Friday, December 30, 2011

Spyderco Native Knife

I received this beautiful Spyderco Native Knife from a friend. He read my post on Havalon Knives and insisted that Spyderco makes a better knife. So I decided to put it to the test.

I got up early one morning and went down to the local duck hunting spot. After an hour or so I came back home with a mallard drake and a green wing teal drake. (This day was not my best day shooting) I cleaned both birds with ease. The short and very sharp blade makes it easy to maneuver while getting into the hard to reach areas .

After I was done with the two ducks since this knife made it so easy I decided to go clean three chickens, which needed to be done anyway but I had been procrastinating. Again no problems, even on the last 5th bird of the day. 

I am very happy so far with this knife. I look forward to using it in other situations that presents themselves around the house and in the outdoors.

Other features I like are the easy opening with my thumb with the thumb hole on the blad, as well as the durable construction. I also always support things made 100% in the USA.

Since I am in Law Enforcement this will also become my everyday carry knife. This knife is a great knife to have in any situation.  It is impossible to compare to the Spyderco Knife with the Havalon Knife because the Havalon is used for a specific job. If I had to choose to have a knife to have in an unknown situation it would be the Spyderco Native.

Remington Sportsman model 341 restoration

So my grandfather gave me his Remington Sportsman Model 341 in .22 caliber a few years ago. He told me that he bought it when he was in his teens back in the 30's.

There is a big crack going down the stock. I asked my grandfather how it got cracked and he told me that the man who owned it before him hit a coyote over the head with it and cracked it.  There  has been some wood and metal plugs put in it to hold together.

The barrel has some rust on it, due to not being used in the last 50 years and it being in Seattle with all the moisture in the air.

The gun came with a W.R. Weaver model 344 rifle scope, which also has some rust spots. Although the lenses are clear.

My goal is to restore the gun, while still keeping the character and stories. I hope to share this process while it is being completed.   

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Talented Mrs. Williams

On 12-08-11 I received the worst phone call of my life. It was my wife and she told me Grandma Arlene had died. There was no warning, rhyme or reason, but she was gone. The hardest part for me was that earlier that morning I had just told my daughter we were going to see Grandma Arlene (GGMA) in a few days.

Grandma Arlene went by many names, GGma, Grandma, Bubbles and of course Mrs. Williams. She was the Matriarch of the Williams family. She set forth traditions that will be passed down to future generations.  Grandma also touched so many peoples' lives and made so many memories.

Traditions like singing Christmas songs before we open stockings and gifts, even though apparently no one thought it was a good idea to have anyone with a good singing voice in the family.   But every year at Williams' Christmas you better believe we will be singing songs, as long as the dogs don't start howling.

She also set forth traditions at Duck Hunting Camp. Traditions like bean soup around the campfire on opening weekend. A Duck Camp staple that my step mother Ellen has so generously taken over the past couple years. Grandma has shown the new generations of hunters like myself how to properly walk the correct routes on different lakes, such as Bubbles lake. (A lake named after her) One day in the future my daughter might ask me "Dad why do the cows walk the same paths around the lake we we do?" I will tell her because the cows are smart and they know these are the same paths Grandma made 60 years ago. Just so you know if you're ever duck hunting in our area of the Okanogan  know that your not likely following a cow trail but more likely a grandma trail - the cows only use the trail because Grandma allowed it.

I have too many memories to tell of Grandma. The last memory I have of Grandma was at Duck Camp in October of 2011. At age 88 she still showed up and went out with the hunting party. I had the honor of being Grandma's chauffeur for the day. At the end of the day she told me what a great day she spent with my wife and daughter and that she enjoyed getting to know them better. I had no idea the significance of that statement at that time.

Another vivid memory I had with Grandma was when I was around 7 years old.  I knew I could always count on Grandma to come get me from school and not question if I was really sick or not. Anyways we went into the local grocery store QFC to get some things. While Grandma was checking out I went outside where I found a piece of charcoal. I wrote a small bit of graffiti on the outside wall next to the exit and went back inside to where Grandma was.  We walked outside and Grandma caught me me real quick. I guess not too many kids named Rory frequented that particular QFC. After I washed it off all was good again and we went home for a heated and intense game of Candyland.  

But of course Grandma passed more down than just traditions and memories.  She taught us her values: when I look at my four sibling I see the kindness of Grandma's heart, the wisdom of her mind and the wild side from her soul.

Grandma passed peacefully in her chair, and although I was in no way ready for her to leave us, I am sure she had a smile on her face while on her way to the Duck Camp in the sky where Grandpa already has the fire started and the tent set.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My 2012 Wish List

This is My 2012 Wish List

  1. Southwest Tactical Buck Bench: just for my back yard shooting and sighting. I have a home made substitute right now and it sucks.
  2. Flambeua's Storm Front Mallard Decoys: just in case I want to go to our local decoy spot by myself someday.
  3. Cabela's Electronic Cable Hoist: It will just make it easier to lift the deer at home with out having to use the truck.
  4. A Range Finder: Don't know which brand or model there are so many to choose from.
  5. The I-Kam video recording glasses.
  6. Spotting Scope: Again don't know which brand or model to choose. Too many options. Do you have any ideas?
  7. Electronic Coyote call.
  8. A Butt Out. If you dont know what this is look it up.
  9. Skull hooker for my european mounts I have laying around.
  10. CamelBak Ambush XT Pack for day hunts.

Wildest Places

This is a writing prompt by OBN.

I believe the wildest place I go to be in the outdoors in Cut Throat lake in the north cascades of Washington State. This lake provides great lake fishing for cut throat trout. Last time I was up there, my wife and I rode our bikes up there from the trail head at HWY 20. O, did I mention my wife was 4 months pregnat. Anyway we rode up there with our dogs in late July and really enjoyed our selves. It was great seeing all the fish swimming in the crystal clear water.   After walking around most of the lake and going for a swim in the creek draining off of the lake we decided to head back down the trail.

