Hey Mike, I WISH YOU HAD WON! I didn't even buy a ticket for that raffle, but my mind drifts off every night dreaming I am going (hunting). I spent a lot of my former career away from my family. At that time it was difficult to correspond, other than by mail, snail mail!
We made it through those times as many others had before us. I'll tell you all that living far away and being shot at is not the life any man wants. For some of us, it is/was the life we chose, however. For me, the trick was not to dwell on my family constantly, not to make them overpowering in my life, because there was no way to visit with them, except in letters (ink and paper)
I learned to go to sleep dreaming of hunting. It simply made me smile... rather than cry.
So, perhaps this is why I am such a fan of hunting and family too.
Out here in Colorado, and in the units that I haunt, it is a tricky game to figure out how far to pack in on a rifle hunt. You want to get away from the masses that have moved game away from the roads but might want to stay close enough that you are taking advantage of the animals forced movements. There is no universal distance but I like the 1.5 to 4 mile range for day hunts where I am not planning on bivying out. This keeps you in that productive buffer zone where the animals are really...