You have been lied to…

How does that make you feel? To know that people have been feeding you full of lies for years. Maybe it was an accident, and they didn’t know any better. Maybe they had other motives when they intentionally steered you astray? Maybe they thought it was for your own good. I know what you are thinking, “Grant’s back on the keyboard, this is going to be a long blog about guns, break out the tinfoil hats!”. Well if that’s what you were thinking, I’m sorry to inform you that you are wrong (even though I could totally go for a long rant about hunting rifles, effectiveness of personal defence pistols calibers, or the use of light’s and lasers on firearms). But today were talking wild game.

There are definitely 2 sides to every story, wild game is no exception. Some people will flat-out tell you that wild game is disgusting. Deer is too gamey, duck is too fatty, bear too greasy, catfish taste like mud, squirrels are just big mice, and rabbit are supposed to be pets, not your main course. The other side will tell you  “anything with fins, fur or feathers is edible”. That is correct as for North American game, but we all know that just because you can, doesn’t always mean that you should. Take probably the biggest meat-eating, hunting, fishing,  red-blooded American we have walking the planet right now, Steven Rinella, and listen to his Podcasts. He talks about it all the time because people always ask him if a certain animal is edible. To which he almost always replies(and I paraphrase), “Hell yeah you “CAN” eat it, question is if you want to, and how does it taste?” To an extent, I have a little bit of a soft spot for people who fall into the first class, because most times people make such broad judgements about wild game meat from personal experience (often times consisting of a single experience). Any one who has spent any amount of time hunting, and processing game meat knows that you have to treat wild game slightly different then you would domesticated stock. In that you will also get different flavor characteristics, and poorly executed “experiments” with game meat have been one of the leading causes of people’s dislike of game meat all together, and it would be hard to blame them. Imagine if you will, that you had never ate beef in your whole life, and someone offered to make you a hamburger. Not having any experience with burger, that would be your basis of what all beef is like. Now imagine that first burger was overly salted, overworked, and burnt to a crisp. What would your general feelings of all beef be? It’s dry, its dense, and it lacks flavor. You and I both know that a good hamburger is none of those things, they are always delicious, juicy, and tender. Even at that, a hamburger is not the measuring stick of which all beef should be measured. Each cut is different and perfect to be used in different ways to enhance the natural character of the cut. Wild game is no different. Without breaking down every cut from every game animal, I say we address some common misconception’s (read LIES) that I am sure that you have either read or been told through the years.

leysath_wow_9-11_deersteakpicdone

  • “Deer is too gamey” : All animals have a distinctive flavor profile wild or domesticated, don’t believe me? Eat a piece of chicken fried steak and a piece a fried chicken back to back (if you are going to cook both in a single day, at least have the decency to invite me over). both cooking processes are the exact same, both coating the exact same, but neither one taste exactly like the other. Why? because beef taste like beef, and chicken taste like chicken. If all you ate was chicken, beef would have a “gamey” flavor, and vise-versa. Deer just has a more pronounced flavor than domesticated beef (and in all reality “beef” bought from a super market hardly resembles what beef use to be. If given the chance try grass finished beef, as opposed to grain finished beef. it is amazing how much more flavor the grass finished beef has over the counterpart. Any one who has had the privilege to having high quality beef knows exactly what im talking about.) Venison does have one thing that most non-hunters are not accustomed to. It is lean (lacking marbling from fat content.), a 3.5 oz. portion of beef has between 150-180 calories, 2-6.5% fat and 22-22.7 grams of protein. Mule deer on the other hand has 145 calories, 1.3% fat, and 23.7 grams of protein. Fewer calories, less fat, more protein, completely grass-fed, completely free-range, non-gmo, what else do people want? I would guess that more times than not, the real cause of overly gamey meat is due to poor handling, improper cleaning, cooling and aging techniques. Don’t stress the animal, clean and cool it as quickly as possible, and I would put money on the fact that you will have delicious tender meat. (And while you are at it, there is no need to cook venison to “well done”, if you don’t trust an eye test, use a meat thermomater and aim for 145 degrees. then let it rest before serving. You wouldnt cook a filet mignon to well done, and I would recommend that you treat deer filet the same way.)

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  • “Duck is just to fatty for me”: This may very well be true as to domesticated duck which is around 4.25% fat, but wild ducks tend to be less then half of that at around 2% fat. No they are not as lean as domesticated chicken (at around .7% fat) but what they pick up in fat, they also gain in flavor. Wild duck meat is surprisingly dark and muscular. To quote the writer Jim Harrison ( The author of “legends of the fall”) “it is a crime against God and man to skin a game bird…” In truth, duck breast that has been boned out, with skin plucked and left attached is truly one of the greatest gifts from mother nature. The skin crisps quickly, and seals the juices into the meat. I tend to go with my “6 minutes or 6 hours rule” meaning I will sear them quickly on a grill and eat them medium rare (I know what you are thinking “Pink center bird meat! Your gonna get salmonella.” but in all actuality, wild ducks, having never been domesticated, carries almost no chance of salmonilla.) or I want to slow cook them all day. Waterfowl tends to toughen up when cooked too long (say to “medium well” doneness). But, much like beef brisket, if you cook water fowl for extremely long times at very low temperatures, the meat fibers will break down and become tender again. Smoked pulled duck sandwiches anyone?

