Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Man Shirts" by Duluth Trading Company

Duluth flannel is the quintessential fabric of choice for outdoorsmen, mountain men and mullet sporting rednecks across the entire face of the planet. Whether camped out on the Alaskan tundra, chopping firewood in the remote wilds of Maine or climbing the north face of Mt. Everest, you are sure to find flannel shirts covering the backs of just about every human male with balls enough to call themselves “Man”.

Duluth flannel has long been accepted as the choice fashion statement of discriminating Maine guides. Abused in the most extreme of wilderness climates, flannel provides effective protection from the elements and presents a bold and often difficult to ignore fashion statement. You can hunt or fish in flannel all day, dance in it all night and it still reigns supreme as the definitive “man” fabric of choice. Due to its no nonsense ruggedness, Duluth flannel practically screams, “abuse me with whatever you got tough guy, I can take it”! Though flannel is fairly ineffective at repelling the whirling blade of a chainsaw, gnashing teeth of a rabid coyote or snapping jaws of a crocodile, it will still withstand years of working man abuse, that would leave lesser shirts crying for their mommies.

At the same time, the Duluth flannel fabric possesses a kinder, gentler side, remaining soft against your skin even after a long day of operating the skidder, lobstah boat or hauling hog down I95. Your wife or girlfriend will also certainly appreciate the twice-brushed extra loft when she uses your sweat and diesel soaked “man shirt” as an impromptu “sexy” nightgown.

Duluth’s flannel shirts come in a variety of designs, styles and sizes and are prewashed to resist shrinkage . . . AND TRUST ME NOBODY WANTS TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH SHRINKAGE!

Selecting that perfect flannel shirt is as easy as making a decision about what you want in a flannel shirt and clicking on the corresponding button on the website.

Looking for that perfect flannel shirt to take your lady to the local discotheque this weekend? Go with the slim fitting and lightweight “Trim Fit Free Swinging Flannel Shirt”. This shirt is equipped with a roomy tradesman’s fit and armpit gussets. You will be the object of lustful desire of every woman at “Whiskey Dicks Bar & Grill”, as you bust a move on the dance floor better than John Travolta in Saturday Night Fevah. AND don’t forget the button-down collar on these impressive shirts, means you can wear it under a sport jacket.

Need a shirt to keep you dry and comfortable on the coldest day ice fishing in the Arctic Circle or Northern Maine in June? Go with the wood-choppin', horse-loggin' 8oz 100% cotton burly weight flannel. Heavy, rugged and warm, even Paul Bunyan woulda liked one like this.

No matter what your flannel needs, Duluth Trading Company also on Twitter @DuluthTradingCo, has a shirt fit for your every wanton desire!

Want to see more flannel reviews? Please check out the Virginia Sweet Pea and Bubbly Nerd!

Maine YOUTH Deer Hunters

Congratulations to ALL Maine youth deer hunters! Even if you did not shoot a deer this season spending time outside with your friends and family members is one of the most important components of hunting.

I would love a chance to post some pictures of youth deer hunters on the blog so make sure you get your parents permission first and then send your favorite pictures to me at: Once I receive, I will put your pictures up on the blog!

Thanks folks and good luck and be safe throughout the remainder of the hunting season!

My cousin Alex Chaffee with a wicked good deah he shot during the youth opener! Congrats buddy that is a nice one!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Wildlife Quiz - Double Crested Commorant

The Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), a seabird commonly seen along Maine’s inland and coastal waterways, possess gangly, primitive features, making it appear more closely matched to prehistoric times rather than modern day. The double-crest of the Cormorant appears on adults during breeding season. Crests vary in coloration from white to black dependent on geographic location.

Frequently mistaken for geese and loons, a cormorant’s long kinked neck, stocky black body, sea-green eyes, hooked bill and orange-yellow facial skin easily distinguishes it from other aquatic birds. Not possessing as much preen oil as ducks, Cormorant’s feathers absorb rather than shed water. Though appearing a poor evolutionary trait, wet feathers make cormorants more adept at diving and maneuvering underwater, allowing them to hunt prey with great speed and agility. This means cormorants must dry their wings before they are able to fly, making cormorants frequent visitors on docks and rocky outcroppings where they can be seen spreading their wings to dry.

Like Geese, flocks of cormorants travel in V-shaped flocks during October and November, as they migrate from inland lakes and waterways to the coast to escape the deep freeze of the Maine winter. In the spring, Cormorants travel to breeding colonies along the coast as well as on large inland lakes. Nest construction typically occurs on rocky islands, where they are built with whatever materials are readily available. An examination of a cormorant nest will typically find an odd assortment of junk, including discarded fishing line, plastic bottles, rope, Styrofoam, shells and even the bones of birds, fish and animals.

