Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happy birthday Marines!

Happy birthday to all my brothers in arms. Semper Fi!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Kuiu/ Kestrel Knives

Cool concept. Not 100% sold on a no handle type knife for anything that I'd be using that much though...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Weekly Tips

This weeks tip, brought to you by yours truly and published in Traditional Bowhunter Magazine's Weekly Tips email blast is yet another reason why 550 cord is so useful to have in your backpack. To my knowledge I have never seen the inner cord used like this, so this may be another, original use for para cord. This is my second tip published and I am having fun coming up with ideas that others might find useful. If you aren't signed up for their weekly tips, you should get on the list, it's free.

550 Cord Wind Monitor
By Mike Miller

The second cardinal rule of successful hunting--after hunting where the animals are--is hunt the wind.

While sitting in my elk blind at 8,500 feet this year I felt like I was constantly picking up my dust-type wind indicator. Although I was well hidden behind a screen of spruce, the movement was bothersome. Thinking about what was in my pack, I remembered the various lengths of military "paracord" or "550 cord" I had. I took a foot long piece of cord, removed the core strands, combed them out and tied them onto a couple of low hanging branches. This provided a sensitive and constant wind monitor that only required the movement of my eyeballs. Perfect!

There are 450 and 650 versions out there as well, and the numbers represent the load limit. Each strand of 550 cord has seven strands inside, and each of these strands yields two smaller strands. The smaller strands are what we are after. Simply unravel them and attempt to fluff or comb them out, and you have fourteen wind monitors per foot or so of cord. You can also tie the strands onto your bow tips, but the micro strands are so small they tear apart when removing burrs, so they don't last too long. Don't forget to take the strands out of the branches when you are done hunting for the day.
For price and convenience, 550 cord wind monitors are still hard to beat. Get out there and hunt the wind!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Back from elk hunting, round 2

Yup, my awesome wife let me head up to the mountains for a couple more days, the evening of the 19th saw me hunting the same mountain from a simple "back of the truck" camp and I hunted all day the 20th and again half the day on the 21st. No elk meat in the freezer, but I did manage to pin a spruce grouse which I promptly breasted out and ate.

The video journal is done and as polished as I care to make it at this point, I didn't realize just how much video I'd been shooting. Over an hour of quick little vignettes, it was a fun project. However, I don't expect many will find the time or interest to watch the whole thing. Which is really no problem at all... I did it for myself more than anything.

I do have some more pictures to share with you though, and then I'll get to work uploading the video.

Thanks for tuning in, keep checking in as deer season develops!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back From Elk Hunting

I am back. I had the most wonderfully awesome week chasing elk... I literally lost count of the number of mature 6x6 bulls I was within 25 yards of, and the total amount of elk I was within 50 yards of was astounding. I am finally feeling like I am beginning to "know" "my" mountain.

I am in the process of editing my video journal and will hopefully have something posted up here in the near future. Until then, enjoy a couple of photos.

Mulie Doe right by Observation Rock and Mulie Meadows

Spring where I saw elk last year, it was much drier this year.

Sunset over the Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho

Taking a break.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Channel catfishing

My lovely wife allowed me a few free hours last night so I headed out to my local park pond for some catfishing action. I'll admit, I have never caught a catfish before. Family leanings lead us to trout streams and rivers, and when we go warmwater fishing, we hit the bass and bluegills. We simply have overlooked the catfish since it is almost always caught while bait fishing. Nothing against bait fishing, it has it's place, but typically it is just so much sitting there. Several months ago I decided I needed to right this wrong and catch a catfish. After a little research I decided that chicken livers would be my bait of choice. Turns out, it was a good choice!

About 8:45 pm I was wandering the bank looking at the plants and happened to notice my bobber was not there. So I set the reel, pulled and reeled, pulled and reeled and coaxed out of the depths a big ol' cat. Like the carp I shot with my bow earlier this year, I was a little tentative at first... how do I handle this fish? My stringer hooks were too small for the size of the jaw, so I ended up piercing the lower jaw and inserting it there. Meanwhile my bobber is swimming away, but I missed the set and that one got away.

The night ended with the one cat in the truck. Took him home and fileted him up. Looking forward to more cats in my future!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Done with school!

