Don’t Leave Home Without It, Use a Packing List!

Without a packing list you will forget something!

It’s that time of the year so I am getting gear together to head out to New Mexico for an archery elk hunt. Even though this is my 17th annual trip I still  put together a packing list of things I need to bring.  Normally I have put a first draft of items to bring and without fail I always find that I have left something off the list that I really need.  On this trip I will be staying at a lodge and don’t need things like a sleeping bag or camp gear such as a tent, stove, cooking utensils, food and etc…

That packing list is much more in depth and several pages in length.  Even the packing list I put together for this hunt is pretty detailed.  From clothes, light weight for warm weather and heavier clothing for colder days.  To rain gear which is always at the top of my list.  Out west you can count on rain usually every afternoon.  There is nothing worse then getting soaked and being a long way from your vehicle or camp, it makes for a miserable hunt.  Make sure it is a priority on your list.

I always consider the type of hunting I will be doing and that determines the type of boots I will be using.  Light weight for hiking and heavier and warmer for sitting in tree stands.  The obvious next items are socks, thick or medium.  Medium weight socks for hiking and heavier for sitting. There is nothing worse than getting cold feet and hands setting in a tree stand or in a ground blind.  I also take several types of gloves for the very same reasons.  I also take a couple different types of long underwear, again light weight for hiking and heavier for sitting or for very cold days when I am spot and stalk hunting.  I think you can see where I am going with my packing list, just one type or style is not enough.  That goes for your outerwear as well.

The biggest challenge I have is what extra equipment I need to bring for my bow.  I always bring a second bow just in case something serious happens to my favorite bow.  I do bring enough replacement parts to fix or replace just about anything that would go wrong or break like the peepsite, fletching, nocks and inserts for the arrows.  Extra releases, broad heads, D-loop string and oh yes, tools!  The list is much longer but I think you get the idea.  Without an extensive packing list, I will guarantee you will leave something behind that would be vital to your hunt or equipment.

Make up a packing list and check it several times.  I have found that laying everything out and checking it off my list is the very best way not leave home without it!

The Outdoor Quarterback

 

Chiefs Ruin Patriots Championship Flag Ceremony

The Boston Tea Party replayed as the Chiefs spoils the Patriots celebration.

Make no mistake the Patriots and Tom Brady had a bad night against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Or was it that quarterback, Alex Smith and rookie running back Kareem Hunt both had great nights.  The Chiefs defense played really well most of the game.  They still have that bend but don’t break defensive philosophy, which works most of the time, but against a QB like Brady, normally he is going to get you if you keep giving him opportunities.  The Chiefs defense did a great job on two fourth down attempts by the Patriots, one of the many keys to their victory.

It was pretty obvious that the Chiefs needed to put pressure on Tom Brady, make him move in and out of the pocket, in other words, make him uncomfortable.  They did that in the second half which was the turning point for the defense.

The Chiefs offense was playing well from the start of the game.  Rookie running back Kareem Hunt played more like seasoned veteran than a rookie.  Now he will be a marked man!  He will also be on everyone’s fantasy team!

As a former quarterback I can tell you that Alex Smith’s performance was incredible.  80% completion, you can’t do that just playing catch on the sidelines.  368 passing yards and 4 touchdown passes, two of them over 75 yards.  But it was the situation he was playing in, Thursday night, first game of the 2017 regular season, the only NFL game for the nation to watch, against the defending Super Bowl Champs and Tom Brady!  I would say he handled the pressure way beyond expectations.

One of the better team efforts I have seen from the Chiefs in several years.  Like Alex Smith, “it is one of sixteen”.  I am sure what coach Reed said was, great win, now let this one go, learn from the good and bad, then move on to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Early Season Elk, The Heat or the Moon?

Give me cooler temperatures and a full moon over hot weather and no moon anytime!

Early season archery elk season is under way and the reports I am getting are that temperatures seem to be having more of an affect on the elk than normal.  I don’t think the full moon is helping either.  So the long debated question is, would you rather be hunting higher than normal temperatures and the dark of the moon or much cooler temperatures and a full moon?