Remi going for a swim

In the early fall of 2012 I am planning on doing a early rifle deer hunt in Washington State called the High Hunt. Where you have to be hunting in a high altitude wilderness area. I am planning on going into the pasayte wilderness which I hear is very wild. Anyway I will keep this blog updated on that trip till it gets here. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Why I Hunt

Today I was driving home from a friends house and I asked my self the question "Why do I hunt?". A question I might not be able to answer in just one night.

This is a serious question,one that is debated by millions of people. I myself have been in this debate over hunting many times.

My normal responses are of course: Do you eat meat?  Who does your killing - Safeway?

But sitting here thinking about it, that isn't an answer really. It is the answer I am willing to get into with people who ask me why I hunt. The people who ask that question always ask with that smug tone of voice. Like I am a bad person for wanting to provide my own meat.

The answer of 'do you eat meat?', is all the breath I want to waste on that conversation with people. 

I'm not going to change their mind; they don't care about the deep truth or why I really hunt. It's not about the killing to me. But it's all about the killing to them - that's all they see. They see the killing of what they see as poor innocent creatures, like Bambi. I can't tell you how many times I have been buying a hunting license and heard "Oh you're going to kill Bambi, huh?" I will chuckle, smile and nod, and go on my way.

You want to know why I hunt?

I hunt because it is a drive to be in the outdoors. It is a bonding with your fellow hunter that you can't get anywhere else. The joy I get when in the field with my wife and daughter is like no other. It is the satisfaction that my family and I can and will provide for ourselves.

I hunt because of the memories of years past, knowing 60 years ago my grandfather hunted underneath this exact tree, or at this exact lake, or in this exact field, with this exact goal. It's like he is still there with me, and even that he will always be there with me while I am hunting. It's knowing my daughter will be in the same spot in years to come.  It's knowing that I am passing on to my kids what my grandfather taught my dad and what my dad taught and is still teaching me.

I hunt because failure is an option.  Failure is the opportunity to learn and become a better hunter. For every successful hunt there was likely a few unsuccessful hunts before. True hunters know that there will be another day and another hunt. The trophies on the wall are not only a sign of success, but a sign of learning from your past failures.

I hunt because it is a lifestyle - and it's my lifestyle. It's dreaming of being out on a hunt when stuck in the office. It's knowing that right now it's midnight, I just got my kid to sleep but it's ok because in 5 hours my alarm is going off and I am going hunting. It's knowing that when you're out there in the woods, in your blind, or in your tree stand all your worries are gone and that is a feeling that no substance can duplicate.

I hunt because the dog hunting next to me is one of my best friends and hunting means us working together as a true team. She will break ice and swim as far as it takes to get the job done. She will warn me of danger one second and let my daughter crawl over her and cover her with blankets in the other. She will keep my hands warm on cold mornings and keep my feet warm on cold nights in camp. And all she asks for in return is a scratch behind the ear every now and then.

Reading this has only scratched the surface of why I hunt. Most of it words can not explain. If you want to better understand why I hunt, why hunters hunt, you will just have to go and experience hunting for yourself. Even then I can't promise you will get it.

If you hunt and want to express why you hunt, I welcome you to write a post and put your link to in the comments! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Duck Hunting the runway with the Chief

So the plan is to meet at the spot at 6:30am and walk in for a 6:55 shooting time. I met Chief Paul and some other friends at the runway. (We call it the runway because it is a narrow side channel off the river that the ducks fly up and down.)

We get out to the blind and there are about 100 ducks waiting for us, but of course it is too dark to shoot and they mostly all fly away. We get the small group of decoys (3) out into the water and hunker down till it is light enough to shoot. My German Wire Haired Pointing Griffon Remi was anxiously waiting to do some work.

Now for those of you who don't know me, my dog Remi and I are not blind or decoy hunters, we specialize in jump shooting.  We don't like sitting still and freezing to death which normally happens when we attempt to decoy.

So it is finally light enough to to shoot and I look over to our left and see some ducks still sitting in the channel. So of course I sneak over and dump two mallard hens. Both ducks had broken wings and were still alive as well as swimming to the opposite side of the channel. Well Remi springs into action and goes after them, she did have a bit of trouble on the opposite shore. She would pick one up and the other one would run away  then she would drop the one she had and go after the running one, then of course the one she dropped would run away and so on. It was a big cycle of bird dog owner frustration. Finally she picked one brought it to me and then went back for the other.

For the rest of the day Remi was flawless, Chief Paul was turning the ducks to the blind like a pro and I was having a decent day shooting.

The best duck of the day was a Green head  flying over taking a look at the decoys, and I decided it was time to shoot it. I raised my gun took one shot and the bird folded and hit the water,  Remi went straight out a got it and brought it back to the blind. It was the best, I didn't even feel the gun go off, I didn't have to give any commands to the dog and I only used one shot. That was duck hunting bliss at its best. 

Like Chief Paul said there is nothing better than calling ducks and watching a good bird dog work. I can't say it any better. Just watching Remi chase ducks all day, even though it was 13 degrees with her hair all iced up really shows her dedication to please and her drive to hunt.

Thanks Chief Paul and friends I could not of asked for a better day out hunting. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

2011 grouse hunting

I originally posted this as a guest post over at The Unlucky Hunter.

So in my family September is Grouse hunting. We look forward to it for all 8 months once duck hunting is finished in late January. Grouse hunting is also my wife's favorite hunting season. She loves spending time with me, our daughter Maddy and the dogs. We love the mountain top hikes and the views while looking for blue grouse, as well as chasing the ruffed grouse in the creek bottoms where the grouse flush and you are lucky to get a clear shot. The good days are when we get to do both.

First two grouse of year

This year my wife was the lucky one who shot the first two grouse, and the first day ended slow my wife shot 2 and I shot one grouse and one rabbit.

Later in the year we decided to check out some roads we have never walked in past years. They did produce some grouse so we will add them into our routine of closed roads to hunt.

But the best day came one evening when my wife, Maddy and I decided to go for a hunt after work. we left the house at about 4pm. We first went to the 300 rd and I saw a quick glimpse of what I believed to be a grouse run from the road to the bushes.  So the breaks came on and we jumped out of my old jeep.  It always a great feeling when your standing in the bushes and can hear the grouse running on all the dry leaves around you, but you cant see them.

