Snow

16 02 2012

It has been a rough week here, it seems cancer and other life disrupting diseases are ravaging people I love. I am feeling philosophical, “life is like a box of chocolates”. No, No, No, I mean life is like snow.

As I sit here watching the snow fall, I am at first mesmerized by its beauty, then the dangerous nature of snow and ice creep into my thoughts. Snow like life can be beautiful to watch from the outside. Many lives are being touched, and some destroyed. The beauty at times covers the true challenges that everyone faces. You can present a façade that people cannot see behind, project a picture that distracts from the pitfalls.

As I wait for the snowfall to cease, I am also waiting on the dreaded phone call that lives of people I love have also come to an end. Love your family while you can. Share your love with the people who matter to you. Do what you can to help ease burdens. Share the beauty and the pain. Know that Spring is ahead, and life will go on. Just look into the innocent face of a newborn and you will see our future. The never ending cycle of life.

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Safari Anticosti

11 02 2012

Diane's velvet 8 point

Anticosti Island has long been a big draw for whitetail hunters.  With only a little over 3000 square miles and more than 160,000 deer freely roaming the island, this island is a hunter’s mecca.

Dale and I had the opportunity to travel there the fall of 2011.  You are limited to only 70 pounds of clothing and gear, which makes packing a bit difficult.  We arrived on the island in a downpour of rain, making us wish our rain gear was on our backs and not in our bags.  We were met by a school bus, and transported to the lodge that would be our home for the next week.  There were 5 other hunter’s besides us, 4 longtime friends and longtime hunters on this island, and a Canadian who was paired with Dale and me.  Martin was extremely easy to get along with and we had a great time together.  Christian was assigned as our guide, which was also a good fit!

The first morning I got to hunt alongside Christian, while Dale and Martin hunted on their own.  We must have seen 50-75 deer that morning.  Putting a stalk on several nice bucks, but with 100-150 eyes on you, it is not as easy as you would think.  That evening I was on my own.  At home I mainly hunt stands, so the spot and stalk was not what I was comfortable with.  I found a stand of pine trees that were on a shelf about 75 yards above a river.  I waited for 2 doe to come out to feed, and waited, and waited.  I could have shot either of these doe many times during that hunt, but I wanted their boyfriend.  Right before dusk, he came out.  I let him settle in feeding with the does, which put him about 80 yards from me.  Finally he gave me the shot position I was waiting for, and I squeezed the trigger.  I watched as he crossed the river, and then lost sight of him in the tall grass.

Since my guide and Dale would not be back for another hour, and the light was fading fast, I decided to go looking for him.  Finding the blood trail was easy, until I got to the river.  I marked the last location with orange marking tape and crossed the shallow water.  I looked up and down for 10-15 yards before I finally found the blood on some tall weeds.  I had to cross the river a second time, before I found him buried in the river muck.  He must have died in mid leap and buried himself up to his chest.  I couldn’t even see any of the antlers.  I dug enough to get his head out, and was thrilled to see my nice big 8 point in the velvet.  Other than digging him out, I could not move him at all.  After marking his spot with orange tape and with my GPS, I headed back up to wait for Christian.  After a lot of dragging up the face of the shelf we finally got the buck to the quad.  When we got back to camp, several other deer had been shot, but mine dwarfed them!

The next couple of days were in the 80’s.  The deer were not moving and the hunters were moving slowly.  We were all hunting hard, but it just wasn’t happening.  It took the rest of the week for our tags to all be filled.  I took a doe the last day, a perfect broadside shot at 20 yards.  She fell right where she had stood.  That last day our group took a buck, a doe, a salmon and a whale bone.  Dale had been hunting the ocean side and found the remains of a whale.  That had to be the coolest find all week.

Our group of 7 filled all 14 of our tags, and had a lot of fun doing it.  I look forward to returning to the island to hunt with our new friends again.

Anticosti Island - Landsat satellite photo (ci...

Image via Wikipedia





Archery League

11 02 2012

Ryan and Sarah shoot too!

Last night I had the privilege to help with the Youth Archery League at our pro shop.  My grandchildren shoot in this league, but this was the first I had seen these kids in action.  I was impressed!  Even Sarah my 9 year old granddaughter had a perfect 5, 5, 5X round.  These kids can shoot!  I wish I had had this type of opportunity as a child, but since I didn’t, I will make sure my grandchildren do!

