Category Archives: Campfire Chat

The Ballad of the “Demon Pig”…

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Deep in the mountains, there is a little known shack known as the “Hoghunter Hilton”. Few people know about it, even fewer people have been there, but it is a luxurious stay compared to tent camping all week. A solid roof and walls, mean you can sleep in after hunting all night.

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If you hunt out of the shack, it is tradition to sign the wall and the dates go well back into the 90’s. Also inscribed on the wall is the following epic poem shared here for “Humpy” because his season always ends before he can hunt up there.

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Demon Pig

You’ve come to the mountain

To hunt the pig

But there’s one hunting you

And I’ll tell you he’s big

With six inch cutters

Sharp as a knife

If you let your guard down

He’ll take your life

Smart he is

From hunters past

A pure Russian

He’s the last

His mother slain

His sisters too

 Over the years

His anger grew

You’ll see his tracks

You’ll smell his smell

He’ll watch you patiently

This pig from Hell

Five hundred pounds

Of vengeful fight

He’s full of hate

He stalks the night

In search of a hunter

Whom he can slay

For the death of his family

You’re now his prey

The twig that went snap

The rock that was rolled

He’s hunting you down

He’s getting bold

You’re back in the shack

You’re “safe and sound”

But lock the door

He’s still around

So arm yourself hunter

With all you can borrow

He did’nt get you tonight

But there’s always tomorrow

For he’ll wait til you’re tired

No gun or no rounds

And strike from the shadows

You’ll fall to the ground

Like a ghost from the dark

In a blink of an eye

Severing the arteries

Inside your thigh

Smashing and ripping

Your guts he pulls out

He’s eating your liver

You start to shout

But no one can save you

From this devilish beast

Crunching your bones

He continues to feast

How could God make

A creature so mean

He didn’t, he’s been forged

By the Park Service Green

The slaughter of thousands

runs through his head

SCA’s, Rangers, and hunters

He all wants you dead

“Not scared” you say

Well don’t listen to me

Get yourself eaten

I could use the OT

Cause there will be a big search

For your remains

But all we will find

Will be bloody stains

But don’t worry young lad

For Bill will shed a tear

And the rest of us hunters

Well, we’ll split your gear

So take extra rounds

Your radio, your light

Don’t forget your prayers

And you may survive the night

“Humpy”

Feared by hogs, Mountain Dew, Honey Buns, Little Debbies, Lunchables, and Fruit of the Looms

KIMG0098

BigPig Outdoors in the black…

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Directly in front of Rob and I, is a good place to be if a wildfire is heading your way. “In the black” is also a good place to be if you just started your business and moves me to say two things.

First, I want to show gratitude to those that have supported me in my ventures. Special thanks goes to my business advisers for their answers to my questions and encouragement; my Dad, Tim, Archie, Rob, Dave, Harold, Brad, Benji, and Jeff to name a few. Some of you I have been able to thank in person, but for those I haven’t, you may be reading this and I appreciate your help.

Words can’t express my appreciation to my wife who has help me immensely, supported me, and cooked some great meals for this blog. Thanks to all my friends, 101 students, blog followers, and facebook friends for your support and friendship.

Second, I want to encourage those that have been following my progress as I made some pretty big changes in my life to chase a dream. If you are wanting to change some things in your life, here are some great resources that will help you if it involves starting a business:

48 Days to the Work You Love: http://www.amazon.com/Days-Work-You-Love-Preparing/dp/1433669331/ref=la_B001IGM1CU_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394925642&sr=1-1

Quitter: http://www.amazon.com/Quitter-Closing-Between-Your-Dream/dp/0982986270

Four Hour Work Week: http://www.amazon.com/The-4-Hour-Workweek-Anywhere-Expanded/dp/0307465357

Entreleadership: http://www.amazon.com/EntreLeadership-Practical-Business-Wisdom-Trenches/dp/1451617852

Business mentoring: http://www.score.org/

Where do we go from here? Forward of course. Many have asked, so I am gearing up to offer the one-day survival course and the online store carrying the gear I use and abuse.

Thanks for everything and stay tuned – Andrew

On hunting and trapping..

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The most valuable hunting and trapping tool that I own is my mind. What’s that you say? How about your .308? Your .22 rifle? Or your conibear traps? Those are great, but without the first tool, the latter are useless. I cannot hunt or trap effectively without knowledge and skill, both hard wired into my brain.

