Guest Post: Diane Hassinger shares her success of her hunt and “of life”.

22 02 2014

huntingmotherearth:

 

 

11 Votes

http://njadams1.wordpress.com/2011/12/16/guest-post-diane-hassinger-shares-her-success-of-her-hunt-and-of-life/

This was my first time meeting Diane Hassinger from Pennsylvania, but I can promise you that I will not forget her any time soon. Diane’s life story is such an inspiration. Diane’s personal struggle and success gave new meaning to a quote I once read by Helen Keller: “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

 

I am so thankful that our paths have crossed and I had the opportunity to share camp with her. Here is Diane’s story from her hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors with the Ladies in Camo.

 

___________________
I happened to see a post on Shenanigans from the Field about a Ladies in Camo Ladies Only Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors in Clio, Alabama. What caught my eye was that it was a buck, doe, coyote, hog and bobcat hunt. This was just too much to ask for. I had found this post only 2 ½ weeks before the hunt, so a lot had to fall into place for this to happen. I am a firm believer in fate and it would work out if it were meant to be. Well things fell into place perfectly and on December 7th I flew into Montgomery Airport to catch a ride with Richard and Nancy to the camp.

 

Pulling into the camp I immediately felt at ease and knew this had been a good choice. The lodge felt like home, and the few huntresses and guides that were there felt like family from the start. While everyone pigged out on pizza, we made our plans for morning. There would be 3 of us hunting, while the rest were to come in staggered over the next 2 days. Four a.m. came early the next morning, with temperatures below freezing, and having not brought all of my cold weather gear, freezing is what I did too! Terry put me in a tree stand overlooking a food plot. It wasn’t long before the show began and I forgot all about being cold. I had a nice 8 point bucks with 2 girlfriends come thru, just pausing long enough for me to know I could not get a shot off at him. What a tease!

 

Shortly after that another 8 point entered my view, and took his good old-time about entering the food plot. He was joined by 2 spike buck that entertained me for almost an hour with their sparring and play. Meanwhile my 8 point was raking the trees nearby and making a scrape right in front of me. After 15 minutes of wonderful memories, I decided that if I would shoot this guy on the last day, the first day was a good day too. Almost right on cue the buck turned broadside then quartered away just slightly.

 

Two young bucks spar on the greenfield, keeping Diane entertained while she waited for the opportunity to take a shot at an 8 point. Photo Credit: Diane Hassinger

 

As I pulled the trigger, I was thankful I was able to be here at this time. You see 2 ½ years ago I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, and underwent a bilateral mastectomy. They also removed some lymph nodes to check for the spread of cancer. Following my surgery, no one could answer whether I would ever be able to fish, bow hunt, or shoot shotguns and rifles again. No one had ever asked these questions of my doctors, I was the first! Well I am delighted to prove to everyone, that not only is it possible, but you can still be successful as well!

 

My buck tucked his tail and hunched up telling me I had hit him good. I sent a text to Terry and continued watching the two spikes play. They never even flinched when I shot, and I videotaped them for the next 15 minutes. Unreal! In Pennsylvania I would have chased off every deer for a half mile with that one shot. When Terry and Doug arrived, we started looking for a blood trail, and panic started to set in. I knew I had hit him good, but there was no blood to speak of. We finally found 1 drop 10-15 feet from where he was shot and then 1 drop at a time, at 5-10 feet intervals, for about 70 yards. I was just about heartbroken when Doug said “there he is”. He had only gone 75 yards and piled up under a pine tree. He was nice high 8 point, and I was thrilled.

 

Diane Hassinger from Pennsylvania and her nice buck harvest. Photo Credit: Terry Garrett, Rack Nine Outdoors

 

The next evening I was placed in a ground blind, in a tract of woods near a food plot. Both Terry and Doug had said to feel free to spot and stalk hogs, so that was my goal. Coyotes were howling nearby as I slowly hiked about ¼ mile down a logging trail from the blind. Before long it sounded like a football team racing thru the woods. Slowly and quietly I inched into a position to see the hogs. It did not take long to find a big sow, and with a lot of luck she walked into the one sight window that I had that was big enough to shoot thru, about the size of a coffee can. Holding my breath I took the 75 yard shot, and was rewarded with watching her drop not 3 feet from where I shot her.

