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July 04, 2008

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Testing Your Mettle

There are very few things I believe in absolutely anymore, but one of them is, if you want to see what someone is really made of, go big-game hunting with them. There is something about the combination of wilderness, physical effort, the high likelihood of failure, and the constant presence of Murphy (he of the law) that brings out the best and worst in people.

Those who reveal themselves to be prize s***s will usually do so when someone else shoots something really terrific--particularly if that person is a beginner, or inept, or otherwise undeserving. You will see an instant personality change in the prize s**t. He will cease speaking, keep to himself, snap at his fellows, and insult the undeserving nimrod.

"Pure luck," he will say, or "Did you know what you had when you pulled the trigger?", or "You'd never do that again in a million years."

The other condition that turns some people into prize s***s is BEING OUT OF TOUCH, or its corollary, NOT BEING IN CONTROL OF EVENTS. When they discover that their Blackberrys and cell phones are no longer functional, they come unglued. They are the ones who go stomping through the woods, cell in hand, trying to find a few bars, wondering what is going on, and how the earth is managing to spin on its axis without their constant input.

Years ago, Gary Sitton and I were on a trail ride in western Montana, taking in some of the most wonderful scenery on earth. On the horses ahead of us rode two younger men, jabbering nonstop about computers. Gary and I just smiled at each other; we knew we were in the presence of fools.


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Clay Cooper

I don’t mind at all having a hunting partner that doesn’t have any equipment; it’s the hunting partner with all the gear that doesn’t have anything upstairs that I fear the most!

You really think that cell phone is going to work when my 50 watt VHF radio has problems reaching out from the hunting area? From Flagstaff AZ, I can hit the repeater located Phoenix AZ. That’s how much punch that radio has and you want to rely on a cell phone, GOOD LUCK!

WA Mtnhunter

Clay -

Right on!

You know why that is? It's because they learned to fit in, do the right things at the right time, and pull together to get things done. That also translates to having a good time as well as working to accomplish a mission!

Clay Cooper

I find it sad to say that of all my successful and enjoyable hunts were alone.

But the best of times was when I was with my Father! Even if we didn’t see anything or got rained out, we always had a good time.

It is said just before you pass away, you can count all your friends on one hand, unfortunately that goes the same with hunting and fishing too. However, I have been blessed that I must use both hands!

Once again I go back to a previous post and I hope someone may learn from it.

During my 4-year tour (1986-90) at Eielson Air Force Base Alaska, I've been asked how many bears have I taken. I had hundreds of chances. I had my crosshairs on many with a round in the chamber of my 338 Win Mag with Nosler 250 grain partitions loaded at 2800 fps and a harvest ticket in my backpack. An easy one shot clean kill everyone. I never pulled the trigger though.

Why you ask?

The beauty and respect of one a Hunter to the other (the bear) perhaps? Most of all the cost of having it mounted I couldn't afford and I knew in the back of my mind that if I did pull the trigger, the hunt was over. I wasn't ready for the hunt to end, never. I wanted more days to hunt, just to be out there. Even if I came home empty handed, it didn't matter. The awesome power, to watch a Grizzly role rocks the size of my ATV like a basketball, hunting for rodents. I never have taken a bear until I moved back to Arkansas.
Most of all, being alone on a mountain ridge, setting on a giant rock overlooking the endless landscape where perhaps no man ever walked.
To watch a snow flurry on a far mountain ridge and feel the Lord setting next to me enjoying what God has made.
I may have come home empty handed,
but my mind is full of awesome memories
it is a experience, I'll never forget!

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Well stated. Even when I hunt alone, I know I have a partner. He and I get along just fine. He and I have slved many problems in my life that otherwise would have ruined me for ever. I do enjoy taking a trophy animal now and then, but the prep for the hunt, ACTUAL GOING, then siting in your stand all day is by far better Medicine than$$$ will buy. At 73, I now realize few hunts remain, but I plan to get the most of just being out there. I will not be able to go to the Rockies this year ( did not draw in 3 states) but will hunt at home wih my Son. If able and it's God's will, I will apply again for licenses in the Rockies next season. Being up at l0-l4K feet gives you a different feeling than at ground 0. So guys, enjoy every day spent seeking your animal, but if you fail, hopefully there will be another day. Shoot-um-straight and often. Maybe a new firearm is in the makings?????

Clay Cooper

Testing Your Mettle?

Food for thought!

I’m curious; would it be very interesting to see how Mr. David Petzal react with a group of well seasoned “Crusty Ol’NCO’s” on a hunting trip?


"we knew we were in the presence of fools" because they were talking about computers? really?

