Wednesday, March 30, 2011


If you've hunted long enough, you've probably come to the same conclusions about hunting partners that I have.  There are people I hunt with, be it being dealt the days pit line-up or paying back a favor, and there are people I like to hunt with.  The former is generally calling to see if you have anywhere to take them, the latter is just glad to be going and generally is a lot of fun to go hunting with.  I'll admit, I've had a lot of folks I find myself hunting with, but not really many I enjoy sharing my time outdoors with.  I'm positive many other people can say the same thing about me.

My buddy Busky is one of the guys I truly enjoy hunting with.  He not only stays in touch during hunting seasons, but also afterwards, always wanting to know how my family is doing.  That's important to me, because that tells me he's more worried about a friendship than what I have to offer as far as hunting opportunities.

We've traveled a few times to hunt turkeys, and I can always count on Busky pulling his share of the load.  Like take the times we've woken up and left at 3 a.m. to get to a western spot in time to roost birds.  He's always there talking it up making sure I stay awake while driving....

Busky keeping me awake on a long road trip.

I think another reason we get along so well, particuarly on long road trips (that sometimes end in futility...well, several times have), is the fact we share a certain perverse sense of humor:

Is anyone really surprised???

Busky's fool-proof method for cattle enclosure - on sale now.

But when it's all said and done, Busky's one of the few folks I turkey hunt with, with any regularity anyway.  He's a good turkey hunter that never expects (nor asks) to be the shooter.  He seems to just enjoy the outdoors, any way he can. 

We have this running argument, that's gone on for more years than I can count.  Every turkey hunt we've made together, with the exception of our out-of-state hunts, he leaves his gun in the truck.  I've started watching for it, and reprimanding as best I can.  Yesterday, I honestly thought he had his gun with him. 

We met at our usual meeting spot around 6 a.m., and he loaded his stuff up in my truck - the gun was there.  We get to where we park the truck, and I heard the gun being fooled with, so I assumed it was being loaded...and, that was the last I thought about Busky's gun. 

Busky and I tend to do as much story-telling as we do hunting, but at the appointed hour, he looks at me and said, "did you just hear that gobble?"  I hadn't, to be honest.  A minute or so later, he heard it again - again, I wasn't sure, but I know Busky.  He's not the type to say he "hears" something if he doesn't.  I walk about 100 yards towards where he thought he heard the bird and listened.  Busky stayed in the original spot to keep listening there.  I heard nothing, Busky heard 2 more, pointing in the general direction.  Not knowing exactly where they were roosted, my plan was the split the difference and not get too deep in their territory at first light.

Reaching the area I thought was best to set up in, the dawn was shattered by a gobble.  We both looked at each other and said, "we need to move back in the timber more."  The bird was walking the same path we did on the way in.  I looked at Busky and was like, "dude, get your gun!"  His reply, "it's in the truck, sit down and shut up."

Within minutes, it was over.  The bird worked like you want them too.  He gave us a bit of a show, with some strutting and gobbling, and I gave him a face full of Heavi-Shot.

I scolded him pretty good on the gun deal - AGAIN - but his hard-headed butt could care less.  He's there for the show. 

It couldn't have been 20 minutes later when our walk was cut short by yet another gobbler.  Quickly getting setup, I had to throw the gun at Busky to get him to take it.  We got hammered by more gobbling over the next hour than I've had all year.  We got the bird well within range, but Busky wouldn't shoot because he didn't have a good clean shot.  THAT'S Busky, in a nutshell.  At one point, the gobbler hammered 4 times in a row, and the only other sound I heard was Busky chuckling under his breath.  A hen ended up taking the ol' boy off, and that was fine - we both got what we came for - my second bird of the year and Busky got a show.


-Justin Harrison

Friday, March 25, 2011

"One Duck Hunter's Photo Journal"

***I HAVE A SMALL FAVOR TO ASK - tell anyone you know who enjoys hunting, fishing, cooking, dog training, photography, and anything else concerning the outdoors about 8 GAUGE STUDIOS.  Tell them to bookmark us and check often.  I'm hoping to change the format here soon, in order to make it more user/reader friendly - THANKS***

Below is nothing more than a compilation of photos from 2005 up to the 2009 hunting seasons.  The duck season photos/stories that make up the 2010-2011 year are being posted as articles are written for 8 GAUGE STUDIOS.

