If I had any inkling that the outdoor life that I love so much is not still alive and well and in some ways stronger than ever, the thought was squelched during my visit to the Dallas Safari Clubís annual convention in Dallas last week. If you have never attended this convention, which I consider to be the greatest outdoor show in the world, I advise you to do so next year about this time. If you can imagine acres and acres of booths filled with guys and gals marketing everything from rare outdoor books to state of the art hunting rifles and, everything in between, you will come close to picturing this great event. But the DCS Convention is really a whole lot more. It gives folks the opportunity to see what is new in the hunting world and meet some of the writers and outdoor personalities that they have followed for many years.

At the show last week I had the opportunity to join outdoor legends Larry Weishuhn and Jim Zumbo on the Ruger stage at the Dallas Safari Club Convention. I must admit I was a bit awestruck when Larry scheduled me to be with them but when we began fielding questions about the outdoors, writing and these guys vast experiences in filming TV shows, I felt completely comfortable. Actually, I might have been a bit ďlong windedĒ with some of my answers to questions posed by our excellent MC, Big Billy Kinder who is a well know outdoor radio host. Larry and Jim were quizzed on their world travels and it seems that most of the questions posed to me concerned hunting wild hogs and outdoor cooking, a couple of topics that are near and dear to my heart. Kinder would pick up the slack when the audience hesitated to ask questions. A good MC is key to keeping these type presentations fun and interesting and Kinder is a seasoned pro. I think he knew that, at least in the beginning, I was suffering from a light case of stage fright. Iím much more familiar with recording my radio shows in the studio, spending time in the woods by myself or a buddy or two. I knew I could tell stories with the best of them around the campfire butÖ on stage!! I mean, after all I was sharing the limelight with to of the most famous hunters in the world! Rather than a formal classroom type seminar, this was more like a visit around the campfire. At the conclusion of our hour on stage, Weishuhn commented that an imitation campfire would have made the setting perfect. I think Larry is going to present the idea to Ruger for next year!

And how about that old 1873 Winchester rifle that park personnel with Great Basin National Park in Nevada discovered recently leaning against a tree in the wilds of the park. If this old gun could only talk! Was it left there by a prospector or possibly a cowboy working cattle through this wilderness country? Due to the wear on the old gun, itís a perfectly good assumption that it had been leaning against the tree for many years. I doubt if we will ever know all the details about it being deserted there but it is fun to speculate, isnít it? If you havenít seen the pictures and all the details of the discovery of this vintage Winchester, just Google ďold Winchester rifle foundĒ. The rifleís stock is a weather gray color, like driftwood and the barrel is a rusted brown. We will all form our opinion about how the rifle came to be leaning against the tree. Personally, I would bet dollars to donuts that a hunter (just when is the question but obviously many years ago) shot a game animal and then leaned the gun against the tree while he filed dressed the meat and put it on his pack horse or possibly packed the meat out on his back. During the process he forgot the rifle or left it temporarily to lighten the load. I bet he made a return trip into the rugged area looking for his rifle but couldnít find itÖ. Just my thoughts, I bet you have yours too! Itís a topic thatís fun to think about!

SMARTEST GAME ANIMAL? In a recent radio show, I posed the question to a couple of guests, ďWhat is the smartest game animal you have ever hunted?Ē Elk in the high country can be very challenging and because of the rugged country, tough to hunt but within a mile of my house lives the most wary critter Iíve hunted. Well, Iím not actually hunting this particular animal but some of her weaned 30 pound pigs! Yes, itís a wild sow that Iíve been watching on trail cameras for the past 4 months. This old sow has raised a lot of pigs and has become very adept at avoiding all predators and, that includes man. Consider all the skirmishes she must have had with coyotes and bobcats when her pigs were very young. Iíve read that once a wild pig is a couple weeks old, they are pretty much safe from coyotes, especially with a mother that know how to protect her young. Back in late August, this particular sow delivered 10 pigs and Iíve seen them on cameras and while walking through the woods. My plan was to have a ready supply of fresh pork in the woods so that I could harvest a BBQ pig when I wanted one. I did not factor in just how sharp this old mother hog is! The pigs are big enough to make it just fine on their own but they, and several other hogs have formed a sounder and the old sow is their leader. This mature hogís savvy has caused me on several occasions to postpone my pulled pork sandwiches!

Listen to Outdoors with Luke Clayton and friends on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas or online anytime at www.catfishradio.com. Email Luke with news from your neck of the woods via the website.