My happiness was tempered by a disturbing phone call I received while there.  My father had been rushed to the hospital with a suspected stroke.  He later was rushed to a second hospital for the possibility of doing surgery to relieve the blood on the brain.  I took my sister down to the hospital in time to meet with the Neurosurgeon with my mother.  He stated that Daddy is not a candidate for the surgery and he would recommend that we let nature take it’s course. No extraordinary means are to be implemented to keep my father alive, so it is just a matter of time.  He is being taken back to the nursing home where he has spent the last 2 years, where he has friends and the staff loves him.  I give the staff all the credit in the world, they have a thankless job and have to deal with everything that we are unable to.  I appreciate ALL they do to make life livable for the patients.  THANK YOU!

Today was my regular day to shoot in the Technohunt league.  I kept our time to shoot, simply because I needed to relieve stress and shooting my bow had always been an outlet for me.  Today, I was unable to focus, and coupled with technical difficulties, I did not shoot well at all.  I am not making excuses, it happens.  I am still thankful that I can shoot and can still enjoy life.  I am sure I am in for a rough couple of days/weeks.  I have had rough days and weeks before, it is all part of life.  It just drives home the point to LIVE the life you love.  You never know when that ability will be taken from you.

Love your family, spend time making good memories with them, live your life with no regrets.





Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

8 02 2012
Diane and Vicki Cianciarulo at the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show

I visited the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Harrisburg this week.  It was a great time to reconnect with old friends, make new friends and check out a lot of cool new products designed to make our hunting life easier.  Vicki Cianciarulo and I had hunted together in Illinois, so we were able to catch up here, she is such a great person.  Jim Shockey and his daughter Eva were wonderful, very personable and took lots of time visiting with us.

Cy, Jim Shockey and Diane

One of the booths I made sure to stop at was Bullseye Outdoor Adventures.  Several of our hunts have been booked thru Russ Walker and George Winslow, and they really bend over backwards to make sure you have a good trip.

I was thrilled to make the display for the show (bottom, 3rd from left) I am in really good company there!

One other important stop for me was the Savage Arms booth.  I just had to check out the new Lady Hunter Rifle!  My husband ordered one for me in 30-06 a few weeks ago, and we are still waiting for Savage to start shipping them.  But I got my hands on one, that will keep me happy until mine comes in.

My future rifle!





Blessings

8 02 2012

As I was driving out to the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show today, I received a phone call from one of my best friends.  Her father is battling cancer and had to undergo emergency surgery twice.  I had been mentally thinking of all the cool new things I would find at the show, and now all I could think of was blessings.  I AM BLESSED!  Some may ask how can I think such a thing, I lost my son at age 16 and I have battled breast cancer.  Tragic as those things are, I am still blessed.  I have a wonderful family that supports every endeavor I embark on.  I have a wonderful job that allows me the flexibility to go where I want when I want.  I have good health (now).  I have 2 new grandchildren that are a blessing in themselves, plus 3 older ones that have blessed my life for years.  I had a wonderful hunting season and I have been recently recognized for my work with Genealogy.

My friend’s father was mumbling about killing pigs, which apparently made his nurses nervous.  But the truth of the matter is that we have vowed to make his dream of hunting hogs a reality.  The moment he is physically able we will be helping him fill a bucket list dream.  I am hopeful that the excitement of going hog hunting will help make his recovery seem much quicker and help him thru the rough patches.  I am blessed to be able to help him achieve this.

No matter how rough you have it, your life is full of blessings in many ways, if only you are open to see it.  Help people thru the rough patches they are going thru and they will be there for you when you need them.  Don’t give into the negative, look for wonders and BLESSINGS.  As always Live the life you love, love the life you live!





Technohunt League

7 02 2012

I am using Technohunt as a form of physical therapy to help me get back the muscles that were damaged during surgery. Today I shot for the 3rd time. I am happy to say my form, stamina and control are all improving. This has to be the most fun you could possibly have doing physical therapy. Unorthodox, but it should be effective!





Rack Nine Outdoors

7 02 2012

Diane's 8 point buck

This is a reprint from a blog that originally appeared in “Shenanigans from the field”.

I happened to see a post on Shenanigans from the Field about a Ladies in CamoLadies 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 prior to 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 was 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.

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 was piled up under a pine tree.  He was nice high 8 point, and I was thrilled.

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.  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 whole 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)