Monday, October 29, 2012

Game Camera Hints, Suggestions and Tactics

Game cameras offer the outdoor enthusiast a unique perspective into the habits of many unique and interesting animals. Since I began using these units, I have captured hundreds of different photos and videos of coyotes, raccoons, bobcats, deer, red/gray squirrels, bear, turkeys, porcupine, moose and songbirds.

While the possibilities for the naturalist and wild life watcher are numerous, game cameras offer hunters the ability to use data, collected from the field, to pinpoint game animals, there movements/patterns and target hunting times and locations that will most likely link sportsmen with the animal being hunted. In support of these valuable hunting tools, here are a few hints and suggestions I have amassed through the years.
Where & How to Place Your Game Camera: 
  1. Place game camera facing north. If faced into the sun the photos will be washed out. 
  2. Make sure there is no vegetation in front of camera, for aesthetics and to avoid false triggers. 
  3. Point at a 45 degree angle to a game trail (NOT perpendicular). 
  4. Set cameras at areas that funnel animals (edges of bodies of water, trails, etc.) 
  5. Place camera 15-20 feet from the intended photo area. - Most trail cameras can detect motion out to at least 30'. Unfortunately, some flashes don't reach out past 20'. In addition, night pictures taken at 10' or closer can experience “White Out”. 
  6. If you’re strapping your camera to a tree make sure it's large enough to not blow in the wind. 
  7. Place camera 24”-36” off the ground. - Also, attach your camera lower than 24” and you'll likely get pictures of small undesirable creatures. Higher than 36” you risk missing targeted animals. 
Hints & Suggestions for Setting Your Game Camera:  
  1. Place camera in live mode, wait for time out period to expire and trigger camera to make sure it works. This also sets a reference date and time. 
  2. Turn camera on and confirm all settings, especially date & time. 
  3. Test batteries and replace as necessary. Buy a battery tester, it will prove invaluable. 
  4. Check and verify motion detector's range. Test it out at home. 
Care of your Game Camera: 
  1. Your best defense against theft is a well hidden camera. 
  2. Place moisture absorbing packs inside camera case if necessary. 
  3. Make sure the glass in front of the lens is spotless. Small smudges show up really big in pictures. 
  4. Cold temperatures will eventually kill game cameras. 
  5. Make sure your hands are free of scent BEFORE handing the camera!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Outdoor Cooking

Photo by @TammyLeaPhoto
I offer a word of caution when working around open flames. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher, water hose and shovel handy should the flames escape the pit. Carefully remove any hazards that may cause an individual to trip or fall in the pit area. Wear fire retardant clothing that will not combust if hit by an errant spark. NO FLEECE JACKETS! Heavy welding gloves are also invaluable. Lastly use your head and think, as there will always be unforeseen hazards. 

Those uninitiated with the art of cooking anything outside need to understand that cooking in this manner is an art form. Using a difficult to regulate heating source is a skill that I have honed over the years. Some of these acquired skills I would like to share in hopes that you pass this tradition on to your family and friends.

Maybe I am a bit of a caveman, but for me there is a primitive allure associated with cooking over the open flames of a wood fueled fire that cannot be duplicated by a kitchen stove or gas grill. It stirs something deep in my soul to gather firewood, build a fire pit and organize a strategy for the food preparation. Cooking outside for me is a labor of love, this is not LOW stress cooking this is NO stress cooking, a time for relaxation and reflection.

There are several good baked bean recipes out there in cyberspace and several I have mentioned in previous blog posts including: Hot and Spicy Baked Beans and Grandmas Bake Beans Enjoyed Outdoors. What I have not until NOW blogged in any previous post is my Grandmother’s actual award winning bake bean recipe. After much consideration, I have decided that I should share so everyone can enjoy it, after all, I know Grandma would have wanted I that way.

The secret to making great baked beans on a fire pit is time and temperature. Beans cook best with a slow, constant temperature . . . not necessarily an easy task over an open fire. With practice, however, even a novice will quickly learn to tame a raging fire and make it into a valuable cooking tool. Hmmm, I think I smell future blog post. 

Grandma’s Baked Beans
2 Pounds of Kidney Beans
4 Cups of Water
2/3 Cup of Molasses
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Large Vidalia Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Packages of Salt Pork
2 tbsp. Prepared Mustard 

Put all ingredients in a Dutch oven and slow cook for 3-4 hours.

- Soak and par-boil baked beans ahead of time. They can be frozen as well if needed.
- Adjust fire to simmer the beans and make sure they do not boil over
- For a “kick” add 1 ½ Cups of “Sweet Baby Rays” BBQ Sauce and 6 tbsp. of finely chopped chipotle chilies
- Stir and monitor bean frequently
- Monitor bean doneness by checking the consistency of the bean about every ½ hour. Beans should be soft but not to soft.
When the beans are about 45 minutes from being done, you should start preparing the bread.

