Friday, December 30, 2011

The Old Man Shoots A Waltzing Duck


Searching through the video and picture vault the other evening, I found this clip of Dad, Matt (my brother) and I hunting ducks on Merry Meeting Bay. This segment is classic old man and I chuckle each time it is played. These few megabytes of data help remind my rapidly aging recollections and preserve some of my favorite and most precious memories shared with Dad and my brother.

In this particular video segment, please note Dad’s statement “You boys shoot the ducks that want to swing and lindy hop and I will shoot the ones that want to waltz.” I really don’t remember if the old man fired a single shot that beautiful morning on the bay, I am guessing that sitting peacefully in the boat, drinking coffee and watching the antics of his two sons was likely more enjoyable then the prospect of shooting ducks.


video


Monday, December 26, 2011

Does This Picture Disgust You?

I am conducting a test, unto which I would invite you to participate. It isn’t a test any of you need worry of passing or failing, as there is no absolute right or wrong answers. This test is only a survey of your reactions on how you view this posts image.

Most of us are certainly familiar with animal furs, leather jackets and the act of buying a hunk of meat from a store shelf, wrapped in cellophane. What many fewer are familiar with and in some cases sickened by, is the process unto which leads to all of these things.

This picture depicts me about ½ way through the skinning of a coyote, so that I may convert its hide to a wall hanging for a family member. For many, unaccustomed to the process of butchering or skinning an animal, this is a gruesome sight. These perceptions and ideals often hamper a person’s ability to see beyond the blood and the slowly decomposing flesh, to an object that with care and proper handing, can become something beautiful or perhaps even delicious. Of course, beautiful and delicious are also relative terms, again based on a set of preconceived notions.

Each of us has a set of morals, principal and standards that have been crafted by our life experiences. These experiences then make certain events, circumstances and situations either acceptable practices or taboo to our individual belief system. The crafting of these boundary setting ideals, is likely a combination of environmental and life factors that with little doubt would translate well to the nature/nurture train of educational thought.

What is an individual’s limit and what do you deem as acceptable? Can you stomach the sight of a pile of guts? Does an animal with no skin sicken you? Could you cut the head off a chicken? Would you think it comical if its headless body ran around the yard? Would you shoot an animal if you didn’t plan to eat it?

I remember shooting a moose about 15 years ago and having to practically climb into the body cavity to finish the gutting process. Upon exiting of the animal, I was so saturated in blood, guts and gore; I had to ride home in the back of the truck. At that time, that particular experience was at the apex of my level of personal tolerance. Since then it would take more than gutting a moose to make me blow chunks on my shoes but that tolerance has been build by partaking in a life time of gut wrenching activities.

Despite what you feel you can and cannot stomach, the most important consideration is that we practice and build tolerance of all other sportsmen and their pursuits. Yes, I am talking about the bow hunters who snub crossbow enthusiasts and those that would harass someone for shooting a duck on the water, those who trap animals purely for their hides and those who won’t butcher their own deer and instead prefer to take it to a processor . . . and just perhaps, even those guys that would refuse to invite a woman to deer camp (Yes, I also like to kick hornet nests!). Remember, we are all sportsmen and must be united in our efforts to insure our traditions don’t just survive but instead thrive!

Also, for more information on this topic read this interesting article: One Man's Meat: Futher Thoughts on the Evolution of Animal Food Taboos by James Serpell

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Brothers Striped Bass Rant

I was sorting through old photographs and videos the other evening and stumbled upon a rather sizable collection of fishing videos featuring my brother and I from the Spring and Summer of 2006. While looking through a couple of the videos, I stumbled across this exquisite gem. After laughing myself to tears, I decided this might be something others would enjoy watching and so I have decided to share. Though I have cleaned up the language quite a bit, eliminating the 10 uses of the F-Bomb in less than 1 minute of commentary, it is still a little rough and should be viewed with caution. Please enjoy my brother sharing his sorted tale of his very first striped bass!

video

A few points of clarification on this video:
1. No my brother is not REALLY part of the Canadian Drinking team as his shirt suggests. However, he is part of the Upper Lead Mt. Pond Drinking Team.

2. Yes, his arms really are sunburned that badly it is not a trickery of the light and/or shadows. If you think his arms are red you should see his neck. Err wait a minute . . . red . . . neck . . . I think we might be on to something.

3. No he doesn’t REALLY talk like that.

4. Yes, he really did catch the striped bass he describes (I saw the photographic evidence) and yes I anticipate that it probably occurred much in the way of the discombobulated fashion he describes. It is therefore my professional opinion that this rant be classified as a fish “story” and not fish “tale”.

5. Yes, he is typically a pirate in his speaking and actions though he is able to manage this affliction when in church, around small children and in the company of the elderly

Friday, December 16, 2011

Why You Shoot Coyotes!

These pictures are just a few taken from a larger collection of photographs that have been circulating via e-mail. For those who have not yet seen, they are a little disturbing but should serve as a stark reminder as to why coyote populations must remain in check. Maine sportsmen lets do our part by breaking out those deer rifles and giving the coyote populations a little bit of hell this holiday season!

MAINERS Coyote Night Hunting Starts TONIGHT!





More Posts From the Maine Outdoorsman on Coyotes:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bobcat Taxidermy Project Complete

I know there are a majority of sportsmen out there in cyberspace that only kill animals that they plan to eat and then there are others like predator hunters and trappers that kill animals for a variety of other reasons, ranging from population control and selling of pelts to yes even trophy killing like in the case of this particular specimen. What is important to consider, in all of these cases, is that regardless of how and why we pursue out particular sporting endeavors, we must ALL practice tolerance and not look poorly upon another's hunting practices simply because they do not directly align with our own personal opinions. An open mind is an educated mind, while a close mind is a harbinger of prejudice.

