CARIBOU GEAR GAME BAGS
FROM THE BEGINNING
This didn't happen overnight, it comes from many years of
self-guided hunting experience
The story behind the big Game Bags and their Unique Features
In the early 60's I was a young boy chasing rabbits, catching horny toads, tadpoles, frogs, and dragging back whatever I could find, dead or alive. Yes...mom, dad, and I'm sure the neighbors all thought I was a bit crazy; at four years old I may have been, I just didn't know it! As a little kindergartner I was much more comfortable roaming the nearby fields in the city of Denver or simply playing with my German Shepard Cindy, a retired police dog.
As time passed, I found fishing in the local city lakes catching channel cats and blue gill occupied a big part of my time, all the while thinking of the next family mountain fishing trip in the camper. Fast forward through early 70’s, I first started thinking about hunting after I received my first fiberglass longbow for Christmas. It wasn't long after I figured out how to shoot the thing, I would sit at the back door shooting squirrels and black birds. Some days I think back and wonder, how? I didn’t think about how hard it was, I just did it.
The late 70's to early 80's I found I could dance to disco and the now classic rock; crazy days to say the least, but I still found time to fish and shoot my bow. It wasn't until I was eighteen and married to the beautiful girl, I was dating for the past two years, that my hunting adventures really started. I sold my 66 Chevelle SS and bought a yellow VW wagon and moved to Hays, Kansas where I hunted pheasant, coyotes and fished for everything but trout. Longing for the mountains and cooler air, I moved my wife and daughter to the mountains of Colorado near Buena Vista.
I married at the young age of 18, it was no longer just me, but now I had a wife, and little did I know I was to be a father within a year, how quickly we learned how important it was to budget money. Within the first year of marriage we moved to Kansas, spent a short time there and decided that Colorado was where we needed to be, so once again we were back home and living in the heart of the Rockies in the small town of Buena Vista. It is here that I found my love for hunting, and realized that hunting and fishing are not just a sport, but a way of life, a source of survival.
Being a young growing family money was tight, hunting and fishing became mandatory for survival, spending time in the surroundings of the Rocky Mountains with friends, family, my wife Sharon and often by myself, what more can you ask for living in a small town surrounding by local lakes, rivers, streams and the majestic rocky mountains.
When hunting season came around the whole town would shift gears, just about everyone in town would hunt, if you weren't out fishing and hunting you were out hiking the Colorado Trails, spring and summer scouting waiting for hunting season to come around, being in a small town I was able to take off time and enjoy the great outdoors, plenty of time to spend out in the open fresh air, and if I was lucky enough to get tags for both elk and deer I spent many days up on the mountain. It was this time in my life that I found it necessary to use game bags, being alone made it impossible to drag a whole elk or deer which we often did when I had help.
As time passed and our family grew, we found it necessary to move back to the City, I had many jobs in Buena Vista, from being a wrangler, to a prison security officer, and starting our own custom home painting company, we ran a 30 man crew between Vail, Denver, and Fort Collins. My hunting never stopped or ended I found that hunting was still a way of life, a time that I could escape the stress of city life. In fact I couldn’t get enough of it, I found myself hunting Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, and my home state of Colorado. It was while on a deer and antelope hunt that I ran into a guy at a gas station and of course we talked about hunting. He told of his story and success hunting moose in Alaska. I could feel the excitement and passion in his voice as he told me about the massive Yukon Moose and the beauty of Alaska, I will never forget that feeling and the desire I had at that moment. My hunt for deer and antelope that season was a success, but I couldn't stop thinking about Alaska, I called my buddy Alan Hannasch, I told him about the guy I met and his moose hunt in Alaska, and that I wanted to go and asked if he would want to go with me, and guess what, we were both hunting the Great Alaskan Yukon Moose the following year. Believe me if there is a Will there is a Way!
I have spent a lifetime self-guided hunting, on countless variations of hunts, multiple manned base camp hunts, hunting from horseback, pack-in, bush plane, and float hunts.
Of the many gear problems that I have had over the years, game bags were one of the biggest. It was 2001 when Alan and I headed north to Alaska on a self-guided raft trip hunting the Yukon moose; we purchased tags for moose, caribou, black bear, and wolf, which meant we needed lots and lot of game bags, so we were forced to purchase 16 count new canvas bags each. Can you imagine the weight of 32 count canvas bags?
