Saturday, December 20, 2014

Texas Hunt Part Three

The second day of my Texas hunt started off in a different ground blind.  We were up early and in the blind by 6 AM. It's a little different hunting with a cameraman and on camera.  I now have a lot more respect for the people hunting on TV shows, they go through a lot to get the shot on film.

We started seeing a few Doe just after daylight but wanted to wait to see if a mature Buck came into range.  One smaller buck made an appearance but he was not a shooter.

My rifle and Martin's camera
It was not long before another group of Doe came back to my blind.  They were feeding at 120 yards and were calm.  We decided to take the shot on one of the mature Doe.  I shot and she dropped in her tracks. Unfortunately the shot was a little far back and she got up and walked into the brush. We gave her a little time before deciding to start the recovery process.

Recovering my Doe

Randy came with Justin and they quickly found my Doe about 20 yards off the lane.  I was very excited to find her and to tag my first Whitetail deer in Texas. For me any animal I take is a trophy. I was very thankful that they found her so close. We placed my tag on her and loaded her into Randy's truck for processing.

A great morning hunt
We all return to the lodge for the afternoon meal. It was great to tell my story to everyone and hear about their exciting hunts.  Several of the hunters were successful and managed to tag some great Texas whitetail bucks.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Texas Hunt Part Two

I did not sleep at all my first night in Texas, I was too excited. After a quick breakfast of pastries and juice we all started off to different hunting locations on the 19,000 acre ranch.  The first morning in the ground blind was everything I had been dreaming about over the last several months.

Martin, Beth and I settled into our blind before daylight and waited for the action to start. It was not long before I seen a nice Whitetail buck off to my left.  He was not a shooter but it was great to see him!

Martin our camera man
We had some big Texas long beards around several times throughout the day.  One group of gobblers (30 or more birds) were in front of me for at least 15 minutes at 20 yards. I was surprised to see how big the birds were, much taller than the eastern  turkey I was used to seeing.

Gobbler at 20 yards

After the morning hunt several of us hunters went to the rifle range. After flying I really wanted to check my rifle and make sure the zero had not changed. It was such a thrill to be able to shoot with Mike Sr.. I was a little nervous to say the least and pulled my first shot low left. But my next two shots were right on target, 100 yard bull's-eye!

Shooting with Mike Stroff Sr

We ended the first day hunting without taking a shot, but my first day hunting in Texas was fantastic. Spending the day with professional hunters and cameramen was an outstanding experience, one I will never forget. Some trophies you cannot put a tag on or take a picture of.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Texas Hunt Part One

First I would like to thank Field & Stream for sponsoring a fantastic hunt.  Everyone at Field & Stream was great to deal with.  They completely understand the outdoors and they also understand what it's like to travel with a significant disability. I could not ask for better accommodations.

 I flew to San Antonio Texas on Saturday and returned to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The flight down went well on United airlines. The only issues I had was with boarding the plane. The people were friendly when they were transferring me, however no one seemed to know how to secure me using the seatbelts on the aisle chair. This would prove to be an issue on the return flight as well.

Before the trip I ordered some supplies to make a chest strap from Amazon (belt, strap, buckle). This turned out to be very helpful and I would recommend any quadriplegic give this a try when flying. Using this homemade chest strap was helpful on the flight and when I was using United's wheelchair.  Transferring planes in Houston and moving throughout the airport was made easier with this chest strap.

Chest strap on plane

We flew down with Justin Long from Field & Stream. Justin is a great guy and really helped so much on this trip. We also met our cameraman at the airport in San Antonio, Martin.  Martin is the ultimate professional cameraman and I loved hearing his stories in the ground blind. He has filmed all over the world with some great hunters.

An accessible van was waiting at the airport for my trip to Canyon Ranch, near Sonora Texas. It's funny, I have the exact same van even the same color. The ranch is located almost 3 hours from San Antonio. It was a beautiful drive across Texas and I was able to see lots of deer and turkeys along the way.

Van rental

When we arrived at the ranch we were greeted by Mr. Mike Stroff Senior and Randy. Right away they made me feel welcome and told me to make myself at home at the ranch.  The ranch is extremely beautiful and the ultimate man cave. Other hunters were coming in and it was nice meeting everyone over dinner.

Canyon Ranch Texas

After dinner we talked with Mike Stroff the host of Savage Outdoors, he went over safety and strategy for the week and wished us all a safe and successful hunt. We would all be going out in the morning leaving at 5:15 AM.
Best Man cave ever

Friday, December 5, 2014

All Packed Up for Texas

For the most part my bags are all packed up for my hunting trip to Texas with Mike Stroff.  I trained and prepared for the hunt as well as I could, now it's up to fate.

Logistically, traveling with a power wheelchair and being a quadriplegic presents a few challenges.  I hope flying down goes well and my wheelchair is not damaged.  We have an accessible van reserved for the trip from San Antonio airport to Uvalde Tx.

Stay tuned for the hunt

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Early Harvest Reports

It looks like a pretty good season so far for my friends rifle hunting in Pa.  They are sending in some great pictures of deer they have taken the first two days of the rifle season.  If you would like to see what our local wounded warriors are harvesting check out their website Here.