It took close to a year for my New Years Eve 2011 Bobcat to finally make its way back home from it’s visit with my friendly neighborhood taxidermist. While it certainly was a LONG wait, now that I sit and stare at the final product, I must admit it was well worth my investment of money and patience. Steve Luce of Fins and Feathers Taxidermy completed the work and did a fantastic job!



Now that I own such a unique and impressive display of taxidermy art, I looked up some of the hints and tips for caring for your new trophy. One of the best sites I found, was at the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) in a posting entitled: Hints and Tips for Caring for your Taxidermy.

For more Taxidermy Postings on the Maine Outdoorsman be Sure to See:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear L.L. Bean Where is Your Shame?


Wrong on SO Many Levels
Dear L.L. Bean,

I received, in the mail today, your “L.L. Bean Signature” catalog. While I appreciate your willingness to provide me with combustibles for my fireplace, in this particular instance, I really must implore you to NEVER EVER send me another one of these catalogs!

Poor Leon is no doubt rolling around in his grave, knowing you are actually attempting to dress outdoorsmen (or any man for that matter) in pants with little duckies on them and wool sweaters with what appears to be two polar bears having a tickle fight. I can guarantee you that if anyone ever shows up at deer camp wearing 95% of the clothing depicted in this catalog, they will be shot on sight.

Polar Bears? Really?
Now while some among your staff will likely think my comments harsh, I know there still exists somewhere in the deep dark recesses of your titanic corporation, a few remaining sporting aficionados, who are without a doubt reading this and thinking, “HA this guy has got a good point!” My suggestion to you Mistah is to find these last remaining individuals and promote them to the top of your company! Oh sure, you will likely loose millions in revenue as all of the American Eagle, Abercrombie Fitch, Banana Republic and Gap loving yuppies scream foul but at least you will save yourself from this embarrassment and make me and the few remaining Maine sporting traditionalists VERY happy.

Your Friend,

The Rabid Outdoorsman

P.S. A few weeks back, I was in your store and noted that the last time you pictured someone with a firearm in their hands in an actual hunting depiction, in your store display of wall mounted magazine covers, was the Fall of 1990 . . . what is all that about?

Are those Actually Hunters under that Tree?
For more on L.L. Beans fall from grace see: LLBean Vs Cabelas and Unsent.
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IMPORTANT POST UPDATE:
1. StatCounter tells me that someone from L.L. Bean actually read this post and is certain to be reporting my indiscretions to corporate headquarters. It is likely they offer me a job as their new marketing director after they fire the guy who came up with the idea of the "signature series". In actuality, they are probably plotting to send me the sweater and pants for CHRISTMAS! If you do kind sirs there will be hell to pay!!!

2. If anyone out there in cyber space (who dares call themselves an outdoorsman!) sends me a photograph of themselves wearing either of the two items pictured in this post, I will personally write LL Bean an apology letter AND the brave soul who sends me the photo will receive a free bottle of Code Blue Doe in Estrous Urine. Yes, peeve me off and I will be happy to peeve you off!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Girls At Deer Camp? - Maine Mag Response


Sophie Nelson
The following is an e-mail response from Maine Magazine Writer Sophie Nelson who along with independent photographer Erin, joined the men at this year's deer camp. Her words below are in response to the three "Girls At Deer Camp?" postings, I published on the blog in late November. For links to these articles please see the end of this post. Lastly, thank you Sophie for the kind words, everyone had a great time having you and Erin attend our farting, burping, practical joking, gun shooting manfest we call Deer Camp!

WOW. Steve, thanks for directing us to the blog! I should have known some writings of the sort would make it up on themaineoutdoorsman.com!

You bring up all kinds of things I wasn't aware of. For one thing, I thought that the idea of hosting women at deer camp developed from your initial meeting with Kevin, Susan, and Tyler! Phew, I guess that came as a surprise! Of course, knowing you I know that what you wrote about women (being nagging, gas-free, intolerant and generally obnoxious) was meant as a joke, that you know that plenty of women drink too much beer, enjoy football, burp, etc. etc. just like plenty of men dislike sports, prefer wine, etc. etc.--thankfully we live in a day and age when most people have outgrown such simplistic thinking and don't equate one's value as a person with the degree to which they fulfill gender stereotypes! I wouldn't have felt so comfortable with you and your family and friends if they drew lines like that. And hopefully the mission to involve more women in what has traditionally been a male sport will help in the effort to rid the world of the hurtful behavior and speech that reifies that kind of gendered thinking. Thank you, again and again, for welcoming Erin and I at Deer Camp! You were all so kind and considerate and open-hearted, open-minded. How funny it is to read of fears re: tighty whities and gas! And what a delicious dinner, great music... I could go on and on... good thing there's a place for all I have to say in the forthcoming article! 

It's interesting to me, too, that you saw a "killer glint in my eye!" and I must say I read some of "Steve the jokester" in that assessment... It was probably more like fear and over-analyzing my every move to the point my brain might bust that you read in my wild eyes and hyper behavior. I definitely felt and thought a lot of things while moving toward the partridge with the gun in hand. I was worried about the safety, about whether or not we'd see the bird and if I had it in me to pull the trigger if we did. Honestly, I don't think I could have aimed to kill it. But I wonder about what it would have felt like if skill and bravery came over me all at once and I'd actually killed the partridge. It would have been a challenging thing to think/feel my way through. The experience was definitely awesome in the sense that it was both cerebral and physical, and very inspiring. I look forward to continue working on the story! I'll definitely run it by you when its closer to final form. I bet you'll find it interesting to read my take on the experience, just as I've enjoyed reading yours so much.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving, too! 