  • “Catfish taste like mud” : If I have heard this once, I have heard it a thousand times. Yes sometimes catfish do have a muddy taste, and sometimes they taste as clean as could be. Until lately I never knew why, it turns out that the sometimes muddy flavor that you get from catfish is mostly held in the belly meat and the fat of the fish. So how do we guarantee that we will have better tasting catfish? Firstly stay away from the belly, or any meat that takes on a yellow tint. Secondly, when processing out catfish fillets you will notice that there is an area where the back  and side meat come together that will often have a look of light purple or red (kind of looks like a bruise that runs the whole junction between the two parts) that is the area where a lot of the fat is stored, remove it and you will have removed most of that muddy taste. Keeping the fish in ice-cold water before trimming will also help you more easily trim the fat away from the fillets, as well as clean the fish. Then all that’s left is to do is start-up the fryer, mix up the hush puppies, and get prepared for a wonderful non-muddy catfish fry.

  • “Bear meat is greasy”: Well lets look at that observation a little bit. We have all heard that bears are closely related to pigs… Turn out that isn’t true either. (now you can bust out that aluminum foil hat) pigs belong to the Suidae family, and bears belong to the Ursidae family. Pigs are actually closer related to deer, camels, giraffe and cattle. Bears on the other hand are closer related to dogs, seals and skunks. Now that I can take my Carl Linnaeus (considered to be the father of taxonomy) members only lab coat off, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty about bear meat. Bear meat should be handled and cooked like pork, both tend to (depending on the time of the year) carry a bit of fat, the animals can both be cooked in similar manners (I have a friend whose father makes wonderful bear bacon), and any recipes that calls for pork, you can substitute bear meat into. Bears and pigs both share one more thing… Potential for trichinosis, or a round worm like parasite that can infect you if you do not cook the meat up to spec. Best way to deal with the potential risk is to cook all pork and bear the same, get it up to 165 degrees and rest easy knowing that you killed what ever parasites were inside. Bear meat is tasty, but the way that it is prepared is the usual reason why people believe that it is greasy. Most people (under the advise of their butcher) make bear into pepperoni sticks and summer sausages. Both of those products are incredibly greasy to start with. If you ask a knowledgable butch (or better yet a hound hunter who pursues bears) most will recommend getting the shoulders turned into hams and roasts. both are super tasty and a fun way to better experience your game. Slow smoked bear roasts finished in the crock pot make for one of the better pulled style bbq sandwiches, or enchilada fillings that you could ask for. Neither will be greasy in the least.

When it comes to wild game we have all been misled, misinformed, or just been the victims of crappy cooking. What is important is to not perpetuate these mistakes. Each time a new person tries wild game and finds it tasty, we add another friend to the cause. Meals created solely from food that we have harvested are made wonderfully special, and are a great way to come together not only as families, but as sportsmen. Next time your buddy starts hassling you about getting home late from hunting and how your  spouse is going to make you eat crow, just tell them you have recently visited crowbusters.com and come to find out they have a dozen recipes that don’t look to bad.

-Grant Willoughby 05/21/2017-

Eating Out

This week we are going to highlight a few useful plants that are native to the pacific northwest.  You have no doubt encountered these in the mountains and forests already.  If you forage for mushrooms, pick huckleberries, or just like to hike be on the lookout for these.  If you make a habit of identification then you will be able to find these plants with ease should the need ever arise.  As with any foraging of wild edibles DO NOT consume without being 100% certain you have identified it correctly.

 

Bear grass

looks like a giants q-tip and easy to identify.  Always find these at high elevation.  The root can be boiled and eaten like a potato, but is very stringy.  The most useful part is the leaves.  They are super strong and can be used for cordage, natives used this often to weave baskets.

 

Fireweed

Can be found in burnt areas and clear cuts.  Young leaves and shoots are high in vitamin C and can be eated raw or cooked, treat it like spinach.  In early stages of growth when the leaves are still pointed upward the whole plant can be cooked like asparagus.  The unique vein in the leaves can help with identification.  Can have a laxative effect if eaten in large quantities.

 

Pineapple weed

I always found this in heavily trod areas like rock driveways, but it can be found in the wild.  Often referred to as “wild chamomile” it has a very pleasant smell when crushed.  The dried flowers can be used to make a tea just like chamomile.  The leaves are edible as well, but are slightly bitter.

