Braving mud, Texas size mosquitoes, intense heat and frustrating delays thanks to Mother Nature’s watery assault on southern Texas, volunteers from the Houston Gulf Coast Building and Construction Trades Council gave up countless weekends in 2015 to construct a 500 foot elevated boardwalk at the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge. Once complete, the boardwalk will connect the city of Liberty, Texas, with the Refuge, providing hikers with access to13 miles of trails and a more intimate view of the bayou.
The man leading the charge is Michael E. Cramer, a proud member of UA Plumbers Local 68 and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance (USA) and one of the most community-minded individuals you will ever meet.
“My conservation efforts and passion to give back and preserve our habitat have been ignited with my association with the USA,” Cramer said. “I have committee myself to help organize and guide to completion every function and project the USA has chosen to do in the Houston area.”
From USA dinners and conservation projects to the fishing tournament he has organized for fellow union members and their families for the past 18 years to the many volunteer positions he holds within his union, Cramer is always ready and willing to serve others.
In recognition of his many selfless efforts, the USA selected Cramer to be a guest star on its award-winning TV series, Brotherhood Outdoors – something Cramer said was “without a doubt, at the top of his [bucket] list.”
Late last October, Cramer caught a plane from Houston to Craig, Colorado, to hunt elk with Brotherhood Outdoors co-hosts Daniel Lee Martin and Julie McQueen and Majestic Trophy Outfitters. For Cramer, Craig held extra significance because it was the very area where he got lost for 3.5 days during a bow hunting trip in 1989, one month before the birth of the daughter he and his wife had been trying to conceive for 10 years.
This time around, the only thing that got lost was Cramer’s luggage. Upon his arrival at the Denver airport, he discovered that his trunk filled with hunting clothes and equipment was missing. Instead of letting that set back get him down, Cramer burnt off his anxiety with 20 one-armed pushups right there in baggage claim.
Luckily, Cramer’s trunk did show up in time for the hunt, but the challenges didn’t end there. The plan for this post-rut hunt in late October was to take advantage of the elk migration as the cold weather pushed thousands of elk from high altitude to lower ground for food. But Mother Nature had a different plan with unseasonably warm temperatures. When a nice bull did show up on the first day of the hunt, it was past legal shooting light.
Despite the limited number of elk, Cramer maintained a positive outlook, dancing down the trails and taking in the gorgeous scenery.
“To harvest a game animal is always secondary to the total outdoor experience,” Cramer said. “I spend many hours in the field each year as these are the times I am most at peace and able to relieve myself from the stress we all experience from our daily activities. It’s hard to beat a beautiful sunrise or sunset, and I have witnessed many.”
On the final day of the hunt, the temperature dropped, and the snow began to fall just enough to get the elk moving around. As the daylight hours waned, several cow elk came into view with a bull behind them.
Does Cramer finally get his shot at a bull elk?
Tune in to Brotherhood Outdoors on Sundays at 11 a.m. ET on the Sportsman Channel. Visit www.BrotherhoodOutdoors.tv for full season schedule, photos, video clips and more.