Talk soon,
Sophie
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For more on this series of postings see: Girls at Deer Camp? -  Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

Friday, December 2, 2011

Outdoorsman Christmas Gift Ideas

Shopping for the Rabid Outdoorsman on your Christmas list is never an easy task. These individuals seem to have every gadget and piece of outdoor related equipment imaginable. Then when you finally do manage to miraculously find them something they like, they complain that you spent to much money on them and threaten to return it. If this sounds like anyone you might potentially know then please look below for a few slightly unusual holiday suggestions for these curmudgeons.


Reflector Oven:

Homemade Fishing Lures:

Ice Fishing Spears:

Fish Decoys:

Handmade Wood Works - (Clocks, Cribbage Boards, etc. . . . this guy is awesome!):

Books:

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Punish Coyotes With These Lethal Loads


I give big kudos to my friends over at bulkammo.com, as they have been patiently waiting for over 6 months to me mange to get a post out on a box of ammo they sent me. After initially discussing what I would be interested in testing, they agreed to send me a box of their 55 Grain Fiocchi PSP cartridges.

What impressed me most about this ammo is its ability to cycle flawlessly in my R15. This was a relief, as I patiently work my way through over 500 rounds of budget level Herter’s ammo, I purchased at Cabelas. What is most unfortunate about this budget level ammo is its less than stellar performance in my R15. More below on this cycling problem.

FIOCCHI at 100 Yards
What many fail to consider when selecting ammo, for their semi automatic rifles, is not only the ammo’s down range performance but also its ability to cycle properly. Unless cycling through a newly cleaned firearm, the budget level Herter’s cartridges, just didn’t provide consistent performance. It just goes to show that when you pay a little bit more for quality ammo, you will be rewarded by increased performance. 18 rounds of the Fiocchi loads, screamed through my heavily used R15 with absolutely NO hesitation. (Why only 18 rounds and not 20 you ask? Well, I need at least two rounds to test the penetration ballistics on the coyotes!!)

In terms of hunting, inside of 50 yards there is little noticeable difference between the various .223 Rem. ammo types in terms of group size. Even the worst functioning ammo I have tested to date, is capable of pulling small enough groups to kill any predator from coyote to bobcat to prairie dog that manages to scurry, creep, crawl or scamper into that range. Stretch this yardage out, however, and you quickly begin to identify large gaps between individual shots. By the time you are out to 300 yards, shot inconsistencies not apparent at 50 yards are easily recognizable. When shooting at extended ranges buy the best ammo you can afford, to ensure you make an ethical kill shot at the animal you are pursuing.

Lastly, when hunting it is vital that we examine a bullets ability to properly mushroom upon impact with a game animal and maintain its lethal nature despite what it may encounter. This "lethal" test remains yet to be determined with the Fiocchi PSP ammo and is likely to be determined sometime after the snows fall and coyote night hunting begins in the state of Maine. 

As the season for night coyote hunting begins around the middle of December, I am sure you will hear more about this tale in the near future!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Five Year Old Shoots First Deer


video

This short video segment shows my 5 year old son shooting his first ever white tailed deer! It occurred during a game called "deer hunter", I was playing with him and his brother a few weekends ago. During the game, my sons and I practiced using my various deer calls and even had a short session on how a compass works. While it is obvious that we still need to work on correct shot placement, I was still very impressed by how quickly he was already starting to sound like a veteran deer hunter. I almost dropped the camera hearing him say . . . "LOOK AT THESE ANTLERS"!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Girls At Deer Camp? (Part 3)

The Show Begins
Guides are too tough for ear plugs!
The next morning, we prepared a large breakfast to fuel the ladies through the various planned outdoor activities. Due to the limited time the girls had in their schedule, I had a difficult time deciding on exactly what to do. Ultimately, we decided on an early morning coyote hunt, followed by moose spotting, a healthy sprinkling of heatah hunting and finally an all out ammo dump at the sand pit.
Our coyote hunt was conducted out of a portable blind and ended up as successful as I anticipated . . . nada. All the scent eliminator in the world just can cover up stinky Maine guide and Old Spice. I think the girls however enjoyed the coyote hunt “experience” and from it developed an understanding of what it means to hunt out of a ground blind, how to operate a game call and the joy that is achieved by firing off an automatic rifle at a stump.

Moose spotting was again met with less than favorable results, again not an absolute surprise given the time we arrived at some of the “prime” spots. Given an hour closer to twilight, the results may have been better. However, we did manage to tour some beautiful locations and I think the ladies were appreciative of seeing woods and waters that many Mainer’s never chance to see.

Photographers make great shooters!
Heatah hunting thankfully was met with success! After introducing Sophie (the one with a hunting license) how to operate a 12 g shotgun and providing her with a general description of a partridge, I could see that killer glint in her eye! On the first sighting, it was Sophie who picked out THREE partridge running across the road. After collecting ourselves from the excitement, I asked if she wanted to take point. Declining, I shouldered the shotgun and proceeded down the road with both writer and photographer closely following. After a KABOOM followed by a CONSIDERABLE amount of effort (involving crawling on my hands and knees through a spruce thicket), I managed to bring a bird to hand.

To clean the bird, I proceeded with the classy, step on the wings and pull the feet. This was not an activity that the girls wanted to either watch or participate in but after the initial tearing and popping noises were complete, they were very interested in touching the feathers and inspecting the assorted remains of what had been only minutes before a living creature. I pointed out a few of the key organs, kidneys, heart, gizzard, etc. and was pleasantly surprised when Erin asked if she could preserve and take home the tail and wing feathers. After this unexpected display, I had to admit that now along with the rest of the boys, I too was seriously smitten.

