Falling In Love With The Outdoors

nicki & I

For me, it is everything we as outdoorsman can do. Now, more than ever, I am just blessed to have someone by my side who shares in the same passion and love of hunting as I do.

It is not an easy thing to deal with. Every day millions of people just like myself suffer from a withdrawal. From what? The outdoors of coarse!

Millions of people throughout the United States and the world, are in love with the outdoors. We come from all walks of life. Hunters, Fishermen, trappers, hikers, etc. It is something deep in all of us that takes over our bodies when that time of year comes around. For most, it is something that lingers all year round, like an addiction that cannot be satisfied.

To me that is exactly what hunting is. It is an addiction that I cannot satisfy no matter where I go or how many I hunt. This year it got worse. Many of you will understand this feeling.
Have you ever been a hunter in one particular way? A bow hunter mostly? A rifle hunter? A bird hunter?
Then have you ever participated in a new hunt that you just fell in love with in everyway?
To me, that was upland game hunting with my girlfriend and her German Shorthaired Pointer this past fall.
Emma
(Emma on point in the Quail fields)

Bird hunting has now gotten me more excited than I have ever been before about bird hunting. Seeing the dog go on point, walking in and flushing out the bird with your hunting buddies. It is incredible to see the dogs work and the behavior of the birds.

Although bow hunting will always be my first love when it comes to hunting. There is so much more that hunting offers to us all that in prints on your heart. That goes for what ever your love in the outdoors might be. I have friends who will hunt the plains game of Africa until their dying day, friends who will only duck/ bird hunt, and friends that will fish everything the ocean has to offer. We all have that addiction that we cannot kick. That love that grows deeper with every trip.

What is it that brings you to the outdoors?
What passion draws your love in the most?

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Women Should Not Be Hunters (title not opinion)

 

DO NOT WORRY! THAT IS JUST THE TITLE NOT MY THOUGHTS! Now sit back and enjoy.

“I’ll never apologize for being a hunter.” “Don’t confuse me for being anything other than proud.” These are some of the things we hear today when it comes to hunters. A phenomenon is happening in the hunting industry. The amount of women entering the field of hunting is growing at a rapid rate! Every year more and more young girls take their hunter education course and enter the great world of hunting. But it seems as the sport of hunting grows every year with women, so does the discontent with women being in the sport.

You all have seen exactly what I’m talking about. An absolutely horrendous response to women hunting. Even more so than outrage received by male hunters. Why? What is the difference? What difference does it make if it is me putting an arrow into a deer, or one of my female friends? The main trend that I have been seeing from people who protest this, is that it is not “lady like”. Now I know some of the women reading this right now probably just thought “excuse me?!” but when you break it down, that has been more than 50% of the reasoning behind the extra outrage brought onto female hunters all over the world.

A great example I like to use is my friend Matt Guedes (founder and owner of Journey Hunts) and his daughter Baylee. Matt has been involved with hunting for most of his life, it is all he thinks about, and it is a passion he has passed onto his children. All of his kids hunt. When possible Matt likes to take them with him whether it may be individually or together on a hunt. Baylee joined her father on his most recent trip to South Africa at Sediba Nkwe Hunting Safari. The pictures of how much enjoyment they both had together can be seen on their website. Journeyhunts webpage

On this hunt, Baylee had the opportunity to take one of her dream plains game animals, a giraffe. Now just so people are aware, giraffe in this area of the Limpopo province are not endangered at all. This species is not hurt by hunters and are thriving quite well. If this was any different the government and the outfitter would not allow them to be hunted. But Baylee was successful, you can see it in her mile wide smile and her father could not be prouder! Later that day Matt also had the chance to take a giraffe of his own with his bow. Both Matt and Baylee shared their wonderful experience with everyone through their social media accounts.

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Matt Guedes & daughter Baylee. Giraffe pics. Sediba Nkwe Hunting Safari

The reaction for the most part was as I expected. People who are uninformed or ignorant to the facts of what goes on there were up in arms about an “extinct” animal being hunted. Yes, I used the word extinct because that was the word I saw quite often used by angry animal rights activists. When I started looking at the comments on Matt and Baylee’s page separately, I was appalled by how more people were attacking her page because she is a hunter. Many whom deleted their comments after I confronted the remarks made.

From the year 2006 to 2011 the growth of women in the hunting industry is up 25%. Although out of the near 14 million hunters that are in the United States, females make up 11% of them that still is greater than the 9% that made up the total in 2006. But to say that for women to do this is not “lady like” or that hunting “is a mans sport” is absurd. The greatest amusement I had was seeing feminists say such things. “So women should be able to do things men do, just not hunting?” That didn’t bode well with the ones I was debating with, but my point got across. This direct attack is the victimization of female hunters.