 

Wild Ginger

Found in dark forests with plenty of shade.  Look for it in our old growth cedar stands.  Treat it just like commercial ginger.  Although in the wild variety the leaves have a stronger flavor than the root.

 

We tried to pick a few that are not widely talked about, but are plentiful here in the pacific northwest.  Again do not pick and use any wild plant or fungus without being positive you have identified it properly and understand its uses.  Have fun looking for these plants and shoot us some pictures if you find these while out foraging.

 

 

 

 

USCCA SHIELD vs. NRA CARRY GUARD

Anyone who carries a firearm every day of the week is well aware of the responsibility that it entails. Whether or not someone is a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO), or a private citizen, people who EDC carry for defense, but they also realize the liability involved when it comes to use of deadly force. EDCer’s have spent countless hours researching the best firearm to carry, the best ammunition for their pistol, and the most comfortable holster to wear. After procuring the perfect setup that fits their style (which also includes other accessories such as a flash light, a monkey fist, or a knife) many more hours are spent practicing their shooting skills and utilizing the tools they EDC. People who practice EDC do it because it is the inherit right of every living creature on the planet to protect itself. As I like to say “Even a bunny rabbit has sharp claws and teeth”.  Remember, you are your own first responder. 

As I stated above, there is a liability in legally carrying a firearm. Any person who decides to EDC needs to ask themselves a very important question: What happens to a person who EDC’s when, God forbid, the unthinkable occurs and one has to use their firearm to defend themselves, possibly leading to the death of an assailant? What’s next? Will they be greeted by LEO’s and be given a pat on the back for subduing a dangerous perp? Or will the next step turn into one of the horror stories we’ve all undoubtedly heard about where people were arrested after defending themselves? Could you imagine legally defending yourself and the being placed in handcuffs, your firearm is confiscated, and you are thrown in jail facing murder charges? What does someone do if a frightening situation like this befalls them? Most “regular people” (not rich) would be screwed for lack of a better word, but there is an answer. 

There is a service that comes highly recommended and offered by the USCCA, or the United States Concealed Carrier Association. The USCCA offers the self-defense SHIELD which is a subscription membership program of varying degrees of legal and financial protection in the event that you have to use deadly force. They also offer lots of training and access to instructors that teach skills that are vital to know if you’re going to EDC. 

This “EDC” insurance is offered at different monthly subscriptions depending on how much protection you want to give yourself. They give an example that if you are charged with homicide, no credentialed homicide trial lawyer will even begin representing a potential client without at least a $50,000.00 retainer. Who has that much cash lying around to give an attorney even if a person was in the right in defending themselves? I know I don’t. But this is where the USCCA comes in. 

When one subscribes to one of their monthly subscriptions, the USCCA SHIELD will cover your attorneys fees in the event of a homicide charge against one of their members. They will also post bail, and cover any lost monies from missing work. It’s a fantastic program offered at an affordable rate by the USCCA. In comparison an NRA membership only offers insurance on firearms, but doesn’t cover members in the event of a criminal charge or other inconveniences that are paired with such a situation. Or do they? 

Recently the NRA issued a video regarding their brand new offering of the same type of legal protection. Link is below and I recommend watching it: 

https://www.facebook.com/NRATV/videos/10154599844907898/

As seen in the video, the NRA is now offering legal insurance in the event that a member has to defend themselves, and also offering training just like the USCCA SHIELD program.

That being said, which is the better choice? USCCA SHIELD or NRA Carry Guard? Lets find out!

Both USCCA and NRA offer three levels of subscription. 

USCCA                     NRA

Platinum  $30.00    Gold     $31.95

Gold         $22.00    Silver    $21.95

Silver       $13.00     Bronze  $13.95

As you can see they are about neck and neck as far as price goes. Now lets compare the main features:

Platinum vs Gold:

USCCA offers $1,000,000.00  in civil suit defense, civil suit damages, and firearm theft. NRA offers the $1,000,000.00 under the umbrella of “Civil Protection”

USCCA offers $125,000.00 immediate attorney retainer. NRA offers $150,000.00 under the umbrella of “criminal defense”. 

USCCA offers $10,000.00/$100,000.00 immediately for bail/bond if a member is jailed. NRA says that members have “IMMEDIATE ACCESS AS NEEDED TO SUPPLEMENTARY PAYMENTS FOR: Bail, bonds, legal retainer fees, legal, referrals, lawful firearm replacement, compensation while in court, psychological support and clean-up costs”. The NRA doesn’t expound upon how much is allotted for each one. For the remainder of this article we will call it “As Needed”

USCCA offers $500.00 a day compensation while in court. As stated above the NRA says members have “as needed” access to compensation while in court but doesn’t clarify how much.

