Bursting Some Elk?

Montana or burst! OK, not my best intro. Let me explain. My wife is probably not too thrilled with the idea of my travelling to Montana to chase elk and the like. As an english major, she would be even less impressed if I had led off this article by incorrectly using the word “bust.” Let’s just accept that the intro is grammatically correct, and move on to the good stuff.montana1895
After several years of great hunting excursions in the mountains of Colorado, it is time for some different scenery. I have applied for an open elk tag in “big sky country.” Those familiar with big game license draws will understand that I am not sure if I will get a Montana hunt or not. Every state has different rules when it comes to hunting. Specific areas have limited draws every year. In some areas where management is stringent, the number of hunters drawn is in the single digits. By applying for an open area, I am hoping for a tag that allows me to at least get a chance at hunting my first year in Montana.
Since I intend to document this entire experience here for the reader’s benefit, let me explain a few things about Montana’s elk regulations. Unlike Colorado, there is only one elk season. You heard me! Much like whitetail hunting in the Midwest, the season is open for a few weeks. Also, like the Midwest, there are different rules for each hunting area. This is where it gets confusing. An elk hunting license will allow you to hunt elk in Montana… in the correct areas. If you have specific armontanaelkea in mind, you may also need a permit. Both must be applied for.
Big game licenses cost a bit more in Montana than Colorado. Often, one of the deciding factors for a Montana hunt is that an issued license includes both elk and deer. Hold It! You need to be aware that deer populations are managed separately from elk. An area where a permit is not required for elk, may require a deer permit in addition to the license. Yes, it seems confusing. It is not quite as befuddling as the multi-season-soduko form you have to fill out for Colorado, but a good plan is still needed.
I should learn of my draw success (or failure) in mid-April. Win-lose-or-draw, I intend to continue this discussion about western hunting. Guides and those experienced with hunting north of Yellowstone and along the Idaho border are encouraged to comment or contact me. Any advice is appreciated, and experienced hunters/guides may be on future podcasts. For those who are curious how a western big game hunt comes together, continue to check back. I will chronicle the journey here.

2014 Christmas Gift Ideas

cgifts1Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin Laid an egg... That's right, I am back with another edition of last minute gift ideas! There is always someone hard to find a gift for on your Christmas list. This is my lame attempt to give you some ideas. Some are top sellers while others may be a tad out there. The important thing is to jar your brain a bit to try and shake out an idea.

Last year I warned you away from electronics. This year I am all for them.  I can be wishy-washy like that. Actually, advances in tech over a couple of years has made a huge difference. Services and apps have become pretty interchangeable. Amazon's "Fire" tablets are good choices for those who consume media. Let me restate that. They are great for those who have a Prime account and unlimited downloads. There are "Fire" tablets ranging from cutting edge, down to the toddler who has everything (except a tablet). As long as we are on the Amazon subject, the top seller this year is (drumroll please) the GoPro Hero 4 video camera. If you are going higher end, you will be impressed with Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 - 12" tablets. Low end? Search for key finders and cooking thermometers with apps that work on your particular phone.

Let's Play! In family friendly games, I am going with Bounce Off. This is a table-top game where teams use different colored balls in an attempt to make a particular pattern on a grid. It is very similar to beer pong, but your kids don't need to know that. Top selling video game this year goes to Super Smash Brothers. As I warned you last year, kids get new stuff faster than adults. Ask parents if the kids already have this particular game. For my next pick, I am going out on a limb. I cannot recommend the next game to  those easily offended by anything. Cards Against Humanity goes beyond obnoxious and into hilarious. The card game (rated for 17+) is played much like the old mad lib game, but the answers you give are limited by cards you have in your hand. I recommend you look up videos of this game being played. It is one of the biggest sellers of the year, but far from appropriate for all.

holysocksSocks again! Before I start on clothes, I must ask a question of today's parents. How do teenagers decide what size inseam they wear? OK, enough picking on the future leaders of society. North Face is still around, still fashionable, still expensive. Columbia zip up fleece is my choice for both men and women. If you happen to work for a living, Carhartt is a safe choice, along with Berne and other similar work wear. Stay away from branded work boots. Caterpillar makes some rough, tough construction equipment... and boots. That is just the manufacturer that came to mind. John Deere and many others are guilty of having their names attached to painfully constructed footwear. Off the beaten path and my pick for sports fans is Busy Block Ugly Sweater. Yes, it looks like a team affiliated ugly Christmas sweater. Who, other than sports fans, would appreciate such textile audacity? For the gals, check out Solemate Mis-Matched Socks. Yep...socks again.

Books. What are books? It is getting to the point that presenting a book as a present is similar to gifting a milking stool, or some lantern wicks. "To bad", says I. Some of you are getting books. How about a Knock-Knock Joke book for kids? They are going to try to tell them anyway. Why not give them the benefit of some reference material? Someday you will catch them repeating that "Man from Nantuckett" limerick and wish you had intervened! For the grown-up reader, I would go with "Unbroken". Not only is this a touching and classic tale of endurance, the movie comes out Christmas day 2014. Look who just became a timely gift giver!

Diamonds are a girls best friend. Sorry ladies, that is sexist language today. Besides, you've seen "Madmen". You know how the advertising game works sweetie (puffs on cigarette, drinks highball, eyes secretary).  In case you didn't notice I am going retro with this pick. Guess, Fossil, and Michael Kor are on the watch list this year. By that, I mean list for watches. A sad note for the guys who have been buying one Pandora bead per holiday for the last few years... Alex & Ani Bangle Bars are the next new thing.

Before I run off to wrap more presents I have one that was on the list last year, but you may want to avoid in 2014. The fabulous Kuerig coffee machine that took the world by storm a few years back is attempting caffeinated suicide. The new Kuerig 2.0 line of coffee makers has a sensor that only allows the use of Keurig branded coffee pods. Ba Humbug! Since ovthCITLWGH6er 50 percent of Kuerig's buyers use third party coffee pods, this cannot turn out well. I would avoid the 2.0 machines.

There you go. Definitely not a full list, but maybe something to help you out on some of your gifting. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!