My personal preference is give me cool mornings and evenings and I will take the full moon.  I have always believed that if you have cool damp mornings and evenings, the cow elk start their estrus sooner.  I also believe that the bulls testosterone levels begin to elevate, when that happens their rutting activity is more consistent.

Just like us humans, when the temperatures are cooler we are much more active than on 100 degree days.  History shows the elk are the same way.  They stay out longer in the mornings and get up earlier in the evenings.  The one thing I have really noticed over the years are the bulls are much more vocal when cooler temperatures exist.  The combination of warm temperatures and a full moon is the recipe for success and lends itself to unproductive days.  In many cases the elk won’t even begin their activities until after dark and will be back in their bedding areas before daylight.  This is what I call a bad formula for archery elk hunting.

One of the only solutions to hunting in warm temperatures is finding the water holes.  Sometimes this can be very difficult to do based on current drought conditions in your hunting area.  In my opinion, it is the single best tactic that has greatest potential of success.  Find the water!

Sometimes we are dealt with both issues, warm weather and a full moon.  What I do know that is you can’t stick one sitting in the den watching TV and it beats the hell out of being at work!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Playing Two Preseason Games Is Enough.

Two preseason games is all that is needed, save the star players for when it counts.

Playing four preseason games in the NFL is two to many.  I see the NFL going to only two preseason games in the very near futures, how about next year!  There are too many injuries, too many players who would have never made the roster who are now on the injured reserve list, which means they are being paid, in many if not all the cases, for the year.  At a quick look of players placed on the injured reserve list for this season is 236.  If all these players were minimum salary players that would be at total of $106,200,000.  Many of these players would have never made a roster and several of those players listed are making well over the minimum of $450,000.

One solution is to expand training camp.  Because of the Collective Barging Agreement, there are limited full pad practices and contact which should limit the chances of season ending injuries.  What I see that comes from expanding training camps is ongoing conditioning opportunities.  There are always early training camp nicks, pulls and stains.  Two weeks of additional practice, conditioning and physical therapy should eliminate major injuries and allow players time to be ready for meaningful games.  One preseason game for your starters and veteran players is plenty, that’s all we get now basically, and one game to evaluate free agents, rookies and players who are boarder line.  Don’t forget, all the teams will have two additional weeks of video tape to evaluate players.

One of the major complaints I hear regarding preseason games from fans is spending money and not seeing the starters play.  That was very evident by the number of no shows for the Chiefs final preseason game.  Most of the season ticket holders I talked to about this agree.  They want to see starters play, even if it is only one game.  They also agreed that too many starters, league wide, are getting injured before the regular season begins, like Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Shane Ray.

So NFL, save everyone money, protect key players and let all the fans see a full compliment of starts in the regular season.

The NFL is the greatest show on TV, but only if the stars are playing!

The Outdoor Quarterback

 

Texas A&M Board of Regents Member, Shut Your Mouth and Go Away!

Texas A&M Board of Regents member steps out of bounds with his personal comments after the A&M loss to UCLA.

One of the most disgusting comments I have ever heard in all the years I have played or been involved in sports, which totals 60, was that of a member of the Texas A&M Board of Regents this past weekend following the Texas A&M game against UCLA.  He tweeted and put on face book that the head coach at A&M, Kevin Sumlin, “when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO”.  How did this guy get placed in such a prestigious position, oh I know, family money.  He should be removed immediately if not sooner!  I will promise you he was singing coach Sumlin praises for the first three and half quarters of that game.  His comments were unprofessional, adolescent and most of all damaging to stability of the Texas A&M football program.  His comments were something you would expect out of a student not an administrator.  He has done more damage and harm to the program than anything the coach did or didn’t do during the game.  Let’s not forget that the staring quarterback go hurt, fractured his ankle, and the backup quarterback completed only 3 of 17 passes.  I am not putting the blame on him either, it is extremely difficult to stand on the sidelines for nearly the entire game and then to come in, when obviously the momentum has totally changed, and have an immediate impact.

I personally played in a game in college where we scored 28 points in the final 10 minutes of the fourth quarter for a comeback win.  A lot of things happened for us to have won that game, turnovers, kick returns and big plays on offense.  So lets give a little credit to UCLA and their quarterback, Josh Rosen, possibly the number one pick in next years NFL Draft, for making some great plays.

