May 2020: Holed up in my makeshift home office, I now understand why our dog stares out the window for hours. It’s not an activity wrought with anticipation, but he surely doesn’t want to miss anything when it happens. Patiently, he waits…he’ll take anything – a glimpse of a fleeting bird, a grumpy red squirrel chattering, or a deer that gets too close to the yard. In retrospect, we’ve been socially restricting him his entire life. Don’t get me wrong, we have a good-sized property in the country of Western PA, and our hound has the run of the place, but with limitations. For the first time, I finally comprehend his dilemma.

I’m fortunate enough to have an escape to the outdoors in my back yard—a couple hundred acres of woods, wetlands, wildlife, and fresh air. I spend a good bit of time on the property hunting, and I know it well, but now, I’m dialed in like never before. The best turkey roosts have been pinpointed. I discovered a romp of otters that moved into the swamp – ironically, their hut is called a “couch,” something I’m ready to burn in effigy once this is over. I’ve also entered into a war with a colony of beavers that have plagued us for a few years now. These evil geniuses are as impressive as they are destructive. Their engineering skills are extraordinarily sophisticated. Almost unbelievable. Logs, sticks, mud, clay, rock, shale, and cattails apparently form concrete. My morning cardio routine is tearing apart a series of 4 dams. It’s like trying to dig through a block wall with a teaspoon. Likely an effort in vain, but it’s still better than looking out the window.

In the past month, I’ve regularly seen our resident albino deer, discovered a pair of nesting Osprey, witnessed an epic mink fight, watched strutting gobblers, and found the shed antlers of the buck I chased all through archery season. I’ve managed a few trout fishing excursions when the water has been in decent shape, which is a rarity this time of year. In a typical early May day, we have winter in the morning; spring is late morning, summer in the afternoon, and fall nearing dusk. You can get frostbite and sunburn all in the same day!

Despite the uncertainties COVID-19 has dealt us all, I remain optimistic we’ll be resuming travel soon. By sharing our stories, we hope to keep spirits high and let you know how we are dealing with this on a personal level. We desperately want to get back to arranging the best sporting trips the world has to offer.

If you want to chase a rainbow, you have first to weather the storm. Hopefully, we’ll all be chasing rainbows soon enough (preferably on a 5 wt.).


Tom Gilliland joined Frontiers in 2006 and coordinates dorado and peacock bass fishing trips along with bird and big game shooting venues throughout South America. A lifelong sportsman, Tom is an experienced fly fisherman and hunter who enjoys sharing his knowledge with others.