The month of November quickly became one of my most productive months I’ve had as a spokesperson for CZ-USA. I had an opportunity to participate in a hunting/product testing trip to Dismal River Outfitters to Nebraska’s Sandhills, co-chaired first annual fundraising Sporting Clays shoot in Colorado and got to meet lot of Canadian gun store owners through Big Rock Sports event in Las Vegas. All three were fun and productive experiences and all these events made me proud to be the Ambassador for CZ products.
DISMAL RIVER OUTFITTERS
2012 was the second in year in a row I was invited to join Alice Poluchova(president of CZ-USA) at Dismal River Outfitters in Sandhills, NE. The old family ranch of John Howell spreads over tens of thousands of acres in western Nebraska and provides plenty of space for hunting or long range shooting. It is always fun to get together and catch up with everyone upon their arrival. Seeing John and his family, the best hosts you can possibly have, is also one of the highlights of the trip. The good part of the evening is dedicated to making a plan for next couple of days. I am told there is bull elk out there John would like to find and hunt. It is the last remaining piece from his trophy elk operation and has been very elusive. John is moving on to strictly Buffalo hunts (self sustainable herd on several thousand acres of fenced in property) and free range mule and white tail deer hunts.
The first morning after hearty breakfast we decided to sight in my CZ 550 .308 again. I only took about three shots after last cleaning but traveled quite a bit, so checking the zero was in order.
We set out in the mid afternoon. I never realized the vastness of open space and many areas where the elk could be. As we pulled up on one of the bluffs overlooking the Dismal River canyon and glassed for half an hour, John spotted the bull. He came out off the woods to the river. Being about 800 yards away the shot was not there. We got out of the truck and ran alongside the ridge to get closer look, however we were on the other side of the canyon. The elk did exactly what John said he’ll do once he spotted us. He moved into the thick timber. The only opportunity for a shot would be little clearing at the top of the ridge on the other side. I set up for a long shot, sitting down with the rifle on the bipod and was told to wait until the elk gets to the top out in the clear. Once he climbed out of the timber, John ranged him at 340 yards. I said I will not take the shot at that distance. John gave me tremendous boost of confidence by saying: “I’ve seen you shoot this morning, you can do it”. That is all I needed to hear. I looked through the scope, found the shoulders, aimed couple of inches below the top and was ready to pull the trigger. John whistled, the elk stopped to look around and I shot. The first shot did not put him down but we knew I hit him solid. He just stood there not being able to move initially. We quickly made decision that I will run down one side of the canyon, cross the river and climb back up on the other side. John will go get the truck and meet me on the other side. 30-40 minute ride for having only one bridge to cross the river.
I started running down and almost collided with herd of whitetails. Rolling landscape, that was once bottom of the sea, has soft sandy soil and it took me no time to slide down to the river. I didn’t think twice about crossing the cold river. I took my pants off, wrapped them around my neck, boots in one hand and the rifle in the other. The finest sand/mud combination made it easy to cross except for the middle where moving water made it chest deep. Once on the other side I got dressed again and ran up to the spot where we saw the elk last. He was not there but I noticed very strange tracks, looked like he’s laboring quite a bit. I followed the track for about ten yards when I heard all kinds of noise. Looked up and there he was fifteen yards away on the other side of a cedar tree. The fifteen
minutes it took me to get across he only got about thirty yards and could not go any farther. I took another shot right in the vitals to end it quick. Huge relief flooded me before I could realize the awesome hunt I just had. I always want to emphasize the most ethical way of putting down any animal you are hunting. Waiting for John to arrive I had time to enjoy few moments and absorb the great experience. The elk and surrounding country gave me ever lasting memories.
As a beginner hunter I watched closely the gutting process and probably asked too many questions. Once we field dressed the elk, we put him in the back of the truck a headed back to the ranch. Sitting around the dinner table I replayed the hunt in my mind several times and still do. Being surrounded by friends who share the same passion makes it even more enjoyable.
The next day was spent on the range shooting and testing several CZ rifles with different loads to find the perfect match. I must say all of my CZ’s rifles perform beyond expectations when combined with the right optics, right ammo and correct shooting habits.
Rifles shot and tested:
CZ 550 .22-250 Varmint. Great for range practice off the bench rest or bipod. Extremely accurate and the lack of recoil allows for long
sessions. Varmint hunter extraordinaire.
CZ 550 Ultimate Hunting Rifle .300 Win. Mag. As the name says this is THE rifle for the North American continent. Built for the hunts in the most rugged environment. Solid machine with beautiful wood. I took couple shots off the bench rest and shortly after I was hitting gongs at 400 yards resting the rifle on the bipod, the most common position hunters will find themselves in the field. I am still .308 Win guy but I can see eventually graduating to this rifle.
CZ Urban Counter Sniper .308 Win. This is a very compact sniper rifle fit for shooters or law enforcement who do not have access to lot of long distance shooting. Highly recommend it to my friends on the east coast where space is “limited”. The cool factor is high as is the performance. One of the most unique rifles.
I want to thank John Howell and his family for being great hosts and giving me the opportunity to create some great memories on their
This was a first annual fundraising event for Pro Players Association Celebrity Charity shoot at the Quail Run Gun Club in Kiowa, Colorado. Couple months ago I was asked by a friend to participate in Sporting Clays event to raise some money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease. I did not hesitate and committed not knowing he will ask me to co-chair the event.
Quail Run is a very nice club about 45 minute southeast of Denver. Great opportunity to experience another Sporting Clays course while helping others. There were two flights scheduled, one for morning and one for afternoon. My morning team had couple of kids shooting clays for the first time. I looked forward to making their first experience safe and fun. We all were little rusty on a cold November morning but ss the round went on we all settled into the rhythm. The kids had a blast, improved with each station and finished with desire to try the clays again. I enjoyed their company, their joy and got to practice for the much more competitive team in the afternoon.
The lunchtime brought all the teams together to discuss the morning round. Soon we were assigned to our new teams and hit the course again. My afternoon team consisted of four friends who regularly shoot together and at times compete at local tournaments. They have met Dave Miller and Alice Poluchova during one of the competitions in Colorado and were already familiar with CZ shotguns. We all started the round well and never slowed down. One of our guys shot 95 and the others were in high 80’s. I ended up with 75 and I felt that was the my best round yet. The rhythm, mentioned earlier, is so important. It’s a state of mind where you let all the information gained during lessons and practice rounds flow and become instincts. There is no time to think once you call “pull”.This applies to most if not all sports. All the top athletes will tell you getting into that rhythm or a zone as some call it is consistently the greatest challenge. Having physical abilities or being mentally focussed is only part of it. Combining those two and letting it flow on the biggest stage is what separates the great ones from the rest. It is a lesson to learn for anyone who takes their hobby seriously
and wants to be the best they can be.
It was a long day for all the volunteers and some of us who participated in both rounds. The dinner reception was great and accepting the award for the winning team was a lot of fun too. It was a first time I won anything since retiring from playing. I appreciated the effort the volunteers put in,the money donated by the shooters and the opportunity to be part of another fundraising effort.
With the year coming to an end I would like to wish all CZ fans out there Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.