There is only a few more beautiful places than the southwestern desert in the wintertime. I have been fortunate last few years to get an invitation to participate in the making of the quail hunting shows for the Gundog TV (previously American Birdhunter). These hunts take place anytime between early/mid December to the end of January. The locations are mostly in New Mexico. The specific spot is decided in the last moment as the scouting reports about the bird numbers come in. We’ve had good hunts, great ones and also couple epic ones. Is it ever bad? No it’s not. Any chance I get to carry a shotgun and chase after quail or any bird is good. I have had friends or guides apologize for the “lack” of birds many times. The point is not how many birds but how often. It’s never too hot, too cold, too rainy too windy or not windy enough.
California is the most populated state in the union. It is a state with the most diverse natural environment, the most comfortable weather and a state economy that could compete with many industrialized countries on its own.
I enjoy visiting the state every time I get a chance. I also shot many clays in their wonderful sporting clubs. The comfortable weather makes it year around sport there. I have met lot of great law abiding gun owners over the years but the most recent CZ-USA demo event really brought out the cream of the crop amongst the defenders of the 2nd amendment.
This event was held at LAX Firing Range right by Los Angeles international airport in Inglewood. I was familiar with the area from my playing days. We used to play the L.A. Kings in the Great Western Forum, not far from there . Only the older hockey fans remember that arena and also only the older players do.
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” The existence of Israel is like a birth of a child. We all know the science behind it but every time a child is born it’s a miracle. What we have to do is to nurture and protect it so it has a chance for a long and healthy life. ”
These were my thoughts sitting at Ben Gurion International Airport July 29th 2017 waiting for my flight back to US. I only spent two weeks there but the country and its people touched me in a way few things in life have had.
I will try to walk you through my trip chronologically even though I started with the end.
The opportunity to not only visit Israel but also teach at a local hockey school presented itself couple years ago. Longtime friend, knowing of my public support for Israel, asked me if I would like to go. I immediately jumped on the opportunity and committed. Things took little time but ultimately it worked out better than I ever imagined.
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Here we are, six months past President Trump’s inauguration and I am enjoying every moment of it. The reason I decided to write this blog to use it as a warning shot(no pun intended) or a wake up call to defenders of Second Amendment. Ideally it would be all Americans defending the Second Amendment just like they should defend the First Amendment or the US Constitution as a whole. But that’s not the case and I understand or trying to understand. Many people are very comfortable in their lives and are thinking why bother to fight or defend something we have. We might have it now but we might not have it “tomorrow”. Yes we have very gun friendly administration, gun friendly majorities in the house and the senate but……
I want to make sure everyone knows we hold election in this country every two years. Some time it’s the the midterms and next time it’s the presidential election. They’re all important. I would like to see more debate, more activism or more gun friendly legislation being created while the Republicans hold these majorities. As we know the politicians will not do anything unless the people put pressure on them.
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My most recent hunting trip started very differently than any other one before. I spent two days in CZ-USA’s office and warehouse in Kansas City. Getting to know how great firearms get from small east-central European town of Uhersky Brod, where CZUB is headquartered, to the hands of American consumers. Knowing what it takes is important part of being able to represent CZ-USA’s firearms in United States. I will not disclose any details here but instead I will focus on the people who are behind this fast growing company. Yes it is very important to have great product to sell but more importantly it’s the people behind the scenes who deserve the most credit for successful business. I met everyone from accounting, sales, marketing, shipping and receiving, parts department, assembly and the gunsmiths. It is little bit like a hockey team where everyone has a role and has to accept it for the benefit of the team. When the team does well, everyone does well. When the team does not, well you know what happens then.
There is one thing I would like to focus on more. Come to find out, twenty percent of the company’s work force are US military veterans. I could not be happier to hear that news and meeting everyone. I believe it is important for all of us to remember and appreciate the sacrifice these men and women make. IT IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN ON OUR COUNTRY’S BEHALF.
The inspiration and thoughts gathering for this blog came after spending an afternoon on my farm with two friends who are both US Army veterans. One of them served in WWII and the other in Vietnam. I thanked them for their service and told them what the United States of America has meant to me because of guys like them. I did not ask questions because I do not know if there is a “place/area” they do not feel comfortable going back to. I opened my house to them and they opened their hearts. Stories flowed like crystal clear water in Wyoming creek in the summer afternoon. (It runs much faster in the afternoon because warm sun speeds up the melting process) . I will not get into specific details but let’s just say I will not have another bad day for a long time if ever. Hearing about their struggles in the respective conflicts always helps to put things into prospective. The conversation we had made me even prouder to be an American. And by the way November 4th is going to be my 20th anniversary of becoming US citizen.
Summer is coming to an end for us in Wyoming and I started making travel plans to teach and mentor young hockey players throughout the West. I will try to fit some hunting in between but giving back to the game that gave me so much comes first. I have talked about our responsibilities so much in the last few months because I have never fully understood the importance until the last couple of years. Takes one to age some to fully get it. I believe I got it now, mostly due to my wife’s prospective.
The last opportunity for a hunt this spring season came and unsuccessfully went in mid June.
The black bear we were hunting for failed to show up at our bait barrel those two nights we had set aside to hiking up to the spot where bears are frequently sighted by my friend. It was still a great adventure.
As we moved up to thicker timber farther up the trail we started seeing bear activity signs. Droppings on the trail and scratch marks on trees that mark their territory. Even thought the predators are not really interested in humans it’s a good thing to have a friend with you and be armed. You are only an hour or so of hard, fast hike from the closest house but it feels you have entered different world where humans do not necessarily dominate the top of the food chain. Thrilling and adventurous.
Young man recently asked me to help him with his senior project about idolizing successful people in America. I found the term idolizations not positive and “warned” him that my prospective might be little different than most. It was formed by growing up in Czech Republic and playing professional hockey for two decades. Being amongst many who were considered role models yet shy away from that responsibilities. Everyone wonders and is trying to figure out how to make the country better place yet they do not want to change their behavior enough to make a difference. The story goes like this.
It was early to mid 90’s,my career just beginning to take off when I hear some members of the NBA on TV saying they are not role models during an interview. I can not remember who it was because it did not concerned me. What peeked my interest was the players were turning down the opportunity to be difference makers on the court and in the lives of many kids who were looking up to them. I made a decision at the exact moment I will not be selfish and bail on kids, my team or the society ever. I did not accomplish my success by myself. First it was my parents and my grandparents then coaches in youth hockey, veteran teammates in the pros and other mentors throughout my career and life. None of us becomes successful in whatever we do without external help. Those people felt responsible to be there for me and help if needed. I feel responsible to give back. No matter your field of success mechanic, teacher, doctor, small business owner, athlete or artist. If you are successful someone is looking up to you because they want to “make it”. Success breeds responsibility because no one needs to be mentored by someone who’s mediocre. Sounds harsh but being average at anything does not take much.
There is so much going on in our political process right now, people should be excited they have an opportunity to be part of it. This is the time to make a difference. To break the cycle of establishment candidates just to send a message. Mainstream media and both of our major political parties are in disbelief and so out of touch how Donald Trump can gather so much support for speaking people’s language. The fear of not being able to control candidate amongst the media and political elite is very obvious. I am for one huge (in The Donald’s words) supporter of him. There are three main reasons. He has been successful in private sector (he has failed many times also but there is no success without overcoming failure and this fact is forgotten by many). He is not an establishment candidate and I believe he truly loves America for the opportunities it has given him. I must say I still cannot believe the dislike President Obama and his wife have for the country I call home.