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Uncle John’s Truck: The Final Chapter

…As cliché as it sounds, the drive up into mountains was like a dream. I sipped hot coffee from one of my dad’s Stanley  thermoses as I huddled comfortably in the drivers seat in a fleece lined, camouflage, hooded sweatshirt my mom had bought me at the local hardware store on clearance.

Life was good right then and right there; I felt young and old, independent and vulnerable, lonesome and fulfilled. This was the closest thing to a grand adventure that I had experienced up to that time. The Pirelli tires I had recently purchased for Uncle John’s truck chewed the gravel of the country road that led to my mom’s new woodlot.

It was still dark when I got to deer camp, (I had basically left the night before and drove all night). And I grabbed some sleep nestled in the warm front seat of the truck. I woke up from my snooze well after dawn and immediately set up my camp. I backed the truck down to  the little creek that meandered through the property and pitched grandpa’s old Army tent about 10 yards away from the bank. I chose to have it facing the creek so that I could sit in the front of the tent at night and look out over the glistening rocks and rippling flow of water as I drank camp coffee in the moonlight. I was going to be here a week by myself and had three deer tags to fill.

It was a little past noon when I had finally set up the tent and had cut enough fire wood to last me the day. I was hungry, so decided to make some oatmeal in my cookpot and sprinkled some brown sugar and almonds into it as I sat back in my camp chair and enjoyed the semi-warm weather. In a few minutes I planned to go find a likely spot to set up my tree stand and to throw a bag of apples and turnips out around it. As I was blowing on the steaming thick mass of chewy goodness I heard splashing.

I turned to see a good buck crossing the creek. He was about an eight point, not too big and young; maybe a three year old. His nose was to the ground like he was trailing a doe but he was in the water. He stopped and looked directly at me and huffed. I think he was commenting on the smell of my oatmeal. He didn’t seem overly impressed in any way. “it’s going to be a good hunt”, I thought as he meandered on down the creek line, leaving me to my oatmeal.

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Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 4)

…On that same note that truck was maintained pristinely. Uncle john was a Dodge man. When I first met him he drove a Dodge Rampage and worked at a water bottling company. The fact that he was the type of guy who could keep a Dodge Rampage on the road for at least twenty years after all the rest of them were gone should tell you something.

Somehow, my Aunt Kathi told my dad that Uncle John hadn’t actually sold his old truck yet, and my jaw dropped when Uncle John called me and told me he would let me have his truck for the amount of the insurance settlement on my car. My dad and I wasted no time getting the title transferred,  and just like that; I found myself the proud owner of a well maintained Dodge truck that had been immaculately taken care of.

The acquisition of this truck opened a whole new world to me. Where before I had been somewhat limited in my hunting and fishing forays, ( an older model Ford Focus will not get you very far), the advent of Uncle John’s trucks was like having a passport to a whole new world. The first trip I took was out to the New Miami River to have an overnight camping and kayaking excursion. My dad and I had each bought a kayak a couple of years before and whenever we went kayaking together, we would stow them on a rack on the roof of his Subaru Impreza and we would go. However, we wouldn’t go very far because a Subaru Impreza won’t actually go much farther than a Ford Focus will.

My dad had gotten some fishing pole holders and had installed them in our kayaks by using a doorknob cutter on a cordless drill and some marine rivets. So that first night on the river I spent fishing from my kayak and catching crappie and smallmouth bass in the river inlets…

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Uncle John’s Truck: A Story of Coming to Manhood in Rural America (part 3)

As soon as I was free of the crash and saw the scene, I knew someone had to be hurt, (it never really occurred to me that I was the someone who should have been hurt). I immediately reached back into my car, rummaged around in the debris until I felt the familiar canvas of my medical kit, and rushed to the Expedition that I knew had been occupied by the woman. I picked her first for two reasons. First, I knew she was of “young mother” age, and, though an Expedition is technically an SUV, for many it serves the same purpose as a mini-van, albeit a 4 wheel drive one. So I fully expected there to be a child restraint seat or two in that Expedition. I wasn’t wrong, there was a child restraint seat in the back; however, it was unoccupied.   Second, I was a little pissed at the old man in the huge pickup truck to be honest.