 

Diane Hassinger with her nice 130 pound sow harvested at Rack Nine Outdoors. Photo Credit: Terry Garrett, Rack Nine Outdoors

 

I continued to look for my next shooter, but this group turned tail and ran. After texting Terry that I had a hog down, and that I was going to continue looking for her friends, I marked her location and started tracking the herd. It did not take long to locate them across the logging road. I had to go into the cramped quarters of the paper mills pine forest. At one point I had 3 groups pretty much surrounding me, easily 100 wild pigs, all squealing and rooting and paying no attention to me at all. As much as I tried to, I could not down another pig, but what a rush to have that many wild pigs around you!

 

I am already planning my next trip to Rack Nine with my husband this time. I hope he gets to experience situations like I had here. And I will be excited to be here to share it with him. I am proud to not only say I am a cancer survivor, but I am enjoying life! Everyone should get out and do what they love every opportunity they can. “Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love” (Bob Marley)

Originally posted on Shenanigans From the Field:

This was my first time meeting Diane Hassinger from Pennsylvania, but I can promise you that I will not forget her any time soon. Diane’s life story is such an inspiration. Diane’s personal struggle and success gave new meaning to a quote I once read by Helen Keller: “The struggle of life is one of our greatest blessings. It makes us patient, sensitive, and Godlike. It teaches us that although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

I am so thankful that our paths have crossed and I had the opportunity to share camp with her. Here is Diane’s story from her hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors with the Ladies in Camo.

___________________
I happened to see a post on Shenanigans from the Field about a Ladies in Camo Ladies Only Hunt at Rack Nine Outdoors in Clio, Alabama. What caught my…

View original 951 more words





You have to Believe!

11 12 2012

I have spent most of the last 3 months on the road, hunting in one location or another.  I am finishing my hunting season for 2012 with a deer/hog hunt combo at Racknine Outdoors in Alabama.  Temperatures were really against us for deer hunting, so I turned my sights to HOGS!  On December 8th Nancy Jo, Jeanne and I were stalking a group of hogs that were really tearing up the woods.  We were backtracking to a nearby lake, when a shiny balloon caught my eye.  Even as I hurried over to it, I knew what I was going to find!

I am going to jump back to 1998.  Dale and I were celebrating our 19th anniversary deep sea fishing out of Daytona Beach, Florida.  We had had just a horrendous year before, and much needed a break.  Our son Mathew had died in a boating accident on March 7, 1997.  Matt was with his best friend and our employee Mike, Mike also perished in the accident.  Clint, a lifelong friend of Matt’s died 2 days later in a car accident after finding out about Mathew.  Dale’s best friend Earl died 3 months to the day later, having told us it was not natural to bury a grandson (Matt).  Two months later, out of the blue, Dales mother, died in September of complication from diabetes.  As if that was not enough, 2 months later, Dale’s mentor Walter died on his 45th wedding anniversary in the middle of a fishing creek.  That was a year I hope to never repeat, ever!

While Dale and I had charted a boat and were out fishing, 30-40 miles off shore, the Captain announced that he saw debris.  Since the fishing had been slow up to that point, we traveled to the debris, since dorado tend to cluster around anything floating.  Upon pulling up, what we thought was garbage, was in fact a Mylar balloon that wished “Happy Anniversary”.  I got goose bumps then and now as I type this.  I am sure to this day, that this was Matt’s way of telling us he is still watching over us, and still a close part of our family.  That was by far the best anniversary present I could have gotten!!  The gifts kept coming after that!  We boated the most fish our Captain had ever caught in one day!  I guess he didn’t realize he had a very special fisherman on board that day!

Now jump back to the present; Did I mention that December 8th is my grandson Ryan’s birthday?  You got it!  That Mylar balloon we found while hunting hogs, that had not been there earlier, said “Happy Birthday”!  I knew immediately who it was meant for.  We quickly took a picture with my cell phone and sent it on it’s way to the birthday boy.

I realize most people would just chalk this up to coincidence, and I may have at one point also.  But I have become a firm believer that when loved ones die, they are still watching over you and participating in your everyday lives in some small way or another.  We have had so many “coincidences” over the years that I just now say “Thanks Matt”, smile or cry (or both) and send the message on to it’s recipient.

Be open to see small miracles that you may otherwise overlook.  After all we need something to believe in, and I choose to believe that love is never ending!

happy birthday Ryan





Victory Archery Pink Arrow Project Contest-Or “How I lost the contest, but won the battle!”

