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9:33 PM Mon, Nov. 12th

Good friends and the Great Outdoors, a perfect combination

Kingman resident Jay Chan (left) and Marc Schwartzkopf glass for elk during a recent hunt. (Photo by Don Martin for the Daily Miner)

Kingman resident Jay Chan (left) and Marc Schwartzkopf glass for elk during a recent hunt. (Photo by Don Martin for the Daily Miner)

With the fall hunting seasons in full swing, I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time in the Great Outdoors with friends and clients alike.

And with more hunts on the horizon, I was thinking the other day just how lucky I am to have some awesome friends who, like me, enjoy spending time in the outdoors, even though they don’t have a tag in their pocket.

The times out there, complete with the stories and experiences we share, are really what the hunting experience is all about.

Sure we would always like to see the tags of our hunters filled, but we know that doesn’t happen all the time and for a variety of reasons. The weather could be bad, hunters become ill, shots miss the mark, but as the legendary Fred Bear once said, “If you consider an unsuccessful hunt to be a waste of time, then the true meaning of the chase eludes you all together!”

For me there is even more to it. The one thing that remains constant is the friendships that are made and are held in a sacred trust. It’s called comradery, and that is what hunting is really all about.

A mutual interest

I have developed a life-long relationship with friend and fellow Kingman resident Jay Chan. I met him while he was still in high school, but he was taking classes at Mohave Community College. I was at MCC pursuing a degree in Administration of Justice and Management.

At that time I worked at the Kingman Police Department and our mutual interest was hunting. As the years went by, Jay and I also started to do a lot of fishing together. Now, Jay goes on just about all of my hunting and fishing trips.

A trusted friend, Jay has helped me out both personally and professionally over the years. I know his wife Susan and his family, and I was privileged to watch as their two sons and daughter grew up to be professionals with families and careers of their own.

As a close personal friend, Jay has been involved in hunts with my son Jimmy and his son Logan. And when my youngest grandson Jace gets old enough to go hunting, I’ll bet Jay will be there.

If you have read my articles over the years you know that Jay has been responsible for a lot of the success that we have enjoyed in the past on various hunting and fishing trips. Jay’s skills as a glasser are almost without match. As Dr. Bill Connelly noted in a recent post on Facebook, “If Jay can’t find them, then they are not there!” And he is right.

When it comes to fishing for striped bass, Jay has the ability to feel bites that others just can’t seem to detect.

Jay is indeed what I call a true and trusted friend and it all started with our love of the Great Outdoors.

The grade school friend

Other friends that I have that enjoy the outdoors include Golden Valley resident Danny Reed. Danny and I went to grade school and high school together in Glendale. Danny used to help me deliver weekly circulars for a little mom-and-pop grocery store in Glendale called Mayfair Market.

Over the years, Danny and I have shared many hunting and fishing adventures. When we were in high school I recall us sitting on canal banks on Friday and Saturday nights fishing. This while our friends and classmates were at desert parties. I guess you could have called us the outdoor nerds.

Danny was an excellent bowler and I would play a pinball machine while he was bowling or working cleaning up the bowling alley after it closed.

Danny used to bowl in “pot games” with adults and he would consistently win enough money for us to buy shotgun shells or .22 bullets at a local convenience store. It was a great time hunting and fishing with him.

Later on when Danny moved back to Kingman from Utah, he worked for me as a big game guide. I can tell you that our clients always had high praise and good things to say about him.

With friends like these

I have known Kingman resident Joe Herrero for a number of years, and again we met due to our mutual interest in the great outdoors. Joe is one of those guys who will do anything for you at any time you ask.

Just recently Joe was on an antlerless elk hunt in Unit 10 and he got a big cow on opening day. But he didn’t leave. Instead he stayed in camp for five more days, taking time off from work and away from his family just to help the others in camp. That is what good friends do.

One of the other benefits of being able to enjoy the great outdoors as a professional hunting and fishing guide is the friendships that I’ve made over the years in this business.

Over the 30-plus years that I’ve been an outfitter and guide, I have met many clients that are now friends. Guys like Rick Thompson who lives in the Phoenix area. Rick and I met when I was hired to take him on a deer hunt on the Kaibab.

Rick, who is also one of the nicest guys I know, and I have become good friends. He takes vacation from his job just to go on the various big game hunts that I’m involved with.

He is a guy who is willing to do without pay or other compensation, work as our camp cook, as a spotter at a waterhole, or to help glass for hours to find game for hunters he has never met.

I’ve known Waddell resident Marc Schwartzkopf for many, many years. He is my brother Gary’s best friend. Marc would always tell me that someday when he retired he was going to start going on our hunting trips.

Earlier this year Marc retired and, true to his word, this fall he has been on just about all the hunts we have done, including the most recent one, a deer hunt for the Arizona Elk Society’s Hunts For Heroes program.

I knew Marc was a good glasser from sheep hunts he had been along on in the past, but now I know he is not just good, he is one of the best glassers I know, and I know a lot of good ones.

He enjoys the outdoors and likes to cook, which makes him especially welcome in our camps.

We all share meals at night and talk about the things we did that day. Again it is the comradery that is developed among these friends who all have the same interest.

These friendships are priceless to me. I know for a fact that I wouldn’t enjoy the outdoors nearly as much if it wasn’t for the good people that I have as friends.

I suspect that many of you out there have the same kind of relationships with your friends and family like I do.

Enjoy them and don’t forget to share your time and talent with the younger generation. Teach them to be safe, ethical and lawful sportsmen and women.

And share with them the true meaning of comradery like you and I know it.