Today, my mind has recognized that some viewers of my blog do not like dead animal pictures, so I will try to articulate why I hunt/trap in the hope that they set aside their disdain and can take a glimpse into the “natural” world. With trapping season only days away and hunting season already upon us, the volume of dead animal pictures on this blog will soon be on the rise. I would say this post is not for the hunters and trappers, but in reality it is for both sides of the argument. To the hunter I say “why not more?” and to the non-hunter I say “why not?”.

And with that prelude I give you the “Top 7 Reasons” why I hunt and trap.

1. I enjoy it – Plain and simple. All the reasons below are ancillary to the fact that when I am in the woods hunting, trapping, or foraging it feels right, almost spiritual in a way. I do not view myself apart from nature, but part of it. When I take the life of an animal, respectfully and humanely, I am just participating in the “circle of life”. Whether I am uprooting a plant or shooting an animal, to me they are one in the same.

Like many, I have felt that I was born centuries too late, but that is a cop out. Participating in the absurdity of modern society is a choice. If you want a simpler lifestyle, then do it. Hunt, trap, fish, forage, and grow your own garden. I promise you, the satisfaction of self-reliant hobbies is highly rewarding.

2. Subsistence – I am a meat hunter and trapper. At our house, we only cook wild game that I hunt, trap, or catch. If we go out to dinner or eat at a friend’s, I will eat what is available, but that’s it. I am able to pack my freezer with deer, hogs, coons, squirrels, turtles, frogs, fish, and a few other critters that keep me fed year round.

3. Health –  Organic, free range meat. I am not into hormones, anti-biotics, and all the other crap associated with factory farming. Since I butcher and process everything myself, I have direct control over the sanitary conditions and handling of my food. A big plus in my book.

4. Cost –  Debatable. One could argue that I save money by having no grocery bill for organic meat, expensive if you haven’t looked lately. The counter argument would be the opportunity cost of not working during those hunting hours and all the meat that could be purchased by my wages. I would then argue that my happiness while living off the land needs to be factored in, greatly increasing my stance and making it a win in my book.

5. Ethics – “Bunny-hugger” vs. “Bambi-killer”. “Meat-eater” vs. “Vegetarian” What is ethical when it comes to taking the life of any living creature, plant or animal? We cannot exist without taking energy from another source, but we can choose how we do it. My wife is a vegetarian, both for health and moral reasons, and I can respect that. However, if you oppose hunting and trapping for meat, and are not a vegetarian, then I will politely challenge your integrity and point you towards the garden.

Personally, I do not like the unnatural conditions animals are subjected to under factory farming conditions, so I choose to reduce my support of “Big Farma”. That leaves three options for meat: hunt & trap, raise livestock myself, or buy free range, organic meat. All good options, but hunting and trapping edge out the others in my situation, i.e. plenty of hunting opportunities, a “bunny-hugger” wife that would protest me killing the family hog, etc.

But how can hunting and trapping be “humane”? Sometimes it is not, but neither is nature. Pain and death are an ever present force in nature, just ask any prey species. I would like to say that all the animals I kill have a swift, painless death, but that is not always true. Modern trapping has come a long way in the area of animal welfare, but there is still the Murphy factor that sometimes comes out to play.  Have I lost game over the years? A few, but I continually work on my tracking skills and have to point out that nothing in nature goes to waste. My take is that the brief pain that I cause a creature is part of nature and better than living a cramped existence for months in a cage or pen. “Humane” in my book is the intent to make the kill quickly and efficiently.

6. Conservation –  Carrying capacity, over-population, tradition, economics, etc. I learned all the arguments in my wildlife college classes, but the big fact remains that wildlife management and conservation efforts in your state are funded by hunters, trappers, and fishermen. If you like seeing songbirds, turkeys, river otters, deer, elk, etc. then thank a sportsman, because their license purchases paid the bill for the wildlife management programs that either reintroduced those species or are protecting them.

Some of the species I hunt and trap are either non-native or cause damage to property. Want land to hunt or trap? Just offer to take care of a landowners feral hog, beaver, or coyote problem. Those three species have opened the door to some of the best hunting spots I have.

7. Self-reliance – Like gardening, homesteading, and the like, hunting and trapping promotes self-reliance. Coupled with gardening, raising livestock, and a food storage program, putting meat on the table from hunting and trapping is just one more skill that keeps the real “Spirit” of this country alive.

