Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Book Published

I have not written here much at all. But the good news is I am now a published author. The book has nothing to do with hunting though. It is a children's book titled, "Why People Should Be Like Trees." The book is about the virtues of trees and why those virtues should be shared with children.

My love of the outdoors provided me with the inspiration to write the book. Back in November of 2007 as I was sitting in the woods contemplating about what was going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, I was looking around admiring the various types of trees. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if people got along as well as trees did. Here in the woods were numerous species of trees of all different sizes, living peacefully together.

I started thinking about how I could relay this idea to young children. I pulled out a business card from my wallet and started jotting down some notes. When I got home, I threw the business card with my list of notes written on it in my desk.

In February of 2009, I came across my notes and decided to work on a project to compose a children’s book. I completed the project in March, submitted the manuscript to Tate Publishing, and received notification in April of 2009 they would publish my book.

The book was officially released August 9th. If you are interested in obtaining a copy for a young child you know, please visit my website at www.craigcribbs.com. Remember, Christmas will be here soon and this book would make a wonderful gift.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Economy: Hunters vs Wildlife Watchers

I was doing some research today and came across some interesting information. I stumbled upon The Humane Society's website. They had an article from February 2, 2009
containing data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service most recent report that was published in 2006. This report can be viewed at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/nat_survey2006_final.pdf. They made a point to mention wildlife watchers contribute significantly more to the U.S. economy than hunters, including nearly twice as much in 2006 ($46 billion vs. $23 billion). In 2006, there were an estimated 12.5 million hunters and 71 million wildlife watchers. If my numbers are correct, that means each hunter contributed $1,840 to the economy compared to only $648 per wildlife watcher. Although the 2006 indicates the number of hunters may be going down, it also proves hunters still contribute more money to the economy...almost three times more than wildlife watchers. And I would bet the majority of hunters are also wildlife watchers. I know I am.

Monday, December 28, 2009

With 2009 winding down, I have another year to look back upon and be grateful for the opportunities spent hiking, looking for shed antlers, fishing, and hunting. There were two special moments from this past year. First, my daughter Ashley was visiting from Florida. I took her trout fishing for the first time and she caught her first rainbow trout. Second, my nephew and best hunting buddy Todd shot not only his first deer with a bow, but also his second. He harvested an Ohio doe and then 2 days later an 8 point buck with two sticker points and a 14 inch spread. This was his second year of archery hunting. To say he was elated is putting it mildly. To cap it off, he went back to his home state of Indiana were he shot a nice 8 point buck during gun season.

One story I would like to share from Todd’s and my hunting trip to the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia will be remembered for years to come. Todd and I were staying in a cabin at Watoga State Park. We arrived there on a Sunday, the day before gun season opened. That evening while cooking dinner, Todd thought he heard something at the front door. He opened the front door and through the storm door thought he caught a glimpse of a shadow. He walked onto the front porch but nothing was there. The next evening, we were cooking dinner, and again, he heard something at the front door. This time he didn’t open the door but looked out the front door window. There at our front door was a black bear. Todd called me over to look and we slowly opened the front door to get a better look. Through the storm door we saw the bear moving across the front porch. I ran to the front window and slowly opened the drapes. There not 12 inches from my face was the black bear with his paws on the outside window sill looking in the window right at me. What a sight. We estimated the bear to be about 150 pounds. What a memory!

Friday, October 9, 2009


There are so many different brands of hunting equipment to choose from today. Most of it is good, some not so good, and some better than others. Since there is so much out there to choose from, I thought from time to time I would discuss the products I use and offer my input on the performance of the product. Please feel free to let me know what you use. With so much out there, sharing information is a way to separate the good from the not so good.

Today’s agenda will be the current weapons I use for hunting deer. First up is my slug gun. Since I live in Ohio, your choice for the deer gun season is slug gun, muzzleloader, or handgun. I use a slug gun. In 2004, my nephew told me about someone he new that purchased an H & R Ultra Slug Hunter Deluxe. I always liked the idea of using a single shot gun. I drove to Cabelas in Wheeling, WV where they had a new one on display. The gun fit me perfect, much better than my Winchester Model 1300. After comparing ballistics between 20 gauge ammo and 12 gauge ammo, I discovered the 20 gauge ammo provided enough knock down energy out to 125 yards. I decided to purchase the 20 gauge model. I topped the gun with a Leupold VX-I 2-7x33mm shotgun scope. I use Hornady SST Sabot Slugs. The drawback to the gun is the weight. With the scope, sling, and a round of ammo, your talking 10 pounds. It’s a lot of weight to carry around especially if you like to still hunt like me. But the weight reduces recoil and the heavy rifled barrel provides accuracy. This by far is the best of the three slug guns I have owned. If you like the idea of hunting with a single shot gun, I would recommend you take a look at an H&R Slug Gun. I do not think you will find a better gun at such an affordable price.

Next up is my deer rifle. Since I also hunt whitetails in West Virginia, for years I used a Marlin Lever Action 30-30. In 2001 I was scheduled to make a trip to Montana to hunt mule deer, so I needed a rifle that could reach out a little further. I wanted to invest in a rifle I would feel comfortable using in the West Virginia hills/mountains in dense woods and heavy cover. I decided on a Remington Model Seven, bolt action in .308 caliber. Being 5’ 8” tall, the gun is sized very well for me. I like the compactness of the gun with its 20 inch barrel and ease of handling in thick cover. I topped it with a Leupold VX-II 3-9x40mm scope and I use Hornady 150 GR SST ammo. The gun is an ease to carry all day.

Last is my bow. Back in the 90’s I was reading a lot about single cam technology. In 1996 I decided to replace my bow with a new Mathews Solo Cam Featherlight. I still use the same bow today. Enough said.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


If you are new to hunting, please read this blog. You will be on your way to being a great hunter. Great hunters have spirituality within themselves to appreciate and be thankful for all of the gifts given to us by The Great Spirit.

