevation over 7000 feet. Around the New Mexico-Colorado border I went through Raton Pass, close to 7400 feet. In fact, the drive north from Raton goes through some pretty serious mountains.

I then battled my way through the Colorado Springs-Denver-Fort Collins traffic nightmare. That's about 150 miles of urban sprawl and city congestion. I don't see how people can live in those conditions (although I did live in Houston for twenty years - I guess you can get used to anything).

It was with profound relief and pleasure that I crossed the Colorado-Wyoming border. Traffic virtually disappeared. I think Wyoming has more antelope than cars.

Anyway, I'm spending the night in Douglas WYO. It's about halfway between the southern state line and the northern one, which is my destination. Tomorrow should be an easy day - just a three or four hour drive, then settling in and getting ready to start hunting bright and early Thursday.

I'm not sure what the Internet connection will be like at the ranch where I'm going, so posting my be a bit sporadic for a while. But I'll do what I can.

Y'all hold things together while I'm gone.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Day One

Long day today. Actually, it began with a long day yesterday.

The deer season in Texas begins the first weekend in November. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is my elk hunting trip, Sunday was the only day we could all get together to do the before-season chores. So I drove three hours to the deer lease, put in a full day working there, and drove three hours back home. Left at 5:30 a.m. and was back home at 8:30 p.m. Then I got up at 7:00 a.m. the next day (Monday) to leave for Wyoming.


Still, I was so excited to begin the trip that fatigue wasn't a factor. What was a factor, however, was the dolts at SiriusXM radio. As part of prepping for the trip, a couple of days before I left I tested my plug-in Sirius radio. It didn't work.

I went through the whole 'contact tech support' thing. After Ajit and I determined that it was a hardware problem (duh - the unit was as dark as my ex-wife's heart) he passed me on to the Sales Department to order a replacement unit.

Since all this took place on Thursday, and I was leaving Monday, I clearly, emphatically, and repeatedly explained to my new best friend and Account Consultant that I absolutely positively had to have the new unit no later than Saturday.

Chandra repeatedly assured me that if I paid for 'Next Day Shipping' I would recieve it on Friday. I know this is so, because our conversation was recorded 'for quality purposes.'

You can guess the rest.  No radio on Friday. No radio on Saturday. I left on Sunday. The radio showed up on Monday.

Normally it wouldn't be a big deal, except that I spent Sunday and Monday driving through some very remote parts of the state. For example, on Sunday morning I could only receive one station. Since it was Sunday, and since we were in West Texas, I was treated to several hours of sermons. No doubt I could benefit from them, but it still made for a tedious drive.

Speaking of West Texas and saving souls, I am spending Monday night in the beàutiful metropolis of Dumas TX. This is such a big damn state that I drove for 9 hours and am still about 100 miles from the state line. Anyway...

Dumas is DRY. For those of you not familiar with archaiac Texas laws, that means no beer, wine, or liquor can be sold within the city limits ... UNLESS you are a member of a private club.

Oh, and by the way, you can purchase a one day membership in any private club in town for $5 bucks.

They may be Baptists, but they're not stupid.

To sum up, I'm tired, thirsty/dry, crànky, and suffering through a poor Internet connection. I'm going to bed. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day,although I doubt it.

My travel schedule calls for two more hours of driving time tomorrow than today (11 hours vs. 9 hours). I'll either have to drive longer or faster...

Monday, October 20, 2014

FOD 2014.10.20

This is what happens when a public health crisis is treated as a political opportunity.

President Barack Obama’s new Ebola "czar" Ron Klain has skipped another White House meeting on the Ebola crisis...
It's the second meeting  in as many days on Ebola that Klain hasn’t attended after being appointed into the position on Friday.
Obama held the Ebola meeting after spending four hours and 40 minutes on the golf course...
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Maybe what Barry needs is a catchy name for his Ebola response. How about Operation Fast and Infectuous...?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Funnies 2014.10.19

A hunting we will go...

