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Playing with baby skunks, (and dealing with the aftermath)

If you have never had the pleasure of holding or playing with a tiny baby skunk, then my heart goes out to you because you have really missed out on something. This is because skunks are adorable, especially baby ones.

I remember seeing a group of baby skunks once on the college campus I was working on with my old buddy Jaybird Young.

“I’d love to hold one of those” I gushed as the little line of furballs marched past, following their seemingly serious-minded mom.

Jaybird thought quietly for a moment, one hand resting on his chin as he contemplated. “You know”, he finally replied, “they can’t spray when they’re young like that I’ve heard”.

“You sure?” I asked suspiciously, “I never heard that before.”

“Positive!” he said.

That was the day that I discovered Jaybird Young to be a liar and a fool; or maybe I was the fool. In any event, one thing you need to know is that little skunks can spray just as well as big skunks can. And let me tell you that there is a reason that skunks only have one natural predator known of, (great horned owls), can you guess why?

Here’s a little biological information regarding skunks. First of all, the chemical that they secrete to make that smell is called mercaptons and they are the same exact substances that are found in tubers such as wild onion and garlic. This is why sometimes the aroma given off from a skunk spray is often enticing in a strange way, and sweet smelling. That is, when they are experienced from a distance, the experience is quite different when experienced up close.

If your experience with baby skunks somehow goes south, here’s a no nonsense recipe for knocking the edge off of the assaultive odor, (there is no “cure” and I really can’t be bothered with that “tomato juice” nonsense). Here’s the winning recipe:

Measure out 1/4 cup of baking soda and mix it thoroughly with about a quart of hydrogen peroxide. Add a couple of tablespoons of your favorite smelling dishsoap, (preferably something that goes well with garlic). And then wash well the contaminated areas.

 

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Winter fly fishing: 5 things I’ll bet you didn’t know

Did you know that you could fly fish in the winter? There are lots of hard core anglers who do just that and relive the wonders of a Jack London book in their own back yard.

Winter time is a great time for camping, and the only thing that I have found to be more solemn than the sound of winter snowflakes falling gently on the canvas of my military surplus tent is the hush they bring when falling quietly in the purple morning on a mountain stream. Here are 5 thing I’ll bet you didn’t know;

1. Bugs hatch all winter long. Any sunny days in the winter there will actually be very small midges that have been lying dormant. During a winter hatch, trout will do what is called “selective feeding”, in other words they’ll focus on a certain food and won’t vary from it. This is a good time to fish your midge flies.

  1. Another fact of winter fishing is that many if not most of your fly fisherman are “fair weather” fisherman, (or at least warm weather fisherman), and you will find that the trout streams are quite barren of competition in the winter months, while the trout themselves are much more approachable because they haven’t been pressured.
  2. Unexperienced fly fisherman don’t realize and know that steelhead actually run the rivers, in the tributaries, in late fall or early winter, and this results in this being the best time for steelhead even though in the spring time they make their way out of the rivers.
  3. Of course winter fishing also comes with its obstacles, and one of the biggest obstacles is ice forming on your fly rod guides, so you have to be concerned about breaking the ice off. There are some things you can do to help combat that like placing Vaseline on the guides and applying commercial line dressing to keep your line from freezing.
  4. Fishing in the winter can be made much more enjoyable by wearing a good pair of insulated stockings in your waders and stacking a few layers of fleece pants over your legs to create dead air space. With a good pair of wool or thinsulate stockings you can wade all day long and hit every hole that you need to.
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FISHING TOURNAMENTS; 4 NEW IGFA RULES APPLY

Photo By: IGFA.com

If you are going to pick a fishing tournament as a form of recreation this year, here are some changes being made to the rules by the International Game Fish Association that you might need to know about. Effective April 1, 2017, these rules come into effect and will be governing all tournaments which are being officiated by the IGFA. What this means for you is that if you choose to attend a sanctioned event as a military surplus tent adventure, or s a family camping trip, then you need to abide by the new rules or face disqualification from the tournament. Here are the four new tournament rules.

