October 29, 2008

Ben Pearson Archery

It was here. Departure day. Mike, Pup and I were headed out to Alabama to do some bowhunting with Pearson Archery. It was the first time that we would be making this trip and to say we were excited was an understatement. A better comparison would be kids in a candy store. After making the drive to meet up with Mike and Pup, we loaded up the truck and headed south. Destination, Brewton, Alabama. From Mike's house it was going to be a 12 hour drive which meant we were pulling another all nighter to get there by morning.

Once in Brewton our first stop was to head to the Ben Pearson Archery plant and see Jon, Carolyn and the rest of the crew. For me, this was going to be one of the coolest parts to the trip and it didn't disappoint. Not only did we get to catch up with old friends, but also got a sneak peek at the 2009 lineup. All I can say is wow! I don't think I have ever been so excited to be part of the Pearson team.

After leaving the plant it was time to head to the farm. Word on the street was that quite a few folks were in camp and to date nothing had been put down. Mike, Pup, and I had pretty high expectations that we could change that. After arriving at camp we were introduced to a bunch of great guys. Everyone there was part of the Pearson team and it awesome to be with them. After grabbing a bite to eat and settling in, it was finally time to head to the woods.

Hunting in Alabama was something that none of us were used to. Camp procedure told us that before you left you scanned the map, picked your spot, and then signed out so everyone else knew where you had "laid claim". After a short discussion we settled on a piece of timber that looked promising. Seeing how we only had time for 3 hunts during this trip, there was no time to scout and no preset tree stands. It was just us putting our heads to it and coming up with the best option to roll the dice.

After putting boots on the ground and scouting on the go, each of us settled on a spot for the night. Never laying eyes on an Alabama whitetail before I was told that they were small compared to the whitetails we were used to in Ohio. Boy were they right. One of first deer I saw was a fawn that I would guess to go about 20-25lbs soaking wet. Tiny to say the least.

As the sun started to set that evening I caught movement in front of me. It was a mature doe and she was headed my way. As she moved in front of me I stood and grabbed the Z-34. At 15 yards she made a turn broadside and that's all it took. I pulled, centered the bubble, placed the pin, and the arrow was gone. She went down within 60 yards and I had an Alabama doe in the books. After a short drag to the truck it was great to find out that Mike had put one down as well. It was 2 on the board for the Ohio boys after being in camp for less than 6 hours. The rest of the hunts we found ourselves coming up empty handed, however all of us saw deer and had some very, very close calls.

In the end the trip to Alabama was awesome. We got to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and do a little hunting on the side. I would like to give a big, huge, special thanks to everyone at Ben Pearson Archery for their support, hospitality, and friendship. It was great to be part of this hunt and I am honored to part of the team. 2009 is going to be a great year!

October 21, 2008


In my continual quest to train for the hunt, I toed the line Sunday for my last marathon of the year. The Columbus race was one I have had on my radar for awhile because it was my last chance to make the qualifier for the 2009 Boston Marathon.

The thing that makes Boston such an awesome achievement is that not just anyone can run this race. Boston you have to earn. For me, ages 18-34, I needed to run the 26.2 miles in less than 3 hours, 10 minutes and 59 seconds. Saturday in Columbus, I ran 4 minutes and 23 seconds too slow.

Driving down all I could think about was how this race was going to come down to 100% guts. I needed to cut 13 minutes off my last marathon time, of which was my fastest race to date. Plus I was coming off a training schedule that was anything but normal. I just wasn't quite sure where I was at and what to expect.

Race plans were pretty simple. I was going to get with the 3:10 pace group and stay with them as long as I could. It was all or nothing. Either I was going to make it or go down in flames.

5 am alarm sounds and race day is here. Clear and cool, it's a perfect morning for running. After making my way through the 12,000 runners to front, I found myself with the 3:10 group and waiting for the start of my 3rd marathon of the year. I love the moment just before the start. It's filled with a feeling of excitement and nervousness. Once the gun goes off nervousness turns to concentration and it's all about how quickly you can dial into your pace.

The first few miles went quick and we were moving well through mile 12. By that halfway point at 13 we were 30 seconds ahead of schedule and on pace to finish at a 3:09:30. That is until at 18 when the wheels started to come off. It was at the point that I began to realize I was in trouble. At miles 19 and 20 we hit a gain in elevation that hurt bad. I pushed with everything I had and gutted it out until we crested but it was too late. I had spent everything I had staying with the group during 18, 19, and 20. All I could do was watch them go.

Believe me when I tell you that is a moment I won't soon forget. In fact, it will pretty much stay with me for the next 7 months. I spent the next 6.2 miles in agony, doing everything I could to salvage the race. With each stride came a step closer to the end. The only thing that got me through was knowing I had been there before. From hauling meat in Colorado, to running the 50K. Each had points when finishing seemed almost impossible.
I look at experiences like this as a gut check for the soul. In my opinion, that's why long distance running is such a draw for me and why I feel like its such a great training tool for DIY hunting. In the end I crossed the finish line at 3:15:22, 8 minutes faster than my last marathon, but, 4 minutes and 23 seconds over the Boston qualifying time.

So now it's back to the drawing board. I have said it once and I'll say it again, failure is not an option, it is only a temporary obstacle. I'll take the next 7 months and focus on the vision of that group slowing pulling away from me which is now so clearly etched in my head.

October 13, 2008

Back to Basics.....

Fall is here. Leaves are changing, mornings are cooler, and lately I have been feeling a tingle that tells me the November rut is right around the corner. Yes, soon it will be that special time of year. The time to be in the stand all day trying to catch that bruiser buck on his feet.

For me, bowhunting whitetails runs deep. It is something I grew up doing and where I cut my teeth. Some of my most cherished memories in life were made 20ft up, standing on a 24X30" platform, hanging from a tree.

Although Whitetail season here in Ohio opened the last weekend in September, I hadn't had a chance to get out until this past Saturday. The area I bowhunt requires me to take 2 does before I can take a buck. In order to stay on pace before the rut hits, the pressure was on. I had to fill at least one of my tags.

Sitting there that morning and rolling into hour number 2 I heard the ever telling sound of a deer walking. Two does were coming my way. Instantly the blood is pumping and my heart started to race. Believe me, when you are required to punch 2 doe tags before you can think about arrowing a buck, every doe you see becomes a "Booner".

As I turn to get into position the lead doe hits 20 yards and holds up. There is something she doesn't like. Although 20 yards is definitely "in the zone" she is coming directly at me, which gives me no option for a shot. After a short stand off, she decided she has had enough and walked away the exact same way as she approached. Again, no shot and agony sets in. She might as well been a 150" 8 point walking away. All I could think about is blowing what could have been a great opportunity at #1. As I stand there trying to figure out where it went wrong, I turn and notice another doe, standing at 15 yards, quartering away. Perfect.

I raise the bow, put tension on the string, and the Pearson comes to full draw. After centering my bubble and placing my pin, I squeezed the release. In a split second the Carbon Express shaft was off, full steam ahead. The arrow found its mark and a short 80 yards later Doe number #1 was in the books.

Next up after the Columbus Marathon on the 19th will be a much anticipated trip to Alabama. Pup, Frasca, and I received an invite from Pearson to come down and bowhunt some bama Whitetails. Stay tuned, because once again we will be loading up the truck and heading out for another epic adventure.