A hunter is taken to the ER with multiple fractures and his clothes torn to shreds. He tells the doctor that he stepped on a nest of snakes, and he describes them to the doctor.

The doctor says that those snakes are harmless. They are not poisonous.

The hunter replies, "They don't have to be poisonous if they can make me jump off a twenty-foot cliff!"

A guy was telling his friend about his recent hunting trip to Wyoming.

"We were out in the woods all morning and our guide decided that we should take a break along the river bank. I wasn't feeling tired so I went for a stroll while the others were resting.

As I was walking, a grizzly bear burst out of the brush in front of me. I turned and started running like hell through the woods with the bear after me. The bear almost caught up with me but slipped and fell down.

I kept running and the bear almost caught up with me again twice, but slipped and fell each time. I finally reached the river bank. The guide saw the bear chasing me and shot it dead."

"Wow!" replied his friend, "That's incredible. If I were you, I would have messed all over myself."

The first guy answered, "What do you think the bear was slipping on?"

Two Aggies were driving to the woods to go bear hunting. They came upon a fork in the road where a sign read "BEAR LEFT.

They turned around and went home.

Ted Nugent, rock star and avid bow hunter from Michigan, was being interviewed by a French journalist and animal rights activist. The discussion came around to deer hunting. The journalist asked, "What do you think is the last thought in the head of a deer before you shoot him? Is it, 'Are you my friend?' or is it 'Are you the one that killed my brother?' "

Nugent replied, "Deer aren't capable of that kind of thinking. All they care about is, 'What am I going to eat next, who am I going to screw next, and can I run fast enough to get away. They are very much like the French.' "

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Never Send A Man To Do A Woman's Job - No, Wait...

I can't figure out if this is a case of irony, or of hypocrisy.

After thinking it over, I decided it's a little bit of both.

Would that be 'ipocrisy', or 'hyronic'?

Transgender Woman Can’t Be Diversity Officer Because She’s a White Man Now
A student who was born female felt perfectly comfortable identifying as a man at Wellesley College — until people said he shouldn’t be class diversity officer because he is now a white male.

Timothy Boatwright was born a girl, and checked off the “female” box when applying to the Massachusetts all-women’s school, according to an article in the New York Times. But when he got there, he introduced himself as a “masculine-of-center genderqueer” person named “Timothy” (the name he picked for himself) and asked them to use male pronouns when referring to him.
Where to start? If 'he' considers himself a man, why on earth did 'he' apply to an all-women's college? And who the heck comes up with these descriptions? A “masculine-of-center genderqueer”? WTF is that?

Anyway, after 'he' came out fo the closet, so to speak, the fun began. all accounts, Boatwright felt welcome on campus — until the day he announced that he wanted to run for the school’s office of multicultural affairs coordinator, whose job is to promote a “culture of diversity” on campus.
Stop and think about that for a minute. A “culture of diversity” on an all-women's campus. Seems like they've just eliminated half the population right there. What a tiny little exclusive world-view have the progressives at Wellesley.
...some students thought that allowing Boatwright to have the position would just perpetuate patriarchy. (How can patriarchy be perpetuated at an all-women's college? Never mind...) They were so opposed, in fact, that when the other three candidates (all women of color) dropped out, they started an anonymous Facebook campaign encouraging people not to vote at all to keep him from winning the position.

“I thought he’d do a perfectly fine job, but it just felt inappropriate to have a white man there,” the student behind the so-called “Campaign to Abstain” said.
So what's inappropriate? White, or male - or both?
“It’s not just about that position either,” the student added. “Having men in elected leadership positions undermines the idea of this being a place where women are the leaders.”
Sounds like the students at Wellesley need some mandatory transgender sensitivity training...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday Follies Happy Hour 2014.10.17

Headed for Wyoming on Monday. My route out of Texas is mostly back roads...