Maddy getting ready to go hunting

Finally the group of grouse erupts into the thick creek bottom. I could see one perched in a tree and as I was about to shoot it my wife yells I see one. Of course I think it is the same one I see, but being the good husband I am I tell her to shoot it. Bang, she shoots and says she got it, and lucky me my grouse is still in my tree so I shoot it. My wife gets into the creek bottom with the dogs to retrieve the grouse. While she was down there I saw a bee's nest in the tree that looks like a grouse. Of course right at that time my wife says she sees another one. I warn her of the nest and she is confident that what she sees is a grouse. When she shoots her grouse another one takes off right next to my head and flies up the hill behind me.

So I walk up to the top of the hill and it flushes.  Just as it is about to drop over the next hill I dump it. After I find it I walked back down to the road and I end up shooting one more out of a fir tree. So we got a total of 5 ruffed grouse out of this group. In Washington State a daily limit of grouse is 4 per person of ruffed or blue grouse only.

Next we decided to drive over to the next canyon over and hunt the ridge between the that canyon and the one we were in currently. We drive to the top of the road and walk up to the top of the ridge. My wife goes towards the top of the ridge and I walk low around the shaded backside of the ridge with our dogs Remi and Lily our German Wire Haired Pointing Griffons.

All of a sudden Remi gets birdy. Of course every dog is different but Remi gets low to the ground and her nose works back and forth quickly and stedily low to the ground making a heavy sniffing sound and her tail stays very parallel to the ground and wags back and forth. She continues to work through the tall grass and I have to walk at a fast pace to keep up with her. Then Lily come over and gets birdy as well. We work the hillside for about 60 yards, then both dogs stop and go on hard point. I look up and about 15 yards in front of them there is a big blue grouse sitting on a rock above the grass. As I shoot the grouse 3 or 4 more take off from the grass below it.

My wife come running over to see if she can get into the action but of course everything is gone by the time she gets there.

So we walk to the top of the ridge with my wife a little disapointed. But lucky her the dogs get birdy again. They work for about 20 yards and with out warning blue grouse after blue grouse start getting up out of the  sun dried grass. It was amazing so see them flush like this.  It was very hard for me not to start shooting but my limit was done.  My wife saw where some landed in a tree down the steep rocky hill. Like the determined hunter she is we hike our butts down the hill. She shot two of the grouse, and as usual when hunting steep terrain when the grouse fell they had to roll a few yards down the hill. Luckily we have our amazing dogs  who happily go down an bring them back up to us. We hiked back up over the top and back down to where the jeep was parked and took some pictures right as we were losing the light of the sun.

We drove home that night with the feeling of MAN THAT WAS AN  AWSOME HUNT!!! And a story we will tell for ever.

This Hunters Dream

So my big dream is to own a hunting ranch. I want a few hundred acres of high fenced land, with hills/ mountains and some meadows or fields along with a stream and lakes. (Sounds Nice Right?)

I want to provide opportunities to hunt upland birds, ducks, turkeys and big game whether it be whitetail deer, mule deer, elk or maybe even an exotic species.

I have a few questions I hope the people of OBN and who ever else is reading can answer.

1. How much does buying Deer cost and where should I buy them from. ( I want to buy and manage my own herd because I want to be open all year long without the need for seasons.)

2. How many deer should I start with to build up my herd.

3. What is the smallest amount of property I could get started with.

4. What is the average price people will pay to come hunt something like this.

Now I know I can find all of this online, but a lot of the info I look up is old and out of date. I am hoping people can answer these questions, so I can at least start a plan, it never hurts to plan and set goals. I am sure I will have many more questions in the future but this can get me started. And maybe someone else has the same dream and same questions and can find their answers here.

Beautiful View

So I was working the other day and looked outside and saw a beautiful sunset. I called my wife who was about 20 miles away at home to ask her to take some pictures of it. She told me she already did, so I thought I would share the beautiful view with everyone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Cougar Truth

So in late October I posted this picture on my Facebook page with a caption that said "I filled my 2011 Cougar tag." The picture was real and the caption was real. Is it my fault that that people assumed I shot and killed the cougar.

Even though I have not lied about anything I will just let people know the truth.

I just got back from a week of successful duck hunting. On this particular night it was supposed to be a relaxing evening with my wife and daughter before I went back to work. At about 5pm I received a call from a local game agent and friend of mine.

The first thing he asks me "What are you doing?"

So I start going through all the hunting in I have done this year and trying to figure out what I did wrong somewhere. But I cant think of anything so I ask "What do you mean?"

He starts laughing and then asks "Do you want a cougar?"

I told him of course I want a cougar.

He goes on to tell me he shot a cougar and knows I have a cougar tag and he also knew I wanted a cougar. He tells me he will bring it to my house and we hang up.

So now I go tell my wife the good news.......  So hey guess what, the game agent is brings a cougar over for us. My wife was not exactly happy to hear that I will be processing a cougar on our relaxing night. But over the next 15 minutes I convince her it will be ok, and I invited a friend over to help process and speed up the process.  

So my friend arrives and the game agent arrives with the cougar. The Agent tells us how to skin it and what the good meat parts are and how to cook them. He also explains that this cougar was living in a barn about 15 miles away. The cougar was not afraid of humans and would just sit there and watch people as they walked by. The farm it was on had live stock and children around so it was a very unsafe situation, so the agent had put the cougar down.

I took some pictures and we got to work using my Havalon knives, we skinned it leaving the skull and paws in the hide. My goal was to let the taxidermist do the hard work of the claws and skull. I found out that for the taxidermist to clean the skull it would be $100. So I eventually took the skull out of the hide but still left the paws for the taxidermist.

I am very happy with how the skull has turned out, thanks to the help of a friend. We wont know how the hide turns out for another couple months when we get it back.

We are going to try the cougar meat for the first time tonight so we will see how it goes, I've heard good things about cougar meat.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Havalon Knives the best new knife on the market

In early fall I was working and walking around Winthrop, Wa and I went into a store called The Outdoorsman and I spoke with the owner who showed me this new knife by Havalon Knives. This is a scalpel knife with replaceable blades.

