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Jim Zumbo
Hunting, fishing, and everything outdoors is spoken here.
Hunting, fishing, and everything outdoors is spoken here.

Jim's posts

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Some 11 years ago, my TV show was launched in 2004 on the Outdoor Channel. This picture is the cover of the Outdoor Channel's show guide that lists the shows and the days and times they air. Happy, they chose to spotlight my show on the cover.

For the first several years we produced 26 episodes each year. That's crazy. I remember times when my cameraman and I jumped in my pickup, headed for British Columbia, and filmed a half dozen hunts in that province as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. All in the course of six weeks. And then we'd continue to hunt in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and you name it, we probably did it.
My cameraman commonly shot 7 to 10 hours of footage for each show. And when we sat down at the editing table, we had to cut all but 21 minutes. That drove me wild. It was a chore that I hated, especially when you had it trimmed to 40 minutes or so.

People often ask If I enjoyed hunting on TV. Yes and no. Yes because it offered a different dimension than writing a book or magazine article, which was what I did for a living. I could inject some of the conservation and wildlife management knowledge I'd learned as a wildlife biologist, and tell a factual story.

The drawback was simple. Your cameraman is constantly in your shadow. All the time. You take a step, he takes a step. All your decisions are for the camera. You aren't really hunting per se, put putting on a performance. And you dare not shoot until the cameraman is ready. You can imagine the frustration this causes. It made me a little loco. So when my cameraman was focused on the animal, and he had plenty of battery, and adequate light, he'd utter the magic words. "I'm on 'im." And only then did I squeeze the trigger.
And then I hoped to God that I made a good shot, and HE made a good shot.

And that's just the beginning. Soon I'll be writing my blog on the crazy experiences I've had with my TV show, from the Arctic to Africa and many places in between. Stay tuned.

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And here she is, miracle dog. Miss Chancey doesn't look terribly happy up on that table, probably because she's spent most of her life in veterinary clinics. With her is Madonna, Dr Dave Pendray, and I. Chancey seems to have made a full recovery from three very serious liver shunt surgeries. She's now fully grown, at 56 pounds. She's an English lab, which typically aren't very large.
We want to thank all of you for your thoughts and prayers. It's been a long road, literally speaking, when considering the trip to California where she had her last and successful surgery.
Many of you have been offering kudos to Madonna and I, but the credit goes to Dr. Dave. It was he who refused to put Chancey down at the owners request when the owner realized an expensive operation was required. It was Dr. Dave who operated on her twice in his Cody clinic, but because the shunt was in an unusual location, he needed more specialized equipment and another experienced veterinary surgeon to partner on the procedure. He thought about the possibility of somehow transporting Chancey to California if his mentor, a brilliant surgeon who was a professor of veterinary medicine at UC Davis, would agree to assist.
Dr Gene Breznock, Dave's mentor, was enthusiastic, and told Dr Dave to bring the dog to California. It was a no-brainer for Madonna and I to make the trip. We'd been providing a temporary foster home to the little girl, and knew that her life would be very short.
Off we went, in my pickup, with Chancey lying on a bed in the backseat. Soon afterward, she was on the operating table, and after a surgery that lasted almost six hours, we learned that the operation was a success, but she was still in great danger. Her liver, which never functioned properly, and was not the normal size, had to suddenly kick in and begin working and growing. We had several scares in the weeks after when it appeared she wasn't doing well. At one point, her abdomen was huge. She was severely bloated due to blood and liquids from the surgery. On a Sunday morning, Dr. Dave called a tech in to assist, and drained her belly. Slowly Chancey responded favorably, and her abdomen finally regained it's normal size.
To see her now, you'd think she never had a sick day in her life. She races around the house, wrestling with the two big black labs, eats like a horse, chews everything in sight, and is as playful as a little dog can be.
So I want to thank Dr. Dave for his compassion and love of animals ( he personally owns many "rescue dogs"), and his unselfish care for Chancey. I also want to thank Dr. Dave's entire staff at his Cody clinic, and Dr. Eugene Breznock and his wonderful staff. A whole lot of people volunteered their time, expertise, equipment, chemicals and everything else to give this little dog a new life. God Bless you all.

I have important news. Today is NATIONAL BEER DAY. True story. For you trivia buffs -- BLUE MOON has become immensely popular over the last several years. Who brews it? I'll tell you. Coors. Check out the bottle. Brewed in Golden, Colorado. I learned this while visiting the Coors Brewery in Golden a half dozen years ago. They served Blue Moon. Now aren't you glad you read my post? By the way, I've asked many folks if they knew who brews Blue Moon. Not one knew it was Coors. So now you know. And you can impress your friends with this knowledge!!


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One less turkey in Texas. Teamed up with MISTER Blaine Scott. I say mister because Blaine is now a civilian, newly retired Master Sgt, US Marine Corps, and a Purple Heart recipient. I've hunted with Blaine several times, but he was always the hunter. Tables are turned. He wanted to call a bird for me, and this tom obliged. I connected with a Mossberg 835, using 3 1/2 inch shells. I've taken a number of Rios in Texas before, but this hunt was special.

