Want To Hunt My Land? Here’s How…

Today’s blog post was inspired by a Facebook status from a husband/wife team who are hardcore hunters.   I mean, this duo basically lives, eats and breaths mostly deer hunting, however occasionally other species make their bucket list.   What captured my attention is a series of pictures they posted…and seeing them got me thinking just how this couple is a class outdoor act.

Perhaps you think it was the pictures themselves that were awe inspiring.   Nope!   It was simply sharing a snapshot of what is happening in life—you know, telling Facebook friends the mundane things about what you are currently doing—that struck a deep chord with me.

This couple was out farming.   He was driving a tractor pulling a chisel plow.   She was riding another tractor discing a different field.   Together, they were helping out a farmer who was getting a bit behind in his work.   It’s the kind of assistance neighbors often give neighbors in the rural areas, but this hunting duo hails from the big city.   They aren’t true country folk.   They are hunters visiting for the day from a metropolitan area.

Long ago they realized how gaining access onto new hunting lands is about building personal relationships.   It’s not just finding out the landowner’s first name and schmoozing for a few minutes each fall, instead it’s about discovering much more pertaining to his life.   It’s learning his name, his wife’s name, the names of all the children, what hobbies he has, his favorite foods…I think you get the picture.   Over the years they took the time first to build a friendship, and second to enter into a handshake agreement that includes access to his land seeking wildlife.

So, this couple rises and shines early in the morning like most deer hunters do.   They hunt for several prime morning hours…then they ditch their Scent Lok for their coveralls.   They become the sort of hired-hand to the farmer he most certainly doesn’t expect, but over the years has grown to dearly appreciate.   For those five or six hours mid-day when this husband and wife could be hunting, instead they are solidifying a relationship that promises to last for many years.

Don’t think for a moment the farmer and his family don’t recognize this special act.   In fact, it might have started out as the hunters feeling indebted to the landowner for initially granting them permission to hunt, but this has morphed into something much bigger.   These days, it is the farmer feeling somewhat obligated to the hunters for all their hard work.

How do you think the farmer is apt to satiate this feeling of indebtedness?   I’ll tell you…he realizes that no other hunter prior to this couple has ever been so gracious in their helpful actions.   Oh, sure, he knows this is sort of a quid pro quo relationship where each party is getting something of value, but this farmer offers the couple even more.   And quite deservingly so.

Because no other hunter has ever taken the time to first become friends with the farmer and then to work their butts off (a trait most farmers and rural folks quickly appreciate and use to evaluate people), these hunters get a special reward.   Yup, they get exclusive hunting rights on the landowner’s property.   Now, what value do you place on that?

You see, when dealing with landowners in rural America your handshakes, your token gifts of appreciation, your consideration shown while on the property is all important.   Yet, if you want something more than most hunters get a person needs to be prepared to give something more than most hunters are willing to give.

Time, friendship, some occasional sweat equity…these all leave deep impressions on those folks who are the gatekeepers to the property you want to hunt.   If you want to be treated better than just some “ordinary” hunter, you need to do the things that set you apart from all others.   That’s who I want hunting on my land when given the choice.

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

The Fine Line Between Hunting Success Or Failure Is NO EXCUSES!!

Spend any time in the typical deer hunting camp and you will hear hunters explaining away their lack of success.   Spend any time in a duck hunting camp you will also find hunters lamenting why things didn’t go as intended.   Huddle around parked vehicles during a pheasant hunt and you’ll hear countless reasons why that rooster kept wingin’ over the horizon.

Excuses…nothing but damn excuses!!!

Hunters are full of them.   In fact, some hunters are famous for always having a new one just for the appropriate occasion.   Fact of the matter is it’s our human nature to blame equipment or circumstances for our shortcomings rather than the person pulling the trigger or releasing the arrow.

Now, that’s not to say equipment can’t indeed malfunction or who would have predicted that 100–year-old tree to finally topple over just as the deer was moving into range before scaring off…but in most situations hunting excuses = joke.   They always have and they always will.


