Hunting Pouch, Powder Horn, and Accoutrements by Dwight Umbel, Kris Polizzi, and Jerry Eitnier

by Joshua Shepherd with photography by Ric Lambert and Heinz Ahlers


There are few items in a hunter’s kit as crucial as a trusty possibles bag. For this year’s CLF fundraising auction, a trio of artisans - Dwight Umbel, Kris Polizzi, and Jerry Eitnier – teamed up to create a visually stunning bag and horn set that’s sure to become a family heirloom.

The bag itself is the creation of CLA artist Dwight Umbel. Umbel crafted the bag from 2-3 oz. commercially tanned deer hide. The interior of the bag is fitted with an inside pocket, and is lined with medium weight pillow tick. The entire piece was painstakingly hand-sewn with waxed linen thread. Umbel’s skills are on full display on the outside surface of the bag, which was imparted a gracefully aged patina due to the artists’ homemade mixture of leather dyes. This bag exhibits an aged amber hue that looks straight from the frontier. The bag is fitted with a hand-forged iron buckle, and Umbel likewise crafted a cane powder measure and antler-tipped vent pick that attaches to the strap by a hand-made copper link chain.

Umbel specializes in one-of-a-kind pieces. “I can’t say that my bags are period correct,” he says. “I make what I feel is a bag that the individual can wear no matter what time period he depicts. I never know what it will look like until after I dye the bag, it dries, and is treated. No two bags are alike and that’s the joy of it.”

To help complete this first-class rig, Umbel enlisted the help of artist Kris Polizzi, who provided a hand-woven strap. Exhibiting an appropriately natural color scheme, the cotton strap is woven with an eye-catching geometric pattern that tastefully complements the hunting pouch.

The horn for this set was donated by Jerry Eitnier, a consistent contributor to CLF fundraising efforts. “This is what I would call a southern mountain style horn,” he says, “it is not a horn shop type of horn but a horn that would have been made by the owner with what he had on hand.” Typical of Eitnier’s work, the horn exemplifies rugged dependability. “This horn has an acid stain and is lightly aged for a soft warm look,” explains the artist, and “the spots on the horn may be of native American influence.” Fitted with a hickory spout plug and pine base plug sealed with beeswax, this horn is ready for service.

For the artisans involved in this project, the CLA has been vital to their development as artists. “In the last 21 years,” says Eitnier, “the CLA has brought the art of the American longrifle into the mainstream of the art world.” It’s an organization that advances professionalism and camaraderie. “The CLA,” says Umbel, “defines not only friendship, but craftsmanship from artists that inspire you to look deeper into the work you do. I can’t say enough about the CLA.”

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