#mossberg   #turkeyhunting  

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So I was out in my man-cave (woodpile area) a couple weeks ago, and saw something move out of the corner of my eye. It was a long-tailed weasel, which is normally light brownish yellow in summer, but turns white in the winter. When it's white, it's referred to as an ermine. This little guy is a ferocious predator, killing prey much larger than itself. It eats only fresh meat, never carrion. A big one is a little over a foot long, with a tail that accounts for much of that length.
I have an ermine story. A couple years ago I was hunting cottontail rabbits out in the desert, at one of my favorite spots. It's a junkyard next to an oil field where workers dump old pipes, culverts, all sorts of stuff, covering a couple acres. Perfect rabbit habitat. I call it rabitat. The bunnies are never far from cover when an eagle or coyote appears, and are one hop away from shelter. But they haven't learned the perils of a .22 bullet. On a good day I can ease in to one spot and shoot numerous rabbits without walking two steps. On one occasion I had put down three or four rabbits, mentally noting where each was lying, and then picking them all up. As I started gathering, I couldn't find one bunny. I knew exactly where it had expired, but it was gone. I was sure I hadn't wounded it, and had no explanation. There was a sheet of old tin roofing lying a few inches away from where the rabbit was. I heard a scratching sound coming from under the tin, and thought maybe the rabbit had indeed managed to get into cover. I gently lifted the metal, and was amazed to see an ermine trying to drag that dead rabbit for all it was worth. I was amazed. The rabbit outweighed the ermine four or five times, but the tiny weasel had already dragged it three or four feet under the sheet of metal. I eased the tin back down and walked away smiling. I had done a good deed for that little ermine. 

#weasel #ermine

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Home sweet home. And here's our sweetheart! Miss Chancey is doing GREAT. That wasn't the case when I left 16 days ago for a 4200 mile road trip. She was severely bloated and retaining liquid and blood from the very complicated liver shunt surgery a few weeks ago. Dr. Dave Pendray remained optimistic, drained fluid from her body, and hoped her liver would kick in and start functioning properly. It did, and we may just have the cutest, friskiest dog in all of Wyoming.

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Devil's Lake, North Dakota, called the Yellow Perch Capital of the World, offers great fishing for the perch like those in this picture. But they didn't come from Devil's Lake. I was ice fishing elsewhere in North Dakota with my good buddies, Monte, Wayne, and Kent Sande. Some of these fish were measured at 12 inches. That's big for a yellow perch. They're easy to catch, there are liberal bag limits, and they're fantastic on the table. A win-win all the way around, especially since I could hang out with the Sande family.

#perchfishing   #DevilsLake  

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The outdoor world lost a giant of a man Friday, when Chuck Buck passed away. If you didn't know Chuck, you undoubtedly have heard of Buck Knives that bore his name. I suspect all of us who hunt and spend much time outdoors have, at some point, owned a Buck Knife, or at least used one. I still have mine, dating back to some 40 years.
The company was born in 1902, founded by Chuck's grandfather, Hoyt. Al Buck, Chuck's father, took over the reins many years later, and Chuck was next in line to lead the company. Now, Chuck's son, C.J., is the company chairman. Four generations of dedicated men who helped shape our outdoor world.
I've known Chuck for many years. A long time ago, my friend Ed Beattie and I took him antelope hunting in Wyoming. It was his first big game hunt, and we had a fantastic time.
Chuck was a kind, considerate man who had a warm smile for everyone, friend or stranger. I'll miss him in his booth at the shows. When I walked over to his booth, we'd shake hands and he'd proudly show me the newest bunch of knives. I can still hear him say, "hey Jim, take a look at this one. What do you think?"
Rest in peace, my friend. Your legacy lives on.

This picture of Chuck and I shows him with that antelope. It was taken 30 years ago in 1984.
If you're wondering why we weren't wearing camo clothing, this hunt occurred around the time that the big camo companies were born-- Trebark, Realtree, and Mossy Oak. In those days you wore whatever worked.
And, by the way, we used a buck knife to field dress Chuck's antelope. Of course!
Special memory on that hunt. He was a great man, a leader in the outdoor industry.

#buckknives   #chuckbuck  

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Chancey's going on a long road trip soon. If you haven't been following her story on my timeline, her owner wasn't willing to pay for the expensive surgery to correct a serious liver shunt disorder. Dr. Dave Pendray, the veterinarian who diagnosed the problem, after other vets were unable to do so, wasn't willing to put her down as requested by the owner. He asked if he could have the pup, the owner agreed, and Dr. Dave performed two surgeries six weeks apart at his own time and expense. The surgeries were only 75% successful as far as opening the blockage, because he didn't have the very sophisticated equipment required. He had done many liver shunts successfully at a veterinary research lab in California where he worked before coming to Cody. 

So Dr. Dave had a wild idea. If we would drive Chancey to California, he'd fly and meet us there, and do the surgery with another veterinarian who was his mentor. The plan was put into action, both vets will do the surgery together at their own time and expense, and hopefully Chancey will have a new lease on life. As it is now, she's on a large number of meds, can only eat specialized foods, and has physical issues. We've been providing a temporary foster home for her, and are anxious to see this adorable pup live a regular life. 

If you're wondering why she can't fly, it's because she'll be weak after the surgery and wouldn't be properly cared for medication- wise during that type of travel. 

So. --- have pup, will travel, California, here we come.
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