As a young hunter, no matter what you are hunting, you can’t wait until you get an opportunity to shoot your rifle, your bow, or your shotgun at your quarry. That is the ultimate goal of hunting…the harvesting of a game animal. The fact is, you will not reach that goal every time you go hunting. But, even if you do not bring home any game, your spiritual game bag will be full EVERY time by appreciating some of the following gifts that make hunting such a wonderful passion to enjoy.

The excitement of waking up early in the morning
The smell of breakfast being cooked
The anticipation to get to your hunt location during the hike to your special place
The feel of the breeze on your face and determining the direction it is coming from
The comradeship you share with other hunters
Sitting in the early morning darkness
Looking high above and gazing at the moon and stars
Hearing the woods come alive when the birds begin to sing and the squirrels begin rustling about in the leaves looking for nuts
Listening to the wind as it moves through the colorful leaves of an autumn day
Listening to the rustle of leaves as the breeze moves them across the ground
Listening to a nearby stream
Being amongst various kinds of trees all living together peacefully
Feeling a closeness to The Great Spirit you can never achieve elsewhere
Seeing the sun rise and the magnificent colors reflected on the horizon
A time to be thankful to have a place to hunt

These are but a few gifts we receive every time we head out in pursuit of wild game. There will be days hunting a field we won’t have an opportunity to pull the trigger or let an arrow fly, but we will still come home with an abundance of gifts only hunters get to enjoy.

Copyright © 2009 Craig Cribbs

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009


I recently changed my television cable package so I could start watching the vast selection of deer hunting shows offered on the Outdoor Channel and the Versus Channel. I was ecstatic. I was watching show after show after show. I felt like I was living in the outdoors. My wife felt like she was living the same day over and over as in the movie “Ground Hog Day”.

After several weeks of our television set being tuned into the Versus Channel or The Outdoor Channel, I found myself becoming disappointed in what I was viewing. My growing disappointment emerged from viewing so many shows that contained very little footage of actual hunting. The shows were focused on someone in a tree stand or ground blind placed near a food plot or attractant with a decoy set up.

Oh how technology has changed the way we hunt. I remember when scouting was actually done by walking through the woods instead of sitting in front of a computer and viewing digital pictures or watching live video feeds being taken by trail cameras. I remember actually hiking into the area I wanted to hunt instead of riding a 4-wheeler or utility vehicle. I remember hunting a natural food source instead of one planted to draw deer close enough for a shot. I remember when it was not legal to use bait…I mean a deer attractant. In fact, I don’t have to remember these things at all, because this is how I continue to hunt.

With today’s onslaught of trail cameras, utility vehicles, attractants (actually they should be called baits), food plots, cover scents, scent free clothing, high fencing, decoys, electronic calls, outfitters, etc, etc, etc…you no longer have to be a hunter. The only skill one has to master is shooting.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I am not a well known outdoorsman or a writer. After my name, there is not the title “Professional Hunter”. Although I’m not exactly sure what qualifies someone to be titled a professional hunter. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word professional as “engaged in an activity as a means of livelihood or gain”. Gain is defined as “to get something for as a result of one’s efforts”. Every year, I engage in deer hunting gaining venison in the freezer. Therefore, I should qualify to be a professional hunter. I suppose I could put it after my name then. Let’s see how it sounds… Hmmm, not bad. I suppose now I am qualified to host an outdoor show. I can start endorsing products. Dang…I could make some money at this.

My love for the outdoors began when I was 11 years old when my father took me squirrel hunting. We only enjoyed hunting together a few times. He died when I was 14 years old. But his teachings and willingness to take me hunting to experience the outdoors has provided me with countless hours of enjoyment ever since.

After my father’s death, I continued hunting squirrels and rabbits for the next 13 years. In 1984, when I was 27 years old, I was I invited to go deer hunting in West Virginia. Since that first time I went deer hunting, I’ve been hooked. I do not get invited by outfitters to hunt big bucks that have been scouted all year. I do not own a farm where I can grow mature bucks. I do not have access to property holding Boone and Crocket deer. But every year I harvest deer. I have tried various methods of hunting the whitetail: tree stand; ground blind; deer drive. But the art of “still” hunting is my favorite way to pursue the whitetail. I enjoy the challenge of hunting deer on the ground, on their terms. I would rather shoot a doe by still hunting, than sit over a planted food crop or a bait…oops I mean attractant, and shoot a trophy buck.

Last hunting season, I shot my first deer with my bow while still hunting. I realized how much I had missed hunting during the archery season. I had not hunted with my bow for over 10 years. I set a personal goal to shoot a deer, buck or doe. I figured, if I can shoot a deer while still hunting with my shotgun at a distance of 30 yards or less, I should be able to do it with my bow. I consider this accomplishment one of my hunting high points. It was only a year and a half old buck, but I shot this deer on the ground on his turf.

The point of this article is not to condemn any certain method of hunting or to condemn the use of technology for hunting. I hunt from a tree stand when the circumstances call for it. I do use a compound bow. I even bought a range finder last year. I am not totally against the usage of modern technology for hunting. I just want deer hunters not to forget how to use their hunting skills. Remember, it is called deer hunting, not deer shooting.

So as you begin planning for this deer season, consider still hunting; consider hunting an area where you did no scouting; consider hiking to your destination instead of riding an ATV; don’t use any type of food attractants; don’t hunt over a field that is a food plot; keep your decoy in the garage. No matter what size the buck or doe you harvest, a greater sense of accomplishment will overwhelm you when you walk up to your downed deer. You will no longer be just a shooter, but a hunter.

Copyright © 2009 Craig Cribbs