For now at least. There is more education in my future, but a semester break is looking really nice right about now. DONE! And not a moment to soon. Elk season opens in 16 days, although I won't be up there for opening day, I am really, really looking forward to some elk hunting solitude! I am busy writing my lists for camp, truck, backpack and pockets, and it is all I can do to not pack up the truck right now. No new gear this year, with the exception of a couple giant coolers to keep all the fresh elk meat from spoiling, and the same area I head to every year, but I can feel the destiny of this year's hunt creeping up, the excitement and pure adrenaline of a rut crazed bull or a tender young cow 20 yards away. My confidence is high, my arrow groups tight, my list compiled, boxes packed...

I was going through some of my hunting pictures and whatnot on my computer and "found" these again. Always I good thing to review before a hunt!

Stay tuned for much more regular updates as I continue to assemble my gear, practice, hit the gym and the trails and otherwise prepare my mind, body, soul and gear for a successful elk hunt in 2011!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm still here!

Just thought I'd drop by and let my handful of followers know I am still here. Life is good, just been really, really busy pretty much the whole last year finishing up nursing school (finishing it for now, at least, I anticipate I'll be back at it pretty soon, but I'll be taking the fall off at least).

I did manage to get out for a couple bluegill fishing days with my dad. We knocked them dead! At one point I had to unload my stringer of big, fat, healthy 'gills into my dad's mesh bucket because I was doubling them up and they weren't fitting! And then I filled up the stringer again! What a blast, and we are looking forward to a nice fish fry here soon.

I hope to be able to post more as my semester pretty much ends at the end of July and I'll really start getting ready for the archery elk season, so stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Canadian Wilds

Finally found some time to go dig through a couple boxes of old books at my parent's house and found what I have been looking for, Canadian Wilds by Martin Hunter, first edition from 1907.

Book report to follow at some point.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On the hunt

I am looking for a book my Dad had when I was younger, I fondly remember enthusiastically reading about how Hudson's Bay trappers caught beaver...

Hopefully I can find a copy and re-read this classic that no doubt has had a lot of influence on my love of the outdoors.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Something positive!

The Mora 510 is back! A bit overpriced, but still a great knife, I noticed Ray Mears is now offering a green handled version of the 510. Good news!

Dumbest thing

At the risk of turning my little corner of cyber space into a negative blog about Bear Grylls...

I was at the gym just now and saw a preview for his next episode. Imagine Bear up on a seaside cliff, hollering "I see a seal carcass down there." He goes down, and cuts into the seal. Next shot is him trying on a "farmer john" wetsuit style top he made from the seal skin. There really is nothing positive I can say about that. Not classy, not practical, ...just simply stupid.

Rant off.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Wild Within

I just wanted to say a few words about a new show that I caught the first two episodes of. It's called "The Wild Within" and it is on the Travel channel (which, since I don't have cable TV (gasp!) means I have to go the the gym to watch it, a good thing). The host is Steve Rinella, a correspondent for Outside magazine, and it chronicles some of his adventures in procuring food for his family in a wholesome, natural fashion. The premier episode had Steve in southwest Alaska shrimping, crabbing, as well as goose and black tail deer hunting. What really caught my fancy was his eloquent dissertation on why he hunts and why it is ethical. Very well said, and I simply can't do it justice. As soon as I can find the episode online I'll post the video because it is definately "must see TV." I posted a link to the "Wild Within" website on the links list.

That said, the second episode was a bit of a let down. Filmed in the Missouri Breaks in Montana, there just wasn't as much "substance" to it. In addition, after his rant talking about feeding his family wholesome, fair hunt food in the first episode, he donated his kill to the local town (which is a very good thing to do, just not what I was expecting given his point of view in the first episode).

The third episode I will likely watch, but it looks to be even a bit further from the first episode's benchmark. Hunting "wild" (I used quotation marks because they are feral, not truely wild) pigs with dogs and a knife is, in my opinion, not something for the non hunting public to be excited about on TV. It remains to be seen, however, and actually could be a great show.

Thanks for dropping by!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The ten essentials

The list has been around for a long time, and for the most part it is still pertinent. What do you take on this list, what extras, and what do you omit?

In the 1930s, the Mountaineers, a Seattle-based hiking, climbing, and conservation organization, came up with a list of 10 essential items that no climber should be without.

Map. A map not only tells you where you are and how far you have to go, it can help you find campsites, water, and an emergency exit route in case of an accident.

Compass. A compass can help you find your way through unfamiliar terrain—especially in bad weather where you can't see the landmarks.

Water and a way to purify it. Without enough water, your body's muscles and organs simply can't perform as well: You'll be susceptible to hypothermia and altitude sickness. not to mention the abject misery of raging thirst.

Extra Food. Any number of things could keep you out longer than expected: a lengthy detour, getting lost, an injury, difficult terrain. A few ounces of extra food will help keep up energy and morale.