1 11 2012

In the beginning of October 2012 I entered a contest on the Victory Archery Face Book Page for the Pink Arrow Project. To enter you needed to enter an essay that described what Archery meant to you. It was a 2 part contest, with the top 5 essays going to the second round. I hate popularity contests, but this one I had to enter.  I won the first round completely with 200 votes and a lot of inspirational comments! The second round I started out strong, being over 100 votes ahead of any of the competition. In the last couple of days I fell behind, but only in votes! There are so many people that took time to vote and comment, that I feel blessed. The contest has a few hours left, and I have 322 votes, I am still trailing, but I do not feel like I am losing at all!!  I realize I have lost the contest, but no one can ever convince me that I am anything other than a winner!  Even more important than the contest, was the ability to educate people on what can be accomplished after cancer. These comments touched me so much, that I felt the need to add them to the Because We Care page, because they do!

(Because We Care was a facebook group created to connect me and my triumphs in my battle with cancer with my friends and family.  It was a great source of comfort and encouragement to me.)

My Saskatchewan Black Bear

Archery is therapy to me! I had a bilateral mastectomy 3 years ago, due to breast cancer. I had been an avid bow hunter up to that point, and suddenly it was taken away from me. That was probably the worst part of my recovery, was not being able to shoot my bow. I have been building back muscle that had been destroyed in the surgery, but it has been a slower process then I expected. My Doctors on

the other hand think it is phenomenal what I an accomplishing. This past spring I took this fantastic black bear in Saskatchewan, using my Tenpoint crossbow. I was thrilled to be able to archery hunt, even if it isn’t my compound bow. I am still working daily to get back in form with my bow, but until that time comes, I will be doing my therapy with my crossbow.