As it turns out, both of the other drivers were fine, and even I was fine, though I turned out to be sore as hell for about a week afterwards. Unfortunately my car was destroyed front and back.  My dad came and got me and together we followed the tow truck to the impound lot, we grabbed the plates off of the front and back, grabbed my personal gear… and left my first car in a dirty old gravel lot, crumpled and destroyed, surrounded by the corpses and skeletons of other peoples dreams and visions that had been decimated in like manner.

I don’t know what made my dad think of it, but he recalled that his sister’s husband, my Uncle John, had mentioned a few weeks earlier that he had bought a new truck and had his old one up for sale.  Uncle John is one of those guys that you want to have as a neighbor and a friend. He stands 6’7″ tall and weighs in at about 450 pounds. He’s not fat though. He’s a big solid chunk of muscle on a steel alloy frame. He used to pick up trailers and pull them to a bumper hitch while the rest of us were trying to back up and align the two. John was also the type of guy who really took good care of his things. A chainsaw, for instance, was taken apart and cleaned after use instead of being thrown haphazardly into the bed of a truck…

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Carnivorous Deer? What you need to know

Recent articles in several different magazines have shown a disturbing trend in the deer population. That is the act of some deer trying to eat meat. Before we go any further, let me assure you that this is no attempt at science fiction, and the articles I’m referencing are from legit publications, not from some serial thriller rag like “Bloody Detective” or anything like that.

This article, for instance, recently published in Outdoor Life™ Magazine, follows a formidable researcher who documents several instances of deer evolving from herbivores to carnivores, a behavior that has never been documented before. That’s not saying that this behavior has not been replicated before; on the contrary, it could very well be a common practice among the deer population to consume proteins in whatever forms they can find them if driven by sheer hunger. However, consider then the fact that some deer have been documented consuming humans in the wild.  Recently, National Geographic published a story revealing that trail cam footage of a human cadaver placed in the wilds for experimental purposes was actually partially consumed by a young deer during a time when heavy foliage wasn’t covered by a plethora of snow.

As alarming as this might seem at first glance, one thing to note is the fact that in the Natgeo article, the deer is only noted as actually consuming a rib from the human body. One of the reasons for this, obviously, is because of the high calcium content coupled with the fact that rib bones are fairly soft and pliable, especially on the ends.

In any event, I don’t think we are yet to the place where it is necessary to carry “deer spray” while out hunting like it is in some areas to carry bear spray.  However, those days might not be far off.

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Fighting the Mob: 5 Survival Tips for Surviving a Hostile Crowd

If you have been watching what is going on in the world today, and specifically in the big cities in the United States, then you are likely noticing a disturbing trend. That is mob rule and mob attacks.

Recently at the Republican National Convention, a senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, found himself in the middle of a, In his words, hostile mob which might have killed him and his wife had 4 police officers not been there to intercede. Lets face it folks, if it can happen to him it can happen to any of us. The question to ask is this: What would Rand Paul have done if he had been alone with his wife? Here are 5 strategies to consider if you find yourself in such a predicament.

  1. Try to get out of it without any form of altercation. If you can go around people trying to block your way and they don’t physically stop you in some manner, take advantage of the fact that it hasn’t escalated to that point, swallow your pride, and keep moving. Don’t taunt back, but try not to look too intimidated or scared at the same time. Confident and indifferent is what you are shooting for.
  2. Stay together. If it is not possible to get peacefully away and you are getting jostled around, understand that the worse thing you can do is allow yourselves to be separated from loved ones or other members of your party. Smaller, weaker members should be prepared to get a firm grasp on larger stronger members. A good rule of thumb is to grasp each other by the belt and do not let go for any reason. Smaller people should be surrounded by larger members of the group, and the group should stay together. Predators work to isolate the weaker from the herd to kill them easier…
  3. Never turn your back. If a predator gets a chance to attack you from behind, it will deliver killing blows un-obstructed. If you are in a group, go back to back and maintain body contact so that you are not separated.
  4. Attack weak areas. If you have watched any of the clandestine footage of certain threat groups, you will see that they generally always train to eye gouge their opponent. There is wisdom in this. I teach women to attack men in one of four place depending on the situation. The eyes, throat, testicles, and knees.
  5. Use unconventional weapons. Keys, pens, belts, etc… All are items that have other uses but that can function fully as weapons. If you have to attack, attack in a way that is going to end the threat. Poke an eyeball hard with a pen, some keys, or your thumb if you have nothing else. Kick nuts like they’re a kickball in high school gym class that you want to send over the fence. If you pick up a BFR, (big F…… rock), hit them in the eye socket with it like you’re crushing black walnuts. The purpose is to make them not want to be in the altercation anymore.
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That Coming Storm: 3 Re-purposing Rules in the Event of a Global Pandemic