Cormorants are typically very good parents, using their bodies and wings to shading chicks from the direct rays of the sun. The average life expectancy of a double-crested cormorant is around 6 years with the oldest known representative of the species living to be 22 years old.

Wildlife Quiz Questions:
1. When does the double crest appear on the double crested cormorant?
2. What features make the cormorant easy to distinguish it from loons and geese?
3. What do cormorants lack that makes it difficult for them to keep their feathers dry?
4. Do cormorants fly in V-shaped formations?
5. Do cormorants migrate?
6. When do cormorants breed?
7. Cormorant nests are constructed of what materials?
8. What is the average age of a cormorant?
9. What was the age of the oldest know cormorant?

Wildlife Quiz Answers:
1. The crest on the double crested cormorant appears during breeding season.
2. Cormorants are easy to distinguish from loons and geese by their long kinked necks, stocky black bodies, sea-green eyes, hooked bills and orange-yellow facial skin.
3. Cormorant’s glands do not produce large amounts of preening oil like ducks and other aquatic birds.
4. Cormorants do fly in V-shaped formations like geese.
5. Cormorant populations on large inland lakes and river migrate to coastal waters during the winter to escape freeze-up.
6. Cormorants breed in the spring.
7. Cormorant nests are constructed of fishing line, plastic bottles, rope, Styrofoam and shells, and even the bones of birds, fish and animals.
8. Cormorants live to an average age of 6 years.
9. The oldest know cormorant lived to be 22 years old.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wildlife Quiz - Killdeer

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), prefer open ground with low vegetation, typically inhabiting golf courses, fields, sandbars and mudflats, making them the least water-associated of all wading shorebirds. A relatively noisy bird, Killdeer received their name from the shrill, wailing “kill-deer” call they make. 

A member of the plover family of avian, Killdeer are relatively diminutive, about equal in size to the American Robin. Killdeer possess small round heads, short bills and bodies accentuated by long pointed tails and slender wings. Their coloration is brownish-tan on top with a white breast barred with two black bands and a brown face is marked with black and white patches. The rump is accentuated by a bright orange rump that is apparent in flight.

The range of the Killdeer includes most of the western hemisphere, including the Yukon and Alaska to as far south as Peru. Due to its ability to exploit a wide range of agricultural and semi-urban habitat areas Killdeer have managed to survive despite widespread disturbance through their range by man.

In April, the female constructs a small ground nest comprised of stones and grass. Into this shallow bowl, the female will lay four or five blackish-brown eggs that virtually disappear into the surroundings, protecting them from predators. Both the male and female will take turns incubating them for the next 24 to 26 days before they are ready to hatch.

Killdeer will employ a “distraction display” when they feel their brood being threatened by predators. This involves the bird walking away from its nest pretending that it is injured and emitting a distress call. Once the Killdeer feels it has lured a potential predatory threat far enough from its nest it safely flies away from the predator and returns to its nest. If this display is not effective in distracting prey, the Killdeer uses a quite different display, fluffing itself up, displaying its tail over its head, and running at the threatening animal in a desperate attempt to chase it away.

Wildlife Quiz Questions 
1. What is the preferred habit of the Killdeer?
2. How did the Killdeer receive its name?
3. What family of avian are Killdeer members?
4. What is the primary range of the Killdeer?
5. How many eggs does a Killdeer typically lay?
6. How long does it take for the eggs to incubate?
7. What do Killdeer typically do when they feel their nest is threatened?
8. Are Killdeer nests located in trees or on the ground?

Wildlife Quiz Answers
1. Killdeer prefer areas of open ground with low vegetation.
2. The Killdeer received its name from its shrill, wailing “kill-deer” call.
3. Killdeer are members of the plover family.
4. The range of the Killdeer includes most of the Western Hemisphere.
5. Killdeer typically lay 4-5 blackish-brown eggs.
6. Killdeer eggs incubate in 24-26 days.
7. When their nest is threatened Killdeer use a “distraction display” to lure away predators.
8. Killdeer nests are located on the ground.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ducks, Ducks and Timber Rockets!

The nip of the early morning air, frost and the brilliance of the fall foliage all work in unison to signal the arrival of my favorite month, October. During this magical time of year, I can think of no better place than to be than sitting beside a marsh with dog, family, friends and coffee awaiting that most anticipated of events, the start of duck hunting season.