  • Phil Cogley congratulations on the bear and beating cancer
    Eve Sunny Love thisMatt Maurice Sr. Awesome Bear and Congrats on Both accomplishmentsSteve Radle Good luck!
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks, every time I am able to hunt (and even better-harvest!) I am thankful for my victory over the breast cancer. These are real trophies in my world!
    Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell The crossbow is a sensible stopgap, until you can get back to your compound, and this bear proves it. Best wishes from another cancer survivor (1983/4 and 1995), keep up the good work.
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks Alwyn! and Congrats on your winning in your battle with cancer!Ladies in Camo You are the BEST and Ladies in Camo is SO PROUD OF YOU!! Good luck!!
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks that means a lot to me!
    Rachel Butler Brock Way to go!!
  • Tina Knopp Good Luck to you Diane and best of luck in all that you do!
    Tammy Ziems Very Pround Of You Diane Keep the Faith
  • Ashleigh Moore Ashford Way to kick both their butts!!!
    Betty Storman Diane, you are a fighter and a survivor…I hope you win this contest as well!!
  • Gus De Los Monteros You’ve got my vote. Was great getting to share camp with you. Best of luck to you.
    Neil Green Fine bear!!!
  • Michelle Harmes Diane you are awesome!
    Tammie Knopp Good Luck Diane! Diane you are outstanding!!!
  • Paul Blosat never give up is always a good way to live
    Teresa Dyke McCullough Good luck girl..
  • Rebekah Rhodes Diane you are an inspiration! Not just to women hunters but to women AND men in general to keep fighting. A good friend told me last week, “Quitting is not an option!” Thank you for being who you are.
    LeighAnne Phillips I agree with Rebekah, you are truly an inspiration… Keep it Sassy my friend❤
  • Gretchen Steele Diane – I know exactly how you feel.. my bilateral mastectomy was 12 years ago, and it takes time. I started off with lighter draw weight recurves, and although they weren’t enough of a draw weight to hunt with I could bowfish – it’s still archery and and is great fun. Crossbow too.. Keep up the great work! It may be a slow process but it is worth it in the end! I recently did an article about archery after mastectomy – I will make sure you get a link when it is published (should be on the 10th this month)
    Debbie Le Gette That’s awesome Diane! I’m proud of you! Keep at it!! ❤❤
  • Gretchen Hill God Bless you!!!!
    Diane Baxter Hassinger Gretchen please send me the link to your article. I would love to read it! While I personally know some women who have had breast cancer, they are not hunters, and don’t have any insight for me on what to expect. I have scoured the internet, but there isn’t a whole lot out there. I have been writing my own book, so to speak, just pushing myself hard to get back what has been lost. My Doctors are great, but clueless as to when I can expect to be able to do the things I love. I have been a test patient for then in this regard. They have a few answers for the next hunter they treat. I had never bowfished until a year ago, I had a blast, but was terrible at it. The crossbow has been a God send!
  • Carol Robertson Congratulations! You’re an inspiration.
    Lisa Rickenbrode Stroup Wow Diane…I never knew. This is very impressive and encouraging for women who are going through this battle. Kudos to you and I wish you continued good health through your journey. Prayers and blessings for you.
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger Thanks Lisa, I have tried to keep my fight with breast cancer as just a speed bump in the road of life. It slowed me down for a bit, but I am in the passing lane now!
    Mike Grundmann Good luck diane
  • Peggy Garuccio Fantastic! you go, girl. we’re rooting for you!
    Faith Sammons Turner Fighter….WINNER
  • Lisa Rickenbrode Stroup Diane, I haven’t had to deal with anything like that just yet and I admire your outlook. With the statistics being what they are, I’m just holding my breath. You are a strong girl and having a support system is so important. Again, KUDOS to you for continuing to enjoy your life and move forward.
    Carol Nevenhoven Diane, you are one amazing lady…What an inspiration you are to all of us! We should all aspire to be as strong and resilient as you are in the face of life’s struggles. God bless!
  • Dayna Casiglio Martin You rock, Diane!
    Leann Blasko Thank you everyone who voted if you didn’t see yet my mom made it on to round two of voting, she needs some help so if you wouldn’t mind going over to the final round of voting and like her picture again I would appreciate it.
  • https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152201170200089&set=a.10152151932230089.915285.384631705088&type=1&theater
  • Pink Arrow Project Prize Pack contest-2nd Round
  • Pink Arrow Project. Please vote for your favorite by clicking like for their photo!! Good luck!! and thank you for your support!!!By: Victory Archery
  • Teresa Dyke McCullough Good luck!!
    Brenda Faye Watson
  • Alexus Cee good luck I’ll share for you.Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell Diane, you are doing brilliantly. You are doing everything right.Terry Warvel Good luck!
  • Rodney Allebach Good luck!Heather’Andy Jarvimaki’Howard My mom had a bilateral mastectomy…I vote for you! So glad to hear that you are able to hunt and pray you will soon be able to draw your compound! ..good luck and god bless!Anita Geib Keep on rocking!Walter Blizzard Congrats and I wish you a full recovery,Archery is special feeling when hunting and it will definitly let you know how many muscle you use so I know it will take a little time to get those muscles back in shape but stay focussed and I think you will make it there.Bobbie Carpenter Good luck…your family is supporting you all the way!!
  • Richard Siedschlag nice bear , great pic
    Kelly Amon You rock Diane – Your an inspiration to others! God bless!
  • Teresa Miller Wilkie great photo
    Scott Wells Way to go I know I haven’t been thru what u have but I have had 2shoulder surgeries and a bicep tear repair all on same arm and thank god for crossbows
  • David Dean Rachels Sr GOOD LUCK LADY!Lisa Shackelford Clerkin Best Wishes for you and God Bless
  • Susan Davis You my friend are definately an inspiration to us all. God Bless oh and nice bear..lol
  • Gretchen Hill AMAZING story God Bless you !!!!
    Josie Stienbarger That is so awesome!!! U are doing amazing and u r an inspiration to all of us women best of luck on your continued recovery!! Keep on hunting!!! :/)
  • Mary Ann Hostetler Good luck and what a great photo!!
  • Morgan Yobst Yeah Aunt Diane
  • Dave Hotaling MY Grandmother had half done this last Febuary. So I know how hard it must be. I love archery hunting and though work has kept me from woods I hoping soon I can get a new bow. My old Jennings is from the 60′s I think my Grandpa used it for years. Your a Great Inspiration to others stay focused on what you want and you will be rewarded.
  • Nancy Jo Adams So proud of you and grateful our paths have crossed. You are an inspiration…and a cool friend.
  • JoAnn Herbert You rock!
  • Karrie Dollar Herschberger all i shoot are my pink victory arrows…YOU ROCK
  • Coach to Camo Awesome!!!
  • Bonnie Jones what a bear!!!!!
  • Diane Baxter Hassinger I am tied with Teri for first place, with still 2 days to go. Thanks everyone!
  • Cathy Sayle Wow!! Great story and wishing you continued progress!!
  • Joy L Doyle your quite the inspiration young lady!!!
  • Jessica Jolene Barlow Very Inspiring.
  • Dale Lamb I can’t help but admire and respect anyone like this. She knew what she enjoyed and has been dilligent in her attempt to recover it. Nuttin but love and respect to you.
  • Donald Yoho nice Bear
    • These comments below were posted to my blog:
    • Teresa Dyke McCullough Your a winner in my book, I think your story was the best!!!!
    • Lisa Rickenbrode Stroup As you said Diane, you are still a winner because you are here. Congrats on that and staying healthy. Your zeal for life is amazing.
    • Nancy Jo Adams A winner, an inspiration and a hero and I feel truly blessed that our paths have crossed and I mean that with all my heart!
    • Pam Devore Diane, you are a winner and we dont need a contest to prove that for we know this to be true<3
    • Alwyn Torquil Francis Ladell Remain the winner, regardless of which accolades are or are not bestowed. You had my vote.
    • Lydia Galina · Friends with Sue Tabor and 3 others  Very touched. Thank you for sharing.