A very good place to start, and an adventure I'll never forget would be here: Nova Scotia Sea Duck Hunting from a Sink Box

one of my favorite photos i've ever taken - HRCH EIGHT GAUGE'S MOUNTAIN MAN - Trapper

the old man - HRCH HARRISON'S EIGHT GAUGE - Gauge, at the "pan field pit"

Gauge with a blue that pat pitt - incredibly long retrieve that i'll never forget

Trapper retrieving a late season shoveler - folks will get down right tester over a fully tuxedo'ed bootlip

just an old meat dog - "hunting"

and "finding"

"The Eyes Have it" - Gauge

Gauge saying, "dude, pick up the damn gun"

a late season limit.....that happened day, after day, after day, after day...

Trapper the next day

"Solid bag"

"Spilling Over"


River hunt with John Eddleman

"An Old Call"

One of the most memorable sunrises i can remember in a long time

another good 'un

me and marty collins in his shop, holding his hand chopped eiders as part of the "Cranberry Rig" he shared with another carver - Keith Mueller

a "wing" as part of an old sink box, seen in mary's shop - i only thought this would be the first/last one i had ever seen

a Joe Lincoln slate decoy - VERY valuable - and who marty relates his carving too most often

last look around the shop..........

...........before we kill eiders!!!!!!!!!!

Me and Ramsey with a first days limit of eiders

yes, that's ramsey holding up HIS banded eider

a COLD and WET day 2

better day 2 photo

me and ramsey with a limit of atlantic brant and a story too big for the 'net'

me and gauge, along the "missouri breaks", montana - 2005

Montana mallards and Golden Eyes



good day in big sky

The gateway to the "Little Rockies" - where "Liver Eatin' Johnson (i.e. Jeremiah Johnson) made his name

temp was negative 8, we hunted a hot spring and shot them in the lips

good as gold

ramsey stealing my thunder

the Willow Break teal "to do"

my journal reads i was hunting with patrick pitt at number 9.....and, if was one of the coldest days i can remember.........north wind was biting

Me and Pat Pitt in the grass near number 9 at our camp L'anguille Lounge Duck Club

in that photo somewhere is a banded mallard that pat shot.......we almost had a black duck commit that day, and i've seen few pure mallard hunts that would rival the above EVER. often i've said it and i'll say it again but pat pitt could kill a banded duck on the bread isle at kroger - the man has to have a gold horse shoe shoved up his butt!

several years ago, this was trappers first hunt. the jounal reads i hunted at brietz with ramsey and it was FOGGY. limit of ducks and specks with several snows thrown in

good day to be at l'anguille lounge

january 10th at l'anguille. i was suffering from the most unreal food poisoning of all time but managed this one shot...........on a bird that should have been in mexico by then

curious case of mistaken identities

gauge gives it 2 thumbs up

one state - missouri, 5 minutes, 2 bands

Missouri with the good Dr. Zerrer


first harlequin

first harlie.............first time surfing an ice berg

Barrows Golden Eye - a favorite


the utah bunch, tony and kevin, with a 2nd year king eider drake shot from a layout in valdez

harlies shot over my own blocks

me with a black scoter and oldsquaw

Alaska - go figure

my harlequin and barrows blocks taking a rest

me and kris schaumburg on one of the most righteous points for decoying sea ducks i've ever seen....meanwhile gordon and doc Z where limiting on harlequin

doc Z with some surf scoters

doc Z with one of his harlequin

me with a couple harlequin

and lastly, i'll say this hunt up in alaska has been one of my favorites i've ever been on. we met a drunk gordon in anchorage and true to form he didn't shut up..............and, we had a ball......

the last photo sits proudly in my office and is titled simply - "Pals" - left to right, gordon, me, kris schaumburg, doc Z

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane, again, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT 8 GAUGE STUDIOS!

Have a great weekend, Justin