Resources for non-hunters/trappers: This blog. Keep reading it. You will learn some stuff about hunting, trapping, butchering, and cooking a variety of game. Check out your States DNR site for hunter’s education classes and other info: http://www.huntfishsport.com/web.aspx?cmd=dnr

Resources for hunters/trappers: Realize that you are an ambassador for our lifestyle. Question yourself why you do what you do and don’t act like a fool. Be able to express it to non-hunters in a logical way. We live in different times and the future of hunting and trapping is in our hands. Since you have the skills, unplug from the system and feed yourself. Teach someone to hunt. Watch a video on factory farming and see if you want to support that industry.

**Disclaimer – This post is in reference to the role of hunting and trapping in my personal life. Professionally, I hunt and trap as part of a damage control program focused on feral hogs, which has it’s own controversies. That said, past and future pictures of feral hogs are from legal hunting on private land and are not associated in any way with my employer.

“New Chapter of Life”…

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Those were the four words I wrote down on my resignation form yesterday.

My boss quoted the form “Please be specific and avoid generalizations”.. 

“Well” I said, “I am trying to put a positive spin on things”

You see, I signed up to be a Protection Ranger in the Twentymile District of North Carolina, the remotest section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With no road patrol and no frontcountry campground it was a backcountry ranger’s ideal situation. Lots of poachers to chase, the beautiful Fontana Lake, and 132,000 acres of wilderness that I had roamed in my hoghunting days excited me to the core. Life was good, but change, like the seasons, is inevitable. With sequestration, under staffing, and more budget cuts on the way, the “least” visited section of the park is not a priority on the managerial list.

I could see the writing on the wall, or really the lack of it on the board. Arriving early for a meeting at headquarters one day, I saw on the dry erase board, an exercise for projected minimal staffing. There was no Twentymile. At times this summer I was only working one day a week in my district. They articulated the need, but when I signed up for my job I didn’t have dreams of sneaking around campgrounds looking for dope smokers, babysitting tubers, or typing report after report. My heart yearned for the woods on a cellular level.

Maybe it was during my Fur-“fish & game” -lough, when I couldn’t even sleep indoors because the sense of freedom was so overwhelming. Maybe it was the paradigm shift that occurred during forty five episodes of Peace Revolution podcast on my commute to another district. Maybe the realization that 25 years of my life is not worth a pension of $1200 a month. Or maybe, It could be the fact that where I am heading there is no “box” to contain my creative ideas. Weekends and holidays off, growing a beard, no more stinking reports… maybe it is all of it.

On Saturday I had received my 10 year service award and on Thursday in four short words I had given up a career and the permanent status so many of us feds chase.

You sure?” asked my boss.

Absolutely” I replied.

What are you going to do?” he said

Hunt hogs and teach classes. After that, whatever I want” 

Resource and visitor protection is the division I worked for, but my mission really won’t change much. Being able to focus on building my school and the curriculum will do just that. People only protect what they value, and people only value what they can experience or find useful. Fear or lack of knowledge hold a lot of people back from connecting and becoming part of nature. Both of those are easily remedied by education.

For the next six months, I will also return to my old hoghunting job, roaming the mountains in the district I love. Stalking the woods with a suppressed 6.8 again makes me smile. I will still keep my eye out for poachers and if they need me for a carryout or SAR, I will be around.

So to all the people out there that are in a job that leaves you unfulfilled, but you cannot sever the ties of comfort and security, I leave you with a quote from the crappiest movie I have seen in a while, After Earth. I was drifting off to sleep when the words of Will Smith brought me back

Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity Kitai. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story and that day mine changed.” 

You gotta love the Fresh Prince, he does have a way with words..

Resources:

Breaking the chains of debt slavery and living within your means gives you more options while in the Matrix

http://www.amazon.com/The-Total-Money-Makeover-Financial/dp/1595555277/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383960729&sr=8-1&keywords=total+money+makeover

Choosing your lifestyle first

http://www.amazon.com/The-4-Hour-Workweek-Anywhere-Expanded/dp/0307465357/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383961089&sr=8-1&keywords=four+hour+work+week

Unplugging and waking up

https://www.tragedyandhope.com/category/peacerevolution

Leaving Feds:

http://hr.od.nih.gov/benefits/retirement/fersseperation.htm

Health Savings Account info:

http://www.patientadvocate.org/requests/publications/Guide-To-Health-Savings-Account.pdf