His Life in the Outdoors with Tracy Breen
Editor’s Note: Editor's Note: Tracy Breen of Muskegon, Michigan, a full-time outdoor writer and photographer, uses optics as an integral part of not only his business, but also his everyday life. But Breen's not just your average outdoor writer; he's special. In this article, you'll find out why.
Alpen Optics are the best bang for your buck in the optics industry. The Alpen binoculars are extremely clear and bright, and they're a lot more affordable than some of the other optics in the industry. For about $500, you can get a better pair of binoculars than you can purchase from another company. I have the Alpen Apex and the Alpen Rainier binoculars. If you're looking for an affordable pair of binoculars, you can't beat Alpen's Apex binoculars. I use my Alpen binoculars every time I hunt, but I rely on them most heavily when I'm hunting elk. I find the elk with my binoculars, determine the animal's route of travel and then move in close enough to bugle-in the elk. When you're elk hunting, being able to see where the animal is positioned, the direction he's traveling and whether or not he's alerted to your presence is the key to getting in close. So, I need reliable binoculars.
When I travel to Alaska to hunt moose, I have to depend heavily on my binoculars. I'm glassing the wetlands and the swamps, trying to pick up any movement or patch of brown that looks out of place that will reveal the hiding or the feeding spot of a moose. Once I see the moose, I survey the terrain to find the best spot and the best route to the animal. I have cerebral palsy (CP), so I have to push myself as hard as I physically can, regardless of the terrain, to reach the place where I can take the animal and then get the animal out of the woods. To get in shape for hunting, I start training my body three or four months before any season. I walk three or four miles each day, lift weights, eat healthy and hike with a weighted backpack like the one I carry when I'm hunting. Today, I see more handicapped and disabled hunters in the woods than ever before. Handicapped people are learning that they're plenty of outdoor options for them to enjoy. Organizations like Wheelin' Sportsman, sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Wounded Warriors are providing many-more opportunities for the disabled to hunt and participate in other outdoor sports. This is great for the people who previously thought they'd have to give up their hunting and fishing because of some kind of disability. I haven't let my disability interfere with my hunting or writing, and I've been able to take deer, turkey and elk. This winter, I'll be hunting mountain lions. But my favorite animal to hunt is elk.
Most people don't expect an individual with CP to be an elk hunter, because elk hunting is as physically demanding as any hunting sport. I'll be the first to admit that each time I head to the mountains, I'm excited and thrilled to be there. However, within 24 to 48 hours, my legs and my back are killing me, and I wonder why in the heck I'm doing this again. But as soon as I hear an elk bugle, the pain vanishes, and once again, I'm a part of all that's outdoors. Generally, at the end of the hunt, I'll tell myself, "Tracy, you've had enough. You don't ever need to go elk hunting again. This is just too hard for you." However, 9- to 12-months later, I've forgotten all the pain. All I remember is the excitement and the thrill of the hunt. Then I'm planning to go again.