Update November Pre-Season 2003

I haven't had any gun related news to share so I have not done any updates. Same old same old, not enough hours in a day.

You may recall from my March update that we had been to Arizona job hunting and looking at the college in Prescott for a gunsmithing degree. We went back to Arizona in June for an interview my wife had in Flagstaff . That did not pan out so we are still sitting here in Kansas City .

Now that the weather has gotten cold again, we really remember why Arizona was so appealing. The older we get, the less we like the cold weather. Sure it is fun to hunt in cold weather but the other 6 days a week it is not enjoyable.

I guess at this point, we just sit and wait. We have decided what we want to do and where we want to live but just can't make it happen.

So the old saying, “Life is what happens while you plan for the future” comes to mind. We try to remember that and enjoy what is going on around us.

We were blessed with a second granddaughter in April and enjoy seeing both the granddaughters as often as possible.

My brother bought another farm close to the first farm where we do most of our hunting. The new place has about 120 acres in CRP and 40 in ditches and timber. The timber is quite a distance from the gravel road so I bought a 4 wheeler to help get me around when I can't get in with the truck.

Everything I knew about 4 wheelers would have fit on a post it note. My brother has a Yamaha BearTracker and I have ridden it but don't know much past that. I started doing some research and decided on a Suzuki Ozark.

The differences between the 2 are not real major but enough to sway me. The Suzuki has a little more in the engine department, a little better front suspension design and a really handy reverse shifter. I figure the worst thing that could happen is we decide which brand our next one will be.

I said that I had ridden my brothers Yamaha. I had but it was never all that exciting. The problem was that there was only one 4 wheeler. When we got together at the farm with 2 4 wheelers, we looked like two kids at Christmas. We rode the heck out of them. Took them places I did not know they could go. What a riot !

Before the riding began, we were discussing the finer points of the Ozark and 4 wheelers in general. The fact that they are well made and durable, lots of ground clearance etc.

We talked about how, if taken care of and not abused, they should last quite a while.

I mentioned that a winch might be a nice item to have but we agreed that it would only be handy if you happened to be stuck close to some kind of anchor such as a tree. Otherwise, they would be just added weight.

You never have a camera when you need one. Late in the day, I was leading the way back towards the trucks and I cut down along side a pond that is drying up. I punched the throttle a couple of times in the bare dirt and then headed on up onto the dam and stopped. I looked back to see where my brother was and he is sitting about 2 feet out into the shallow water. “Thought he would just swerve towards the water and sling a little mud.” Like a vacuum, the silty bottom along the water line sucked the 4 wheeler in.

We laughed till we cried while trying to drag 400 plus pounds of mud packed machine out of the slime. We just kept thinking “if taken care of and not abused, they should last quite a while.”

The whole time we are working to pull this thing out backwards, it's sinking. It was up over the back axle before we gave up and drug it out sideways by hand. I should have just gone and got the truck and a chain but I was afraid I would miss some other bright idea he might come up with.

The following Monday morning found me and my brother bruised and achy but ready to go again. They would have been more fun 20 years ago but then we would have taken greater risks and ended up with broken bones, probably.

I did manage to go over the handlebars once. It was at slow speed but still an eye opener. I was crossing a small ditch and figured I might as well punch the throttle and pop the front wheels up onto the opposite side of the ditch instead of driving down into the ditch and up the other side. When I punched it, it just sped up and drove straight into the bank with the front tires. The Ozark stopped, I didn't. I just kinda flew up over the handlebars, catching my thigh on one grip or something and then landing on the ground right in front of the Ozark. With the Ozark nose down in the little ditch, I didn't even have to fall to the ground, it was pretty much right in front of me. The helmet touched the ground but not even hard enough to rattle my brain, but hard enough I was glad it was the helmet and not my head.

Well the Ozark is now past the break in stage and ready for deer season. I put a gun carrier on it and a trailer hitch. I have not found any other accessories that I absolutely have to have for it, but I am looking.

This will be the first official “opening day” with my Ruger Compact 308 and I am looking forward to the chance to use it on something besides paper. I didn't shoot it a whole lot this summer but shot well every time I was out with it.

I will update again after the first leg of deer season is over and let you know how it went.

If time allows, I will put together some kind of review on the Suzuki Ozark. I know it isn't a gun but it is something a lot of hunters would enjoy owning and might help them decide.

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