Lake Fork Patriot Sporting Challenge Huge Success
This past weekend was my first time to attend The Lake Fork Patriot Sporting Challenge and I felt honored to be a small part of this awesome event. This past year, the event brought in $100,000 that was given to the Folds of Honor, an organization which supports the children of fallen and wounded soldiers. From what I could observe this year’s event was a huge success also.
The event began for me on Friday evening when I attended an appreciation dinner at The Links at Lands End Country Club where I had the opportunity to meet many of the folks that worked hard throughout the year to make the event a success. I was honored to spend a little time with Col. Alan West, a true patriot that I greatly respect. Col. West was the keynote speaker for Saturday night’s live and silent auctions and dinner.
The Sporting Challenge is just what the name implies; sponsored teams compete in fishing, golf and rifle, pistol and shotgun shooting events. Many sponsors donated items for the auctions, way too many to list here but I would like to thank my friend Val Gammerman at Pyramyd Air for donating one of their big bore air rifles, air pump, bullets, airbolts and everything necessary to get the highest bidder on his or her way to some shooting and hunting fun. Wayne Hays, owner of Hogman Outdoors donated several items to the auction including his Game Alert which is a great aid for hunting hogs at night.
My good friend Jeff Rice came up with the idea of a hog hunt on his Buck and Bass Ranch which is located on the upper end of Lake Fork. I’ll be present for this hunt and chances are very good the winners will be packing out a cooler or two full of fresh pork. I know they will be eating well. We are still deciding if we want to serve BBQ or marinated wild pork fajitas. Regardless, we will see to it that our guest have a great time and eat well.
From the get-go, I was thinking about how I could be most helpful during the event. Garry Schnabel, the Executive Director of the event asked if I would wish to set up a tent at the shooting range where the shooting competitions took place and introduce folks to modern air powered air rifles and shotguns. My friends Terry Tate, owner of Professional Big Bore Airguns and Eric Henderson who hosts Adventures Afield, joined me and before the day was over, many folks learned about the power of air by shooting several modern day air guns we had on hand. Since air rifles are allowed in Texas for hunting big game this year, there were many questions and we had the pros on hand to answer them all.
I was honored to visit with many of my readers, some who had been reading my outdoor column and magazine articles. One gentleman with the Texas Rifle Association came up to me and asked if I remembered writing a newspaper column about him winning a silhouette target shoot back in 1988. I though and though and simply could not remember this, one of the first columns of my career. When he described the place where he competed and some of the details of my column, my foggy memory came to life and I recalled actually taking his picture after his win, THIRTY YEARS AGO! Many other readers and listeners to my radio show came by to shake hands and say hello. It was truly a humbling time for me and caused me to pause and think back through my years at my career a “hook and bullet” writer. In my upper sixties and still loving every minute of the outdoor life that I lead, I give thanks daily for my good health and for the opportunity to share a little of all the good things I have learned about the outdoor lifestyle with all of you. I’m still out there ‘doing it’ and enjoying the outdoors more than ever.
Whitetail Rut at Hand- Whitetail rubs and scrapes are starting to appear in many areas and it won’t be long until the whitetail rut begins. I’ve had reports of some fine bucks taken already by bow hunters and rifle hunters on TPWD managed ranches. In many areas, there is a bumper acorn crop. I’ve spent a good bit of time fighting mosquitoes and attempting to arrow a buck with my bow the past couple weeks. I’ve learned that the use of a Thermocell unit is about the only way to survive on stand the past few weeks. Many other hunters have the same report; this has to be the very words crop of mosquitoes in history. But, with cooler weather, hopefully by the opener of rifle season, the pesky insects will be gone. Pre-rut is a great time to begin antler rattling to bring bucks in close. Steven Ray, my friend that invented and makes by hand his “Rattling Forks” advises to keep the rattling sequence going for several minutes to pull the big bucks in. Many hunters rattling for deer simply don’t stay with it long enough to be effective. As Steven says, “If they don’t hear it, they won’t come”. His rattling forks carry sound the best of any rattling horns
I’ve ever used. “They” can hear the Forks for a LONG way!
To order a copy of Luke’s book, “Kill to Grill, the Ultimate Guide for hunting and cooking wild hogs’ “visit www.catfishradio.org.