Saturday, June 13, 2015

The blind master

By Mac Arnold
RTWO Editor

Despite Michigan's 2015 spring gobbler season coming to an abrupt end and not in pay dirt for this hunter, some positives were still harvested.

One of the best being that of coming into contact with Tom Sampey of Apache Pyramid Blind Co. in Orion, Mich.

I would like to blame the aged blind Dad bought for me some 20 years ago -- much beat-up after the many woodland battles with wily toms and shifty bucks alike -- for the bungled last chance I had on three beauties May 29, but really I can only attribute impatience and possibly a little ... er, a lot maybe, on sleep deprivation.

Ah, but May 29 seems so long ago, doesn't it?

I mean we're on the cusp of bass season (as I sit writing this in a Bass Pro Shops T-shirt).

Wow, I'm really getting pumped for setting the hook on a steamy evening hog laying low under a river log. Won't be long. And now I see my awesome boss has given me a three-day weekend over the July 4th holiday. This is my favorite time to bass fish.

So yes a score on a thunder chicken will have to wait until fall but in the interlude there will be many pond and river excursions for largemouths and smallies.

But when that Sept. 15 opener hits, I will not only be armed with the "right" shotgun choke but also nice new Apache Blind in the stylish Mossy Oak pattern. I misplaced the Jellyhead choke I've used for years until the day after my last spring hunt.

The blind I've been using for 20-plus years has an original Realtree pattern. Just about every turkey -- spring and fall -- I've ever killed, dozens, has come from behind that blind. I took my first deer with it during archery season in West Virginia.

Along with its ease of carry and setup and stealth factor, there was a nostalgic element with it. I can still remember Dad handing it to me saying he bought it for me, and me thinking, what the hell is this thing? Little would I know just how much I would grow to love it and depend on it for successful hunts.
RTWO photos by Mac Arnold
Tom Sampey of Apache Pyramid Blind Co. with 
a sampling of his versatile, lightweight blinds.

So it came with much relief when I was able to Google Tom's name and number for his company to at least find replacement parts for my treasured piece of hunting equipment.

But it got even better.

He said he had more available and a handful even with the much desired winter pattern for late season deer and coyote.

Unfortunately Tom recently suffered a stroke and hasn't found a replacement seamstress for the business so it looks like he's winding down production.

On Saturday, June 13, and likely for the rest of the summer, he will be having weekend garage sales at his house at 3746 Morgan Rd., Orion, Mich., that will surely include his inventory of Apache Pyramid Blinds. So if you're looking for much lighter option for cover than what the heavy and complicated Primos Double Bull and Ameristep blinds provide (I don't care what anyone says, you need a bachelor's of science degree and to be a bodybuilder to put those things up.) In addition, the Apaches make for a great kind of walking stick you can use for moving low branches and briars out of your path while traversing the woods.

For those fellow hunters who shun blinds, to each his own, I couldn't care less, this is how I roll -- with memories of my father and those turkeys I've flattened after being jarred awake from a midmorning snooze by the soft clucking of a turkey mere steps away.

Come get some.

While my wife Stacie and I were looking for his house, she said jokingly, "Oh, I wonder if it's the one with the blind out in front of it."