Bannock Bread 
1 Cup White Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Dry Milk Powder
1 tbsp. Shortening
1/2 Cup Water

Put all ingredients in a 1 quart Ziploc bag and mix until no longer lumpy. Use a knife or scissors to cut out one corner of the Ziploc bag and squeeze the bag contents into a frying pan. Spread evenly with spoon.

- Try adding ¼ tsp. Sugar
- Coat your pan with olive oil or cooking spray for a non-stick surface
- Add water SLOWLY! Sometimes 1/2 cups is a little too much!
There is of course nothing better than washing down a hardy meal with a steaming cup of Maine guide coffee.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mule Hunting Clothes

Mule Hunting Clothes When You Care Enough To Wear The Very Best! 

"Mule Hunting Clothes” was founded more than 30 years ago by Emet Brohard of Greenville, Ohio. Emet was a beagler and serious hunter who grew tired of wading through briars and the thorny woods, tearing his clothing to ribbons. Mule Hunting Clothes grew out of Emet's desire to give back to the hunting community, by designing a line of clothing able to stand up to the rigors of the outdoors. He wished to create clothing that was puncture resistant, tear proof, waterproof and a benefit to any hunter whether they pursued rabbit, coon, hog, deer, moose or squirrel. Even those who horseback ride, ice fish, ATV or snowmobile can benefit from these reliable and rugged bibs, pants, chaps and briar proof shirts.

Seeing their ad in a local sporting magazine, I called ”Mule” and ordered a set of their hunting pants and shirt. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was excited when the package finally arrived and anxious to check out the items. I was immediately impressed by the quality of the merchandise and determined that the first order of business would be to see how it would hold up to the rigors of a serious Maine rain storm.

Not yet being hunting season here in Maine, I decided that if the pants could stand up to the rigors of a long day on the woodlot they would likely be a valuable addition to my hunting arsenal. The test day was typical of Maine in the fall, cold and wet. While I certainly don’t mind being cold and I also don’t mind being wet, a combination of the two can make for a long day in the woods and potentially even be life threatening. Since it is a frequent occurrence in Maine to be hit by inclement weather with very or little notice, having good clothing to keep you dry is an absolute necessity. Not only did it keep me dry through several downpours but it also wears like iron. One thing that stands out with Mule clothing is that it is not clothing easily worn out, made of 1000 Denier Cordura and will last for many, many season of hard use.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sportsman's Christmas Wish List 2012

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 too 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 holiday suggestions for these curmudgeons.

Bear Hunting w/Eagle Mountain Guide Service: If you are looking for a that truly unique gift for that special someone, I can think of no present more thrilling or amazing than buying that person a Maine Fall Bear Hunt. Escape to the Maine wilderness, stay at a remote wilderness lodge, eat amazing food and have a chance at scoring a truly massive bruin . . . for most people this is a once in a life time opportunity. Imagine the excitement this Christmas as you tell your loved one that they are going this Fall on a Maine bear hunt! See more information including my Rabid Review of Eagle Mountain Guide Service and a direct link to Eagle Mountain Guide Service website for ordering information.
Wassookeag Moccasins: Based out of the small town of Dexter, Maine, this small shop is responsible for creating a truly amazing assortment of handmade moccasins. Each pair of moccasins made with care by proprietor Mark Wintel. Available in a huge selection of configurations, styles and fits for both men and women, it is easy to find a pair that matches your every wanton desire. Wassookeag Moccasins are truly the Rolls Royce of footwear and from the first second you put them on, you are going to immediately understand what I am talking about. See more information including my Rabid Review of Wassookeag Moccasins and a direct link to Wassookeag Moccasins website for ordering information.
Loring Indestructible Pack Baskets: Loring Pack Baskets is a small unassuming shop located just a stones throw from the Old Town Trading Post in Old Town, Maine. What the shop lacks in impressive size, it more than makes up for in the creation of a product big on quality and durability. If you are in the market for a pack basket and searching for a product that is indestructible, highly functional, comfortable and guaranteed to make you stand out slightly from the crowd, I strongly suggest dropping proprietor Wane Loring a line and ordering one of his indestructible pack baskets! See more information including my Rabid Review of Loring Pack Baskets and a direct link to Loring Pack Baskets website for ordering information.
Mule Hunting Clothing: "Mule Hunting Clothes” was founded more than 30 years ago and is the go to product for serious hunters. Puncture resistant, tear proof and waterproof, it would benefit a hunter, whether they pursued rabbit, coon, hog, deer, moose or squirrel. Even those who horseback ride, ice fish, ATV ride or snowmobile can benefit from these reliable and rugged bibs, pants, chaps and briar proof shirts. See more information including my Rabid Review of Mule Hunting Clothing and a direct link to the Mule Hunting Clothing website for ordering information.
Ammo Can Stove and Grill: What do you get when you take a regular old military ammo can and convert it into a full functioning heating and cooking wood stove? Just say the words abracadabra and magically you get a sweet, highly practical stove that is sure to serve as a great primary or back-up heating and cooking system, sure to be appreciated by any good survivalist. Don't need something quite so complicated and a tad bit more portable? They check out the Ammo can grill kit, perfect for camping and tailgating!