  1. Backing. (Current rule), “If the fishing line is attached to backing, that catch shall be classified under the heavier of the lines”. The new rule adds that backing can be used, but the catch shall be categorized by the first 5 meters of the line preceding the double line, leader, or hook.
  2. Assisting. (Current rule), ” The act of a person other than the angler touching the rod, reel, or line either with the body or a device is grounds for disqualification.” The new rule clearly states that touching the angler in a manner which assists him or her is a disqualifying act.
  3. Game Fish Species. (Current rule), “… only certain game fish species are eligible in the additional line-class categories…” The new rule removes class-record consideration from the following saltwater species: Pacific barracuda, black seabass, Japanese parrotperch, spotted parrottperch, Florida pompano, doublespotted queenfish, black-blue rockfish, Atlsntic spadefish, oxeye tarpon. Freshwater: rock bass, shoal bass, white bass, yellow bass, bluegill, black bullhead, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, burbot, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, freshwater drum, Florida gar, shortnose gar, spotted gar, oscar, European perch, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, red piranha, shorthead redhorse, silver redhorse, sauger, American shad, hickory shad, splake, green sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, tench, warmouth, lake whitefish, mountain whitefish, round whitefish
  4. World-record weight requirements. (Current rule), “…to submit a line class or tippet class (fly rod) world record, the only weight requirement is that the fish must weigh at least .45 kg (1 lb). As a result, the IGFA has accumulated a significant amount of records where the weight of the fish is much lighter than the size of the tackle used to land the fish. The new rule for line class categories up to and including 10 kg (20 lb) and all tippet class (fly rod) categories are: The weight of the catch must weigh at least ½ as much as the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered for the 6 kg (12 lb) line class or tippet class category must weigh a minimum of 3 kg. For line class categories greater than 10 kg (20 lb): The weight of the catch must be equal to, or greater than the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered in the 24 kg (50 lb) line class category must weigh a minimum of 24 kg.
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THINK YOU COULD BE A HUNTER – GATHERER? THINK AGAIN

Photo By: Wikipedia.com

Consider if you will, the Hadza people of Tanzania. They are a true hunter-gatherer society who’s men leave their grass huts at the crack of dawn, poison tipped arrows in hand, and venture out into the wilds of Africa in search of their next meal. This meal could be anything from a small frog or bird, to a full or half grown giraffe. The women also venture forth to perform the other aspect of their existence, the gathering. They go in search of berries, roots, vines and tubers which add supplement to their otherwise protein rich diets. This is everyday life for this indigenous people, and it is the same lifestyle that your ancestors lived so many thousands of years ago. It is the same life that we practice, train, and prepare for as survivalists; however, a close look at these people reveals to us, if we are completely honest, a strong deficiency in our commitment to make a living like they do. In all fairness it must be said that the ability to eek out a living on the plains of Africa is not going to be the same as trying to live in the wheat belt of America or in the mountains and fruited plains. However, it becomes apparent that society and evolution have not necessarily been good to us as far as keeping our survival skills keen goes. A recent study from Yale researchers has shown that these people exercise vigorously nearly two and a half times as much as the modern athletic American or European. As a result the studies further show that these people are extremely low risk for ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, high cholesterol, and diabetes. They furthermore don’t seem to slow down as much or are effected as much by age as are their Caucasian counterparts. Nor do they suffer from dementia. Do you want to be a real survivalist? Take heed of these people then and see what it will really take in a post-apocalyptic society to stay ahead of the game… no pun intended.

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COOKING FRESH FISH ON A CAMPFIRE; 3 WAYS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN

When I was a young wild-man in training, I had several opportunities to practice my survival skills and I took every opportunity to do so. This was the case when it came to young love as well, and the girls with whom I shared a mutual affection were often reluctant to be exposed to the wonders of the outdoors, specifically in the form of wilderness survival. I found out very quickly that the most adventurous of women of the era were more prone to brave the wilds of the local malls than they were to try their hand at living off of the land, and it was therefore a special treat for me when a young woman of my affection finally agreed to a wilderness respite in the form of fish, (apparently the only wild game she could eat). I easily caught us a couple of panfish each and set about to scaling them with a rock, gutted them with the same piece of shale, (I couldn’t find any chert at the time), and cooked them to perfection on the green boughs of a willow grill, on a bow-drill fire I had quickly built myself. To her credit, she did pick through the bones rather courageously if a bit daintily, and she was great company for the rest of the day. It was, however, our last date and I’m not so sure that she really enjoyed herself though she had assured me that she had. In any event, these ruminations have brought me to the present topic, that of cooking fish over an open fire. This is one of my favorite wilderness meals because it is so quick and easily prepared, and here are the three ways I usually do it:

