The outdoors has special meaning to me. I caught my first fish at age 4 and shot my first duck at age 9. Nearly four decades later I still get excited when I get to spend any time outdoors. A lot has changed during that time but the anticipation and experiences are still similar and just as exciting. It’s a great place to be....Read More
These days I enjoy many different types of hunting. I’m an avid, some might say rabid, waterfowler. I love to bowhunt and have traveled the country doing so for various big game species, although I’m fairly content with Kansas whitetails and turkeys now. And when it’s not hunting season I’m usually fishing. I love to fish for walleye, crappie and channel catfish. I’m at home on the front of my boat on a big reservoir or wading a small Flint Hills stream. It’s all good.
Throw in a recent bout with the trapping bug and decades of camping with family and friends and it’s obvious I have an addiction for the outdoors.
Many of my most memorable outdoor experiences in recent years have centered on those with my children. My 18-year-old daughter and twin 12-year-old boys have been a major part of my outings. Watching their eyes light up as they realize the wonders of Mother Nature and her bounty likely has even more meaning than my own personal satisfaction. Spending quality time with them outdoors carries significant and substantial meaning, no matter what we’re doing.
In this Blog I’ll attempt to relay some of the enjoyment and satisfaction I get from being outdoors. Topics covered will be broad in scope and run the gamut. It’s all fair game. If you can sit at your computer and read a particular entry and it stirs you to try it, or helps make your experience more enjoyable, I will be pleased. And if it does nothing more than make you smile or laugh that too, will please me. The outdoors is truly a great place to be!
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Shooting a bow isn’t easy. Shooting a bow accurately is more difficult. Now imagine trying all this without any arms.
“I Googled ‘How to Teach a Guy without Arms to Shoot a Bow,’ and as you might guess there weren’t a lot of things that came up in that search on You Tube or Google,” laughed Matt Stutzman.
But there is now, thanks to Stutzman who has been dubbed The Armless Archer.
An otherwise healthy baby, Stutzman,32, was born in Kansas City, Kans., without any arms. His birth parents were soon overwhelmed with the obvious challenges that lied ahead and he was put up for adoption. A short time later he was adopted by Leon and Jean Stutzman. A remarkably patient, compassionate strong-willed couple, Matt’s parents guided him through an able-bodied world.
“My parents never treated me differently,” he said. “They were always pushing me to get the best out of life. The reality was that my arms were never going to grow back, so, I remember them telling me I could sit around the house and feel sorry for myself or I could work my butt off and do something constructive with my life.”
As a result of that mentality, there is nothing in Stutzman’s house modified for him to live. He enjoys hunting, fishing and anything to do with cars. He can eat, write, type, drive, care for this children, play the guitar and even change the brakes on his car…all with his feet.
“You would think a guy with no arms would have some modifications, but I don’t have any,” Stutzman said. “My parents taught me to look at obstacles in a different way and I’ve basically taught myself how to adapt to the world, instead of the world adapting itself to me.”
Stutzman’s initial interest with archery was for bowhunting to join his father hunting in Iowa where he grew up. Little did he know his love of archery would take him far and wide and have the impact it has had on his life now.
Stutzman is a competitive archer on the U.S. National Team and travels all over the world competing at a high level and is doing that as a career. He has set numerous national archery records and won a Silver Medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. And he’s done it all using his feet. He describes the process of how he learned to shoot a bow without arms.
“I got a Scott Silver Horn release aid off the shelf, just like any other hunter would have,” Stutzman said. “But instead of putting that release on my wrist, since I didn’t have any, I put it around my right shoulder.”
Stutzman stands on one leg and uses his other foot to take an arrow and nock it on his bow which rests upright on the stabilizer.
“I hold the bow with my right foot and bring it up to my shoulder and hook it up to my release and then I push my right leg away from my body drawing the bow,” he described. “Once I get to this point, I anchor and aim which puts the trigger of the release aid on my right jawbone. When I’m ready to shoot, I move my jaw backwards just a little bit and that shoots the bow.”
Stutzman will demonstrate his bow shooting at the Monster Buck Classic-We Are Kansas! show at the Topeka ExpoCentre Jan. 23-25, 2015. He will be doing three shows on Saturday and a couple on Sunday with times to be announced.
“I basically tell some of my story,” Stutzman said. “I love comedy, I love humor so there are a lot of stories I tell that have happened to me throughout life that are just funny like getting pulled over by the cops and their reaction to a guy driving with no arms and things like that.” “I’ll also be doing some trick shooting and then wrap things up with some good ol’ motivational-type stuff,” he said. “I’ll bring my Silver Medal with me that I got in London and people are welcome to stop by and they can take pictures with it and even wear it and I’ll be glad to visit with them.”
In addition to target archery, Stutzman loves to bowhunt. He’s taken deer and turkeys with archery equipment and loves the outdoors.
Stutzman now lives in Tooele, Utah, with his wife of 10 years and three sons ages 2,7 and 9. In a nutshell, Stutzman’s message is simple at any of the inspirational programs he presents at schools and big businesses and they’re words he lives by every day.
“You know, life gets hard a lot of times and there are a lot of ups and downs and everyone has issues they have to deal with or go through,” he said. “But if you can just keep your head down, keep grinding away at it and be positive about life, things will get better and you’ll be successful.”
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Normally, in a given season my kids and I will take anywhere from a couple deer to four or five, depending on how often we get out. However, this season the only deer to ride home in the back of my truck was the nice buck I bow-killed on Halloween Eve. And I gave that one (with a completed transfer slip-page 16 of the 2014 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary) to my buddy who helped track and haul it out. He absolutely LOVES deer meat and hadn't killed one so I knew he'd put it to good use in the coming year in tacos, spaghetti, chili, burgers, steaks, summer sausage and jerky. Plus, I figured I'd shoot another or my kids would, too.
But as the calendar flipped to 2015 I still hadn't put any venison in the freezer. Whoops. My boys didn't get out as much as they have in the past for one reason or another and my daughter was busy wrapping up her Senior year in college and didn't hunt so my freezer was void of deer meat.
When temperatures plummet and I don't want to be outside, like recent weeks, I like to make several batches of venison jerky. Most of it gets eaten right out of the dehydrator and it's good stuff. I try to hide a little back for spring fishing trips but most of it never makes it that far if two teenage boys find it. They're like bloodhounds when it comes to that stuff.
|BEFORE-Ready for the grill!|
The original plan for last-minute venison called for one of my twin boys, Cody, to go with me and he would shoot a doe with a rifle. However, a 15-year-old's internal clock doesn't seem to function well before 10 a.m. on a weekend, particularly when a buddy spends the night and all three of them stay up late playing video games. Oh well.
So I did a last minute swap of Cody's .243 rifle for my 30-06 rifle. Mind you, the spot I had would be a near bow-range chip shot, but I haven't shot a deer with a rifle in at least a decade or two since I've been bowhunting and figured I'd let the big dog bark. After all, it wasn't as much a hunt as it was a grocery run of sorts.
|DURING-Can you smell it sizzling?|
I was back home and had the deer cut up and in the cooler by 10 a.m. That is, all except the tenderloins and a chunk of backstrap (loin). Those got cleaned up and marinated with a little soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and garlic pepper. Later that night they were wrapped in a couple strips of bacon and grilled to a near-perfect rare to medium-rare. Thinly sliced the venison tasted as good or better than most beef steaks and the boys and I ate like Kings.
Now if I can just find a good hiding spot for some venison jerky I'll make from the rest of it I'll be able to get by until next deer season!