When you buy this knife you get 12 replacement blades. All the blades are as sharp as any surgical blade, individually packaged and 100% sterile. When the blade your using gets dull pull the blade off and put another one on. The knifes and blades come in many different shapes and styles.

I bought a plastic model which is extremely light weight. I received 12 of the normal pointed (60) blades with the knifes as well. This year I skinned a deer, a cougar and cleaned several ducks, geese, grouse and chickens with the knife only using 4 blades.

I went back to buy the gutting (XT) blade that has a rounded tip on it to open big game without the mess and stink of cutting the gut sack.

 This is the sharpest knife I have ever owned and I would recommend this knife for anyone who needs to clean any animal. They also come in larger filet knife models for fish.

Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 Mule Deer

Well 2011 was my second year really trying to get myself a deer. See in Washington State deer and duck hunting open the same day, and for most of my life I have gone duck hunting.

This year I did take the opening of deer and duck season to go duck hunting at duck camp because grandma AKA BUBBLES goes to camp opening weekend and I would hate to miss Bubbles in camp.

Anyway opening duck went well I shot my limit but had to leave that night because I had to work Sunday - Tuesday.

Every year my friend comes up to go duck hunting for a little over a week. He gets to my house on Tuesday and since the first Thursday and Friday of duck season is always closed, this year I gave the Wednesday - Friday morning to deer hunting.
I of course bring my friend along with me because, well I am not dumb, he is the muscle - I shoot big Mule deer, sometimes far away from the truck and I don't want to drag a deer all by myself.

Tuesday afternoon before I worked we went to the "State Land" where I shot my big deer last year and my other hunting buddy decides to come along as well. Both friends had already shot their deer. We must have seen 50 deer up in the grassy area we hunt. In that 50 deer we saw about 8 bucks all 2X2's or smaller. Here in Washington the Mule deer have to have at least three points on one side. It was a nice walk but no shooters.

Wednesday morning my friend and I went to what we call the School Property which is State DNR land we walk to from my house. We walked for miles up steep hills and all around and we did not see even one deer which was very discouraging.

Wednesday night I stayed at home to watch my daughter as Mama had to work. But us guys discussed our plan for the next morning. We were going to get up before light and get to the "State Land" before sunrise.

So here it is Thursday morning, my alarm goes off and I promptly turn it off. My daughter wakes up at 7 so I get up and wake my friend up. We get some food in us and head out the door.

We get to the private land we are allowed to hunt below the state land and decide to drive around real quick before walking up the hill. We get to the lower part of the property and I see two deer up on the hillside. As one disappears behind some Saskatoon bushes the other one slowly heads up the hill. We get out and put the bino's on the front deer.

My friends says its a 2X2, but as I look closer I can see where one of the forks is split to make it a 2X3 - a legal buck. As I get to a pile of wood to set up a shot this other deer walks out of the bushes in the opposite direction. As I put my scope on it I see it is a much bigger 3X3, and it disappears behind the hillside.

We run over to get into position and I lay down on a pile of sand. It walks up the hill side at about 80 yards. I put my cross hairs on it and BANG.

When I bring my scope back down I don't see my deer. I do see four does sitting there looking at me. My friend was no help at this point as he was still watching the other buck and didn't see my buck.

I am hoping that my deer went down right away, so we just stayed put for about 15 minutes so it could bleed out. Finally we walked up there and there it was laying in a small ditch still alive but with a broken back. I cut its throat and it was done.

I removed the guts as my friend drove the truck within 30 yards of the deer and then he drug it to the truck for me....Lucky Me!

We had it skinned and hung by 10:30 AM. Not bad!

And of course the day after the season ended my wife spotted this big boy walking right through the field next to the house. Boy was she wishing she had seen him the night before!

Picture taken from our living room window

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Great Goose Jump of 2011

This is my submission for the Sportsman Channel Writing Contest for Hunters hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network.

For my favorite outdoor memory I am going to go with one fresh in my head. As it just happened in late October.

 I was in Okanogan County WA hunting ducks, the lakes are starting to freeze and I know this will be my last day hunting in this area. It is a Wednesday and where we are hunting you can only shoot geese on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays. My wife had gone home and my friend’s wife had stayed in camp to pack things up before their 7 hour drive home.

Most of the lakes we checked were frozen, the wind was blowing very cold air and we had only shot 2 little teal. It was a long hard day so far. We go to our last lake of the day a small spring lake out in the middle of the sage brush. I am 100% expecting this lake to be frozen and my friend asks "Should we even bother?" I tell him we are here we might as well check it out.

We drive over to the lake and park in the sage brush and like I always do  I check the lake to see where the ducks are by peeking up slowly over the sage brush to check the water a little at a time as too not scare off anything on the water. (Believe me if the ducks see you they will be gone.)  As I look to the far side of the lake I can see ICE!!!!!!  I can remember thinking crap this sucks. I stand up a little more and I see two goose heads, then four. I duck back down below the brush line and turn to my friend back at the truck and give him the goose sign. (Which consists of me flapping my arms all the out as if I were a goose.) I don’t think I have ever seen him get out of the truck so fast.

Puting on a sneak

We started our walk around to the "Jump Point" where we are going to implement our attack on these geese. We load up with 3 1/2 in BB's and BBB's. It is about 1/4 mile walk around to the best jump point on the small lake. I tell my friend ok I don’t know how many or how close but if we don’t end up with four or more geese we should retire from hunting for ever.

We get to the jump point which is a berm with the lake right on the other side of the berm. We give each other the ceremonial fist knock and we jump.

All I can say is there were geese everywhere, they took off in a tornado of birds and we unleashed hell upon them. Geese were dropping and splashing everywhere.

When the Shooting stopped there were 5 geese in the water. Before I was able to celebrate I noticed a small group of geese turned the wrong way and could not make it out over the hill the lake is tucked into. But I was too far for a shot at this point. I grabbed another 3 1/2 in shell from my vest and went into a dead sprint down the bank of the lake. (I felt like I was a car trying to beat a train across the train tracks.)  Just as the geese got parallel I stopped pulled up and BANG! Wouldn't you know one of those geese just peeled right out of that gray sky. I was in complete disbelief...... I mean I knew I had it the whole time.