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Preparing for Texas

Santa Claus is not the only person making a list and checking it twice. I'm working on my list for my upcoming hunt in Texas with Savage Outdoors.

Rifle Case (rifle, shells, strap, locks)
Chest strap
Tools (adjustable wrench, pliers)
Balaclava (heavy and light)
Boonie hat
Para cord 
Duct tape 
Zip ties
Hunting license 
Roho pump
Extra BMF Trigger's
Emergency bars, snacks 
Cathater bags (leg, day, night)
Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, razor, deodorant)
Bed pads
Bowel program supplies 
Prescription medication
Goose down jacket 
Black shirts 
Camo Columbia jacket 
Black sweats
Black tee shirt 
Phone and chargers

I have not been on a plane in several years but I still remember the difficulty traveling with a power wheelchair and being a quadriplegic. The airlines certainly don't make it easy. Airplanes are not what I would call Wheelchair accessible.

Wheelchairs are checked like baggage which means I will have to remove my seat cushion and sit in a regular plane seat. This will make it impossible to weight shift on the 3 1/2 hour flight. Because I have no trunk control, I had to make a chest strap to attach to the airplane seat. This will keep me from falling forward in the seat. It's amazing what you can buy on Amazon and put together.

I made the decision to ship down my shooting mount and wheelchair battery charger with UPS.  Trying to handle that equipment through the airport would be too difficult along with my rifle case and other luggage. I'm thankful I have a backup charger to keep at home.

Traveling with a disability brings a whole new set of problems. I try to imagine what I cannot live without for a few days and that's what I plan on taking on my carry-on in case the airline loses my bag. Of course there are all kinds of restrictions on what I can take in my carry-on.

I am also taking back up trigger activators from BMF. If the airline loses my rifle for a few days I can borrow one from the outfitter, attach my trigger activator and still be able to complete my hunt.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Pa Buck Season 2014

Tomorrow starts the season opener of the 2014 bucks season here in Pennsylvania. I hope everyone has a great opening day. I was fortunate enough to take my eight point buck in archery season along with two nice doe.

If you have the opportunity to donate a deer to Hunter's sharing the harvest, please do so.  Remember, one deer can potentially  feed 200 people. Be safe and shoot straight, good luck!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The first day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season resulted in a harvest of  1,623 black bears, according to preliminary totals released Monday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Archery and other early bear season harvest data still is being entered into the GameCommissions database, and is not available at this time.Bears have been harvested in 52 counties during the statewide season so far.

The top 10 bears processed at check stations by Monday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 540 pounds or more.

The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 677 pounds – was taken in Pittsfield Township, Warren County, by James M. Hultberg, of  Pittsfield, Pa.

Other large bears include: a 623-pound male taken in West Buffalo Township, Union County, by Fred F. Stoltzfus, of Lewisburg, Pa.; a 598-pound male taken in Muddy Creek Township, Butler County, by Jeffrey L. McClymonds, of Slippery Rock, Pa.; a 574-pound male taken in Tyrone Township, Blair County, by Ray E. Golden, of Tyrone, Pa.; a 560-pound male taken in Black Township, Somerset County, by Derek J. Wheeler, of Uniontown; a 559-pound male taken in Delmar Township, Tioga County, by K.L. Sarangoulis, of Reading, Pa.; a 558-pound male taken in West Branch Township, Potter County, by Colton P. Group, of Landisburg, Pa.; a 557-pound male taken in Portage Township, Cambria County, by Brett A. Robine, of Irwin, Pa.; a 552-pound male taken in Bradys Bend Township, Armstrong County, by Travis J. Crawford, of  Kittanning, Pa.; and a 540-pound male taken in Leidy Township, Clinton County, by Thomas E. Fahringer, of Landisburg, Pa.


Hunters harvested 417 bears during the second day of Pennsylvania’s statewide bear season, increasing the total harvest to 2,040 over the season’s first two days, according to preliminary totals released Tuesday by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Archery and other early bear season harvest data still is being entered into the Game Commissions databaseand is not available at this timeBears have been harvested in 53 counties during the statewide season so far.

The top 10 bearprocesseacheck stations by Tuesday were either estimated or confirmed to have live weights of 552 pounds or more.

The largest of those bears – a male estimated at 677 pounds – was taken in Pittsfield Township, Warren County by James M. Hultberg, of  Pittsfield, Pa.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pa Bear Season 2014

Today is the opener of the Pa rifle Bear Season.  I hope everyone has a great day hunting black bear.  Last year hunters harvested some really big mature bears, I'm hoping for another great year.  Shoot straight and be safe. You can check the County harvested, Age and Weight of all bears taken in 2013 by clicking here

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Post Gazette Article

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette Article came out today and I think it was great.  It did miss a few things though. The local Western Pa Wounded Warriors in 84 is the group I belong to. My friend Ed Leeper made my hunting brace and bite trigger for my shotgun (pheasants). I  use a BMF Trigger Activator on my crossbow and rifle.

Also I mentioned other group's in the area that help hunters with disabilities. Team DBR and Whitetail Management of Greater Pittsburgh do great work in our area with veterans and people with disabilities.