During my time on social media I have made some great friends. Many of whom are female hunters. Chelsea Cheff @sosgearmt, Lindsay Persico @HuntFiber and Candace @CamoCandace are some of the few highly ethical and intelligent women in the hunting industry that I have met who represent a great class of female hunters.
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Chelsea Cheff founder/ owner of SOS GEAR MT
Montana buck from 2015 season @sosgearmt
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Lindsay Persico @HuntFiber  with her American Pronghorn Antelope

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Candace @CamoCandace with her 2015 Colorado Cow Elk

We have to look at what women entering the hunting  industry have done for hunting as a whole. Not only has it brought more money to conservation efforts in the country, but it has resulted in the growth of women hunting apparel lines such as She Outdoor Apparel and Girls With Guns Clothing. It is great to see this growth but to fight it or be against it is ridiculous. The growth of women in this industry is inevitable. Having role models in the industry such as Melissa Bachman,  Jana Waller, Eva Shockey, Jen O’Hara, are just many examples of great women who are inspiring the youth of today to get into such an amazing sport.

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Journey Hunts Hunting Consultant – Baylee Guedes Promoting the Girls With Guns clothing line

Special Thanks to Chelsea Cheff, Lindsay Persico, Candace, Baylee Guedes, Matt Guedes & Journey Hunts for the pictures.
Listed below are their social media accounts.

Baylee:  Twitter/IG –     @bayleeguedes1
Instagram-      @bayleeguedesgwg

Matt:     Instagram-      @mattguedes1

JourneyHunts: Twitter/IG- @journeyhunts1

Lindsay: IG/ Twitter-    @huntfiber

Chelsea: IG/Twitter-     @sosgearmt

Candace: IG/ Twitter-   @CamoCandace

 

Vortex Optics & The Maine Woods

This past weekend I decided to head up north to hunt with a friend of mine in Maine. Jackman, Maine is approximately three and a half hours north of Portland Maine and about twenty to thirty minutes away from the Canadian border. This area is made up of beautiful hills and mountains with a great variety of wildlife. Moose, black bear and whitetail deer are the big game animals you will find here in Maine.

When it comes to hunting, I don’t expect to be sitting in a tree stand or ground blind every hunt. Though that is a big part of hunting these days. Spot and stalk is still a popular method of hunting. On this hunt, that was what we chose to do. On several occasions we found ourselves open to all the elements.

It was a wet weekend. So I was relying deeply not on my rifle, but my optics. I have been using Vortex optics now for quite a few months. In this time I have yet to be unimpressed. The clarity and quality of my bino’s and rifle scope are incredible! When it comes to hunting, you need to rely on that your optics will hold up to any of the elements that come your way.

While trekking through the woods and sitting on the hillsides glassing for signs of wildlife, my scope remained open to the rain, sleet and snow flurries. When it came to looking down my scope I was astonished at what I saw. Amazing clarity and no water damage at all. I was shocked, out of all the scopes and bino’s I have used I have never seen such a great product for such affordable prices.

My Diamondback HP 4-16x 42mm rifle scope as well as my Viper HD 8×42 performed spectacularly in the weather! Your optics are everything. I trust mine with whatever game I am hunting, or competition I am shooting in. We at Journey Hunts trust the best out there. This is why we use Vortex Optics! Great products at great prices! Don’t just take my word for it! Head on over to your local Vortex dealer (Bass Pro Shop, Cabelas, etc.) Or go to http://www.vortexoptics.com/   and place your order for your optics today!

Vortex

Social Media
Facebook: Vortex Optics
Twitter:
@VortexOptics
Instagram:
@vortexoptics

Hips Archery Target @Hips_Targets

Hips Archery Targets “Less Shred, More Dead”
Now as some of you may know. I’ve been involved with archery for a little bit ( just about 13 years). Yes I can say that is almost half my life. During this period I have used over a dozen different targets, from the redhead target at bass pro, to yellow jacket and yes block targets. But each one of these had an problem. If you shoot as much as I do, you will blast your target with hundreds upon thousands of arrows a month. But no matter how much you shoot these targets and with all the stopping power they may present, pieces or even chunks start to fall out or a pass through becomes more likely after a few hundred shots.

So you must be thinking “how do I avoid this?!?!?!?”