Now the real work begins, as in get back to the truck, get the dogs and then get the dogs to break the ice. See these geese were sitting in the only part of the lake that was not frozen. No matter where you started from the dogs had at least 20 feet of ice to break.  I started gathering rocks to throw at the geese to get and keep my dogs attention.

At first my dog Remi was not having this whole ice thing. Finally I get her to break a path way through the ice for her to get two of the geese in the water and my friend’s lab was able to get the other three.

We had all six geese laying there on the beach and we felt like we had just won the super bowl or maybe the 2011 Goose Bowl. There were hugs for everyone even the cold wet dogs. Now we get to carry these six Canadian Honkers as well as guns back to the truck.

On the walk back we asked, what ones did you get? I don't know, which ones did you get? Screw it how about we both got three.... Sounds good to me.

We ended the hunt with another ceremonial fist knock and a memory that will last forever.

Duck Hunting 2011

Well so far 2011 has been a great year for duck hunting. I took one week off of work to go to duck camp with my family and friends. My wife got her first duck out of the air this year and is still shooting 100% green heads life time. I shot a triple on geese twice this year and shot 10 geese all together and all jump shooting.  With my buddy we shot about 60 ducks, alot more when you add in my Dad and brother. Here is a pic from hunting at our DUCK CAMP in Okanogan County WA.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Last Day

So here we are in Juneau, AK sitting on the boat waiting to fly home tomorrow. We get to Seattle around 4:30 then a 4-5 hour drive home... It's going to be a long day. Any way we have had a great time here in Alaska. Of course i will do longer blogs when I get home and have time to do so.  But here are some photos to tide you over till then.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Alaska Quick Post

So we are here in Petersburg Alaska. Fishing has been slow, king salmon are running but local creeks are still high with snow melt off and silt. I did manage to catch a nice 12 inch cutthroat out of a very small creek flowing from Lake Helen to Santa Anna Inlet. We have seen Killer whales, Humpbacks, Dolphins, and some bears, Although have not run into any bears while fishing. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: women's hunting jacket & pants

Hi there, its Farming Mama here! Its been a few months since I have guest posted over here at R-Dub Outdoors, and it has been a busy time for us! I'd like to share my review of the Medalist huntgear max jacket & pants that Rory got me last fall for a birthday/hunting season present. I've worn them occasionally since the fall, mostly for hunting or winter hikes, but more recently I've been for the rainy spring weather we've been having.

You might be asking yourself, but isn't it summer? I mean it's June there, isn't it? Well, you are right... but our weather apparently hasn't gotten the memo, and its been chilly and rainy off and on. In fact Rory had the wood stove going one day late last week when I got home from work! It has been getting warmer slowly though, and when the sun comes out, it does get nice and warm, so I'm sure summer will be here to stay soon.

At least I've been able to make good use of my rain gear though, and with trip planning for our Alaska vacation getting into the final stages (2 sleeps until we are there!), the reminder that I have great rain gear has been good, because the forecast up there is looking mighty wet for our trip!

So down to the nitty-gritty. Let's talk about the pants first. They are Medalist huntgear max women's small with silvermax scent elimination technology. They have a double snap & zipper closure at the waist, and the waist is elasticized, with an inside row of grabby rubber to keep them up or to keep things tucked in. That is definitely handy to keep out drafts, and I imagine it would be great in really buggy areas too.  There are 2 side slash pockets, a bum pocket with magnet closure, and 2 magnet closure cargo pockets one of which has an inner hidden zipper pocket. They also have calf length side zips. I can't say I've used the side zips, but the pockets are pretty great! If the jacket had less pocket space I would likely use the pant pockets more, but typically I just use them for my gloves or keys or a couple loose shells.

Things I like about the pants: how waterproof they are, how warm they are in cold weather, how they are the right length for my short (5'3") self, and how they stay snapped at the waist! Things I don't like: how the waist seems smaller than it should given the width of the legs - I guess I should have a thinner waist for the size of my hips or bum? :) And on hot days I don't like how warm & sticky I get in them! They are definitely better for cold wet days.

Now for the jacket, which quickly became my all time favorite hunting jacket. Easy to predict as it is the first one that is fully mine, not one or Rory's that I borrow, but I definitely wouldn't be recommending it if I didn't really truly like it! It is a Medalion huntgear max women's small with silvermax scent elimination technology.

Late last week we went up to cut wood, and before we left the house we did a walk around the property to check on our gardens and get the dogs out for a run around before we got in the truck. I had Maddycakes on my back, so I didn't put the jacket on, just the pants. It seemed sort of miserable out, spitting rain a bit, damp feel to the air, etc. I was debating whether we should even go cut wood, but then gave in since Rory really wanted to. I of course grabbed my jacket and put it on when we headed up to the woods, and man did I ever notice a difference. With the jacket on, it was rainy out, sure, but I didn't feel like it was a cold clammy miserable evening. I was warm and toasty in my jacket, I stayed dry, and life was great!

So the details. The jacket has a good hood, although when I have my hair back in a bun with my toque (American translation - stocking cap) pulled on, the hood could be a bit deeper to come right over my forehead. I'm likely being overly picky, I am rather particular about my hoods. It does the job though. The sleeves are a great length, and have velcro tighteners on them that I haven't used apart from setting the cuff size to a comfortable size for me. The pockets, though, the pockets! They are awesome. Plenty of room to have loads of rocks for sending the dogs after downed ducks. Room for spent shells, different types of shells, some snacks, gloves, you name it, if you want to fit it in your pockets, there is room. There are 4 pockets on the front of the jacket, 2 behind the others. There are zippered, slightly hidden pockets that are like hand warmer pockets, and then in front of them are the top opening, magnet closing pockets that have so much room for rocks & shells (yeah, were there still a pile of rocks & shells from the fall in mine? yup). There is also a small zippered pocket on the back of the jacket, which I haven't ever used. I would have to say, the magnet closing feature on the jacket & pants pockets is likely what made me fall in love with them right out of the box. I love the magnets!