    These Comments below were from other people who took the time to share my entry with their friends:

    October 2

    Ladies in Camo SO PROUD of Ladies in Camo’s own Diane Hassinger!! Diane is entered into the Victory Archery Pink Arrow Project Contest. But this isn’t just ANY ENTRY…Diane is not only a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a mentor, a huntress…..oh no, this entry is from a SURVIVOR!! Diane was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy just 3 years ago. She has been on the road to recovery with one goal in mind…SHOOTING & HUNTING WITH HER COMPOUND BOW AGAIN. She has been a superstar, a hero, and I am proud to say MY FRIEND!! Ladies in Camo is so grateful to have such an amazing lady among us…what an inspiration!! Please take minute to go to the Victory Archery Page and vote for Diane Hassinger..You can’t miss her, she is the one with the HUGE black bear she recently harvested in Canada. GOOD LUCK, DIANE…No matter what, YOU ARE A WINNER!!

    Michelle Whitney Bodenheimer shared Victory Archery’s photo.

    Tuesday

    Please vote for this inspirational huntress by clicking on the photo and hitting “like”. Diane Baxter Hassinger is an amazing woman, cancer survivor, and advocate for the great outdoors!





The Important Stuff

22 10 2012
This post originally appeared in Ladies in Camo Field Journal  http://ladiesincamo.com/fieldjournal.html
21 Oct

Some of the important stuff in my life!

Some of the important stuff in my life!

I have spent the last 2 weeks on the road hunting in Georgia and Alabama.  During that time I have made many great lasting memories and made some new friends.  This morning I was stalking hogs with my husband Dale along with Terry and Dillon from Racknine Outdoors.  I was really enjoying our time, the weather was beautiful and we were finding lots of fresh hog sign.

Should have been a perfect day, but it wasn’t.  Maybe I got homesick, I don’t know.  But we were walking along one minute with me thinking how I really love hog hunting, and the next minute my son popped into my head.  I started thinking how Matt would have really loved this, but he will never get the chance to experience it.  You see he died in a boating accident 16 years ago at the age of 16.  His death has changed our family forever.

That got me thinking (and crying) about how we need to focus on the important stuff.  Family, God, friends and health. The rest of it really doesn’t matter.  Get your kids and grandkids out in the woods, take them hunting, fishing, hiking or bird watching if that is what your are into.  Spend quality time with them, bonding over the simple things in life. Teach them about the outdoors so they in turn can teach their children.  Make sure they know your love, don’t let a day go by without telling them.  You really don’t know how long you will have them for.  Help them create wonderful memories that will comfort them in the future.  Life is a double edged knife, any of us could be gone tomorrow.

So enough said.  Next weekend Dale and I are taking our family and going camping and fishing in New York.  We will laugh, play, fish and have memories to sustain us.  I am going to help untangle lines and unhook fish for my grandchildren, take lots of pictures and ingrain every minute into my heart and brain.

“Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love” – Bob Marley





Let’s go Fishing 1992

1 05 2012

This is part of a series of writings I did in 1992.  Surprising, this is as true today, as it was 20 years ago, and Dale is still my fishing partner; 33 years this spring.

“Let’s go fishing this weekend,” Dale suggests, and I readily agree.  We have been fishing partners for our entire married life.  After some fishing trips, remaining married is a feat.  Sometimes our trips have been known to turn into a comedy of errors.  However, I am always ready to go fishing regardless of the time we must leave, the cold weather, or even a clash with Mother Nature.

Four o’clock a.m. comes early the morning of our trip.  An entire pot of strong black coffee is not enough to open my eyes.  I stumble incoherently out to the old pick-up truck; after scraping ice off of the windows, we embark on a day of fun.

“Quit breathing, you are fogging up the windshield” Dale demands, “Just wait until the heater warms up.”

Just as I am about to black out from the lack of oxygen, the first wisps of warmth are emitted from the heater.  Coincidentally, this also marks our arrival at the lake.

