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Brink Kuchenbrod

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...at the Seely Creek Nordic Trails biathlon range

January 18, 2014 - We skied at the Seely Creek Nordic Trails near Seely Lake, MT and got to shoot a few rounds on the biathlon range.(scroll down to see more)

Children shooting at the biathlon range.

The Seely Creek Nordic Trails hosted a biathlon on Saturday. My kid has been grinning ear to ear since he successfully shot five for five on the biathlon shooting range from the prone position. (Laying down with the rifle supported.) They even let old guys shoot and I shot two for two from the prone position and then got cocky and stood up to shoot off-hand. (Standing, no rifle support but your own bad self.) I went zero for three... and I have an excuse: Notchy trigger... yeah, that's it!

Anyway, get up to Seely Lake, MT and ski! They have plenty of snow and as always, volunteers have groomed the trails to perfection.


Heron-on-the-Clark-Fork

January 3, 2014 - I got lucky and caught this calm heron with the setting sun on its head.

Heron on the Clark Fork near Missoula

Turkey Hunting With Kids

April 29, 2013 - Something surprising happened while hunting turkeys with my kids... (scroll down to see more)

Turkey Hunting With Kids

So, the kids didn't have school today, Monday, and Daddy daycare kicked in. We went turkey hunting, obviously.

In the car on the way to my latest good place to get skunked, we practiced our hen yelping and cutting. Actually, with the kids using my box call, they didn't sound too bad since we'd listened to the sounds on a turkey hunting DVD earlier. With a little pep talk about when to use each sound, I thought it might be great to finally have a caller behind me for a change.

At the rainy trailhead upbeat kids in snowboots and an assortment of my camo tumbled out and hit the trail as I fumbled to get my gear in order, I heard a super excited, "Dad, turkeys!" as geese squawked and honked in the distance. I caught up to them, pointed out the geese by the river, and reminded them that calm and quiet voices wouldn't scare everything away. A little while later I demonstrated how loud stepping right on ponderosa pine cones sounded compared to stepping on soft wet grass. It's all the little things...

We moved slowly and each kid took a turn periodically working the box call in a nice calm yelp. Cool. Nothing. Then, the box call got wet and quit working. Dang. That dumb thing says "Waterproof" right on the lid, so I thought it might be kid proof, but nope, the friction required to make a sound disappeared, I had no chalk, and we switched to Plan B with me wheezing through a mouth call.

I must be getting better with my mouth call because all of a sudden things went from happy-go-lucky to real serious in about a half second as soon as a tom turkey gobbled at us from the timber in the draw below us!

Wide, unblinking eyes said, OK Dad, what do we do now? My plan of turkey attack had been to move forward with my bow and let the kids yelp and cut behind me, but now all we had was my mouth call. One option was to park the kids where they stood and go hunting. So... I gave a super-quiet reminder to be quiet like a ghost and follow me to the edge of the draw. While doing so the tom turkey gobbled again and a strange thing happened. My daughter started giggling uncontrollably, and I mean uncontrollably.

Hunting is a game of persistent, sometimes dull, observation with bursts of intensity and people react to the excitement differently. I briefly get a little shaky. Some people get full-on buck fever, shaking like a '72 Ford Pinto in a panic stop. (That's pretty shaky.) My son's stomach tightens up. And apparently, my daughter gets the giggles.

She knew she had to stop and she jammed a hunk of her coat in her teeth and bit down, but no use, the giggler kept giggling. Honestly, I was more amazed at this spectacle than disappointed.

Finally, she calmed down and I let out a hopeless little yelp to a tom turkey who had skipped town. Then, we all sat together, a motley, hardly-made-for-TV bunch and talked about how hard it was to... walk around in snow boots. Damn straight!

This evening my eight year old daughter sighed and said to me, "Dad, I wish we would have killed that turkey today."

"Yeah, I know what you mean," I sighed back. I love it.

(If you like this, I have a good story about my first ever hunt with my son here.)


by Brink Kuchenbrod

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