Time To Do A Little Bragging About A Friend

Hey folks, I just have to take a moment on this blog to do a bit of bragging about my good friend, Adele Beals, in Owatonna, MN.   This past weekend she entered a statewide professional art competition here in Minnesota and won BEST OF SHOW with a painting I think you will like.

First, let me give you a little background on this.   Back during the spring of 2012 my daughter, Elsie, who was almost 4–y/o at the time, wanted to go turkey hunting with me sitting in the blind.   Well, as most preschoolers are not very patient, I promised to take her out to the blind to hunt for about an hour.   As things were winding up and I soon had to take her to school, my friend, Todd Rost, snapped a quick photo of the two of us as I was explaining to Elsie where the turkeys would likely have come from that morning if we had see any action.

I had posted the picture on my Facebook wall and it was there for over a year.   Then, this summer, Adele contacted me and asked if I would grant her permission to use the photo to paint it for a local art competition.   Well, to be perfectly honest with you I was quite flattered and granted her full use of the image as you will see it here:


But, Adele wanted to put her artistic touches to it and so she solicited my advice how it could be improved.   Well, I told her that in real-world turkey hunting I would not be so inclined to let Elsie where pink camo and pink Hello Kitty boots to the blind.   I also told her that her toy gun with the pink camo likely had to go.   As you will she, Adele did all of that as well as put a turkey hunting vest on Elsie that even shows some turkey calls sticking out of the pockets.

One final touch that I did not ask for, but that I certainly appreciated, is Adele took some of the gray out of my beard and made me look at least a few years younger.

Well, enough on all of that.   Here is the painting that won 2013 BEST OF SHOW from the Artists of Minnesota competition held in Duluth, MN this past weekend.   Don’t you agree Adele did a wonderful job painting this image?

This painting is entitled “Daddy’s Talkin’ Turkey On A Blind Date.”

And you know, the best part about this is the award was given by the members who voted, not just a panel of judges.   Think about the back story here.   Many of the artsy type folks, and I make that reference with no disrespect intended, are not the usual profile of folks who typically are big hunting supporters.   I think that’s another of the positives that comes from this win.

A subject that some in our society might find offensive of an adult showing a young child how to hunt or to be using a gun (albeit a toy gun in this instance) apparently did not distract from the talent that was on display in the painting.

Kudos again to Adele!   For her to win using a painting that contains my image speaks a lot on its own.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

10 Sure Signs Today Isn’t The Day You Will Score On A Deer.

Let’s face it, we’ve all had those days when things just don’t seem to go the right way in our lives.   This can be especially frustrating when out deer hunting.   Consider these ten sure signs that today probably isn’t that day you will score on that trophy deer you’ve been dreaming about.

  1. You somehow find your deer hunting clothes laying on the floor and the dog slept on them all night.   Guess what?   You’re not shooting a deer today.   Go back to bed.
  2. You open the door to the house to walk to the truck.   Suddenly you see a blur of movement over near your garden catching a glimpse of white tails swishing in the air.   Guess what?   You’ve just seen the only deer you will likely see all day today.   This is a bad omen before even getting to the woods.   Go back to bed.
  3. You turn on the truck radio and instead of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust” you hear, instead, the Little River Band song “Lonesome Loser.”   Turn the truck around as you’re not shooting a deer today.   Might as well go back to bed.
  4. While driving to the woods you see a shooting star and immediately make a wish that contains 12–points.   Moments later a black cat goes dashing across the road in front of your truck.   You swerve trying to hit it…but miss and nearly drive into the ditch.   Face it…today’s not gonna be your day.   Might as well drive to the nearest truck stop and have breakfast instead.
  5. You stop at your buddy’s house to pick him up to go hunting.   The house is completely dark with no signs of movement inside.   Outside the house you gently tap on his bedroom window in an effort to get his attention.   Instead you hear other strange, but obvious noises inside.   Turns out he has a change in plans and you’re not included in them.   Might as well head to the woods alone to ponder what you are missing out on at home.   You’re not getting a deer with distractions like that!
  6. You finally make it to the woods and park your truck.   You exit stepping in a fresh pile of Timber Wolf scat.   There ain’t a deer within a mile of you right now and you reek of a feared predator.   Things just aren’t going well…might as well check your watch to see how long until the local pub opens.
  7. You say to hell with it and start hiking in on your trail.   Damn, it’s dark this particular morning and you get a bit disoriented and veer somewhat off path.   Suddenly a resilient sapling snaps up and nails you right in the crotch.   You’re breathless…you’re fighting off systemic shock from the sheer acute pain…you fall to the ground and let out a large groan.   It’s not your day.   You won’t shoot a deer.   Might as well go home and start working on that “honey-do” list—ice packs inside pants included.
  8. You finally make it to your deer stand only to find the recent windstorm has blown over your tree and completely crushed your expensive new deer stand.   You drop to your knees and start sobbing repeating “Why me?   Why me?”   Do you really think with this kind of luck you’re getting a deer?   Not today!Qrrq1orm
  9. You’re sitting in your deer stand.   The woods has been unusually quiet.   Suddenly a ruckus erupts beyond the tree line over by a small meandering stream.   A great blue heron takes to flight lumbering and bee lining towards your location.   An uneasy feeling is growing inside you…and suddenly your worst fear has been realized.   Your equipment and clothing is splattered with loose, disgusting fecal matter.   It’s not your day.   The entire woods community is telling you to go home and you haven’t listened.   You’re not scoring on a deer today.
  10. You head home and unload all your equipment from the truck.   The spouse once again shoves that “honey-do” list toward your face.   You notice several tasks require a trip to the hardware store…so you drive back to town.   Time to make this day productive in finishing projects if not connecting with a deer.   Just when all thoughts have turned to re-caulking window sills and cleaning gutters it happens.   Brakes squealing!!…SMASH!!   Damned if you didn’t just nail a deer in the front quarter panel of your new truck.   The damage is extensive…but you finally got your deer.   Oh, wait…where did it go?   Crap!   It’s just not your day…now might be a good time to believe the signs and go back to bed.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.