The morning sky is ominous looking, indicating that the weather will be unstable.  We unload our essential equipment, and trudge down the slippery, mud covered slope to the dark and menacing lake.  Cold, slimy mud oozes over the top of my boots, instantly putting a spring in my step.  The nip in the air is chillingly refreshing, not cold enough to numb your extremities.  However, I wish my feet were numb, so I could not feel the mud squishing between my toes.  The wind has calmed to a mere gale.  A perfect day for fishing, usually the weather is unmistakably miserable when we manage to take off a day.  I attempt to bait up with a worm, who is no happier to be awake at this hour then I am.  After struggling to pierce the squirming bait with a hook, I finally feel the barbs penetrate.  I lean back, and cast smoothly into a deep pool of water about 25 feet from the shore.  I snuggle down into my heavy wool jacket, waiting for the moment when a fish decides to breakfast on my bait.  Before long I am rewarded with a persistent pull on my line.  I quickly reel in the fish, which is only a small bass.  The fish is returned to the water, and the process is repeated.

Mother Nature now decides to throw her worst at us, and the wind increases to tempest storm intensity, the wind chill-factor is dropping rapidly.  The next cast of my line results in it being slapped back in my face, as if thrown by an invisible hand.  I am grateful for my cold weather clothing, but even it is not enough to ward off the frigid air.  It has now become a challenge just to get the line into the water, and not freeze while doing so.  This becomes a battle of the wills, and Mother Nature wins.  Dale and I pack up our equipment, and trudge up the slippery hill to the eventual warmth of the truck.

This has all been a minor deterrent, and we will continue to go fishing whenever the chance arises.  Awaking at 4:00 am, scrapping ice off of our windows, battling Mother Nature in a slightly unfair battler of the wills is all part of the allure of the sport.  Next time maybe the odds will be in my favor, and I will win.

My fishing partner





There’s a Fish 1992-2012

1 05 2012

This was wrote 11-13-1992, twenty years ago!  I was reminiscing and looking through some old writings of mine and found this.

Fishing equipment, in my possession, has evolved tremendously since my childhood.  The elaborate equipment used today differs greatly from the Spartan gear of my past, even the bait has been refashioned.

The fishing equipment I use today has become very expensive; however the quantities of gear have increased as well.  Merely to fish from a shore area, I outfit myself with two or three different types of rods, a net, portable fish finder, hip waders, and a fully stocked tackle box.  My box is overflowing with hundreds of scientifically designed lures, costing thousands of hard earned dollars.  Each lure is unique in either design, color, weight, or length.  Each is designed to be used in very specific situations.  I have a black, two inch long Jitterbug used only for bass at night.  Walleye Wonders, in nine colors and four weights, have possession of a large portion of my box, and I only use them when drifting for walleye.  I have tiny lures resembling crayfish, used solely for fishing for smallmouth bass in the river.  Gone are the days of simplicity.

As a child I owned just one basic, broken cane pole, with no reel.  A cigar box was transformed to hold my treasure trove of tackle; five or six hooks, and a piece of line scrounged from my Grandfather.  These were truly treasures.  I showed off my collection as if it were worth a million dollars.  My fish finder was my little sister, who would race along the lake banks screaming “Look, there’s a fish!”  I never had to replace her batteries, and I did not have to worry about forgetting my fish finder; she tagged along whether I wanted her to or not.  Wading boots were whatever shoes I was wearing when I waded into the water.  These could have been play shoes, or occasionally school shoes.  Getting wet was part of the fun, so no attempts were made to avoid dampness.  I did not have the complex decisions to make about what lure to use, a worm worked in every circumstance.

Worms have also evolved, because the fish apparently have become educated, in the quarter century I have been fishing.  There were times when I could fish all day with a grubby earthworm, dug from the manure pile, and catch some nice “keepers”.  Keep in mind, as a child, any fish large enough to take the hook was declared a “keeper”.  Now I fish scientifically, and my “keepers” must be trophies.  The thrill of the catch is not enough anymore, now I need an impressive size to thrill me.  Live bait apparently comes from the bait shop.  Ask for worms at these shops, and they think you are uncouth; the proper terms are night crawlers and blood worms.  I still slip up, and in a moment of forgetfulness call them worms.

All the advancements in my fishing equipment were made to enhance my ability to catch fish.  Fish finders, wading boots and lures contrast greatly to the days of a worm on a hook, and my sister tagging along.  The challenge in fishing has elevated to the point of only desiring trophies.  I yearn for the days of contentment, when fishing was simply, basically, for fun.