Well, that's my thoughts on the jacket & pants. Rory ordered them from Cabella's online (likely why he mistakenly got 2 different camo patterns, not that I notice), and they came pretty quickly, we are big fan's of Cabella's in this house!

We're almost packed (we fly out of Seattle Tuesday morning) anyone else been busy packing for an exciting trip? Or have a great women's hunting jacket you want to tell me about?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Springing into duck camp

Every early spring I like to drive the 45 miles to our 42 acres in Okanogan, WA to a place where we call duck camp. We take the truck, chain saw, shovel and other various tool for different situations, you never know what your going to find the first trip into camp after winter.

To our surprise there hadn't been any other vehicles into the group of properties so there was no tracks breaking the snow down. Most of the snow was gone but there was sections of the road that had drifts of a foot and a half. My wife always gets scared when we push through the drifts and there is a big ledge next to the road. Of course it always turns out ok. She was very happy there was no getting stuck "this trip".

We got to the lake next to camp and the winter had brought a tree down across the road. So we stopped and I started cutting the tree into firewood sized bits and stacked them off the road, for the                                                                              
 next time we come over to cut wood for the camp.

We called Dad and let him him know the state of camp after winter while we drive into camp. The lakes are still 75% frozen, there is a good amount of water in the small potholes and there are a few ducks around. Some Mallards, a few Pintails and lots of Buffel heads. The ground squirrels were every where, we saw a big mule deer laying in the sage brush and an early marmot digging in the rocks.

Maddy Cakes had a great time sneaking up on some Buffel Heads in the unfrozen part of the lake next to camp and then watching them fly all around us.

Although we only had a short time in duck camp we all had a blast. Maybe we will find time to spend the night there in the next couple weeks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not such a trophy, trophy.

This is the OBN photo prompt. The prompt is to show off your picture of a small fish or trophy.

Although I did not shoot this deer, I would have if giving the opportunity. I did see this deer while hunting for about 1/4 of a second as it jumped over the hillside never to be seen again. I knew it was in  the area because of these game cam photos I had of it. So laugh if you want but here it is. I do think he is in the running for smallest trophy. P.S In the area of Washington i live in there is no point minimum for whitetails just as long as it has an antler.

I call him the Uni Deer. Because of his lack of two antlers of course.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Damaged goods

So this is one of my many stories of breaking or damaging a piece of outdoor equipment.

I was about 17 and was on a camping 4x4 trip with my brother at a place called clockum pass, which is a dirt road that connects Wenatchee , WA and Ellensburg, WA. It was mid spring and we figured to be the first vehicles of the year to cross the pass besides snow mobiles.

We got about 3/4 of the way over and the snow was still in six foot drifts which makes it hard to drive through. We decided to turn around and camp in a place called bushy creek. We had a herd of 200 elk moving across the valley from us and coyotes howling all around. Since I love sleeping outside and not in tents, I leveled out the area where I was going to sleep and set up my sleeping area.I put a Canvas tarp on the ground then a sleeping pad and a sleeping bag and the wrap the canvas tarp around to keep me dry. My area was about 25 feet from the fire area. Now my brother and I don't exactly like to have small fires. We like the big hot ones. So I went to work gathers dead sage brush for the fire. I had a wall of dead brush (the only thing to burn where we were.) stacked 20 feet long and 6 feet tall.

We got the fire started and started throwing the pieces of brush from the pile onto the fire. When the fire started getting really the hot rocks beside the first started to explode. When I say explode I mean explode, like granades and bombs. Our best guess is the moisture from inside the rocks was expanding and making the rocks explode.

So as the rocks exploded sending hot fragments into the air, we just stood around hoping not to take shrapnel in the face. Anyway the rocks calmed down and a few hours later I went to bed. To my surprise I found holes burned into my sleeping role and little rocks at the bottom of the holes.

Although my tarp has holes in it I still use it every time I go camping. I hate tents. So there it is damaged goods.

Tools of the trade

This will be in response to The writing prompt over at Ben G Outdoors.

The prompt is equipment that malfunctioned and how you over came it.

When I first moved to the methow valley ice fishing seemed like the thing to do. I invited my friends from college up to my new house. None of us had ever been ice fishing before. The question was asked, how do we get through the ice? I got an axe I said the ice should only be a few inches.

We get to the lake and start chopping. Ok we are through the first five inches. Of course every couple inches the hole gets smaller. Ok we are through the first ten inches. At this point we can see air bubbles under the ice. Ok we are FIFTEEN INCHES down, we have to be close. At eighteen inches we hit water. It felt like we hit gold.

Here is the problem, our hole started at about eighteen inches across and now that we are eighteen inches down our hole is about three inches long and 3/4 of an inch wide.

Here is another problem once you break the seal the water wil fill the hole to the top of the ice, for the most part.

So if you don't get it here is the over all problem we had a hold to small to fish out of eighteen inches down under water. Have you ever tried cutting ice with an axe that is under water. You get more wet than anything.

Believe it or not we did catch fish out of the sliver we called a fishing hole.

Jump a head two years, my girl friend at the time now my wife and I decided to go ice fishing. Oooooo but wait, we were too good for an axe now that I had a chainsaw my dad passed down to me.

We get out there and the saw cuts through the ice like butter, till I hit water. The blade slings water like it slings sawdust. It's not a good idea to get all wet when fishing in 10 degrees.

Jump a head one more year, valentines day. My wife did not like the fact I was using the chain saw as an ice fishing tool. So I get a hand auger for VDay and it has worked great ever since.

So I guess my tools did not malfunction or break. But they did evolve.

Please visit Ben G Outdoors and write your prompt and show your support for the leap frog bloggers prompt.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The muddy dog

So I love telling stories about my hunting dogs. So when thinking about what I wanted to write today a great story came into mind.

I was duck hunting with a good friend in Longview WA. I had never hunted down there and my friend was newish to duck hunting. He said he knew of a few spots we could put a sneak on some ducks.