So my comments to the Texas A&M Board of Regents member is to shut your mouth, go away and keep your opinions confined to the Board Room.

The Outdoor Quarterback

If You Have Bad Knees And Need Exercise,Take Up Cycling

Mountain Biking
Mountain Biking

Since I had both of my knees replaced the one activity that is easy and enjoyable with very little stress on the joints is cycling.  Cycling is a great cardio exercise and is a activity you can do well in to your senior years.  For me it is a quiet way to scout several of my hunting areas.  Many times I have ridden up on groups of deer undetected.

On most nice days, both morning and early evening, I see large groups of cyclist all around, it looks like a mini Tour De France!  I assume they are part of a cycling club.  They dress alike and seem to ride together regularly.  What a great way to inner act with a group of people with a similar passion.  My guess is they all find a way to socialize as well!

Cycling
Cycling

My neighbors oldest son just completed the Bike Across Kansas, 414 miles I believe.  I enjoy the exercise part of cycling but those riders who take on a challenge like that are very dedicated and determined.  I guess I was the same way about football, but 414 miles on a road bike, that is impressive.

The guys who take on the Tour De France are amazing, much like those who run marathons, like my oldest daughter.  I guess it becomes addictive.  I know I am not that much into it. For the casual cyclist in our area the county parks and recreation department, in partnership with local cities, have developed a trail system for walkers, joggers and cyclists.  You can ride, run or walk for more than 20 miles!  Well beyond my desired distance.

I ride a cross over bike, more of a mountain bike than a road bike, with a seat built for comfort.  I am one of those active outdoor enthusiasts who looks for any way to spend time outdoors. Cycling is one of those activities that can fill the void of no fishing, hunting or football and exercise at the same time.  Try it you will like it!

The Outdoor Quarterback

September Is The Best Month Of The Year

Arrowhead
Arrowhead

I have always felt September is the best month of the year for several reasons.  First, it’s the start of the NFL regular season.  College football also kicks off, no pun intended.  Second, the early archery seasons open around the country, which means archery elk to me.  Next, the start of fantasy football.  Even I can say that watching the NFL has become a lot more fun and entertaining because of fantasy football leagues.  Our draft is coming up soon and is always the best party of the year.

Fantasy Party
Fantasy Party

If you happen to live in a city that has a competitive major league baseball team, then a run at the playoffs is icing on the September cake!

Back to NFL football and the upcoming hunting season.  Hopes are high for every team, even the Cleveland Browns.  They have some young talented players who have already lived up to or exceeded expectations.  As excited as I am for the NFL season to start, I can’t wait to hear the first elk bugle in the woods, it is a adrenaline rush like no other!  The anticipation is similar to that of the opening kickoff to a new season, hopes are high.

Elk
Elk

There are the obvious players everyone will try and draft, Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Drew Brees, Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell if he ever signs his franchise tag contract, which he will.  The trick is to find players that earn points who are hidden gems.  Tyreek Hill last year would have been one of those players.  I think a player who seems to fly under the radar is Golden Tate of the Lions.  He may be one of the best number two receivers you can pick up.  Another player I would take a close look at is rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp from the LA Rams.  He not a number one, but I think will catch a lot of passes, he is a sleeper.  Another receiver, who has a new quarterback throwing to him, is Ted Ginn.  His new quarterback is Drew Brees.

So what makes September so special?  I shoot my bow everyday, get ready for my fantasy league, train for the first hunt of the fall, watch the Royals make a run at the playoffs and prepare for the start of the NFL season.  What is it they say?  “It just doesn’t get any better than this”.

The Outdoor Quarterback

NFL Left Tackles Are How Valuable?

Tyron Smith
Tyron Smith

How valuable do think left tackles are to starting NFL Quarterbacks? Just ask them!  The most valuable is what you will hear.  Over years of watching NFL games and analyzing quarterbacks, I have found that successful quarterbacks, statistically speaking, have one thing in common, experienced tackles both left and right.  It is those Quarterbacks, who are fortunate to have veterans at the tackle positions, extend their careers and realize great successes.  More and more teams are putting a premium on their tackles particularly the left side.  Most NFL Quarterbacks are right handed which makes the left tackle the protector of the quarterbacks blind side.  It is critical for quarterbacks to feel totally confident that their blind side is taken care of.  When you can play with confidence you can play with focus, great left tackles affords quarterbacks that luxury.