Rain Gear and extra clothing. Because the weatherman is not always right. Especially above treeline, bring along extra layers. Two rules: Avoid cotton (it keeps moisture close to your skin), and always carry a hat.

Firestarter and matches. The warmth of a fire and a hot drink can help prevent an encounter with hypothermia. And fires are a great way to signal for help if you get lost.

First aid kit. Prepackaged first aid kits for hikers are available at outfitters. Double your effectiveness with knowledge: Take a basic first aid class with the American Red Cross or a Wilderness First Aid class, offered by many hiking organizations.

Army knife or multi-purpose tool. These enable you to cut strips of cloth into bandages, remove splinters, fix broken eyeglasses, and perform a whole host of repairs on malfunctioning gear—not to mention cut cheese and open cans.

Flashlight and extra bulbs. For finding your way in the dark and signaling for help.

Sun screen and sun glasses. Especially above treeline when there is a skin-scorching combination of sun and snow, you'll need sunglasses to prevent snowblindness, and sunscreen to prevent sunburn.

Taken from

Contrast that with the ten essentials from the "Northwest Woodsman" website:

The Woodsman's 10 Essentials

It's finally the weekend!! You have been looking over the maps and plan to explore some new country. You found a creek poled up as far as you can, then left the canoe and hiked in the rest of the way to see what you can find. You only want to take what you need and nothing else. There are 10 basic essentials that you need to carry for your trip:

1. Pack - A good pack is not only important for carrying your gear but for protecting your
outfit from limbs, rocks, brush, or anything else you put it through. Bushwhacking through
wild country requires a tough pack.

2. Shelter - A 9' x 12' tarp is the perfect size for the solo wanderer and is very adaptable
to many uses. It is important that you know a few different ways to rig a tarp to match the
weather or terrain. A ground tarp and bug net for the front in summer makes life a little
more comfortable.

3. Axe - It’s the most important tool in the woods along with your fire starter. In the
warmer months a smaller axe will work just fine for all your camp chores. When the
temperatures drop and the snow starts to fall it’s time for the full size axe and bucksaw.

4. Fire Starter - Fire is the heart of the camp, from cooking, to warmth, to light, it is
essential to life in the woods. Always carry a couple of ways to start a fire with you; one
on your person and one in the pack for back up. After the tarp is set up the fire will be
made one step away from the front.

5. Bedding - When temperatures are above freezing a wool blanket is my choice for
bedding. It is soft, warm, and naturally wicks moisture. Sleeping, sitting by the fire, or
just lounging under a tree, there nothing more practical then a wool blanket in the woods.
When temperature start to drop, then a good warm sleeping bag is added. If you bring a
foam pad, it only needs to be long enough to keep your shoulders and hips off the ground.

6. Knife - A sturdy, functional, lightweight knife that fits well in your hand and holds an
edge is of the utmost importance. A blade made with high carbon steel with a full tang is

7. Cooking Pot – If I only had room for one cooking item it would be a pot. Boiling water
will be what you will need most and everything else can be roasted. A frying pan is a nice
addition for frying fish or baking bread. A cup, leather gloves, fork & spoon can all be
stored inside the pot.

8. Compass - The best compass is the one that you actually use. I find it interesting how
a man will circle when in new terrain and can’t get a visual on a fixed landmark. Staying
on a true bearing and keeping track of your time and distance will greatly reduce your
chances of ever getting lost. A current map of the area you are traveling in is always

9. Rope – 50 feet of ¼ inch rope is perfect for lashing poles, rigging your tarp, lining your
canoe, Etc. A good rope is invaluable on the trail or in camp.

10. First Aid Kit (for body and gear) – Keeping yourself healthy and avoiding infection
is important, along with keeping your gear in tip top shape. Tape, gauze, iodine, butterfly
stitches, & twisters are some of the basic medical supplies. For your gear, a sharpening
stone, sewing kit, 550 cord, and a multi tool will cover most of your needs. A useful multi
tool for the woods should have pliers, file, saw, knife, and an awl.

Throw in your extra clothing, such as an extra pair of wool socks, heavy wool shirt, wool hat, long underwear, and a
rain coat. Also basic food staples like oatmeal, pasta, rice, coffee, bannock mix or whatever you find easy to
prepare over an open fire. One pot meals are always the easiest and best way to cook when you are out by
yourself. A 22 rifle and/or a small fishing kit will keep you in a fresh supply of meat when seasons are open. With
this basic outfit the lone woodsman can travel with ease and in comfort.