I wanted to take the time to thank each and every one of you for a fantastic 2009 season! We finally finished up our hunts and closed down shop for the year on December 9th. I have to admit after hunting 83 of the past 102 days I went back home to Colorado and did nothing but relax and enjoy the family. I said relax but with a 10, 7, and 4 year old it’s anything but relaxing. The last three weeks have been filled with indoor soccer, basketball, football, wrestling tournaments, homework, Christmas shopping, and in-laws. Believe it or not I’m ready to go back to gutting buffalo! I tell my wife sob stories about times when we’ve had to hunt, dress, skin, cape, and butcher three buffalo and three elk in two days. She just laughs and says I couldn’t hang with her on my best day. She’s right!
Every year we take the kids back to the ranch for Christmas. The lodge you all stayed in makes a good place for us to hole up and eat some of Grammy’s cooking and beat up on Uncle Jim. Every morning and evening I took the kids out with my muzzleloader looking for meat to fill the freezer. It’s actually more like an armed field trip than it is a hunt. I do my best to educate them about things like the land, the animals, and the ranch history, but I usually end up being the one who gets educated. My four year old gets a little confused and calls mule deer mules for short. I laughed when with my binoculars around his neck he said “whoa Dad, back the truck up, I think I saw a mule in dat tree.” Don’t laugh too hard, he might be guiding you one day. Of course, the kids always want Uncle Jim to come along because they know he’ll have plenty of snacks. Jim questions my parenting methods when the kids get to fighting and I tell them about our first mountain lion sighting on the river this year and then threaten to make them walk home if they don’t knock it off. It might sound a bit harsh but it sure makes for a very quiet, hands to ourselves vehicle.
Spending Christmas at the lodge gave Jim and I time to reflect back on the hunting season. Lot’s of great memories and stories about a lot of you frequently came up. We had a very interesting season this year. We killed our first 500 inch bull elk. We had our very first mountain lion sighting. For the first time a client caught a monster brown and rainbow trout out of the Dismal River. I had a very close call with a buffalo charge the last hunt of the year. Jim had a nice somersault trip inside a double bull ground blind from the top of the river hill to the bottom. Joe taught us power washer engines won’t run when you fill the gas tank with water. And once again, many of you taught us that grown men scream like girl scouts when they think the black dodge is going over a cliff! Man do I need to mount a video camera inside that truck.
Anyway, the gang is all doing well. Jim is chopping ice, caking cows, and fixing up the ranch house next to the lodge so he and my sister can move in soon. Joe’s back in Cleveland with his family. He’s been spending time with his girls and bow hunting Ohio whitetails. Becky is back in Colorado with her family. I hear she is on strike and her poor husband Pewee has had to eat PB&J sandwiches and beanie weenies everyday because she refuses to cook ever again. Mom is doing great and is fully recovered from being deathly ill all summer and half the fall. I still tease her about faking it so she didn’t have to do the cooking this year.
Well, that about wraps things up. If it’s ok with you all, I’ll be sending out these newsletters with word around the campfire from Dismal River Outfitters every now and then.
From all the gang, thanks again to each and every one of you for all the great moments, laughs, and memories from the 2009 hunting season! We greatly appreciate your business and hope to hunt with you again soon!
John “Master Guide” Howell