Thursday, April 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday Deer Camp Pic

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I recently came across this photo from when I was a kid making my first trips to deer camp. Learned a lot at Moring Hunting Club: how to play in the mud, killed my first deer, snuck around and dipped Skoal (and immediately got sick) but most of all made some good memories and great friends.

No, this isn't a movie poster for The Lost Boys
Deer slayer in the making

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My journey to and through the Epic 5K: Part 2

The music is getting louder and louder, the crowd starts moving towards the starting line, we salute the American flag as The Star Spangled Banner is piped through the speakers and then the countdown begins.

5....What am I doing here???....4....Man I sure hope I don't fall down....3....Hope there aren't too many hills....2....Yep, my shoes are tied....1....GO!!!

The race begins and the crowd moves as one through the starting line. We are elbow to elbow trying not to trip over each other for about the first 150 yards then the super runners take off and leave me in their dust. Then one of the craziest things I thought I wouldn't see during a race happens. Some guy peels off from the pack and takes a shortcut between a parking lot and building! The further we make it into the race the crowd spreads even thinner.

The crowd before the race
I make it about 6/10 of a mile before I have to stop running and walk for a bit. My shins, which haven't bothered me anytime at all during training, start to tighten up and hurt...a lot. I alternate between running and walking until I finally listen to my wife and stop completely and stretch them out. We keep pushing on up the hills and then down the hills, along the straight aways and around the corners and curves. My wife, who encouraged me all the way through, would pick out a building, stop light, etc. that would be up ahead and we would run all the way there then take a break.

Trying not to pass out

I'm going to stop telling about my race experience right now to tell about one of the most motivational things I have ever seen. There was a large group of blind runners participating in the race! Each blind runner had a guide runner that would guide them through the course and keep them motivated.  Every time I would start to think I wouldn't be able to complete the race, I would just think about how someone who was blind had every excuse not to run but yet they were still there competing!

Words can't explain how awesome these blind runners are! 

Ok, so back to the rest of the race. All along the route were groups of people there holding up signs and cheering everyone on. They probably don't realize it but if there words of encouragement helped me I know there were hundreds of other people that were helped out as well. Finally we made it to a water station where it looked like a bunch of high school kids were volunteering. A simple cup of water never tasted so good!

The third mile finally begins and we are in the home stretch. There's one more hill to take care of then we are in the final straightaway and can hear the music blasting at the finish line. My wife picks out a place for us to kick it into high gear and we speed up until we cross the finish line. I made it without passing out on a sidewalk! All of the mornings spent getting up early in the cold have paid off, I finished my first race and overall it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I finished at 43 minutes and 24 seconds, a per mile pace of 14 minutes. Looking back if I haven't had to stop and stretch I could have had a better overall time.

Best banana...ever
Taking a break and showing off my medal

There's not a chance in anything that I could have done it on my own. Starting with everyone of the volunteers, all of the participants that cheered each runner on to my super awesome wife for being the voice keeping me going. It was definitely a group effort to make me run a race! Not sure if I'm going to turn into a full time runner but I can see myself getting out a couple times a week and making a lap or two. And to everyone that might have doubts if they can run a race, if I can do it, I promise that you can too!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

My journey to and through the Epic 5K: Part 1

At the beginning of last year, I made a list of goals for things I wanted to do during the course of 2013. One of those was run in a race...a short race. The main reason I placed this on my list was to just see if I could do it. Kind of like pushing yourself to make a bullseye at 60 yards with your bow ten times. You may never need to do anything like that but it's always cool to accomplish something you have never done before.

The year went on and I wasn't any closer to running a race than I was when the year started. I think it was during late summer I decided that I would sign up for the 2014 Little Rock Marathon 5K. Then I completely blocked it from my memory. As the year went on I hardly ran at all. Before registering, the only time I would run was if something bigger than me was chasing me! My wife likes to run 5Ks and half-marathons frequently with a group of runners in our hometown so I at least had someone that knew more about running than I did.

Part of the crowd before the race began

About the end of December last year I asked her when we should start training for the race and she immediately said, "Uh now." Then the gravity of the situation hit me...this is about to get real for me. So we would get up early before work and run on our path we had mapped out. Then it got colder and the weather worsened and I didn't run for a while. But as the weather got better on certain days we got back on track and slowly worked my way up to doing almost a mile running without stopping.