Next time you watch Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer and Matt Ryan play, focus in on their left tackles, watch how they move their feet, extend their arms, use their hands.  They have developed techniques essential to playing the tackle position at a very high level, a true blessing to the quarterbacks.  Just look at the number of tackles in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Several NFL starting tackles have been injured and are out for the season.  Pay attention to teams who will begin to struggle with their passing games because of the loss of their starting left tackles.  Really good left tackles are not just sitting around waiting for a phone call, they are already on a team.  The teams who won’t see much of a drop off in their passing game are teams who understand the importance to having depth at that position.  The Seattle Seahawks will be a team to watch, their starting left tackle, George Fant, is out for the season, and they are scrambling to find a replacement.

George Fant
George Fant

NFL Quarterback owe their careers to great offensive lines, but no one on that line is more important than the left tackle!

The Outdoor Quarterback

Spring Gobblers/NFL Draft

2017NFLDraft
2017NFLDraft
Strutting Turkeys
Strutting Turkeys

Two of the best things happening in May are the Spring Turkey Season, which is going strong in many areas of the country, and the NFL Draft. The Draft has become one of the most watched events on TV. It basically announces the start of the 2017 NFL Season. Bad teams are very optimistic and good teams just seem to reload. This is one of the deepest years for wide receivers. I have seen as many as 8 wide receivers projected to go in the first round.  The Kansas City Chiefs may be in the market. Watch for at least that many to go in the first round.

For the first time, as far as I can remember, there is a devaluation at the running back position, which is a clear indication in the change of the NFL offensive philosophy and strategy. It has become a passing league, no question. I still believe you have to have a consistent running attack to be a championship team. If you can move the ball by throwing and control the clock by running, then you are putting yourself in position to make the playoffs and win a championship.  Look for a good running back to go early.

Looking forward to the draft is exciting but the first gobble you hear during the Spring Turkey season is a rush second to none. You turkey hunters know what I am talking about. My ideal draft day is to go to the woods, harvest a turkey and participate in the Chiefs Draft Party. What is that they say, “It just doesn’t get any better than that”.

Tell me who you want your team to draft.

The Outdoor Quarterback

Make Your Western Hunts Fun, Get In Shape

cardio
cardio

For several years I have help guided elk hunters in northern New Mexico, around the Chama area.  I have found the majority of hunters I guide come from the mid-west or the eastern part of the country.  I have discovered many, if not most, of those hunters are not in good enough shape to really enjoy their hunts.  It is simply a lack of cardiovascular conditioning.walkingforcardio

I have experienced hunters being so out of breath that when the moment of truth came, they could not steady themselves to draw their bow or steady their rifle.  In most all of those cases the hunter never got a opportunity to shoot.  We have found that once an elk gets withing shooting range, either with a bow or rifle, you have around 11 to 15 seconds to make the shot.  Once you get in that range there is very little time to catch your breath, steady your rest or calm yourself down.  If you can eliminate a couple of those elements at the critical moment, you will increase your opportunity for success.

Getting yourself in really good shape, referring to your cardiovascular conditioning, you can take care of the heavy breathing interference.  If you can control that part then becoming steady to draw your bow, mount or shoulder your rifle becomes a none factor.  Calming yourself is a matter of focus.  If you are out of shape your focus and attention to details leading up to your shot no longer exists.  Everyone gets excited when a shooting scenario presents itself, it’s natural, it is those hunters who are in good physical condition and that can bring their emotions under control quicker, will experience success more often.

The conditioning philosophy is relevant in just about every sport.  When professional athletes get fatigued, their performances quickly declines.  The same will happen with hunters.  I know when quarterbacks throws come up short it is usually because their legs are tired.  You have seen it with major league pitchers, when they begin to loose command of their pitches, it is normally their legs that get tired not their arms.

Getting in shape for a western hunt requires that you must improve your cardiovascular condition.  Work your legs and your core.  Exercises to Improve Cardiovascular Endurance.  This year make your western hunt more enjoyable, get in shape!

The Outdoor Quarterback