This target is fully explained in the companies motto “less shred, more dead”. I have shot hundreds of arrows at my target with field points and broad heads. This target still stands strong. Not only does it not shred with the multiple arrows I put into it in a single practice. But the stopping power is great! At 20-50 yards the results can be seen for itself! When you rotate the 6 sides during practice this target can be trusted with great confidence for a long period of time!

So what can you expect from this target?
1) Less Shred
2) great stopping power
3) A light-weight and portable target

What else can I say? But find out for yourself what a great target Hips Archery Targets produces.
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This is and will be my preferred archery target.
Check them out at hipstargets.com

Social Media
Twitter: @Hips_Targets
Facebook: Hips Archery Targets
Instagram: @HipsTargets

Journey to Sediba Nkwe Hunting Safaris

Now many of you have seen my posts on my social media pages, promoting joining myself and Journey Hunts owner Matt Guedes on a South African Safari at Sediba Nkwe Hunting Safaris. This past January was my first time visiting this place as well as my first ever trip to South Africa. To say I was nervous would be an accurate statement, but excitement was what filled my emotions more than any other. My purpose for attending Sediba was to try and accomplish the Plains Game Professional Hunters Course. It is my great pleasure today  say I was successful in the pursuit of that goal.

But while we were there, we were given the opportunity to hunt several different species with one of the all-inclusive hunts offered at the safari. My first animal on the list was my Blue Wildebeest. After taking my shot and getting an up close and personal look at this massive creature, adrenaline rushed through my veins. My first African animal, proudly taken, got me even more excited for more that was to come. But my absolute pride and most memorable moment was the Impala I successfully harvested at the same location I took my amazing warthog.

I was sitting there waiting, maybe one to two hours of daylight remained. In the blind with me was Journey Hunts HC Tekoah Guedes and Professional Hunter Deon Van Deventer. Talking softly amongst one another, we slowly watched a group of a dozen or so Impala slowly make its way to the watering hole. Several bucks came in, but having already harvested my impala, I was just waiting for a monster warthog or another slammer animal to approach the watering hole. It was maybe 10 minutes into the impala’s hydrating when out of  the corner of my eye, I saw Deon’s eyes widen. Walking towards the hole was a massive Impala buck, the sheer emotion running through me was overwhelming. I struggled to grab my 308 but was able to relax myself by the time I was ready to shoot. One shot, and he ran off,  the vitals had been struck. Five minutes later we went out and tracked him, going no further than 80 yds from the shot laid my beautiful trophy. Yes to me it was just that. A trophy, one that made the Rowland Ward record book at 26 2/8″. Having  success on such a magnificent creature gave me the addiction. An addiction that can only be cured by returning to Sediba and having another amazing trip.
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But I’m not the only individual to have visited Sediba and have such an amazing experience.
When I asked Tekoah Guedes “what was your most memorable moment at Sediba?”

Shooting my blue wildebeest on the first night I could hunt. I saw it like right before dark, we could barely see. I saw him at appleblar at 110 yards or so out and he walked in by himself to 25 yards. I turned on my light on my sight, drew back my bow, found him in the sight and shot. He jumped and kicked and then ran out right where he started from. Vossie then came and we followed one of the best blood trails I have ever seen on a blue wildebeest. We got there and found him 100 yards away with a perfect double lung shot. It was epic. We then cleared a little road to it and picked it in the red tube like trailer and road back to camp. We ended the day having a good long night by the fire” – Tekoah Guedes
Tekoah Blue

But not all memorable moments at Sediba involved hunts. I asked Matt Guedes, founder and owner of Journey Hunts, “what was your most memorable moment?”
“My most memorable moment was my family safari for our 20th wedding Anniversary over Christmas.”

Guedes blog pic
I have known Matt now for little over a year. Nothing in this world outside of family and God means more to him. The beautiful scenery of South Africa and the company of his family, was all that was needed to make his memorable moment.

Because that is what this safari is to all who visit. It’s a amazing place, surrounded by beautiful scenery, filled with amazing wildlife, and a run by a great outfitter and PH. Vossie Voster and his son Dries welcome all who come to there safari as family. Their lodging, food and hospitality alone was what made me on the day I departed, anticipate the day I would return. All who have gone there leave with their own memories. So join Journey Hunts at Sediba Nkwe Hunting Safaris and make your memorable moment.

http://www.Journeyhunts.com
JH pic

P/C: Matt Guedes & Family, Tekoah Guedes, Mike Pratas, Vossie Voster

The Premier Hunting Optics: @VortexOptics

The other day I decided to try an experiment at work. A man came in looking to buy a scope for his rifle. My first question to most customers is: “Are you looking to spend a certain amount of money?”  Understanding their budget can help me point them in the right direction.