Hunters What Does It Take For You To Become A Believer?

Let me preface this post by stating upfront that I do not intend for this post to be a product review.  Instead, the product I use as an example in this post is mostly just a prop to frame the question.   In fact, you could page through a hunting supplies catalog and pick one of thousands of similar products that this same question could apply.

That being said, I have never used an electronic scent eliminating product that uses ozone as its means of neutralizing human odor in the woods.   I have had an employee who distributed on her own these types of units for home use and, after listening to her sales pitch and seeing them in use, albeit for an entirely different use…well, let’s just say I am not sold and highly suspect of the product’s true value.

I believe these ozone devices have been available for hunter purchase now for several years.   I’ve heard both pros and cons.   I know I will certainly not run out to the store to purchase one at $400.   Hell, I would give one a try if someone gave one to me.   And therein lies my question.

When a new hunting aid comes along what does it take for you to become a believer?

Do you have to actually try it first hand?   Do you watch the product in use and highly promoted by celebs on TV?   Does a close personal friend need to be your guinea pig, so to speak?   Or does equipment like this just seem so far-fetched that you take one look at it and snicker?

The challenge of controlling human scent in the woods is a prime objective for lots of products touting their value.   And I get that.   I grew up and I still am a trapper and NOBODY is more keenly aware of human scent than trappers are.   Yet, I see successful trappers all over the board when it comes to human scent management.   Some go to extremes taking every painstaking precaution to leave no traces of human scent.   Others, well…they realize the importance of being careful, but they don’t go overboard when it comes to their practices.   Yet, both are still successful.

I often wonder if those of us who are hunters don’t often interpret our experiences the way we hope they exist.   By that I mean, if you just plopped $400 down for some electronic scent device or some scent reducing clothing, by default we all want them to work, right?   Hard to justify how something costing nearly as much as an inexpensive rifle or bow could possibly not live up to our expectations in every way.

Perhaps the best way to answer this question is this way.   Assume one of your hunting companions makes a new equipment purchase making big claims it can be a potential game changer in the outcome of the hunt.   Do you feel the pressure to buy because you don’t want them to have an advantage over you?   Or do you initially scoff at the notion that any newfangled equipment has such revolutionary value that it will likely change the outcome of the hunt?

As an aside, sometimes I fear those of us in the hunting community put too much credence in the next new gadget that comes along.   Oh, sure, many of them are fun to play with and the science behind them can make sense, but is it truly necessary?

It’s sort of like the deer whistles that people mounted on their truck bumpers several decades ago to scare deer away and to avoid collisions and damage.   Did they work?   Oh, you bet they did…but likely not for the reason you might imagine.   They worked because the people who invested in them watched the ditches more closely hoping to see the deer run away by hearing the whistles.   The psychology was people like to see their investments paying off.   This can be true even if the science behind the product being sold is never actually field-proven.

©2013 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.