Truth is the hunter who always looks to excuses for lack of hunting success may simply be joking around and having some fun.   And certainly there’s nothing wrong with that.   Yet, there’s a faction within our hunting community where excuses become a serious crutch underscoring poor performance.   We all have bad luck on occasion, but too many hunters create their own misfortune and the excuse is a crutch highlighting it.

None of us like to admit that we didn’t spend enough time this summer on the archery range to get our bow really dialed in for optimal deer hunting performance.   Likewise, the duck hunter who never made it out for trap night at the local sportsman’s club shouldn’t expect to be flawless in those follow-thru shots on fast-moving waterfowl.  Much the same can be said for the pheasant hunter who fumbled with the gun taking it off safety messing up the timing of his shot.

Often times success in hunting means beating the odds.   The room for error isn’t that great to allow for amateur mistakes, yet still see positive results.   Sometimes a hunter can get downright lucky, but most times success is a product from lots of practice with equipment plus deploying an educated game plan knowing the animal.   In other words, hunting success is like an investment…the dividends you are allowed to take are directly related to the value a person puts into it.

It’s important for hunters who genuinely seek success to eliminate any need for excuses cropping into a conversation.   When things go wrong and failure results, the hunter who accepts personal responsibility will be miles ahead of the hunter who seemingly has an excuse ready in every pocket.

This fall it should be every hunter’s goal to minimize the use of excuses no matter how tempting they can be.   If you missed the shot, accept that a few more days at the range could have paid off in better results.   If that animal responded to your calling, but just wouldn’t present itself…accept that perhaps you’re not the expert caller you’d like to think you are and you need more practice.   If you’re not seeing action, maybe it’s time to realize how staying out late and partying isn’t a priority compared to getting up early, feeling refreshed and energized for the morning hunt.

This year, I’m calling for NO EXCUSES allowed in my hunting camps!   Let’s focus on success by capturing that inner predator spirit present inside each of us.   Besides, stories of success are a lot more fun to share.

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

How Do You Move A Large Gun Safe Across Country?

This weekend a good friend of mine posed a question to me that had never crossed my mind before.   His dilemma…he’s planning to move his family from one end of the country to the next and he owns this heavy gun safe he would like to transport with them.   His question to me was how he best accomplish the task.

Now, usually I have a good answer for most things, but I have little to no experience when it comes to moving.   Honestly, for most of my life I have stayed on a farm that has been in my family for over 155 years…so why would I worry about such matters?   Yet, moving heavy items, such as a gun safe, can be quite a predicament at a time when life matters in general are already quite stressful.

Now, obviously the easiest answer would be to hire a professional moving company.   Unfortunately, for many families this is a luxury service that is not even a realistic consideration.

Another option is having it trucked as freight.   Of course, when you consider how you would need to crate it (to protect it) for the journey and ship via freight lines a person could easily have $3–500 or more just in transport cost.   Sure, this is a viable option, but a person would have to offset this option by answering the question…is it worth it?

Then, of course, another possibility is just to sell the heavy safe locally before moving and purchase a new one at the new destination.   In this scenario you hope the loss you take plus the extra cost you will need to pay at the final destination makes this possibility even viable.   Remember, too, in some locales just paying sales tax alone on a new purchase is going to take a huge bite out of the pocketbook.

Of course, there is always that option of trucking the safe in your own trailer or truck.   Packing it carefully and taking into account, especially if you have a quality safe that is built solid, how an item like this needs to be strategically placed in a trailer for road safety.   Moreover, a large gun safe whether riding on a trailer (enclosed or open) or in a truck can be a challenge to secure in case of sudden braking incidents.   That’s why often times hauling a safe should be left to professionals equipped to do the job right.

Let’s make this point perfectly clear…under no circumstances do you want to transport guns inside your safe.   For many reasons you are just asking for trouble.   Consider not only the shifting movement and bouncing involved, but be aware of all the different climates that may be encountered during the transport.   Guns are protected in safes when they are stationary, but not when they are moving unless the safe is specifically designed for that purpose.

So, on this matter I default to the blog readers who are willing to share.   If you moved a gun safe over some great distance how did you accomplish the task without breaking the bank?   Any helpful pointers you would like to share?   Any experiences you would rather forget that we could learn from?   I encourage your assistance and participation on this important life topic dealt with by many gun owners at some point in life.

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