After discussing his budget, I grabbed two scopes. One was a Vortex Diamondback 3-9 x 40mm, the other was a Leopold of the same specifications. I placed pieces of tape over the name brands on each scope and asked him to try each one out to see which he liked better.

After going back-and-forth a few times between each scope he said “Without a doubt this scope (holding up the Diamondback) is better.”

He left the store and about an hour later he returned with his Savage Arms rifle. I went ahead and mounted the scope to his rifle for him. With a smiling face after sighting it in, he left the store thanking me for all my help.

I received a phone call about an hour later. It was the gentleman who I helped pick out the scope. After bringing it to the gun range to shoot, the only thing he could talk about was what a great quality scope the Diamondback was and how the clarity while shooting was unlike any scope he had used before.

He thanked me profusely, but that’s just my job. Like many people I have my own personal preferences when it comes to the gear I like to use. For all my optics I choose Vortex. But seeing and hearing his reaction to this product definitely put a smile on my face.
One more happy Vortex customer

The Outdoors; a Passion, a love, a career in the making.

Everybody has their own specific interests. Whether it’s a sports teams, or interests in the outdoors…and we all have had someone that introduced us to them.
I have loved the outdoors; camping, fishing and hiking since I was a kid. My grandfather was the main influence that really fostered my love of the outdoors in my life. He taught me how to bait a hook, cast properly, how to re-tie a fishing line after I caught the bottom or snapped a line…which happened so often I often figured that sooner or later he was going to cast me out into the water himself.

Fishing for me is where this all began. Fishing is a passion my entire family shares.  My grandfather currently holds the family record of largest sport fish: a 500 lbs marlin, followed by myself with a 110lbs sailfish, then I believe my dad and sister are tied with a 30 lbs stripped bass. They have some catching up to do.

As most of you know, I love the sport of archery and bow hunting is right up there with it. Nothing comes close to how much I love being outside with bow in hand hunting or just letting some arrows go down range.

Now can you guess who motivated or influenced me into archery and bow hunting? Fred Bear? Howard Hill? Maybe Hawkeye or Green Arrow?

WRONG!

My influence for picking up the sport of archery was actually none other than Legolas Green-leaf. Yes, I am an absolute Lord of the Rings nerd and started archery for this reason. But it has grown into something so much more that I could ever have foreseen.
But lets rewind to 2008, my first year in the military and my first time being around many others who shared my love of the outdoors. Being in the Navy was a great experience but that is where my love of hunting grew tremendously. My Chief Warrant Officer and Chief Petty Officer were both avid hunters, and being able to hunt along side them was both fun and educational. Having the opportunity to learn more from seasoned hunters was invaluable. This resulted in every duty free weekend I had off during hunting season bow hunting in the woods or fishing out of the ponds and lakes.
After I was discharged and returned home to Massachusetts, the hunting didn’t take a back burner. As a matter of fact it was my first priority. I loved being outdoors, even if I did not see any deer in my stand or blind. Being out in nature was blessing enough. But I would not have minded bringing home some venison on most days. After becoming more involed in social media and beginning the new venture of NorthernArcher_ I found an opportunity to put my love of the outdoors to educational use. By heading to Guide school in the summer of 2014 I was able to get certified in three of the four main courses offered. I learned about horsemanship, western big game animals, whitetail deer and many other topics.

With all this knowledge I could not let this go to waste. I began searching and sending out applications to outfitters all over the country. While I was waiting to get word from an outfitter I returned to Massachusetts to attend one last semester of college.

The newest course offered at this guide school gave me the opportunity to head to South Africa and attempt the Professional Hunters Course. I gladly took this next challenge head on. After two weeks in South Africa and passing the course, my next step was to utilize this and achieve my goal of working as a guide.

I have been home now for two months and now have the once in a lifetime opportunity to apprentice guide in the great state of Alaska. This has been a long road, and there are still many more miles to go. But one thing about me that you may not know is that I do not want this road to end. I love learning more about the outdoors; I love furthering myself as much as humanly possible. I cannot wait for this hunting season to begin. This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life: making a career out of something that I love.
I feel that I have more than just a love or passion for the outdoors. I feel that I have a connection with it. When I am out there nothing bothers me, all the stress and worries are left behind. Wilderness is defined as a place where man himself is considered a visitor. This is where I feel at peace. This is where I belong. Making a career being somewhere and doing something that I love, nothing else comes close.