by Clayton Bolton, IAMAW DC 725, LL 946
Ever wonder what it would be like to win a hunting of fishing trip of a lifetime – and to have it filmed? USA member Clayton Bolton provides an inside look at his excitement and reservations about having his very first whitetail hunt filmed and aired on USA’s Brotherhood Outdoors TV show.
My mind has been wildly running different directions ever since I received the call. Shock, excitement, joy, anticipation and fear. Yes, fear. It’s not a heavy fear, but fear just the same. Not a fear of death or being dismembered by some rogue animal during the hunt, but a fear of failure and embarrassment.
I’ve been hunting over forty-five years. I’ve chased after most every furry thing legal to hunt in California, from grey squirrel to black bear, plus a lot of feathers with a fair number of successful hunts. But this will be my first time on a guided hunt. This will be my first hunt out of state. This will be my first white tail hunt. And somebody is actually going to video this adventure and put it out there for the world to see. So, what if I choke and miss an easy shot? I’ve missed before. It’s part of hunting. I’ve endured ribbing from my brother and hunting partners for missing. I do the same when they miss too. No big deal right? That’s where “camp stories” get their beginnings, only to be embellished upon as time goes on. Ok, I really do have confidence I will be up to the challenge. Now if I can only get some sleep…
I’m a “low budget” hunter. Most of my outings don’t involve much expense. Gas, ammo, food, cheap beer and maybe a cigar are all I need. Of course appropriate license, stamps or tags are required, but since they cover the season(s), I don’t consider them part of my hunting budget. I’ve never really seen the need to buy up all the new gadgets or fancy camo that hit the hunter’s market each year. A lot of my gear, including most of my guns, are almost as old (some of my guns are older) as I am. I admit I will buy new waders periodically because I get tired of putting band aids on an old pair. The patchwork does make for a unique camo pattern though.
I’m an old Eagle Scout and like to be prepared for anything the outdoors may throw at me. So what should I (or can I) take with me? Since I’ll be traveling by air and won’t have my Jeep packed full of everything I need (or think I need), I’ll have to limit what I take. Gun, ammo and clothes for cold and or wet. That should be it. Oh, and something orange. I will need a minimum of 144 square inches of the stuff according to Oklahoma game laws. I don’t own anything orange except for an old hat. It was required attire by a pheasant club I hunted over 20 some odd years ago. I should take a good knife. Then I’ll need a stone to refresh the edge. And I have a really nice pair of binos, compliments of The Union Sportsmen Alliance, they will have to come along too. And hunting boots, which pair, or all? And I always feel naked without a side arm while in the wilds. I wonder if my .44 mag Super Blackhawk can be shoe horned into my “airline approved” long gun case with my rifle, ammo, knife…
Since I need orange to satisfy the Oklahoma hunting regs and a TSA approved lock for my gun case, it’s off to the hunting paraphernalia store I go. Bass Pro opened a new store less than 10 miles from my house a couple of months ago. I’ve been waiting for some of the shiny to wear off before visiting. I drive by it on my way home from work and the place always looks packed since it opened. It is a sacrifice I just have to make.
I said, I’m not much into all the fancy huntin’ fixins flooding the market today. But after reading up a little on a breed I’ve never hunted before, I get the idea they’ll wind ya quicker than catching the smell from your own farts. I know (and my wife knows) what I can smell like after just a day in the woods. While shopping, I came across an isle of store shelves loaded with more choices and brands of stink reducing products than bullets for any one caliber of the guns I shoot. Deodorants, bar soaps, body washes, toothpastes, laundry detergents, shampoos, clothes sprays, mouth sprays, foot sprays, boot sprays, scent sprays, no scent sprays… where does it end? I decided a bottle of no scent laundry detergent, scent killer bath bar soap, un-scented deodorant and un-scented shampoo will do. Don’t want to get too carried away.
The big day is still 4 weeks out at this time and I’m already starting to pack and assemble my gear. I’m not much for being a last minute guy if I can help it. Plus I need to know if the gear I need (or think I need) is going to fit in my checked bag. Part of preparation will include washing all my camo stuff using the miracle clothes wash and then vacuum bagging them. I just wonder if the specialized laundry detergent will actually work. It must, or they wouldn’t sell it right? But I can’t get too far ahead yet because I need some of my stuff for local hunts before the trip.
Less than 4 weeks now. Anticipation is pretty heavy. Dreams (at least I can sleep some now) are filled with big racks and easy shots surrounded by perfect WX. It could happen. Kate sent me an e-mail about the airing date set for my episode (maybe escapade could be a better description) as April 03 at 11:00 am ET. That would make it 08:00 local time on a Sunday. That’s six months away! Talk about anticipation, especially since I haven’t even gone yet. I don’t get the Sportsmen’s channel on my TV. All the episodes I’ve watched are right off the USA website. Gonna need to find a way to watch the virgin broadcast. Sounds like I’ll have a little time to figure something out.