As the final minutes of our hunt quickly ticked away, a single bird ran across the road and I could see by the look in her eye that this time Sophie was ready! Jumping out of the truck and loading the gun, I handed it off to Sophie and we began walking up the road to where the partridge had entered the woods. Creeping ever so carefully, I positioned myself behind her and whispered directions. Ok Sophie, right by that small stick is where he went into the woods, almost there, raise your gun, get ready to work that safety, finger off the trigger until your ready to shoot, keep that stock firmly planted in your shoulder. At that moment of course, as is typical, the bird flushed straight away from us in a speedy blur through the overgrown spruce trees. I had initially thought that perhaps Sophie would be upset at not having a chance to shoot but I could not have been more wrong. She was literally vibrating with excitement and practically overcome with varying levels of emotional response. Getting back in the truck, she jumped around in the seat like a highly caffeinated labrador puppy on its first duck hunt. The words that immediately came from her mouth were like english only much faster and beyond my comprehension. Once she calmed down a bit, I seem to remember her saying something like "that was awesome" but I am not entirely sure.

Say Cheeeese!
At the sandpit, I was very impressed with the shooting exhibition, put on by both Erin and Sophie. Neither having ever held yet alone fired a firearm, they both possessed a natural talent at acquiring the targets and sloooooowly pulling the trigger. Each pounded the heck out of the two targets they were assigned, using both the AR15 (at 150 yards!) and 9mm handgun (at 25 yards!). Despite repeated attempts, neither wanted to try shooting at the quickly moving skeet and so they both watched as the boys and I attempted to impress them with some hard to hit doubles. In the end, few clay pigeons were harmed in this particular shooting session.  At the end of the shoot, I presented both Erin and Sophie each with their targets to take home and I hope (along with the memories and over 800 pictures that were taken!!) they hold on to them as a reminder of their time with the boys at deer camp.

The Curtain Closes
In the end, it was refreshing to have girls participate in deer camp and I am deeply honored that the boys and I were chosen to represent hunters from all across the state of Maine.  Potentially circulating to 1,000s of readers, with mixed opinions about hunters and hunting, I will be curious to see how the magazine’s readership accepts the deer camp article. I feel the boys and I did a good job representing sportsmen and therefore, I anxiously await the release of the article.  However, due to publishing timelines, the article will not come out until November 2012, so the wait for the end product will be excruciating.

It is critical, as sportsmen, we always strive to represent our given pursuits in a positive and professional manner, as ultimately it will be the individual who will decide the fate of outdoor traditions such as hunting and fishing. When out in the wilds, remember to do your part and always represent outdoorsmen in a positive light and when provided the opportunity, invest your time in introducing someone new to our sport.

Just joining the conversation? Be sure to read Girls At Deer Camp? - Part 1 and Girls At Deer Camp? - Part 2

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Girls At Deer Camp? (Part 2)

The Curtain Rises
Upon initially sharing my intentions, the boys were frantic. Considering all the potentially embarrassing prospects, of ladies at deer camp, they were deeply concerned about how they were going to act and behave. Obviously the farting, belching, swearing and late night walks to the outhouse in long underwear would have to be constrained. Then there was the traditional early morning breakfast . . . would the women expect to sleep in? How would everyone get ready in the morning in the camps small living room? Would the women panic if they happened to see Dad in his tighty whities? Then of course, there were the sleeping arrangements. How could we provide the ladies with comfortable and clean sleeping arrangements when neither exists at deer camp? Obviously, all of these concerns weighed heavily on the regular hunting crew and as the date approached, it seemed no degree of consolation could quell their ill founded fears.

Erin teaches Dad how to Play
Fast forward several weeks to the evening the girls invaded camp. A hundred miles into the deep, dark Maine woods, in the absolute middle of nowhere, these poor girls stumbled into an old camp filled with 6 anxious old timers all frantically attempting to clean, hide the nudie magazines and cook an elegant dinner of steak, potatoes and pickled products. I can only imagine what those poor ladies must have been thinking in their initial assessment.  Of course, in a testament to the constitutions of both ladies, they bravely managed to hold their ground, graciously accepting our offer to direct them to their shared bedroom.

As we continued to busy ourselves with our assigned chores, the girls settled down and began asking questions and snapping the occasional photograph. I could see some initial tension in a couple of the camps more “senior” resident troglodytes and I wondered how the evening would progress. Of course, one hour later we were all sitting together in the living room, toasting alcoholic beverages, Dad wailing away on the guitar and both ladies singing along to old country tunes, like they had been rehearing this very moment for years. I smirked, now knowing that my initial concerns were badly ill founded. Both Sophie and Erin were very quick witted, intelligent and charismatic. One of my Dad’s old army buddies even remarked that these were the type of girls he prayed that his boys might chance to someday bring home. Yes, it was genuinely apparent, the boys were seriously smitten.

Just joining the conversation? Then be sure to see: Girls At Deer Camp? (Part 1) and be sure to see the exciting conclusion Girls At Deer Camp? (Part 3).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Girls at Deer Camp? (Part 1)

Early last summer, I had the good fortune of striking up a friendship with some of the fine people at Maine Magazine in Portland. Through that meeting, I was asked to participate in an interview that was highlighted in the magazines October 2011 edition. At the same time, their editor inquired if I would be willing to have two of their staff members join me during our annual deer camp. With little thought as to what I was actually getting myself into, I excitedly agreed. What I failed to consider, was that the writer and/or the photographer could potentially be female. As the date approached and the final selections were made, it was determined that both writer and photographer would be women.

This breach of deer hunting etiquette was of course of great concern to the rest of the deer camp rabble and the cause of much angst. Many conversations were had concerning the ramifications of having women at deer camp and the potential consequences of these actions. In the end, however, we all had little to fear as the professionalism and flexibility of the Maine Magazine staffers was inspiring. Their abilities to hang with the guys and freely participate in our various camp activities, made everyone feel comfortable and at ease.