Added 4-30-2012

Now let’s jump ahead those twenty years, have I found contentment in fishing for fun?  My love of fishing has never died.  I am ready to go fishing anytime, anyplace.  For some things we have simplified, for others we have gone over the top.

The only time I use a fish finder anymore is upon the Happy Boy, a 50’ Bertram.  This boat is also equipped with every type of electronics; sonar, radar, depth finders, auto-navigation.  You name it, this boat has it.  Do you know how we search for marlin?  With a simple pair of binoculars.  Don’t get me wrong, I love this boat.  But this house on the water is over the top with gadgets.

My rods have evolved to the point of St. Croix and Sage rods.  Yes they cost much more than my cane pole, but I do enjoy the added sensitivity these rods produce.  My reels are usually Penns or Fin-Nors.  I use them simply because I like them.  I have a room, the size of most bedrooms; this is my tackle box now.  Drawers are organized for each type of fishing we do.  I do not even want to think about how much money is spent on all of the lures I have.  I do still show off my collection as if it were worth a million dollars and today that number is a lot closer to its value.

We fly to other countries to fish for world class fish.  We vacation all over the United States to fish some of the greatest waters on Earth.  The Happy Boy is docked in the Florida Keys.  These are my fishing waters of today.  My contentment now comes from being able to expose my grandchildren to these great fisheries.

We only use worms (yes worms-not night crawlers or blood worms) when we fish with our grandchildren.  I still love catching bluegills, bass and catfish on a simple hook and worm setup.  I am thrilled by the look on our granddaughter’s face when she hooks a catfish, and exclaims “Nana, Nana come quick!”, and I do.  A simple rod and reel, a pair of pliers, a hook, worm and bobber does the trick.  These are our trophies today.

We have gone full circle.  We have the expensive toys to play with and enjoy, but the greatest times are still the simpler ones.  Got to go, Ryan has a fish on!





The “I CAN DO IT” Fish

21 04 2012

This post was originally posted on Project; Pink. http://andreamain.com/diane-hassinger-pennsylvania/

This post also was published on Ladies in Camo at http://ladiesincamo.com/lictoth/2013/04/12/diane-hassinger-the-i-can-do-it-fish/

The “I Can do it” fish

The photo was taken 3 weeks following my mastecomy. My daughter Shannon had to place the salmon on the rock, so I could get a picture with it. It was important to me to be able to have me in the picture, not someone doing it for me (Like Dale holding the fish with me beside him).
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The first salmon fishing after my mastectomy, was just a mere 3 weeks after the surgery. Fishing has always been important to me, so I was concerned that I would not be able to handle a fish on my rod. I took it easy at first, especially since all of my Doctor’s had told me not to fish at all. It did not take long for my competitive side to take over, and soon I had a salmon on the line.
The first thought through my head was “I CAN DO IT”! I fought that fish and enjoyed every second doing so. Life was starting to seem normal again. My daughter Shannon helped me land the fish, but then we had a problem. I couldn’t lift the fish for any pictures. She helped me improvise by placing the salmon on a rock, so all I would have to do is balance it. “I CAN DO IT”. That was the first of many salmon that weekend.

Sarah, Charlie, Dale and Ryan

My grandchildren have been fishing since they could walk, and salmon fishing is a big part of their lives also. My granddaughter Sarah and I fished a lot of the stream together, helping each other along the way. She would hook and fight a fish, then I would help her land it, and of course take pictures.

Shannon

Lots of fish were caught, good memories made, family values instilled in our grandchildren, and of course a big hurdle in my recovery was overcame. As long as I am able I will continue to fish with my family and enjoy our time together. As always “Love the life you live”.

I did let Dale hold this one for me





Tomah Mountain Outfitters Spring Bear Hunt

21 04 2012

This post was originally posted in Project; Pink. http://andreamain.com/diane-hassinger-pennsylvania/

Diane's Maine Black Bear

June of 2008 was a turning point for me hunting. We went bear hunting for the first time with Joe Bowen of Tomah Mountain Outfitters. While I had hunted whitetail deer and small game for years, I had never ventured into bear hunts. At the time of the hunt, I was shooting my Mathew’s Black Max 2 compound bow daily, several hundred shots a day. I wanted to take my first bear with that bow something terrible. Joe makes you qualify your shooting before he takes you out, so off to the range we went. First up was qualifying rifles. I volunteered to go first so I would not stress out. My 2 shots were both bulls-eyes. Next up was the bow, while I did not robin hood my arrows, I came close.

