Friday, August 22, 2008

Finished a new knife...

to go along with the longbow I made last year. I am pleased with how it turned out and it should hold an edge better than one of my purely homemade knives...

Fancy equipment

This is going to make it tough to justify to my wife exactly why it is that I need that new high dollar fly fishing rod:

Photo: NC Wildlife Resources Commision

(From WNCN, Raleigh)
WILKES COUNTY, N.C. — A backyard angler has bagged the state’s record channel catfish using a 2½-foot hot pink Barbie Doll rod and reel.

David Hayes caught the record-breaking fish from a private pond while fishing early this month with his granddaughter, Alyssa, 3. The 21-pound, 1-ounce catfish measured 32 inches long — 2 inches longer than the Barbie Doll fishing pole. “After catching two or three bluegill, Alyssa turns to me and says: ‘Papa, I’ve got to go to the bathroom. Hold my fishing rod,’” Hayes was quoted as saying in a news release from the state Wildlife Resources Commission.
“A few minutes later, the float went under, and I saw the water start boiling up — I knew right then that I had my hands full with that fishing rod.”
It took Hayes about 25 minutes to land the fish, which measured 22½ inches in girth. Hayes said that once he got it to the bank, he was pretty certain his channel cat would exceed the previous state record, an 18-pound, 5-ounce fish caught in August 2007.
The fish was weighed on certified scales at a nearby grocery store, and a fisheries biologist with the Wildlife Resources Commission certified that Hayes was right. — WNCN, Raleigh, N.C.


One of those things that all outdoorsmen (and by that I mean the women are included as well.) should know is knots. Just like tools, there is a knot for the job. And when you use the right knot, the job becomes easier. Take rock climbing, for example. While I don't climb very much any more, I have in the past. The ubiquitous knot in rock climbing is the figure 8 knot. You could use a simple overhand in some of the situations where a figure 8 is used, but a "8" is a better choice because it can be "broken" after it has been loaded and more easily untied.

With that in mind, my list of "must know" knots:
#1: Overhand. The most basic knot. The building block for most knots.
#2: The square or reef knot. Strong, but still basic. Lots of applications.
#3: Bowline. Pronounced "beau-lin" if you want to sound salty. Again, loads of applications.
#4: Prussik. Anything from self recovery to tightening your tarp setup.
#5: The other basic knot, the girth hitch. Most hitches are a variation of this single knot, but this will get you through much more than an overhand will.
And #6: Monkey's fist. Just because it is cool.

Check out Grog's animated knots for some excellent tutorials on various knots.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hunting area pictures

I thought I'd share some pictures of the area around where I am planning on hunting next month. At this time I don't have anything more specific, but after I return from the woods I will.... until then, enjoy these!

Knife Techniques

I found another great video of knife techniques. This one is by a great outfit up in Washington called "Bushcraft Northwest." I particularly like their videos because of the similarities to where I hunt, fish, hike and wander... enjoy!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dog Days of Summer

I have been busy.

Busy trying not to get too dehydrated. Trying to stay cool. Trying to get my six mile run time down to around 40 minutes. Trying to thin out my outdoors gear, think through what I'll be taking on this year's elk safari.

I have also been scouting from afar. I am trying a new place for elk this year, a different elk zone entirely. It began, I suppose, last year when the hunting was good (it always is), but the locating elk wasn't so good. So I had it in mind to maybe try something new next year. I began by wiping the slate clean and looking at past hunting stats in Idaho. What areas had the highest success rates? What areas had the most hunters? With that info, I narrowed it down, and made a few phone calls and emails. I scoured my maps. I narrowed it down further. And while I am not 100% certain where exactly I'll be, I think that might be an advantage from previous years. I have some flexibility built in.

But at the same time, these are the dog days of summer. In a lot of ways, I have a harder time with this period each year than I do with cold snaps in the dead of winter... It can be hard to stay motivated and get ready for an upcoming hunt when it's too hot to go outside.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Single Bevel Broadheads

As hunters it seems to be a paradox that we want to take the life of an animal, yet we (and perhaps this isn't true of all hunters, but the vast majority of them it is) want the life to be ended painlessly, quickly and to that end, there is a lot that goes into our planning.

One of the tid bits I have been mulling over in my head the last few years is new information concerning single bevel broadheads. It is a topic of discussion, at times bordering on heated debate among traditional bowhunters. Ongoing research has been spearheaded by Dr. Ed Ashby, a retired optician out of Australia.

In a condensed version, a single bevel broadhead twists into the animal, using the forces created by the single bevel to cause quite a bit of torque.

Because of the torque, it has been shown that it can cause bone breaks in critical near hits on leg and shoulder bones. It also effectively creates a larger wound channel in soft flesh by creating a "wrapping" effect as it is twisting.

I encourage you to read a bit about the doc's research here.