This little adventure, however, made me begin to consider the ultimate question, should women be invited to deer camp?
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The Stage is Set
Without a doubt, many of you are confused by the content of this post. I mean isn’t the very reason we go to deer camp in the first place, to escape from those of the female species who would force us to cook, clean and partake in other household chores that we despise? In fact, don’t we as men relish our time afield without worry of a woman nagging us about some trivial detail like drinking to much beer or watching Sunday football? Isn’t deer camp a time for us men to reconnect with our primitive selves by over eating food stuffs filled with saturated fat, openly releasing bodily gasses and doing all of the things that are generally frowned upon by our significant others? Honestly, the very notion of women at deer camp quite frankly scares the hell out of me!

Despite all of these fears, perhaps slightly exaggerated for the sake of an interesting story, deer camp 2011 had me in the strange position of hosting not ONE but TWO women at deer camp! I know that many of you are without a doubt shaking your heads, at my apparent loss of sanity.  I mean what guy in his right mind would actually invite women to participate in such a revered male right of passage and ultimately violate the cardinal rule of deer camp . . . NO GIRLS ALLOWED!

Thinking back to the Little Rascals and their “He-man Woman Haters” club and Al Bundy of “Married with Children” and his anti-woman organization called “No MA AM”, are we as men actually conditioned from infancy to create boundaries between what activities and events are approved for men and those approved for women to participate? Considering this revelation, it comes as no surprise that men possess a natural disposition toward organizing events that exclude women. In all honesty our late night poker games, super bowl parties, gentlemen clubs, fishing trips and even deer camp are all the fault of our society . . . quite honestly ladies we are innocent!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT


I have to admit that until my recent friendship, with those survivalist nuts over at http://www.shtfblog.com (FYI SHTF = S%&* Hits The Fan), I had never given much thought to TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) and the “survival” mentality. These blog and websites are after all only filled with the paranoid ramblings of a bunch of crazies’ right? I guess what I have failed to grasp, in my quick to judge mentality, is that these folks are just like you and me. As a matter of fact many of them actually ARE you and me!

Most of these folks, we classify as “survivalists” are nothing more than simply folks who are better prepared than the average person for the unexpected. They posses a fine tuned understanding of what has to be done in any situation, in which natural and unnatural disasters might make regular life difficult to maintain. Depending on the group or individual, this might include anything from having extra food and water on hand to the more radical end creating stockpiles of weapons and ammo. If we are realistic, all of us could benefit from taking a look at some of these “preparation” guidelines, to ensure our family are protected should disaster strike.

As a fun write, I thought I organized the following posting for the survival nuts and the wanna bee survival nuts. Get out there and do some basic prep work, the life you save just might be your own! Enjoy!

THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT
AR15 Makes a GREAT Zombie Stomper! 
News flash, the world just ended. Last night while you slept, a giant asteroid filled with brain munching zombies slammed into the earth, creating a continent leveling tidal wave and setting off all of the volcanoes on terra firma. In some strange twist of fate, you still appear to have Internet access (otherwise how could you be reading this) and electricity for an amount of time impossible to determine. 

I am sorry to inform you but you are now SOL and left to spend what little time remains of your rather small and potentially inconsequential life, contemplating why you didn’t heed the warnings of the SHTF and TEOTWAWKI survival “nuts” and take some basic precautions. It is perhaps fortunate you decided not to get married and have children, because you are going to have a hard enough time with your personal survival without complicating it with more mouths to feed and bodies to defend from the flesh eaters.

Go ahead and have a good cry, yes you screwed up bad but there is a small chance you might potentially pull through this catastrophe, at least for a little while. So, after you recover from your very unmanly emotional collapse, dry your tears and put on your big boy pants because you have got some serious work to do, if you hope to have any chance of surviving the next 24 hours.

Why just a day, you inquire? Shouldn’t I set my sights a little further ahead like next week or next year you ask? No dummy, you had years to prepare, before the asteroid hit, and you refused. Instead of preparing you whiled away you’re available lazy days relaxing, drinking beer and playing video games. That chance has now come and gone, you need to concentrate on the here and now, if you expect to not quickly become an insignificant memory.

44 Magnum Zombie Vaporizer
First, the human body can’t survive long without water so run into your bathroom and fill up the tub. Yes, I am sure it is filled with soap scum, pubic hair and other remnants to horrible to mention but that mistah is YOUR fault. Just stop that drain and let the good times roll. In a few hours, dry mouth will eliminate your cares as to the cleanliness of this water AND despite how you feel about the before mentioned contaminants, they won’t kill you.

Second, I am going to guess that since you are a bachelor, you will have about 2-3 days of food left, after the electricity dies and your refrigerator goes kaput. I assume you realize you need to eat the refrigerator food FIRST and any pantry foods second. After a few days, much care should be taken on any foods that were refrigerated as they will begin to carry bacteria and other nasties that, if consumed, will make you wish a zombie had torn you limb from limb. Then again, eat it all now and enjoy your last meal because there is a good chance you aren’t going to make it much past today.

Third, it is important that along with the critical elements of water and food you also need to remember to breath. While the afore mentioned consumables are important, air is EXTREMELY important. You might even say it is the most important. So, you may ask how do I keep breathing? That is a very good question young Jedi and one that you are likely going to have to work out for yourself. Since you probably don’t have a gun to defend yourself and lack the very basic elements to fortify your position like nails, wood and a hammer, you are going to have to get creative. Couches, mommies china cabinet and other large pieces of furniture can be used to block doorways, just make sure to always leave yourself some means of escape. Kitchen knives, baseball bats, even a bar of soap in a tube sock are all viable means of increasing your lethal capacities, however, remember that with these limited means hiding will always be your most valuable weapon.