See more information including my Rabid Review of the ammo can grill and ammo can stove and a direct link to the ammo can website for ordering information.
Button Buck Clothing: For the junior hunters on your Christmas list you need to check out Button Buck Clothing! This small company is leading the charge, in this effort to support the introduction of women, novices and ESPECIALLY kids to our traditional outdoor pursuits. Their mission is to message, through their clothing, that hunting’s future is in our youth and must be protected! The company has a huge selection of hats and clothing but my favorites are their T-shirt’s and include: Food Chain Champion, Vegetables are for Deer and Deer Camp Guide. While obviously meant to be humorous, these shirts also send a powerful message that hunting and our other traditional outdoor pursuits are here to stay! See more information including my Rabid Review of the button buck products and a direct link to the button buck website for ordering information.
2010 Grand Laker Canoe: For that special someone on your Christmas wish list who truly has absolutely EVERYTHING this gift would make you a super hero. Imagine the titanic smile on that special someone as the tour this summer around their favorite lake in a hand made Grand Lake Canoe . . . 19 ft 6 in, mahogany stern & deck, ash thwarts, gunnels, stems & keel, fiber glassed cedar planking, hand caned seats, traditional jade green marine paint. Built on the Sprague mold under direction of a master Grand laker canoe builder. Built because it was a challenge. Used very little. Time to sell. Price INCLUDE TRAILER! Asking $3,999.00. This is a STEAL for a canoe of this quality! Calais, Maine
The Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program is co-sponsored by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and the Friends of Maine BOW. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman means becoming more competent, more confident and more aware. Through this program women are provided the opportunity to learn about the outdoors and  about themselves. Participation in these workshops has provided countless women with life changing experiences. To support the program and scholarships to participants, we sell merchandise. Please order from our selection of T'Shirts, Orange and Camouflage Hats, Water Bottles, Gift Cards and MORE!
Rabid Reading Suggestions Prefect for the SPortsman on Your Christmas List: 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Maine in Fall

Of all the seasons, fall in Maine is the most spectacular. Sure the others seasons all have their own unique “flavor” and dedicated following of enthusiasts but for me my love has always been this unique time of year. For some fall marks an end to the playfulness and sunny times of summer, kids go back to school, the weather begins to cool and shorts and t’shirts are replaced by pants and sweatshirts.

Many grieve that the carefree days of summer are gone and soon Maine will be ice cold and blanketed in deep snow. Adopt this attitude, and what many miss is the magical time that exists between the last pleasant day at the beach and that first rugged Maine snow storm.

For me, this change means frosty cool nights, where one can finally sleep soundly under heavy goose down blankets. Hot coffee tastes sweeter on cold mornings, and you may even have to scrape frost off your window before driving to your favorite outdoor destination.

Leaves change their colors and put on a show for locals and tourists alike that is unrivaled by any other natural phenomenon. Hiking, backpacking and camping now is less challenged by the crowds of summer and those willing will be treated to seeing vacationland in one of its finest forms.

Night temperatures in the low to mid 40 degrees F and daily temps in to a high 60 degrees F, signal the perfect time for evening bonfires with family and friends, enjoying freshly squeezed hot apple cider, followed by days spent pumpkin carving, apple picking and spending a last few moments fresh water fishing.

For the sportsman, fall means hunting season and Maine offers a plethora of game species. Whether your passion is small or large game animals Maine offers everything from the diminutive woodcock to trophy size whitetailed deer and black bear.

Being a passionate waterfowl hunter, there is no place I would rather be in October than in a duck blind. Early mornings where your breath can be seen sleepily wrapping up and around your head and slowly dissipating in the first rays of morning sunshine are for me indescribable. If those moments can be shared with friends and family, they are only further enriched.

If you have never been to Maine or if you have visited the state at a time other than fall, it is my hope that perhaps I can convince you to give the state a try when the lines aren’t quite so long, the air is a bit cooler, the colors more vibrant and the experience a tad sweeter.

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