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How much scouting can you possibly do!? Holy cow… We have hit the peaks every weekend (with a slight reprieve to slay some gators), and Labor Day weekend was no exception! For those who have never had the good fortune of drawing a mountain goat tag, the sheer magnitude of finding these wiley critters is jaw-dropping.
We hit the high peaks (roughly 12,500 feet) at daybreak to glass the far reaches of the permit unit for goats. To our astonishment, we immediately came into about a dozen goats…glorious, glorious goats! We perched ourselves to watch and learn. The terrain is nothing short of treacherous and can lend itself as fuel for any family fight! Ohhh, but that is a story for another time! I must say, I was astonished to watch how quickly these animals can mobilize and disappear. The vanishing act itself is not what is surprising…it is actually the routes they use to disappear that makes one slack-jawed. These animals have fluid movements that lead them up impossible cliffs, ledges and scree fields. They are incredible.
We are looking forward to the pursuit…but there is no way this will be an easy hunt. Hanna, our 16 year old daughter who is the poor goat hunter that has been subjected to my blogging, knows this will probably be the toughest hunt she can imagine. That said, she is definitely encouraged to know that there are definitely some fine animals within her reach. We’ll see if she is still speaking to us when the hunt is over!
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You might be wondering what on earth could interrupt the billy quest. While the billy quest has been nothing short of an epic endeavor in our household, we interrupt this billy quest for an amazing gator hunt in the swamps of Louisiana. I will be heading out today with Prois Pro-Staffer Jennifer Barvitski to join forces with fellow Pro-Staffer Dana Wall and her husband Chad to embark on our first gator hunt. Jennifer and I are thrilled by the invitation for such a crazy hunt…of COURSE we had to go! (despite jealous mumblings from my VP of Sales repeating the words ‘death roll’…)
We head out of the cool Colorado climate to the swamplands of Louisiana…I am certain bugs and humidity won’t be a problem…yeah right. I will be pursuing my first gator with my new CVA 50cal muzzleloader and Jennifer will be packing her bow should the opportunity arise! So…with that… stay tuned, pray to the airline Gods that we don’t lose our luggage (or at least our weapons) and check out the Prois Gator Hunt!
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CEO-Prois Hunting Apparel
Another scouting weekend for the elusive Billy. As always, this was a family affair. Steve has officially logged another 1/2 hour with his topo-map-stare-down. Not sure who is winning yet, but I can tell you that there is not a single nook or cranny in the San Isabel that will not be heartily scrutinized! I hope that this obsessive-compulsive disorder will fade in the days and weeks following hunting season. While I am awestruck that he can simultaneously study a map while playing a lively round of Yahtzee, I am fearful that he will remain monosyllabic for the rest of his life. Indeed- conversation has been replaced with single words, grunts and an occaisional “Uh-Huh”. Although we miss him…it has been peaceful.
I am amazed at the amount of effort a single family can make to ensure one of their own gets the hunt of a lifetime. It isn’t the fact that our family can work together to make it happen…no, we stick together and that is not what is amazing. It is more of an emotional sticking point… I have to admit that I am jealous. I am not just a little jealous, I am certifiably, insanely jealous. I am that kind of jealous that makes a mom gaze upon her 16 year old daughter and consider such thoughts as, “We look enough alike…maybe we can send her to Grandma’s during hunting season…Could I pass as a 16 year old? Would the jail time be worth it?”. Yeah…that is the crazy kind of jealousy that drove Glenn Close to simmer a rabbit in the stew pot. (I sense that when my 14 year old reads this, she will keep closer tabs on her pet rabbit, Bun-Bun) Is it wrong that I find myself singing Aretha Franklin’s song, ‘R-E-S-P-E-C-T’ in my own version called, ‘J-E-A-L-O-U-S’? Is it wrong that I throw sideways glances at my daughter and think, “It should be mine.”? Right or wrong, I have been told that this is an illness and it really isn’t my fault, therefore at least I don’t have to feel guilty about it!
I am certain our daughters are wondering what has happened to their seemingly normal parents. A father with zebraskin glasses who grunts at a topo-map and a crazy mother who clicks the light off and on while sitting in the dark listening to Aretha Franklin are not your typical PTA parents. (Maybe that is why we have never been asked to come to a PTA meeting…) I believe we are not alone out there…I believe all parents who pass the sport and art of hunting on to their children fully identify with our apparent instability. I have assured our kids that until we are running around the house with tinfoil on our heads and our boots duck-taped on, that we are still sane and competent.
That said, my daughter just informed me that she didn’t need me to feed Bun-Bun anymore…
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Seriously…how much time can be spent staring at a topo map? Well, as we continue on with the Goat Chronicles, I will keep a running tally of the hours Steve spends gazing at lines and contours. To date- 4.5 hours and counting. In fact, I am thinking we need to do an intervention. I received a phone call last night as I was heading out to the ranch- it was Steve. This was not the regular late afternoon, “How was your day?” phone call…no…it reeked of something different. The conversation goes something like this…
Steve- “Hey, what’s happening?”
Me- no chance to reply
Steve- “Can you pick me up some reading glasses?”
Me- outright laughter
Me- “Uh…yeah. Seriously?”
OK- so I happened to have my 14 year old daughter with me as we swung by the store. We were somewhat perplexed. Where do you buy reading glasses in Gunnison? This was not a purchase I had made to date. Safeway sounded promising. We scoured the store until my daughter made me relent and ask for help. “Do you have reading glasses?”, I ask. I was directed to a location secretly nestled between the lottery tickets, the gift cards and the fire logs. Oh yeah- this was certainly the first place I should have looked.
I was quite surprised at the amazing selection offered. As we perused the various styles, colors and options- something amazing caught our eyes at precisely the same moment…ZEBRA STRIPED READING GLASSES with their own handy-dandy zebra skin protective case. Who could pass up THAT one? After conferring with various shopping patrons, it was unanimous- roughly 1/8th of the population of Gunnison agreed that Steve MUST have those glasses. Seriously.
We presented him with what we felt was the Holy Grail of reading glasses. Anyone who knows Steve would know that he is seldom, if EVER rendered speechless. Well, this amazing gift actually left him speechless.
“Seriously?”, he asked.
“Seriously.”, my daughter giggled.
There is nothing quite like a rugged outdoorsman pouring over topo maps with Zebra Striped glasses…nor will there ever be. He logged another 30 minutes!
Unbelievably, our 16 year old daughter has found the great fortune of drawing a highly coveted (and VERY difficult to obtain) mountain goat tag in Colorado. Might I mention that despite the fact that both Steve and I have been putting in for the same tag for over 15 years, our daughter drew her first year!
We pulled out early on Sunday morning to get into the high country for some scouting. The weather was stupendous and held all day…a rarity for Colorado. We made it into the 13,000 foot peaks before noon and spent a great amount of time glassing the high country for goats. The area is quite rugged but breathtaking nonetheless. A 360′ look affords us views of some of the magnificent 14,000 foot peaks located in our back yard, as well as views of the beautiful Tayler Park and Cottonwood Creek basins. Again, I sit back and realize that we do, in fact, live in God’s country. After scrambling up the faces and scree fields, we found some promising areas that we will frequent over the next month. Stay tuned!
Kirstie and Steve Pike
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