With Zombies When in Doubt Go BIG!
If you are very lucky, you may be able to stumble upon a group of others who are much more prepared than you were. Unfortunately, unless you have some valuable skill, unto which you can give back to the “team”, they are likely going to quickly tire of caring for and feeding you.  At that point you will either be cannibalized or used to lure zombies into a ring of fire.

Considering that following my basic instructions, you have miraculously managed to breath one more day, perhaps you have had time to think and explore the possible options and scenarios available to you. It is likely that you feel good about your 24 hour accomplishment and are thinking that this survival stuff is easy. Do you mind if I stop you right there and make a suggestion? Given that you are likely only delaying the inevitable, it is my opinion you should consider life as a zombie. I hear the hours are long and of course there is the brain/raw flesh eating thing but you also don’t have to worry about health care! So, ultimately don’t worry anymore lay back, relax, have a beer, open the front door and let the zombies nibble on your scalp, I promise it will all be over in a second . . . nirvana awaits!
------------------
Think you can survive on Hunting and Gathering after TEOTWAWKI? Think again! Country Boy Can't Survive! 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Mr. President Steals My Banded Duck

As I slowly leveled my shotgun and began tracking the unsuspecting hen eider flying across the horizon, a fragment of choked back laughter and the quick shuffle of feet momentarily distracted me. Before I could react to the disturbance, a single round of 12 gauge shot blasted forth from Mr. President’s Mossberg shotgun. As I attempted to recover from this erratic, unscheduled breach of shooting etiquette, I watched as the duck I had been tracking nose dived into the salty brine of the Atlantic. As we motored to retrieve the downed duck, I attempted to comprehend what I had done to the President to deserve such an underhanded, back stabling action, my brother said forth the following, “Steve that bird El President stole from you has a band.”

At that moment, a torrent of obscenities burst forth from my mouth, in such a powerful onslaught of vulgarity that they threatened to capsize the boat. You might say I was possessed, seeming unable to control the 4 letter words as they spewed from the dark recesses of my soul, in a display so sinister they even made my brother and Mr. President blush.

As I started to recover from my shock and disbelief, I pondered through the complexities of the healing process and crafted the following poem to my “friend”, Mr. President.
--------------------------------
Mr. President’s Dark Heart
There once was a man for Beals Island.
Whose friendship I had grow to rely on.

That is until that sad day.
When he stole my duck away.

Because his heart is as dark as a Cylons.
--------------------------------
It is truly amazing the power words have in lifting a person’s spirits. Now that I have worked my way through the various stages of pain and suffering, I begin to see why I make my trips to Beal’s Island only once every 4-5 years. I suppose this event is Mr. Presidents way of getting me back for not shooting that Wood Duck this season or perhaps the yearly pike fishing fiascos, either way revenge is sweet my friend . . . revenge is sweet.

For more on this sorted tale and another poem dealing with the debauchery from Mr. President’s perspective, please see “Ode to Ye Friend Rabid”.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Manly Sportsman Smoothie


This Smoothie Will Make You A . . .
For years, I had struggled to find the perfect “Outdoorsman” breakfast. A simple meal that doesn’t leave me wanting to take a mid morning nap, yet still keeps me fueled till early afternoon. While the typical hunters breakfast of eggs, bacon, pancakes and corned beef hash is delicious, filling and a powerful way to start a long day hunting, extended preparation and eating time make this choice a difficult prospect. For the excited hunter, wanting to rush out the door and get to his/her stand before first light, this is rarely a viable option.

More portable means, like breakfast burritos, power bars, canned sardines are faster and more mobile choices but each have their own unique drawbacks. Burritos need to be kept warm, bars have noisy wrappers and sardines . . . well, just plain stink! These are all challenges to the hunter who wants to fill this rumbling belly quickly, silently and without lingering smells.

There exists little doubt in my mind that this post will make me the center of scorn and ridicule. I am certain many of my sporting brethren are going to receive perverse pleasure in taunting my less than manly posting on “smoothies”. However, to these naysayers I will not bow, for I have found what could potentially be the easiest and fastest breakfast on the planet! Not only does it have the benefit of being able to be consumed quickly, speeding your departure to the blind or stand but it also contains the hunger taming ferocity of a Bengal tiger (or sexual tyrannosaurus) . Fill a 32 oz container with this magical elixir and be free of a growling stomach for at least 5 hours.

In a blender combine all of the following elements and mix the heck out of it until it has a smooth consistency. When properly mixed, finish by pouring everything into a large container with a tight fitting top. (I find that Nalgene and large mouth Gatorade bottles work great). Make sure to use a high quality container, as this is definitely not the type of beverage you ever want to have to strain out of your hunting pack.

This recipe isn’t an exact science on the measurements, as each person should take this basic structure and modify to their individual tastes and needs. Here however are the basics:

The Manly Sportsman Smoothie:
1. 2 Bananas
2. 1 Packet of Vanilla Instant Breakfast
3. 2 Cups of Liquid Egg Product
4. ½ Cup of Honey
5. 2 Teaspoons of Wheat Germ
6. 2 Cups of Spinach or ½ an Avocado
7. 2 Cups of OJ, Milk or some preferable fruit juice
8. 2 Table Spoons of Peanut Butter
9. 2 Teaspoons of Grated Ginger
10. 2 Cups of Yogurt

*If this somehow magically adds up to 32 ozs I would be AMAZED! So, fill blender with caution.

For optimal absorption and to avoid being “over full”, take a few big gulps before heading out, a few more once at your location and smaller sips throughout the morning. By spacing out your consumption, the fullness factor seems to linger a bit longer.