Boarish Behavior

This story is a little dated - it's about a year old - but it captures some eternal truths. As one who has more experience than desired with both feral hogs and beer, I can attest to the deleterious effects of both. In fact, much like the swine in the following story, after consuming 18 beers I have found myself in altercations with a belligerent bovine.
A rampage by a feral pig that consumed 18 beers has prompted warnings for people at campsites to properly secure their food and alcohol.

The pig struck at the DeGrey River rest area, east of the remote Western Australian town of Port Hedland in the Pilbara, according to the ABC.

The animal was seen stealing three six-packs of beer from campers before ransacking rubbish bags for food.

One camper reported seeing the pig guzzling the beer before getting involved in an altercation with a cow.

"In the middle of the night these people camping opposite us heard a noise, so they got their torch out and shone it on the pig and there he was, scrunching away at their cans," said the visitor, who estimated that the pig had consumed 18 beers.

"Then he went and raided all the rubbish bags. There were some other people camped right on the river and they saw him being chased around their vehicle by a cow."

The pig was reportedly last seen resting under a tree, possibly nursing a hangover.
Been there, done that...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Imbeciles To The Right Of Us, Imbeciles To The Left Of Us

By now you've probably heard that a second health care worker in Dallas has Ebola. Not only that, but she flew on a commercial airline flight after being exposed to the disease, with a fever, with the blessing of the CDC.
The CDC has announced that the second healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola — now identified as Amber Joy Vinson of Dallas — traveled by air Oct. 13, with a low-grade fever, a day before she showed up at the hospital reporting symptoms.
In response to the event and subsequent public concern, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden had this to say:
“Those who have exposures to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline,” said Dr. Frieden. “The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for controlled movement. That can include a charter plane; that can include a car; but it does not include public transport..."

Frieden specifically noted that the remaining 75 healthcare workers who treated Thomas Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will not be allowed to fly...
Let me get this straight. The head of the CDC says that people who have been exposed to Ebola should not be allowed on a commercial airline. Yet he and the obama administration refuse to ban or quarantine travelers from regions in Africa where the disease is raging out of control.

All I can do is say WTF?

We have a federal agency staffed with imbeciles doing the bidding of an imbecilic president and his imbecilic administration, all put into office by imbecilic voters.

Sidebar: Speaking of imbeciles, how about the NBC news crew that was exposed to Ebola in Africa violating their quarantine.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman is taking the heat from the media after she and members of her NBC News crew violated a mandatory three-week quarantine after returning from West Africa.

Snyderman, who is NBC News' chief medical correspondent, recently returned from Africa after reporting on the devastating Ebola outbreak there. One of her cameramen, Ashoka Mukpo, tested positive for the virus, and the rest of Snyderman's crew agreed to a 21-day voluntary quarantine.

However, according to reports from TMZ and Planet Princeton, Snyderman and members of her crew were spotted outside the Peasant Grill restaurant in Hopewell, N.J., on Oct. 9.
So now we have imbeciles in the media reporting on imbeciles in the government (head -> desk...head ->desk...head->desk...)

For a classic contrast between our government's bungling response to the Ebola cases and how the private sector handled the same situation, check out this story. (H/T to Peter for the link.)
(The Firestone rubber plantation in Harbel, Liberia) detected its first Ebola case on March 30, when an employee's wife arrived from northern Liberia. She'd been caring for a disease-stricken woman and was herself diagnosed with the disease. Since then Firestone has done a remarkable job of keeping the virus at bay. It built its own treatment center and set up a comprehensive response that's managed to quickly stop transmission. Dr. Brendan Flannery, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's team in Liberia, has hailed Firestone's efforts as resourceful, innovative and effective.
Meanwhile, back here at home, the situation must be dire. barry has canceled fundraising trips to actually stay in D.C. and do his job.
President Obama on Wednesday night canceled his planned travel on Thursday, for the second straight day, so he could stay at the White House to oversee the government’s response to the Ebola crisis, officials said.
obama is canceling fundraisers and overseeing the government's response?