If you have been paying attention, then it is likely that you have seen more troubling times right now than you have ever experienced before; that is most of you.  Many of the rest of you have been through far worse and will know all about the topic which I have chosen to cover today.

The topic that I wish to cover is that of re-purposing abandoned or discarded equipment and properties for your own use. Now let me make clear that I am not talking about stealing anything. I am talking about picking up, (or inhabiting), a property or item that someone else has lost their need for, either through death or other circumstances beyond their control.

This re-purposing includes the use of military surplus equipment of course; however, it is not in any way limited to such. The fact of the matter is that humans come and go, and they have for years. It was a common occurrence for settlers of the Americas to move into an area and take over a farmstead that had been abandoned by it’s prior inhabitants. Even as late as the early part of this century, (and even still in Alaska), it was a common practice to stay in cabins that others had left, (either permanently or temporarily).

However, at least in regard to re-purposing an abandoned house or building, here are three things you should always consider.

  1. Don’t keep it (too) nice. Nobody like weeds and disrepair, but keep in mind that in the event of a nationwide period of lawlessness, others are going to want what you have for their own use. On the same token, there will be many who will be looking for what you were looking for: something no one else is using. Therefore my advice would be to make it low-key, but leave enough evidence to others that it is being used on closer inspection. Hopefully, those interested then in usury will not pay it close attention, while others will see it’s unavailable.
  2. Don’t stay too long. In the event of an emergency, you’re better off to keep moving.
  3. Be cognizant of the fact that the original owner might be coming back; if he does, govern yourself accordingly.

 

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COVID19: Using Military Surplus to Keep Your Family Safe

If you are a world inhabitant, then you have likely been affected in some way by this new pandemic, the Corona Virus: COVID19. The current fad nationwide is to wear a surgical mask, because the way that this virus is transmitted, mostly, is by getting it on your hands and then touching your nose and mouth, and thereby transferring it to your respiratory tract where it can cause all sorts of havoc and even lead to your death.

While the use of a paper or light cloth mask is better than not using anything, consider the fact that muscle memory is a powerful thing. It is inherent to the Pavlovian theory of conditioned response, and is even relevant in cases where you are either unconscious or asleep.

A simple paper barrier is easily manipulated in the event that you have an itch or sensation in your sensitive E.N.T. tract. The fact of the matter is that you will only be truly safe from inadvertent infection if you are able to establish a significant barrier to your respiratory tract that cannot be easily traversed. On the same token you have to be able to respirate.

Though it’s not exactly designed for such a measure, consider then the advantages to using a military grade gas mask to prevent becoming infected by this troublesome virus. If you observe what the professionals use when they are trying not to be contaminated, you see that they often wear a head to toe PPE kit with, you guessed it, a cranial containment apparatus that separates the respiratory system from the environment.

You can achieve the same effect without breaking the bank or having to re-invest in volatile equipment. A military gas mask is easily sanitized and can be re-used indefinitely. There are millions in existence right now, worldwide.

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New muzzle loading technology: 3 reasons why the firestick must be a gamechanger

If you are a traditionalist like I am, then you probably have a .54 Hawken™ rifle lying around somewhere. Some of my fondest memories come from shuddering in the cold wind, fingers trembling, as I tried desperately to shake granulated black powder into my nipple hole to get a shot at a deer who is standing in a meadow, contentedly watching me with a bemused look on his face, because my ignition system had failed due to condensation of gunmetal and moist black powder…

Well, those days are over. They actually have been for a while with the development of the Pyrodex™ pellet system. But the need for a possibles bag and multi function process to effectively hunt with  muzzle loader is now even more streamlined and we are coming to a place where we can leave our possibles bags at home.