Other links to less manly Smoothie recipes:

If anyone has any other great “hunter” breakfast recipes to share please drop a comment! Thanks!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Worlds Greatest Deer Hunters


It matters little what your stance is on kids and guns, eventually every child in the known universe is subjected to enough television violence or children playing cops and robbers on the playground, where eventually they are going to pick-up a stick, point it at another human being and go BOOM, BOOM your dead.

From soldiers, to cops, to even game wardens, people shooting people and violence will always be who we are as a society. Now don't get me wrong, all I did as a kid was play GI Joe, cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians and shoot every red squirrel I could find and I have not grown into a psychopathic serial killer.

Even with this perhaps lax view of kids playing the boom, boom your dead game, I decided that perhaps the kiddos would enjoy a chance to refocus these hostilities away from their games of shooting each other and play a new game I devised called "Deer Hunter".

This new game was an instant success and in the process, the lil guys learned a ton of critical outdoor skills. Equipped with our compasses, deer calls and “gun” sticks, we learn how to track deer, walk quietly in the woods, use a compass, grunt up a buck and even the cardinal rule to always keep your stick pointed at the ground and away from people. When these types of skills are practiced and learned by kids at a very young age, they of course become ingrained and simply part of how things are done with in the woods. 

The brave junior hunters and I would like to extend best wishes to all of you during the 2011 deer hunting season. Make sure this hunting season to introduce a new or junior hunter to our sport and help to ensure that our hunting traditions continue to thrive. Good luck to all!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Duckpower Incorporated in Danger of Folding

I hope that everyone enjoys this jointly organized attack on our beloved friend the Duckman. He had apparently gotten a little bit big for his britches and needed a good shake down, of which we were more than happy to provide. Please add many additional comments poking fun at my good buddy Mr. President.

A spokesman from the corporate offices of Duckpower, Inc. has confirmed rumors of a possible shutdown.  It seems that many employees and one founding member of the company have become increasingly disgruntled at the leadership being displayed by the company’s President, Mr. Duckman.   There have long been accusations of abuse from the highest office, but loyal followers of the company have been encouraged to sweep those thoughts under the rug for the sake of the business.  The head of the Southern division was overheard saying that “the mental abuse and constant ridicule displayed by Mr. President towards his loyal employees were sure to bring an end to what some have said was a shaky union to begin with”.

It seems that the problems started with an unpaid corporate fishing sponsorship.  Mr. President, who apparently agreed to sponsor and employee’s bass tournament failed to fulfill his sponsorship obligations because the sponsored team did not technically “win” the tournament. Our sources say that the bill was never paid and tensions started to run a little high in the Southern Division.

I Am SOOOO Pretty!
The Northern Division of the company can be considered even more unstable.  The relationship between Mr. President and his co-founder Mr. Duckhammer (AKA Rabid Outdoorsman) and his brother, the one simply know as Diesel is a difficult one to explain, to say the least.

It has been reported that on many occasions, Mr. President has abused his power, using it to his distinct advantage, in blatant attempts to elicit sexual favors from his constituents. As proof of his debauchery, this ½ naked photo of Mr. President clearly depicts him staring lovingly at the cameraman, poor Vice President Diesel, in a vain attempt to seduce him with his powerful animal magnetism. This was of course only the beginning of Mr. President’s sexually deviant behavior.

Sometimes NO Means NO
Now if this was the final extent of shame that Mr. President had wrought upon Duck Power he could have perhaps, if subjecting himself to therapy for his sexual addiction, been forgiven. Unfortunately, this is not the final story of disgrace and shame upon which he has brought down on Duck Power. Note this additional photo that documents his unwanted fondling of my shoulder. Sure it may seem innocent but trust me this is a slippery slope ending in ruin and it is certainly not the first time that Mr. President has brought shame up us.

Perhaps even worse than his sexual perversion is Mr. President’s shameful shooting skills. Far be it for me to write about such indiscretions but rather find it more appropriate to highlight it on video. Please if you dare, take a few minutes to see this disturbing footage (WARNING, it is riddled with vulgarity.)

video

In retrospect of these vile acts against humanity and his molestation of waterfowl, we the members of Duck Power Incorporated feel it best to simply end with an impeachment of Mr. President. Viva La Revolution!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Boulder Erotic


There is no doubt that you are laughing at the title of this posting and so was I when a close friend referred to this location in the same manner. While this rock certainly is erratic, it would be a far stretch of ones imagination to think it erotic.  Even without being erotic, this enormous boulder is amazing to see and well worth the trip! Enjoy!

Directions:
GPS Location: N 44 41.365  W068 18.748
From Ellsworth, Maine take Route 179 North to the intersection of Route 200 heading toward Eastbrook. In a mile or so turn right onto Leona Wilbur Road. Turn right at the intersection and pull into the small parking area.

For more information on this site and specific directions please see:

Quote off the Geocaching Website From EMSDanel the creator of this geocache: “This area of Maine is noted for glacially deposited erratics but this one really stands out. There it is, just sitting on the ground in the middle of the woods. Behold the eighth wonder of the world! I'll bet this one goes down on your list of favorites and I'm pleased to be the one to introduce you to this spot. By all means, bring a camera! The owner of this property has made a nice gravel road to the location, cleared trees to make a better view, and created a nice path to the site so that visitors can come here. Bring a picnic, bring the family, come back year after year. One other challenge, as you approach the rock go a little past it, keeping the rock to your left. Turn and face the rock....can you see the face of a dinosaur? In the summer time he is eating ferns.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Strange Clouds Open Senses