  1. On a simple willow grill. It is just a web of green willow boughs placed over a bed of hot coals. Probably the easiest way to cook them, however, I recommend that you don’t fillet them if you’re going to cook them this way as the fillets tend to get flaky and fall apart and will go into your coals and get ruined.
  2. On a spit over coals. This takes a bit more time, but the advantage is that it’s quicker because you can build a hotter fire. Be careful of singing on one side and getting it raw on the other. Spit cooking takes a lot of attention and care.
  3. On a rock next to the fire. This works best for fillets, especially if you don’t mind eating fish crumbles. The fillets cook more thoroughly and there is less attention needed but they will come apart as you go to turn them.
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4 great uses for a surplus bag

I read recently that an military surplus army bag makes a great camera bag. Well, huh? I guess that makes sense considering the fact that military equipment is designed to be ultra functional and practical. But there are many uses for a military surplus bag that goes beyond a camera bag. let’s be honest though, the military surplus bag looks cool as hell and there is little else that can just say “adventure and ruggedness” like the rumpled canvas of a coyote brown or OD green military surplus bag. I have had several uses for my military bags over the years. I use one, for instance, as a possibles bag whenever I go hunting with a black powder rifle. I like it much better than I like the stiff leather purse I bought at the second hand store years ago, simply because it is much more functional. These things are great and are multi-functional, the best thing about them is the fact that they are so in-expensive that you can have an assortment on hand for in the event that the need arises to have one. Here are four examples of great uses for a military surplus bag.

Photo By: petapixel.com

Photo By: RDDUSA

Photo By: RDDUSA

Photo By: RDDUSA

  1. As an herbalism bag. I like to hunt for tubers and mushrooms. I also like to go out during certain times of the year and gather flowers, roots, and leaves for different medicinal purposes. A good military surplus bag , especially one like the Australian soft bag, fits easily around the shoulder and neck, and offers a great way to save what you gather without getting in the way or taking up needed pack space.
  2. As a relic bag. I also love to hunt for relics. By relics I mean arrow heads, artifacts, treasures, etc. I find these types of bags to be perfect for underwater excursions as well. I also carry two or three military surplus bags with me whenever I am on a military surplus tent adventure, especially one with the entire family where I am usually the person who ends up packing everyone else’s gear.
  3. As a medical kit. I always try to carry some occlusive dressings, two or three tourniquets, and some combat gauze just in case I get into some trouble in the form of miscreant contacts, bear attack, or I run into a nest of sasquatches. Not common, but not totally unheard of either.
  4. As a shell bag. I had mentioned that I used a military surplus bag as a possibles bag, but another function I like one is for use as a bag to hold my shotgun shells when I am skeet shooting or dove hunting. This is much easier to handle than to try to juggle a box of shells, or to hold them loosely in my pocket.
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Concerning the blood bubble; 2 reasons it’s important in the bush

I was recently on a military surplus tent adventure with the family when my youngest boy developed an urge to chop something with his new tomahawk that I had recently forged him. All was well and good until he actually got to swinging that thing wildly, and nearly slipped about two and a quarter inches of the razor sharp blade into my left leg. After going through the usual dodging and feinting routines that commonly accompany such situations, I managed to wrench the tomahawk from his sweaty little paws and get the situation under control. I realized then that I hadn’t really given him much instruction on the intricacies of using tools in a survival situation and decided that my nescience wasn’t going to be the catalyst for the little guys hurt feelings. I then gave him some very pertinent lessons on what is commonly known as “the blood bubble” in survivalist circles. As are most things in survival, the blood bubble is common sense that isn’t necessarily common knowledge. So, the blood bubble is, in a nutshell, the concept that any tool or device is dangerous to an outside party within the space of the length of the implement plus the length of the wielder’s arm. In my native tongue: “you don’t want to be where he can reach you with it”. That, in effect, is the concept of the blood bubble. Here are two reasons why this concept is especially important when you are in the woods.