It was in Alaska that the idea of a new game bag was born.
I ended up filling the only moose tag on that hunt; it was a massive beast of an animal! We spent all day and half of the next packing game bags filled with meat to our raft located a good hundred yards away, floating 5 miles past the kill site, we unloaded the gear and set the meat bags on deadfall off the ground about seventy-five yards from camp. By this time it was late in the day, no time to be tired still had to setup camp but it was well worth it, I sat there with Alan along the river’s edge enjoying the taste of my first moose, I can still feel the excitement from when the moose showed itself, such a massive animal. I awoke around 2am to howling of wolves, with my heart beating out of my chest, I have heard the howling of wolves’ on many TV shows but believe me it is more intense when you are actually there in the wild, I had never heard a real howling wolves much less a pack, I could even hear their pups. It sounded as though the wolves were down by the meat or very close to it. It was an extremely dark night I lay there thinking if I were to get up and try to run them off would they actually leave? Should I holler out? Should I shoot my hand gun? Should I get up and walk the 20 yards to the river bank and then the 60 yards to where we had the meat stored. I grabbed my flashlight slowly walked to the bank trying my best to see through the early morning mist. I couldn’t see the game bags and I knew I it wouldn’t be safe to walk into the unknown. By now the wolves had either dragged the meat off or they somehow heard me walking and ran away empty handed. The night was now extremely quiet with an occasional ripple from the slow moving river.
I decided to go back to camp and start a fire. As I sat there looking into the flames I couldn’t help but wonder if the meat was ok, or if the wolves had drug it away. It was a long night; I sat at the fire until the last flame was nearly flickered out. I once again tried looking through the dark night for the game bags, but no luck. I climbed back into my sleeping bag, laying there in the dark tent, and thinking and wondering why I couldn’t see the game bags and this is when it hit me, they simply need to be light reflective! I kept this in the archives of my mind as we arrived back in Fairbanks were my moose quarters awaited pickup. As I walked into the massive walk in cooler I see hundreds of game bags, “How do I know which is mine, and how do I know if they marked the right game bags”? It seemed to be an unorganized mess. I take my game bags and yet wonder if the meat I have is really mine? It smelled a little funny. At this moment I thought of the Identification tags and lock loops which would be useful for attaching the ID Tag and locking the bag closed using a zip lock.
It was on my Alaska hunt that so many ideas had sprouted in my ever wondering mind.
From 2001 to 2007 I searched all of Colorado and online fabric shops buying everything I could find that came close to the fabric I had in mind. Meanwhile buying several different sewing machines, I started sewing prototypes out of canvas paint tarps, and many other fabric styles and densities for future product items.
As the years passed I searched the web, studied fabric manufacturing and its chemical composition of polyamides that allow the bags to perform like nylon but feel and breathe like cotton. I also studied fabric densities (stitch count), this is what allows the bags to breathe.
I had been emailing countless oversea manufactures, turns out there was one in china willing to help with this endeavor. I explained what I was looking for, explaining a composition of like fabrics, letting him know that this fabric needs to breathe and preform like cotton but that there could not be any cotton in the manufacturing of this product.
It was a few months before I received a call, at this time we once again discussed the formulation and fabric, he assured me that they would be able to produce the fabric we needed, he sent a number of make and types of fabric from which I picked a fabric that best suited my game bag needs.
And so it goes it was one summer day in 2008 that we received our first commercial sewn prototype. We were sitting at one of our son Ted’s baseball games top of the 9th inning and Teds team was winning. Our daughter Yolanda pulled up with a package from china. I knew that this was it make or break time as so much time and money had passed to get to this point. I nervously opened the package with a bundle of white bags in it. As I reached in I could feel that it didn’t feel like nylon, as I pulled one bag and opened it…. A rush of joy and excitement overwhelmed me as I said to Sharon and the kids “this is it”, I knew that we had a game bag that would be so much more than any game bag ever made.
I am now the proud owner of both a US and Canadian patent, with products sold worldwide. Simply because I truly care how we as hunters care for our game meat, in a sport we all love.