While walking out of the grocery store the other day, I was momentarily mesmerized by these incredibly beautiful cloud formations. Though only a simple meteorological event, I had to pull out my camera and take a photograph so I could share. What for me was most important and critical about this event, is a reminder to myself and to perhaps all outdoor folks that we are perpetually surrounded by the beauty of nature. Whether staring out your work window at the leaves rustling in the breeze, listening to the rain drops fall on the roof of your car or even while walking across a asphalt parking lot, make sure to take a moment to look around, soak up your surroundings and breath heavily of the natural world. In the process of opening your senses, you might just be pleasantly surprised to see what you find thriving on the edges of our "civilized" world.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mr President's 2011 Duck Hunting Opener

In this story, the honorable President of Duck Power Incorporated returns to Central Maine for the annual duck hunting opener. In this classic tale, he battles against lower intestinal issues, raw meat, drenching rain and gluten free cookies. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will certainly remember some of my other Mr. President tall tales such as: Mr. President, the award winning Mr. President's New Waders, Mr. President's Hard Water Adventure I and Mr. President's Hardwater Adventure II and finally Mr. President's Bronze Back Adventure. Please enjoy this latest tale in the Mr. President story series!

My last foggy recollection, on the eve of the 2011 duck hunting opener, consisted of me belting out the chorus of the Hank William classic “Family Tradition”, as the Duckman (AKA Mr. President) keep perfect beat with his lactose intolerant flatulence.

After that sorted show, a sleepy head crashed down on a pillow and my tired mind refused to even dream. The alarm wailed at 4:30 AM and I already smelled coffee. Stumbling down stairs, I noted the boys were already in a tizzy to get started. Mr. President was half heartedly choking down a gluten free bagel. Seeing his apparent displeasure, I gagged in sympathy, at the mere prospect of consuming such a vile conglomeration of ingredients.

Against my every attempt at holding back our early arrival at the blind, the boys were hot and horny to get moving and we arrived at the blind with MUCH time to spare. The remaining 1/2 hour before legal was spent sitting quietly in the dark, with only the sound of frequent tobacco spitting breaking the silence.

Despite his belligerent mockery of my indoor horseshoe pit, inability to cook steaks past rare, failure to successfully carry a tune and complete lack of basic story telling etiquette, when the chips were down and someone needed a shotgun shell, who do you think was suddenly Mr. President's best buddy. Never be it for the Mr. President to underestimate the power of that Jack-O’-Lantern grin of his. I am just surprised that he didn’t talk ME into walking back to the 4 wheeler to get his “special” shells out of his blind bag!!

As the morning progressed into that magical time know at “legal shooting hours”, our band of brave hunters attempted to silhouette flying ducks, against untimely dark skies, with each strike of lightening. Eventually as the heavy rain subsided and thunder and lightening abated, I looked across the pond and noted that somehow we had managed to shoot somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-4 ducks.

Commanding my faithful retrieve Onyx into the fray of water, mud, weeds and rotten blow downs, I directed her to each of the downed ducks. As she collected her prizes and returned to the blind, I counted the casualties, green winged teal, mallard (green head), green winged teal, mallard. A good first round of action was had but unfortunately for me, Mr. President had not yet harvested his promised drake wood duck.

In his time hunting puddle ducks with me, Mr. President has managed to take many ducks that are foreign to a die hard “sea duck” hunter. Female wood ducks, green winged teal, blue winged teal, green heads, etc. One of his last avifauna to add to his life list is a drake wood duck, which over the years has managed to elude him.

Staring at my watch, I noted that much time was still available for him to complete this monumental task BUT would it be enough time. Staring at his normally happy face, I could see the edgings of disappointment (or maybe it was gas?!?!). Even his 7:30 AM downing of two mallards, in a spectacular display of shooting prowess, seemed to do little for his growing displeasure. At 8:00 AM I even instructed him to take an easy 5 yard crossing right to left swinging shot at a green winged teal, propelled by a 20 knot tail wind. In a clear display at how distraught he was, at my inability to get him a drake wood duck, he missed this easy shot.

As our end time neared, a streak of colorful feathers flew by our blind and I yelled to Duckman SHOOOOOOT WOOOD DUCK! Mr. President leaped up from his perch, rifled forth a quick 3 round volley of high velocity steel #6s into the ozone, re-loaded and fired three more. Something wood duck like fell from the sky and landed on the other side of the marsh in several pieces.

Understanding the complexity of the retrieval situation, I grabbed Onyx and our new Duck Power Incorporated “pledge” Travis and proceeded to wade around to the other side of the marsh. At this point, Mr. President was not able to help us retrieve his fallen duck, as he was busy completing his morning routine of doctor prescribed gluten cleansing physical therapy exercises . . . at least that is what he said and who am I to question a medical professional.

Struggling against the mud, beaver cut stick poles, blow downs and generally the nastiest bit of swamp hell you can imagine, the sharp eyes of our new pledge spotted the white underbelly of a wood duck. As Onyx swam in for the retrieve, I said a silent prayer to the duck Gods and hoped against hope that I had managed to fulfill my promise to Mr. President. As the dog brought the badly mangled bunch of twisted meat and feathers to my hand, I let out a deep sigh of disappointment noting that a promise had been broken. With head hung low, I headed back to the blind.

Upon sharing the news, to my surprise I was not met with a verbal beating but rather old Mr. President gave me a hearty man hug and thoroughly thanked me for the fantastic time I had shown him. He went on to mention he was excited to return next year and join me on yet another “opener”. In fact, he even offered me one of his gluten free ginger snap cookies!! As I choked back the moist cookie, tasting of swamp water and pocket lint, I noted that my assessment of this situation had been badly skewed. In my flurry of concern for Mr. President's delicate feelings, I had missed the crucial fact that hunting is more than just shooting a trophy duck . . . hunting . . . perhaps . . . is just a little bit more. And what happened then? Well in Augusta they say the Rabid Outdoorsman’s small heart grew three sizes that day!

For an alternate set of truths on this tale. Please see Mr. President's Blog.
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