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid...

Elk Hunt Chronicles - Prologue Part II

I leave Monday 20 October for my first elk hunt. As I mentioned before, I've been doing several things to be prepared (yes, I was a Boy Scout in my youth).

I've embarked on a fitness regimen to get myself in shape for traipsing up and down mountainsides at altitude. The horse will do most of the heavy lifting, getting me from the base camp at around 5000 feet to our hunting area at around 7000 feet. But once we're there this flatlander is going to have to haul his overweight carcass up, down, and around peaks and valleys. So for the past several weeks I've spent a couple of days per week busting my butt on the elliptical machine and the treadmill with their elevations cranked to the max. My heart rate gets somewhere between 130-140 BPM for 30 minutes, with a warmup/warmdown period before and after. On alternate days I've been hiking up and down the hills around home. They're not mountains, but there are a few spots where the slope gets pretty steep. While I'm hiking I'm also breaking in my new boots. In addition, I lug around 10 pound hand weights to simulate carrying my rifle (the folks around here are pretty tolerant, but the sight of a dark skinned (tanned) bearded male hiking purposefully on remote trails might result in more than one call to the local LEOs).

I also spend a couple days a week working on the upper body - low weights/high reps to get the heart rate up and build endurance. Plus I've worked up to 200 situps and 50 pushups daily. I'm not ripped or buff by any stretch of the imagination, but my flab is beginning to show signs of definition.

My wife and I have also adopted a healthier diet. We have fish once a week, chicken twice a week, wild game once a week (lean, low-fat, all natural, and cleaning out the freezer), and go meatless once a week. We relax the restrictions on the weekend, but don't go overboard. I've even cut back on my beer and wine.

The net result after six weeks of diet and exercise?

I've gained two pounds.

On the bright side, however, I've taken my belt up two notches and gone down one pants size. I also feel better and have more energy (although my knees, hips, and back ache a little more). Still, I guess it's worth it.

As for the actual mechanics of hunting, I've been going to the range weekly. My rifle really likes Hornady ammo, but I've had a tough time finding 150 grain .270 ammunition around here. Plenty of it in 130 grain, but 150 grain is scarce. I did pick up some Remington 150 grain, but the results at the range were disappointing. Groups averaged 2 1/2 - 3 inches at 100 yards, no matter what I did. (See the earlier post for the 130 grain vs. 150 grain discussion.)

I finally ordered some Hornady ammo online (is this a great country or what? - ammunition delivered to your house!). Went to the range today and in the first three round group I shot, all the holes were touching. I'm a happy man!

I've been getting some strange looks at the range. Not only have I been practicing different shooting positions (prone, sitting, taking a rest against the shed posts, even offhand), but I've been double-timing in place for 30 seconds before shooting. I want to practice getting shots off with an elevated heart rate and breathing in positions I'm more likely to shoot from when actually hunting. Nothing against those guys with their lead sleds and sandbags, but I won't have any of those with me out in the field.

I finished shopping today for provisions; granola bars, yogurt, nuts, and beef jerky for the three day drive from here to there, along with plenty of OJ, water, Shiner Beer, and Rebecca Creek Whiskey ("Texas in a glass"). The beer and whiskey isn't for me, but for those poor deprived souls in Wyoming who don't have access to those respective nectar's of the gods.

Hotel reservations are made, the truck has been inspected and prepped, and I'm doing the laundry and airing out my winter/hunting clothes. I feel like a kid the week before Christmas.

Stock market crash? Who Cares.

Ebola outbreak? Doesn't Matter.

Midterm elections? Early Voting.

ISIS? Bring 'Em On.

Screw all that crap. I'm going hunting!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

ISIS And Ebola

The words ain't coming, so here's a couple of pictures that say the same thing I was going to write, but quicker.

Here's one more, just for fun.