We hunted the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation; they have an immense area that allowed the hunters amble space to spread out. Every night we were seeing bear, but I was still hoping for something bigger. Finally the last night we were hunting, Joe put me in a stand that a larger bear was coming in right at dark. I opted to use my Savage 30-06 rifle, simply because it would allow me to hunt later into the dusk. I had moose and fishers and rabbits all evening. Then right at the last few minutes of shooting light my bear came in. He was crashing and cracking everything in his way. He circled the bait before settling into to enjoy what would be his last meal. After watching him for what seemed like an eternity, I settled the crosshairs on him and squeezed the trigger. He only went a few yards from the clearing.

Once again my gun did not let me down. You see the gun I use was owned by my son Mathew. He died trying to rescue a friend from drowning 15 years ago. Every hunt I go on with this gun, I feel that Matt is accompanying me. We have shot a lot of nice trophies together that way over the years.

Hunting bears has become a passion, starting right here.





Caribou Hunt with Safari Nordik

21 04 2012

This post was originally posted on Project; Pink. http://andreamain.com/diane-hassinger-pennsylvania/

Diane and her Ithaca DS3 Caribou

My husband and I went Caribou hunting with Safari Nordik, based out of Montreal. They have an excellent organization. From the time you arrive in Montreal till you arrive back in Montreal from your hunt, they have taken the stress out of your hunt. You are put up at a nice hotel in Montreal and they have a short informational meeting outlining what to expect. You also receive your airline tickets, tags (2) and licenses at this point. The next morning the lobby is swarming with CAMO. It is actually awe inspiring to see that many hunters milling around! You fly into the small town of Kuujjuaq where you are met by a representative of the company. They assign you to camps and you fly out to your next destination. They only assign the camps the morning of your hunt, so they can maximize the amount of caribou in any given sector.

Caribou Camp at May Lake

The camp selected for us was Camp May, located on the banks of Lake May. We had 9 men and 2 women in the camp; they made alterations to the cabin to allow a small measure of privacy to the women. Sharing a cabin with 3 men was not as awkward as you would think. I had my own set of bunk beds, so I doubled up the foam pads and pillows, and slept like a baby.

Dale and I were field trial testing Ithaca’s Deer Slayer 3 slug guns, hoping to put them through the wringer weather wise (and we did!). They performed wonderfully. With the Nikon Slughunter scope we were shooting caribou out to 200 yards.

Dale started the week off with a caribou on the first morning; which we had to pack it out about 1 mile to the boat. After that, we had a nasty weather front move in that dropped almost 7 inches of rain in 24 hours. Our Cabelas Dry Plus Rain Suede Bibs and Parkas kept us surprisingly dry. We hunted throughout the storm, but the caribou were smarter than we were. Ptarmigan, however, were not so smart. Shooting them made the rainy day a success. We were treated to a viewing of the Aurora Borealis that evening, and I was mesmerized, that is something you do not see in Western Pennsylvania! As soon as the front passed through we started seeing movement again. The next morning I dropped a nice caribou with the Ithaca DS3 at 157 yards. I had to run ½ mile to cut him off as he crossed the river. By the time I shot him, I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive the hunt either! We were able to fill our last 2 tags on the last day with 2 small bulls-perfect for eating.

What is really nice about this hunt is that when you fly back to Montreal, if you have opted to have your caribou butchered, they take it from the plane, butcher it overnight and you pick it up in the morning already processed. We drove to Montreal and crossing the border with the guns, and the caribou was not a problem. Just make sure you have your passports and other documents in order.





Reality

14 04 2012

The start of a new life


Today I was on a hunting high. I had shot 2 osceola turkeys earlier this week, and today I shot a really nice spotted sow hog. On our way back to where we are staying, just out of the blue Dale wanted oranges. We stopped at a local road side stand, and got to talking with the women inside. Betty is a cancer survivor, and Linda had just recently undergone a mastectomy for breast cancer. She looks great, but as usual had some questions and concerns about her treatment.
This really brought home to me why I am doing this. Just a little over 2 1/2 years ago, I was in her shoes. I was staying positive, but there were concerns. I hope seeing that my recovery is nearing complete, and that my life has gotten back to as normal as it can be, will help her cope with her ongoing recovery. I hope everyone realizes that cancer can be just a hiccup in your life. Keep your spirits up, maintain a positive outlook, lean on people when you need support, cry on someone’s shoulder when the stress gets to be too much. But PLEASE never ever give up. Life is to precious to waste a minute of it. As always “Love the life you live”!








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