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Mr. Pete Jefferson:
What planet are you from? You sound like most of the idiots in NY and other places that do not allow guns. It will be a cold day in HELL when I give up my guns. If I have my pants on, there is a hangun in the pocket, if no pants on, then a gun is with-in arms reach. I became disabled l8 yrs ago, and guns and hunting have keep me going these years. When a robber comes up to you or breaks into your home, what are you gonna do, plead and tell him you have no gun, so take what-ever. I carry a gun for protection and to hunt with. Not looking for trouble, but if necessary will protect my-self and family and my friends if need be. So get off this BLOG if you feel only Law enforcement and the Army should have firearms, this is not the place for you. Try NY or one of the Countries that does not allow weapons of any type. I'm to old to run or fight, so old Betsy's are for my well being. Get a ball bat and carry it around, maybe the guy's with the white coats will pick you up and place you where you need to be. Don't know where you live, care less, but sure glad you not my neighbor. Hey guys, anyone agree with me?


Rocky Mtn Hunter,
Hear, Hear., but you must remember as the old song said "there is none so blind as he who will not see."
I am afraid that those who have gone over to the dark side are afraid of the light.


little things amuse little minds...

Clay Cooper

Rocky Mtn Hunter

About Mr. Pete Jefferson, he has his marching orders. Individuals like this do not have the ability to think. They know that food is good and fire is bad. They live in a fantasy world and believe it is someone else’s responsibility for their own poor choices and expect it’s the Government responsibility to take care of them from cradle to grave.

The Bottom Line

Mr. Pete Jefferson doesn’t have any clue and no ability to recognize nor the ability to know what the term “cause and effect” is!

I find it interesting that he says only the Military and Law Enforcement should have weapons. Interesting fact, it is the rank and file Military and Law Enforcement that stand behind the 2nd Amendment and the ownership for the private citizen to be armed to protect themselves form criminals.

One more thing, Mr. Pete Jefferson is covered by the 1st Amendment here. If you’re going to talk trash, be prepared to be called on it and that’s covered by the 1st Amendment. I don’t mind a little stupidity, but Mr. Pete Jefferson is abusing the privilege!

Clay Cooper

Mr. Smith

Last year I was very lucky to get my first buck . (4 years trying) and my buddy of 10 years doesn't even say nice buck?? What the fruck? I don't get it. I don't make it a secret that I'm new to all this. I don't brag or make up stories etc. I talk about my fruck-ups etc. I just don't get it. I think Dave is right a lot of people are @ssholes making every little thing a competition. There is one wonderful exception, my first pheasant season I shot a rooster at the same time as the fellowing taking me out. He blew feathers off the bird, I don't recall seeing any on my shot. He gave me the bird and I didn't go home empty handed that day...He's was and is a true gentleman.


Mr. Smith,
Now that you've seen both sides of how to act (and how not to), you can choose who you want to emulate, the gentleman or the jerk. You will also be more able to understand how important the hunter you show yourself to be is what makes up the very future of our sport. The jerks will kill us in the eyes of the unitiated, They will say "They're all like..." the question is will each of us be a jerk or a gentleman?

Dr. Ralph

Mr. Smith congratulations... or should I say "nice buck"? Believe it or not I know a lot of hunters who have spent a lifetime in the woods without dropping any deer, much less one with horns. Hunting means a lot more than killing. Time spent in the wilderness alone or with family and friends is different. No bathroom, no running water, no outside entertainment except personal interaction with the ones you love.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Hunting is a experience as no other sport offers.. How many other sports minded individuals would get up at 3=4 AM, eat a light meal down 2 cups of coffee, dress and hit the woods and freeze their balls off? Very few. A true hunter enjoys the cold weather, being out in the God given beautiful country side and hoping for a nice animal to come within a safe sure kill zone. All the gadgets are just that, gadgets. I've set on a stand from l-2 hrs prior to sunsise and after sunset and never saw a Shootable animal.Now, I did see many Animals and it's lots of fun to just watch them at work and play. It's not a must you kill a animal each time you go hunting, its the pleasure you get from just GOING. I've eaten my share of tags in my 50 odd years of hunting, but each hunt was successful in all respects.A filled tag is a BONUS for all your great times spent outside. Just hope Me and the Man upstairs have many experiences left. When was a small fry, the elders said time is flying, I never understood untill I reached 50, now I know what they ment. Get outside, take a walk, sit a spell and listen, will be suprised at what you learn that day. Just hope I'm able to hunt this fall, as our season is for 5 weeks, that means 5 weeks I will enjoy, providing my health prevails. This fall is special, as got a new rifle XL7 in 270, my first 270. Now to zero and pratice a few rounds. Next year if all goes as planned, will take one more Rocky Mtn Hunt. Shoot-um-straight and often . The Old GunslingerPS': Let's send all the Jeffersons to NY, then us outdoorsmen/hunters would have less interference from the no-gun ownerships.


Nice to see someone quoting P.J. O'Rourke. One of my favorite writers. Read Parliament of Whores and see if you have a shreed of respect left for our government.


Oops. I meant "shred".

