Hunting & Fishing for Stories & Photos

Friday, May 20, 2011

Four Rules of Firearm Safety

Okay, so I might be a safety geek, especially having worked in the outdoor recreation safety industry for the last eight years or so. However, as long as we always keep gun safety in the forefront of our minds, shooting and hunting will remanin two of the safest sporting activities.

As a reminder, here are the Four Rules of Firearm Safety as devised by Jeff Cooper, founder of Gunsite:

1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Always be sure of your target.

If you ALWAYS follow ALL FOUR rules, you will never have a shooting accident.

Also, don't forget your eye and ear protection... now get out there and turn show powder into noise!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gunsite 270 General Rifle

Back in 2008, after I took the Gunsite 250 Defensive Pistol course, I also took the 270 General Rifle course. It is designed to give new shooters the familiarity and confidence to handle their rifles, while honing the skills of experienced shooters for shots ranging from “up close” to 300 yards. My class had students of all experience levels and we all benefitted from the thorough teaching.

Similar to the Defensive Pistol class, we were all made very familiar with our equipment and learned the most efficient ways to manipulate our rifles and their controls. I took my Christensen Arms .270WSM topped with a Swarovski riflescope. We practiced loading, unloading, feeding, mounting, carrying in multiple slung positions, and of course, many different shooting positions.



Kneeling, using concealment and a rest

The main thing I took from the class is the idea of “natural point of aim.” Every time you hold your rifle, whether supported or not, your hands and body will “naturally” point the rifle. If you try to force the sights away from this natural point of aim and onto your target, different parts of your body will be competing against one another and you will shoot less accurately. However, if you shift your body so that your “natural point of aim” is at your target, you will only need to make slight adjustments to your point of aim while pressing the trigger. It was amazing to see how our groups shrunk after making sure our natural point of aim was the same as our intended point of aim.

To find your natural point of aim, get into any shooting position (following the Four Rules of Firearms Safety, of course), and then close your eyes and relax for a few seconds or a couple deep breaths. When you open your eyes, your gun will be pointing at your natural point of aim. If you are not aimed at your target, shift your body so that you are, but do not just push the gun around with your hands. Close your eyes again and check your natural point of aim. Continue shifting and checking until your natural point of aim is the same as your intended point of aim, and then fire. With some practice, you will easily and quickly find your natural point of aim, which should make you a better shooter!

If you get a chance to take the Gunsite 270 General Rifle course, I strongly suggest it. You will fire more rounds through your rifle in a week than you probably ever have, and you will leave with the skills and confidence to make the shot, whether it’s at cape buffalo in the thick brush or a mule deer on the prairie. The teachers are excellent and the knowledge they give you is worthwhile for real-life hunting scenarios.

A timed run through the Scrambler tested our stamina and skills.

Here is the article I wrote for Western Hunter about the Gunsite 270 General Rifle class:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Outfitters and Other Services

Just below the "Trent Uses and Endorses" section is a list of outfitters and other outdoor service providers. I know each of the companies personally and can say that each provided me with great information and opportunities. If you are in need of their services, you won't go wrong picking any one of them!

Trent Uses and Endorses

On the right side of my blog is a list of companies whose products I have used over the years and feel comfortable endorsing. This is not a complete list and I have not used every product made by these companies. However, based on the products I have used from each company, I can proudly and confidently back them. If you have a question about any of the products, feel free to shoot me an email at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Drownin' Worms

Teague proudly shows Mattox a catfish on Mattox's first fishing excursion.

We spent Easter weekend down in Phoenix with my brother and his family. Besides the huge Echeverria picnic on Saturday and an Easter egg hunt on Sunday, Erik and his oldest son Teague took Nichole, Mattox, and I on Mattox’s first fishing trip. One of Erik’s friends lives on a private lake in Ahwatukee with an abundance of warm water fish species such as catfish, carp, bluegill, and crappie.

We rigged up a couple rods with corn and worms, and let Teague do the catching as soon as the fish hit. We only fished for about an hour, but Teague caught a carp and three catfish. The carp put up quite a fight, but after I tightened the drag on Teague’s reel, he made short work of the big bottom-feeder.

Since I was trying to get a picture of Mattox with a fish (two of the squirmiest things on the planet), I was frustrated when the first catfish got off, and then when I dropped the second. It all came together on the third, which also happened to be the biggest! We got a great photo of Teague holding the catfish, me holding Mattox, and Mattox touching his first slimy fish.

Teague was totally unselfish and loved sharing the experience with the family. He couldn’t wait to go and was very proud to show his fish to Mattox. I think those cousins will have a great time in the woods together!

Even though Mattox’s first fishing trip was more about me than him, I hope he’ll recognize the value of exposing kids to the outdoors early. My parents took me fishing before I could walk and now we’ve done the same for Mattox. Hopefully he’ll do the same for his kids…

A sequence of photos showing Teague catching and releasing a nice carp with the help of his dad:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Eyes and Rocks Don't Mix

If you get a chance to have a rock imbedded in your eyelid, I suggest you pass.

It happened to me over Easter weekend, but I have no idea how. It might have been at my nephew's baseball game or possibly the Echeverria Famliy Picnic. It's not like I was riding the quad or doing it doggie-style... you know, hanging your head out the window of your pickup while driving down the freeway! Ha!

I thought it was just an irritation from my contacts so I waited until Wednesday to see my eye doctor, Dr. Todd Geiler. He happens to be one of my friends who also hunts and shoots, so he knows how much I value my sight. He said the tiny pebble was "like a boulder" in eye terms.

He put me on two topical antibiotics for 10 days to fight the accompanying infection, but when I went back yesterday, it hadn't cleared up. In addition, there is still a divot in my eyelid where the rock was lodged... so now it's 14 more days days of antibiotics, this time by mouth.

The one saving grace was that after the appointment Nichole, Mattox, and I went out to supper with Todd and his wife Leisa. Sometimes it takes a little suffering to realize some enjoyment, but I would rather have just met up with them on non-rock-lodged-in-my-eylid circumstances.

Life's a Beach

Last month Nichole and I celebrated our 6th Anniversary by taking Mattox to SoCal so he could dip his feet into the ocean. We also spent time with some great friends and ate some amazing food. We ate at Bubba Gump’s on the Santa Monica Pier and a fancy Thai food place. We also had amazing sandwiches from an authentic Italian deli, and Nichole’s friend Therese sent us off with her world-famous Korean bulgogi.

At the beach, Mattox loved playing in the giant sandbox, but his mom wouldn’t let me take him swimming. She said it was too cold, so I just let him kick the surf! At Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey Mattox got to check out his first sea lion up close. We also learned that Mattox LOVES the swings!