We pulled up to the first spot which was a small creek drainage into a larger river. We hiked down the bank to get behind the cat tails and snuck up on the ducks. I shot 3 and my friend shot 2. My dog Remi brought back 4 birds. Thinking we had one more still down, we walked walked up and down the east bank looking for the duck. We could not find the duck, so we went to our next spot.

Picture of Remi on slate peak in Washington State.
The rest of the day was uneventful and long. On the way back home we decided to stop by the first spot and just see if we could find the missing duck. When we got to the spot and the water was much lower like the tide had gone out. Remi got out onto the mud and started sniffing around. On the west bank she was showing a lot of interest up on the bank. There was about a 2 foot drop off from the top of the bank to the mud and grass was hanging over the bank. Remi jumped off the bank and started looking through the grass hanging over the bank. Remi then disappeared into the bank, she was gone from sight. We heard a light growling and heavy sniffing and grunting coming from the hole she vanished into. (I don't know if it was a beaver den entrance or what but it was deep enough for my 50 pound dog to explore. Anyway a few seconds later this muddy nasty dog came out of the bank with a drake mallard.

The day had very little success but the success we did get way pretty cool.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Leap Frog bloggers prompt

So here we go with the first of many leap from Bloggers Prompts. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, check out my post about increasing traffic. Anyway, the short version is I am going to announce a prompt of some sort. Then out of all the posts we hopefully get I will pick my favorite one, then that blogger will pick a prompt for next week and then pick their favorite post and so on.

After a lot of thought the prompt I want everyone to write about is this:

Everyone who pushes the limits to get the best experience in the outdoors has had a close call with death or injury. What was your experience, and would you do different if you could do it over again?

I will pick my favorite post on Wednesday and post a comment on here so everyone knows who to look to next Friday and I will post a comment on the winner's post so they know as well. I hope this catches on for everyone's benefit.

Here is my prompt post

I was fishing the Tieton Rirver out of Yakima WA with two friends. We were 18 and not the best at making good decisions. We were camped along the river and I saw a area of river that I wanted to fish. The thing was that it was on the opposite side of the river and there was no obvious way to cross, so being the rocket scientists we were we just crossed at a downstream angle. The fishing wasn't that great over there and it was time to cross back to camp. Because of the lay of the land we could not get up river to angle down river to camp and we couldn't angle down river from where we were. So we just had to fight the current to the other side. My two friends made it to the other side. They were not holding a fishing pole like I was. I started across and didn't quite make it. As I fell still holding on to my pole and getting swept down river I threw my free arm towards the bank and just happened to grab a rope my friends threw for me. They pulled me to the shore and we all laughed about it later that night. All I knew was I wasn't losing that pole. Funny thing was, my parents were not told about that part of the trip when we got home.

If I were in the same situation I would just stay on my bank and fish up and down the river, if I was being swept down stream I would let my $10 pole go to help my chance of getting to safety.

Lets get some traffic

So OBN is great, right? They allow us to be apart of a bigger community rather than going at it all alone. My wife over at Down by the Creek has groups she posts on and receives tons of traffic. I surpassed 91 hits in a day - the most I have ever received in a single day. I have an idea but it will take everyone for it to work. If everyone participates then it will benefit everyone.

Here's my idea: I will come up with some type of a prompt, whether it be a photo prompt, writing prompt or maybe a recipe prompt. Whichever I pick, anyone who wants to participate will follow accordingly and link their post to mine. The following Wednesday I will choose my favorite post. That Friday the blogger who wrote my favorite post will choose a prompt for us all to blog about. The Wednesday after, they will chose the post they like the best, and that person will do a prompt, and so on. I hope you get the pattern. I just think this will be one more way to get people to everyones great blogs.I am going to start my idea on Friday March 4th.

So I hope to see you all back on Friday the 4th, and I look forward to seeing everyones posts!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The start of a hunting Mama

 A guest post from Farming Mama

Hunting checklist from mama's perspective

Although I had been out hunting on a couple of occasions before meeting Rory, and had shot several different types of guns, I definitely wasn't a hunter. I hadn't taken a hunters ed class, I had never shot at anything other than the odd tree or target, and I didn't own all that much camo. I was, however, a 'bush kid'. I grew up in the woods  - 'the bush' we called it, and spent most of my time in rural and wild settings up in Canada. As a kid, even though I was a bit of a tree hugger, I knew that some animals got shot or trapped on sight if they came around our house. Raccoons would make a mess of the corn, porcupines would gnaw at the house, muskrat would make a mess of the trout pond, squirrels would steal all the bird food, mice would end up finding a way into the house. I grew up on 100 acres of fields and forest; I knew what death was - from my dad taking care of troublesome wildlife, from the chickens and geese my family used to raise for meat, and from finding animal bones and skulls in the woods.

When I met Rory, I wasn't fazed by him being an avid hunter. I loved being in the woods, in fact I had just finished up 3 intensive summers of fieldwork where most of my waking moments were spent outdoors tracking snakes. This past fall was the third hunting season I've spent with Rory and his family - hunting grouse, spending time at duck camp, and this fall had Rory's first deer. I can even now say that I am a hunter. During my first fall outdoors hunting with Rory, I was determined not to be the one who got sent around to flush birds towards the hunters, not to be the one left behind a bush behind all the action to keep an eye on where the hunters ducks fell, not to be the one sitting back at the truck waiting to let the dogs loose. I wanted in.

I took hunters ed that next spring. Shortly afterwards, we found out I was pregnant with little Maddycakes, but after researching at what age fetuses hearing developed, I didn't let being pregnant stop me from grouse hunting. I was so proud that the first grouse our puppy retrieved was also the first one I shot. One morning on our property the dogs and I flushed a grouse, and while Rory slept, I got my gun and vest and headed back down to shoot it. Boy was he ever surprised when I came back up and woke him up with my blue grouse!

