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DFW made me grin

DFW, arrow five outfitters, hunter education, HEI, Chuck Giles, deer hunt, outdoor adventure, Schaafsmas,

By Chuck Giles
07/30/13 -- Those of you who are regular readers of MyOutdoorBuddy probably remember that I am a Hunter Education Instructor (HEI) for the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW). Man, I have a hard time with that name change, probably due to some of the reasons behind it. Oh well, I digress. This is supposed to be a happy story, and by God, it will be!

Last Saturday I received an email from my coordinator for the Northern Sector telling me to get in touch immediately with the overall supervisor for the HEI program in California, Roy Griffith. Oh Lord, what did I forget to do?

I made contact, and it turns out that I had been drawn for one of many donated hunts for which only instructors in good standing are eligible. Whew!

The specific hunt I chose is with Arrow Five Outfitters in Trinity County. It is a five day, one-on-one, guided hunt for a management buck on their property.

Now, here’s the deal; Usually, I have neither the money nor the inclination to go on such a hunt. My wife and I pride ourselves on our hunting style and we always go through all the red tape each year, strap on our packs, and take what we get. We also have opinions on road hunters, but that’s another story.

After the DFW drawing, we plan our season as best we can and hope for a buck. I’m here to tell you we are most often eating donated venison from friends and relatives.

Don’t get me wrong, we hunt hard and we hunt ethically, hiking over hill and dale, albeit somewhat slower, in what we have come to perceive as the most deer-parched zone in the state. I won’t mention any areas here, as that too is another story concerning deer management in California.

Suffice it to say I am ecstatic with my fortune for this year. Moreover, so is my wife. She has been with me through thick, thin, bear, deer, elk and squirrel skinning and has a bigger smile on her face than mine, but then I have never been much of a smiler.

However, this bit of luck did indeed draw more than a small grin. I will do everything possible to make this a grand adventure, and after talking with the folks at Arrow Five, that won’t be difficult. They seem just as happy at the prospect of the hunt as I am.

Quite frankly, I have been somewhat of a loner throughout. One thing I do have, though, is pretty good instincts with first impressions. Although I still have yet to meet them personally, ranch owners Jim and Tinamarie Schaafsma have already made me feel at home, just via email. For this I am truly grateful. We still have not set specific dates.

Arrow Five Outfitters are, from my research, a highly reputable operation and I have yet to read a poor review from any of their clients. The Schaafsmas are also HEIs, so we have something in common from the get-go.

You may be wondering why I am rambling on about this whole episode in my life. The reason is; I will be documenting virtually every minute of this unique opportunity to share with our readers. It will be one of those tales which begins; I was successful/unsuccessful so uninterested parties in the particulars can forgo reading. Nothing's worse than hearing all the hunt details when you really don't care. Did you get one or not?

I am looking very forward to sharing it with anyone who takes the time to read it. In the meantime, how do I get this grin off my face? I don’t want to spoil my hard-earned reputation as a curmudgeon.

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