This new technology is called the Firestick™ and it has been developed by Federal Firearms Corporation. This new development still loads the round through the barrel, effectively keeping it a “primitive” firearm; however, the charge comes in the form of a plastic casing, similar in form to the old 45-70 Springfield Buffalo Gun, (the 1873 Trapdoor). This casing fits neatly into the rear of your supported in-line firearm, right behind your sabot round. There is a hole in the back for your primer to fit into.

This round is the equivalent to a modern rifle round and is nearly infallible while still meeting the criteria for muzzle loading rifles. This means that every animal on the face of the earth is now susceptible to primitive hunting. Here are three reasons this technology will be a game changer:

  1. You can keep all of your rounds together in one place. No more searching and digging in different pockets and pouches for a quick reload.
  2. The rifle won’t foul as quickly. This new technology is cleaner than traditional black powder and therefore won’t dirty your rifle.
  3. It’s more accurate and stable. This new technology offers a payload similar to a modern high powered rifle.
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Survival 102: 3 things you can do with acorns

If you have ever thought of cracking an acorn and eating it in the wilderness, it is likely that you quickly learned what mother nature’s natural syrup of ipecac will do to you.

If you were able to get past the bitterness of the meat, you likely experienced profound nausea and possibly vomiting. However, there are some actual survival uses for acorns, beyond  baiting deer or throwing at companions. The problem is that they must be prepared for hours before they can be used.

The problem with acorns is the fact that they are filled with tannins, (think tannic acid), that can be very beneficial if you are trying to preserve animal skins but are less so if being introduced to your digestive tract. They have to be blanched to be eaten by humans and you can get this done by either boiling them for hours, or letting them soak in a running creek for about three days. In a survival situation, I prefer the latter solution to the problem because you can hull them and then tie the meats off in a sack, or sock, or other porous container and then forget about them until all of the tannins have been leeched out. It does no good to just soak them in water without changing it.

Once thusly prepared these acorn meats can be used three ways:

  1. Roast them to eat like almond slivers. They are palatable and full of protein and vitamins. They taste a bit like roasted almonds without the tannins in them but have the consistency of a hazelnut.
  2. Grind them into flour to cook into breads or use to thicken stews. If you are like me then you eat a lot of stew in a survival situation, primarily because it is the easiest method of preparing elaborate quantities of ingredients quickly. The flour thickens stew nicely and gives it added nutrient. I’m not a big fan of bread, but I understand that there is nothing in the world quite like the taste of hot acorn cakes in the morning in a frosty camp. Just watch a rerun of Jeremiah Johnson o see a visual of this.
  3. Use the acorns to make a stuffing for wild game. I’m not saying that this s good, but it definitely is different.
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Deer Camp 101: Several Misconceptions about Whitetail Deer

 

I simply can’t believe that it is again September and yet another deer season is upon us. It really seems like just a week or so ago that I hung my bow and cleaned my .54 cal. Hawken for the season and settled down to enjoy the Spring. It wasn’t much of a Spring, at least not in Ohio, and it seemed like April lasted nearly four months. Primarily because it rained hard here from May until August. It’s still raining.

The good news is that it is now going to start to get cold and all of this precipitation, if it persists, will have a chance to turn into beautiful white snow… I love deer hunting in the snow.

So, as you get ready to seek your deer for the season, here are some current studies that I have read about that can affect your hunt this year; studies from the Penn  State University wildlife program that actually dis-spell many of the myths that most of us have believed about deer hunting but which have now been disproved.

  1. Deer move less when it’s windy. This one was a surprise to me, but it seems that deer move the same wether it’s windy or not. I know that it seems that they don’t but perhaps another study would show that hunters just get especially miserable when it’s windy and it just seems as if nothing is moving to us.
  2. Deer are affected by the moon. I guess that we want to believe that deer are moved like we are moved, and undoubtedly the moon moves me; (usually out of my easy chair and onto the deck). But the studies have shown that deer aren’t seemingly inclined to change their habits regardless of moon phases.
  3. Whitetail bucks move far and wide in search of hot does during the rut. No, apparently they maintain, for the most part, their 20 mile radius territory; however, it is unclear how far the does travel when they are hot, looking for a ready buck…????
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