  1. You’re in the woods. Even though you should always have a well supplied trauma kit with you whenever you are on a camping trip or on a military surplus tent adventure, you shouldn’t ever really want to use it. The absolute best thing you can do with your occlusive dressing, hemostatic gauze, and tourniquets is to let them quietly expire unneeded. Being out, far from a well stocked emergency room is not a recipe for success when you have a sucking chest wound.
  2. You’re more apt to make mistakes. let’s face it, survival can be tiring, and when we are tired we often slip up. Doing things with more directed cognizance will help us to not make mistakes as often as we may if we just run on auto-pilot.
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CAMPING 2017: 3 REASONS TO TAKE A FOLDING TABLE WITH YOU

If you are like me then you have already gotten a jump on the camping season this year and have gotten out into the Spring mix to get a taste of the crisp cool air and the gentle sunshine without the benefit of the noseeums and mosquitos. The fact of the matter is, at least for me, that it’s the little things that make a camping trip miserable or great. One of the things that I despise most in life is being hunched over something for any length of time. The worst for me is when filleting a thousand or so panfish; but a close second is trying to use some old log or a flat rock as a work space when I am camping and preparing game or fixing a meal. And as a matter of fact it was during a recent fling into the wilderness while I was trying to prepare venison kabobs, corn on the cob, and an apple strudel for the wife and the kids that inspiration struck. (This inspiration did not strike me in the usual way, it struck me right across the top of my head… the bald spot, where the errant, early season fly had landed, which my wife had promptly smacked with a rolled up magazine). It turns out the magazine was an old copy of Popular Mechanics™, and there was an article about fold up tables in it. (YOU CAN READ IT HERE IF YOU LIKE! 🙂 ) Here are three really good reasons to take a folding table camping with you:

  1. You don’t have to be hunched over. Most of these designs are made so that you can take full advantage of your homo-erectus status and stand erect while using them. What a treat for the back, huh?
  2. You won’t have to juggle your items to keep them clean. As I mentioned earlier, a log in the woods or an old flat rock both have a common characteristic that is problematic, namely, they are both filthy as hell.
  3. You won’t lose your knife. This might not be a problem for you, though I’d venture to guess it affects all sportsmen, but there is nothing I hate more than to be using my knife, lay it down for just a second, and then not be able to find it anywhere. With a handy dandy collapsable table in your midst, you shouldn’t have any problem at all finding it, it should be right there where you left it.
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HERE ARE THE 3 BEST BUYS AT RDDUSA RIGHT NOW

Summertime

Now that the warm weather is officially here, it is time to get ready for hiking, camping, military tenting, fishing, frolicking, and family. I took a trip to one of the Goose Mountain type stores the other day and was astonished to learn that apart from a few read-headed stepchild brand of clothing items, if I wanted to buy anything from there I was going to have to take a mortgage out on the farm in order to do so. Apart from the ambiance of the place in the form of stuffed bears and moose heads adorning every wall, I wasn’t really impressed with the quality of the merchandise per se… for you see, I have always had this proclivity to hurt people and destroy things. Even before I decided to do such as a means of support for myself, I was able to destroy an anvil with a rubber mallet, (easily done if you set the mallet on fire and melt it over the anvil). So my point is that I am hard on equipment. I checked the soft thin fabric of one of the name brand tents that was on sale and could just picture what only a few floating embers from the fire would do to such a dainty means of shelter. I quickly went home and looked up my favorite military surplus site, and here is what I found to be a great deal right now.

    1. Packs. Let’s face it, you can’t do any sort of camping, fishing, or foraying without a pack to carry your stuff in, (or out for that matter). And the good news is that RDDUSA has a great assortment of packs that have helped several different armies win wars over the years. These things are well built and easily cared for. They are also rugged.
    2. Clothes. This isn’t the thin fashionable stuff that you will see presented sweetly on a svelt and thin limbed European mannikin at Macy’s, this is rugged wear at it’s finest.
    3. Military surplus tents. These things will shake off the swirling embers of your bonfire like cattail down scattered in a summer’s breeze. definitely not the dainty fabrics that dreams are made of, this heavy canvas duck will withstand hurricane winds in some instances, and will make you stronger in the process.
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