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The Captain, Two Shot & A Cold Front

This weekend, I was reminded of the incredible value of friendship and how the outdoors brings people together. 

Yes, I know, the cheese-o-meter on today’s blog entry is already off the charts and I’m only a single line in, but I will stand by the statement.  Besides, today’s blog is intended as a bro-hug anyway.

"The Captain" Billy Hildebrand and his golden retriever, Tess, show off a Montana limit of roosters and a pair of mallards.

“The Captain” Billy Hildebrand

I met “The Captain” about six years ago as a guest on his radio show, FAN Outdoors.  Over time, we began to establish a rapport.  Pretty soon, we took our friendship to the field.  A few years back, I was welcomed to the Hildebrand family pheasant camp for the Minnesota opener.  Although my pup made herself at home on the furniture, I have been welcomed back every year since.  About a year and a half ago, “The Captain” invited me to spend my Saturday mornings on the radio as his sidekick.  We’ve visited Pheasants Forever chapters from Waseca, Minnesota to Fort Benton, Montana in the last few years.  He’s pulled my truck out of a ditch after an icy accident and helped me navigate a two mile marsh in the pitch black of a pre-dawn morning.  This weekend, he mentored me and my wife Meredith as we purchased our first fishing boat; a Crestliner he found, researched, and inspected for me.  He loves pheasant hunting, bass fishing, and a good cut of venison.  He’s passionate about conservation and committed to instilling the same land ethics in his two sons, Chad and Erik.      


Anthony "Big Cat" Hauck and Matt "Two Shot" Kucharski pose with Matt's Lab, Lucy, during a U.P. grouse hunt.

Matt “Two Shot” Kucharski

Pheasant hunting also brought me together with Matt.  As a senior vice president at the prestigious Padilla Speer Beardsley public relations firm, Matt’s passion for the outdoors and PSB’s commitment to volunteering in the community led to his donation of expert guidance on a wide array of complex issues.  Like most of us, he’d rather be navigating a WMA in search of a wily rooster.  So, that was PF’s original trade with Matt: public relations and marketing guidance for hunting adventures.  Truth be told, that’s how it started, but our friendship has expanded well beyond those “work hunts” to annual grouse adventures in my home Michigan woods to his family duck camp in North Dakota.  He earned his nickname as “Two Shot,” for being the deadliest shot I’ve ever hunted alongside . . . after he misses his first attempt.  Matt has also helped me move into our first house, repair my deck, and fix my garage door (are you getting the picture that I’m not very handy around the house?).  However it’s a shared devotion to our bird dogs that galvanized our friendship.  His black Lab, Lucy, is as good a pheasant dog and retriever as you’d ever have a chance to spend a day in the field behind; although her fearless demeanor and lightning speed has led to her propensity for spendy mishaps.  She had one of those mishaps on Easter Sunday, but thankfully things appear to be looking good for a full recovery.  That’s great news for us, bad news for the birds!


"Cold Front" Mike Kurre shows off a walleye.

“Cold Front” Mike Kurre

As Thursday night’s FAN Outdoors sidekick, “Cold Front” and I share the pleasure of following Captain Billy’s lead for two hours of fun-filled radio each week.  This Saturday afternoon, fellow PFer Anthony “Big Cat” Hauck and I were treated to a day of crappie fishing on Kurre’s boat.  Kurre easily took home “Fisherman of the Day” honors as he boated twice as many fish as his two pheasant comrades.  And although the fishing wasn’t fast and furious, the conversation, fish stories and good natured jabbing was rampant. 

The moral of the story, take someone hunting or fishing.  You may end up with a fixed garage door, expert boat buying guidance, a pull out of a ditch, or even a radio gig.  But for sure, you’ll end up with fun days afield with friends.  Thanks guys, this bro-hug is for you.

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One Response to “The Captain, Two Shot & A Cold Front”

  1. Stacy Dvorak says:

    Awesome message – I have the pleasure of calling Bob St. Pierre, Cold Front and the Captain my friends as well. One just never knows when paths will cross and what kind of friends will come out of it.


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