Jim in Mo.

I have the utmost respect for OUR government. What the hell are you saying? Are you an easily impressed/swayed individual, do you read something and think 'thats the way it must be'? Get a backbone.
Give me a break.


Posted by: Clay Cooper | July 08, 2008 at 12:50 PM

Thanks, beautifully put.

Clay Cooper

The constant presence of Murphy (he of the law) that brings out the best and worst in people?

Got a news flash for’ya dar Pilgram, It is called Sarge’s Law is what is the true law!
Ol’Sarge has only one law and that law is,

“Murphy was an optimist!”

I find that, being out with an individual and having them away from their environment, brings out their dark side if there is one. It tests whether or not they are at their best when things are at their worst or at their worst when things are at their best.
Today I wondered what it would be like being afield with Mr. Petzal and some of those on this blog. What would happen? Would it be a disaster or the best of times?? This brings back my previous post,

"I don’t mind at all having a hunting partner that doesn’t have any equipment; it’s the hunting partner with all the gear that doesn’t have anything upstairs that I fear the most!"


Speaking of Murphy, a couple of his laws is "Friendly fire isn't." and "Incoming fire has the right of way." Gives one pause when pondering hunting partners, doesn't it?

Clay Cooper

Good point chuck!

I wonder how many Dick Winters and Sergent Yorks we have come by and never knew it?


I have known several very honorable men, some were even officers (wink, wink, just a joke, folks) who I was proud to say I knew them, while I was in the Army. Unfortunately, many of them are no longer with us.
But as I look back, most of the things I learned from them were things they didn't know they were teaching me, they were showing me the concepts of "Duty, Honor, Country" and what being a man is really all about.
I often tell people, I grew up in the Army, but I was the first in my family to serve. (My father was 1st generation American and due to health reasons could not serve in WWII) I was a smart-assed punk, for lack of a better word when I went in, when I came out many people who had known me before couldn't believe it was me. It changed me for the better. I grew up.
So thank God for those people who are willing mentor the next generation, (whether they know they are being mentored or not).

Rocky Mtn Hunter

I have a PROBLEM: I make judgement
and size up a individual be it a hunter or otherwise. As a rule I'm, 99% correct. Hunting with firearms is serious business and I want to know all about the partner I will have for the hunt. Being in camp a day or so and going to the range,listen to your new hunting partner tells you a lot. Remember, when it comes to money (game),all have the same relegion. I've been frtunate out in the Rockies,. never had but one bad experience with my partner, and after one day I change that.
The most enjoyable hunting day I ever experienced was last year.My Son who is 53 has been hunting with me since he was l2 yrs old when I bought him his first gun. LAst year on our farm,which we hunt yearly, we both killed a buck w-tail withing l5 minutes of each other, the first time that ever hapened in 40 yrs. Was elated to put it mildy.
Back to ptting the dear down ( or break it down) Until last year all my kills have dropped on the spot, but this deer was at 270 yds and I shot it thru the right fore-shoulder low, and it entered and tok out the Vitals and then tru the off shulder.The deer jumped a 4-5' fence and then ran 70 yds. When We got to the deer,was a blody mess, mouth, nose, ears and 2 holes that was pumping blood. So, how do you break down a animal otherwise? When I pratice I use cheap Ammo,but hunting I buy the best available, thats the cheapest item of your 5=7K$$$ hunt. All my hunting guns are zeroed dead on at 200 yds, not 100 yds plus 2-3".Many firearms shot different at longer ranges. Have fun, chose a sized-up partner if necessary and if un-happy let the outfitter know up front. Shot-um-often and straight. Ye old Gunslinger down South Going to be a great year to hunt, game ever-where I'm told,especially in Upper Wy,SE C0 and NW Montana.NE C0 is a bummer per the winter storms.Will miss the Rockies this year, first miss in many.Just hope at 73 I'm around and draw next year.Have a standing arrangement to hunt in C0 and MT if draw.O" the XL7 is a Jewel to shoot,accurate and little recoil. Mine will pt 3 rounds in 2-3" at 300 yds from the bench. My normal range to shot is 200 to 250, but 2 yrs ago, Killed 2 animals in the Rockies, oe at 325 te other at 345. Using a 700 CDL 06 and a Classic 700 25-06 one shot on each animal and fell in tracts.Take care shoot a lot till Oct.

Phillip J Mostert

Thanks for a great article and yes we agree that when you go hunting the big stuff, that's when we see the men seperated from the boys.


We often have some hairy moments and a good laugh here in Africa. And almost every time it's a young gun, city slicker with big money, that's the fool. These kids come to Africa thinking that it's a walk in the park, and that there money will get the results.

How wrong cant they be - there is nothing that tests your nerves, than being up front and personal with Africa's Big 5. Buffalo's and Leopards still do the most scaring.

Visit our blog for more interesting news and stories out of Africa.



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