Once again the realness set in when she told me that we would have to push it to two miles since we are running a race that is more than one mile. This wasn't an issue for my wife because as I mentioned before, she runs all the time. For me, it was an issue. I do have to give much thanks to my awesome wife for pushing me and keeping me motivated to accomplish this goal. We ran when it was frigid outside, dodged skunks, ran when we were tired and when we didn't want to at all.

Me putting on my best race face

Finally, the week of the race got here and I was so ready to get this mess over with! My knees were tired of pounding the pavement and I had just about lost all motivation. Prior to the race during our practice, I never could get up to the full distance that the race was going to be. Then I started getting worried that I wasn't going to be able to finish since I never made it that far during our training. The last thing I wanted to do was have to bow out.

Saturday came, we put our race numbers on our shirts and headed to Little Rock. I really didn't know what to expect but it turned out to be an awesome experience. The running community is much like the hunting community with everyone being super friendly. Everyone is there with one common goal: to finish the race and root each other on. There was a huge crowd there just to cheer everyone on!

Tomorrow I'll let you in on Part 2 and how I fared!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mamma Mia that's a good meatball!!

This might be the best venison recipe, other than throwing a big deer steak on the grill, that I have ever made. It looks good, tastes good, smells good so basically it covers all the good checkmarks for a recipe. I won't waste anymore time typing so you can get to the kitchen and make this now!

What you'll need:

1-1/2 lbs ground venison
2 eggs beaten
3/4 bread crumbs
1/4 cup dry parsley
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 finely chopped garlic cloves

First I mixed up all the dry ingredients: bread crumbs, parsley and the Parmesan cheese in a large mixing bowl and put the eggs and garlic in a separate smaller bowl.

Next I put the venison in the bowl with the bread crumb mixture and then poured the egg mixture over the top and mixed thoroughly with my hands.

After you have mixed the meat up well, start taking small bunches of meat and rolling them into balls somewhat larger than a golf ball. Then pour some olive oil in a pan and heat on medium high heat. Brown the meat balls all over. Don't worry about cooking all the way through at this point. 

Take your browned meat balls and put in your favorite spaghetti sauce and cook on low for another 30-45 minutes. This gives them plenty of time to finish cooking all the way through. I would give you my spaghetti sauce recipe but it's straight from the old country and I'm not giving it up! 

Put on top of your favorite noodles and top with some cheese and you are good to go!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Product Review: Hornady TAP FPD .308 Ammo

This product review has been two years in the making. I bought Hornady 168 gr. TAP FPD ammo for my deer rifle before the beginning of the deer season in 2012 for use in my Remington 700 .308.  You might be asking yourself why in the world I would use self-defense ammo to hunt with? The best answer I can give you is this: RESULTS.

I have killed four deer over the course of two seasons with this ammo and each time the deer have dropped right where they were. While I do enjoy tracking deer, it sure makes it easy to load out when you don't have to drag a big fat doe through the woods. Using Hornady 168 gr. TAP FPD ammo has allowed me to experience 100% recovery on every deer I have shot. There was never an exit wound on any of the deer. I don't shoot this ammo much at the range to make sure my rifle is sighted in like I want it since it's a bit on the pricey side so I don't have any pictures of targets or video of me shooting this ammo. You can read about my experiences with it in actual hunting situations by clicking these links: Funky 6, Early Season Doe, and Lady Luck Smiles Twice

You can read all about the specs and ballistics on Hornady's website by clicking here

Silver nickel cases

Match grade bullets

From Hornady's website about the bullet used in the TAP FPD ammunition: The 168 gr. A-MAX® bullet is a traditional match grade bullet with the performance advantages of a polymer tip. This bullet demonstrates an increase in penetration and retained weight over the 155 gr. A-MAX® bullet. Standard barrier performance is exemplary and this load demonstrates controlled and impressive soft tissue expansion without over penetration. The Hornady® 168 gr. A-MAX® TAP Precision® offers industry leading all-around performance for law enforcement precision marksmen providing the ability to stop a target "right NOW".

  • Ammo is very reliable
  • Haven't had any feeding issues while cycling through my rifle
  • Peace of mind knowing a well respected ammunition company makes this product
  • Good accuracy/consitency since product is loaded with match grade bullets
  • TAP FPD ammo is a little on the pricey side
  • Currently out of production due to demand on other ammunition 
I would recommend Hornady TAP FPD ammo to any hunter for any type of rifle; if you can find it. As I mentioned above, the ammunition is a little on the pricey side but it's worth every penny. Hopefully it won't be too much longer and it will be available to purchase again.