By the time duck hunting rolled around that fall, well, I was getting a little rounder, so I stayed back from the action again. This past fall, after a dismal grouse season, I was motivated to get my first duck. It was hard balancing being the mom and getting out hunting, but Maddycakes cooperated, and after shooting a duck that got away in the weeds (should I mention I got soaked to my mid-thighs in icy water trying to get the dogs onto its scent?!), at the next lake I got my first duck. It was even a green head (male mallard). Rory shot several at that lake as well, and I was so proud of our puppy Lily, then no longer a puppy, as she retrieved three ducks in a row!
Hanging out with the guys though, and especially now that the baby often comes along hunting, means that I need to be the one planning and packing. Rory is content to go hungry if he forgets snacks, or get cold if he forgets a hat. Me, not so much... So here you have it, my list of things I've learned to remember to bring hunting:

More ammo than I think I will need
Camo/tan clothing
Warm clothing - including mitts and a hat
Snacks - depending on how long you will be out
Shovel - for when you get stuck
My gun
My hunting license
Emergency stuff - whistle, knife, matches, etc (if you are into that kind of thing)

I know it's pretty basic, but also remember to let someone know where you are going and when you will be back, and stick to that plan! If you don't let someone know, then at least write a note with these details in it and leave it somewhere obvious in your home, so that if you get lost or hurt or stuck when you are out, someone will be able to find you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Things I Never Leave At home When In The Outdoors

So the OBN Photo Promt this week is asking for pictures of things you would never leave at home when in the outdoors.  I dont know if this counts, but I would never leave or try not to leave my dogs. They can warn me of danger, they can provide companionship, they can find or retrieve food and can provide warmth on a cold night. They are just the best multi tool out there.

Remi and Lily

Monday, February 28, 2011

Stalking Salt Water Salmon

Fishing the back eddy, and supporting the US postal service cycling team

My stalking bounty

So I was writing a post about bottom fishing and Buzz Bombs, It got me thinking that when  I was 19 I was in three rivers inlet in central BC. We were trolling for salmon on the big boat and doing ok. I noticed that Salmon were jumping everywhere.  A couple days later we were in a big back eddy made from changing tides in a long arm with a narrow opening. This creates a large rush of water when the tide is flowing since there is so much shoreline that has to flow through this one small area. (I hope this all makes sense.) Anyway we were stuck till the tide calmed down so we got out our ultra light rods and started fishing with 2 inch buzz bombs. It turns out we were not the only ones in this back eddy a large group of pink salmon were as well. My Dad, Little sister and I all caught about 25 salmon each in about an hour and a half. it was crazy. While fishing I also noticed when the salmon were jumping only one or two of the big group under the water would jump. I called this the Ice berg effect. I concluded that if you see one salmon jumping there are plenty more under the water with it. So a few nights later we were pulling into a inlet for the night and I noticed there were plenty of salmon jumping just outside the inlet. I got into the dingy after we got the big boat anchored and went to the mouth of the inlet. I sat there ready to cast "finger on the trigger" and when I saw a salmon jump I threw my 3 inch Buzz Bomb about 20 feet in front of the fish based on which way it jumped. BAM, I got a hit, I was fighting the fish for about 10 minutes and it broke my line off. So I tied another 3 inch Buzz Bomb on and waited again. A fish jumped and WHAM another fish on. Now when I set out on this adventure I wasn't too sure that I was going to catch anything. Like the young stupid adult I was I did not bring the landing net. I got that 18 pound Coho to the boat and grabbed it as best I could and got it in the boat.  I was so excited I just went back to the big boat just to show off my fish.    It was a good night and it was delicious.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Outdoor Bloggers Dream or Delusions

So when I started this blogging adventure early this year my original goal was to was to get paid for testing outdoor gear and maybe get free gear. I started testing all the gear I had in the worst conditions I could find. I made my self sleep outside in a snow shelter in -3 degree temps in my post "One Long Cold Night". The next thing I had to do was get traffic to my blog. I had the "My Mom and Dad" market cornered but I am sure they weren't going to send me free gear to test or pay me either. While researching I found The Outdoor Blogger Network (OBN) and the great Outdoor bloggers who belonged to the site like The River Damsel, Mouthful of Feathers and Hooked Up Films.

My mind quickly changed when I read that people just blog about their outdoor adventures. I mean I have tons of those. I am not sure if people really want to hear about how I threw out my back and didn't shoot any ducks on the Last Day of Duck Hunting or anything else I had to say. Then I met Mike Adams from Up North Journal and now I have dreams of doing pod casts and filming my hunting and fishing adventures for other people to enjoy. Maybe even one day having my own Pro Staffers.

Now I hope to be teaming up with one of my best friends Eric Hess at Eric Hess Design to really make my site stand out. When it comes to online site building I need all the help I can get, so teaming up with someone I think is one of  the best out there I don't think I can go wrong.

I believe in my delusions of an outdoor empire for R-Dub Outdoors. I do realize that I have a steep uphill battle. I see that in this game slow and steady wins the race. If nothing else I believe I have the stubbornness to stay with it. Maybe one day in a place where the grass is greener I can work my selfout of my current day job.

That's not to much to ask right?


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Slowing Life Down

So today is my only day off this week. It's my fault for volunteering for a couple of overtime shifts. I was sitting at home watching a TV show while my daughter was taking a nap.  The show I was watching was about cattle ranching in Montana. While looking at the scenery there I thought to my self  "wow it would be so beautiful to live there."

Later I was reading a post from Mouthful Of Feathers  that had a picture of an old homested. It reminded me of a picture I took where I go duck hunting about a half hour away from my house.

An old mission school house on the Colville Indian Reservation.

Looking at this picture I realized that it is just as beautiful where I live now. Sometimes I get so busy in everyday life - going to work, trying to keep up my end of the household chores (which I am not the best at) and I forget to slow down and appreciate where I live and what I have.

I started thinking about the area the last picture was taken. How I love hunting there, but how when I am there I need to slow down and take it in better. When my daughter is older I want her to learn to slow down and enjoy the small things. I want her to sit in my lap at this lake (Duley Lake) and have her close her eyes and just listen to the sounds and smell the odors.  Maybe in the far distant future when I am not around she will be able to stop and remember the days when she sat in my lap and still be able to hear the sounds and smell the odors again.

I guess my point is we all have places that we love. Next time you're there just take some time to slow your life down for a few minutes and really take it all in - remember nothing is forever. 

Another stunning view from my living room.