Shoot More Ducks 
Quacking excitedly on my call with a tempting cadence, a dozen mallards circle overhead, my heart pounds heavily in my chest, the dog whines and I look at my wrist watch to see if it is yet legal time. As if in slow motion, the final remaining seconds tick by and I yell, “take em boys” for the first time since the 2012 waterfowl season closed late last November. Multiple shots are fired and several fat green heads falls from the sky. One hits the water at such an angle and velocity that it skips at least twice, landing deep within the tall marsh grass. My trusty dog Onyx, more house pet than retriever, immediately piles into the water, conducts a quick search and happily plucks the duck out of the reeds. We all quietly cheer for her as she swims back to the blind. Every duck hunter wants to know the secret to shooting more ducks.

Being successful during the waterfowl season requires scouting, scouting and more scouting. Every season, I go through extensive lengths to find new areas, in an attempt to find that hidden, off the grid, ducking hunting nirvana. While location certainly is a huge component linked to duck hunting success, several other items are also critical.

Calling, ducks into shooting range is important and doing it effectively takes a refined understanding of basic duck sounds and behavior. Hundreds of instructional videos have been created to teach people how to call effectively. Watch those videos and out call the guy hunting in the blind next door practically every time. Busy and lack the time to invest in receiving a master’s degree in duckology? Well, let me share four quick and easy secrets to help increase success this October.

Buy a teal and wood duck call. These two additions are extremely effective in calling in these two species when standard “quack” calls will fail to do so. Both the teal and wood duck call are easy to learn by reading the instructions on the back of the package. These calls will add an entirely new dimension to any sportsperson’s duck-hunting arsenal.

Hunters should not be seen, so limit movement and cover up the often forgotten face and hands with camouflage face paint or netting so as not to spook approaching ducks. - Decoy spreads should be seen and contain a lot of movement. This is accomplished by including spinning wing decoys, jerk chords and any other products that create water disturbances, mimicking happily feeding ducks.

Quack, quack, quack is the basic call of the mallard and black duck. This is the “King” of duck vocalizations. Use heartily to call to a ducks wing tips and tails to turn them and lightly in the morning when the marsh is coming alive. Do not call loud and repeatedly, overdoing it and frightening ducks.

Later in the season it pays to add white colored decoys to your set-up, as doing so will yield visits from both hooded and red crested mergansers. Take old mallard decoys and paint them white and black to mimic mergansers.

In Washington county wood duck and teal become almost non-existent after the first two weeks of October, so get on them fast and hard before they disappear! Find your own secret waterfowl hot spot by exploring Fourth Machias Lake (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 35, C-2). This lake has a great boat launch on the northern end and a healthy population of resident Canada geese and late season mergansers.

Eat a Merganser? 
Late season duck hunting in Washington county means you better have an appetite for Hooded and Red Breasted Mergansers, as a typical hunt will usually only yield these prehistoric looking “divers”. Unfortunately, these “fish ducks”, as they are commonly called, have developed a bad rap and more often then not, hunter recklessly toss them into the woods, a serious breach of hunting etiquette and an obvious violation of Maine’s wanton waste law. Hunters cannot expect to simply throw this duck on the grill and have it taste like a wood duck or a mallard but with a little preparation, these “fishy fowl” can be made to taste delicious.

Start by breasting the birds with a sharp knife, removing the two palm sized chunks of flesh found to either side of the breastbone. Next, cut the breasts up into cube shapes about the size of a quarter. Take all of the pieces and place them into a marinade comprised of half orange or apple juice and half beer (cheap beer works best). Let the breasts soak in the marinade for 2-3 days. Remove the breasts, wrapping each one with a half a slice of bacon and then secure the bacon with a toothpick. Place each completed morsel on the grill and cook until the bacon is done. Serve at a party with unsuspecting party guests and watch them devour these “merganser hors d'oeuvres”!

Stalking Evening Timber Rockets
After a long day sitting in the duck blind, I am ready to stretch my legs with an afternoon activity allowing me to get more exercise. One of my favorite early evening activities involves walking a deserted woods road in pursuit of grouse. As the day’s shadows begin to lengthen and grouse begin emerging from the underbrush to gather small pebbles along the roadsides. This nightly ritual, designed to assist the small birds digestive system, exposes them for a short period of time in the early morning and evening to the shotgun of a patient hunter. If hunting with a partner, make sure to clearly define who is covering what areas, so that when a grouse flushes there is no confusion or worse yet a hunting “accident” when a quick shot is taken. Walk slowly, again SLOWLY and continually scan the woods for movement. This pace will also typically frighten rabbits out of hiding and provide you with a bonus item for the stew pot. The trick to shooting grouse is finding out where the birds want to be. Food, water and effective cover are by far the most important considerations. Nashes Lake, Howard Lake and Beaver Lake (DeLorme’s The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer (MAG), Map 37, C-1) are surrounded by a maze of dirt roads and ATV trails suitable for hours of “heater hunting” or a fun evening walk chasing Timber Rockets.
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