Gold vs Silver:

USCCA offers $500,000.00 in civil suit defense, civil suit damages, and firearm theft. NRA offers $500,000.00 under the umbrella of “Civil protection” 

USCCA offers $75,000.00 immediate attorney retainer. NRA offers $100,000.00 under the umbrella of “criminal defense”. 

USCCA offers $5,000.00/$50,000.00 immediately for bail/bond if a member is jailed. NRA offers “as needed” access to funds. 

USCCA offers $350.00 a day compensation while in court. NRA offers members “as needed” access to compensation while in court but doesn’t clarify how much.

Silver vs Bronze:

USCCA offers $250,000.00 in civil suit defense, civil suit damages, and firearm theft. NRA offers $250,000.00 under the umbrella of “Civil protection.

USCCA offers $50,000.00 immediate attorney retainer. NRA offers $50,000.00 under the umbrella of “criminal defense”. 

USCCA offers $2,500.00/$25,000.00 immediately for bail/bond if a member is jailed. NRA offers “as needed” access to funds. 

USCCA offers $250.00 a day compensation while in court. NRA offers members “as needed” access to compensation while in court but doesn’t clarify how much.

Both companies offer 24/7 access to a member hotline to “call for help”. They both also offer a training video course and a monthly magazine. NRA goes on to offer a 1 year membership to the NRA (not sure if this renews every year if you have a subscription or not). NRA goes one step further and offers the same coverage for your spouse at no additional cost.

So to me, at a glance, they both seem to be pretty comparable. The prices vary slightly between the two services and member levels. The coverages seem to be on par between the two. However I have only covered the main differences in key features of the subscriptions, and there are more details that you will need to research before you decide on which direction you will go. Either way you choose, you will be covered in the event that you have to defend yourself. Below are links to each program.

https://www.usconcealedcarry.com

https://www.nracarryguard.com

Form over Function

Somewhere throughout creating modern society at large it was decided (unconsciously or consciously) that a warrior class of the public was either no longer necessary, or no longer important.  What seemed to take its place was a slew of fad fitness routines.  Now I’m not calling anyone out here, if you want to join crossfit, do yoga, insanity, or lift good old fashion weights then do it.  These methods will obviously have positive health results if done correctly, but is that enough?

Efficiency is a really big thing to me and it should be for everyone.  In today’s world we have less and less time to devote to gaining and practicing skill sets.  Is there a way to capitalize so that while improving our level of fitness we are also learning valuable skills?  The answer isn’t new, it isn’t a fitness trend yet to be realized.  For me and what I hope are more people everyday Martial Arts is that answer.  It will undoubtedly get you in better shape, it forces you to use your entire body.  To me the icing on the proverbial cake here isn’t the physical improvements, it is the extremely valuable skill sets that will be gained.  In martial arts you learn personal protection skills that could save your life, or the life of someone you love, maybe a family member.  On top of that martial arts also teaches one deep levels of patience and focus.  If you get lost foraging, or someone is injured and you have to put those first aid skills to work(you do have first aid skills right?) you will find through martial training you can attack the situation at hand without turning to panic.

I have trained in various forms of martial arts and I wont sit here telling you the best style or method.  I think its a personal choice and different systems work better for different body types and personalities.  I will however throw this question out there for you to think about on your next trip to the gym.  Do your current exercise methods offer you the same benefits that a martial training program would?  Are you maximizing gain vs. time invested?  Does it give you skill sets over assets?

 

Consult a physician before considering any fitness routine.

-Kris Anderson 4/23/2017

Ice off pike slaying techniques…

Many people, who have spent more hours than myself tossing flies to trout, or pulling spoons and maggot tipped wedding rings in pursuit of kokanee, will tell you that they absolutely HATE the Northern pike. After all Esox lucius, (or as we call them, northern pike,  northern’s, or just plain ol’ pike) is the alpha predator in most northern lakes. A pike see’s it fit, and has absolutely no problem eating anything that enters its body of water, including every game fish, rodent, amphibian, or reptile that musters up the courage to try to and enter his domain. (there are even quite a few videos online of pike making quick meals of young ducks!) In that it is no wonder that most people in other sport fisheries despise the pike. So what is the answer to the problem? EAT THE THREAT!

As I stated before, pike are ferocious opportunistic hunters, and under the right circumstances can be taken on just about any bait , as long as you can keep your line away from their teeth. (Pike have huge chompers, the outer row being similar to what you see on a barracuda, and the roof of the mouth is covered with pin-like teeth that are angled backwards. In other words, anything that is unlucky enough to end up in a pikes mouth is more than likely going to stay there.) In the warmer months, pike spend most of their time traveling bays chasing bait fish, in the morning and early evening the fish are the most active, and in the heat of the day they tend to rest in cooler spots and digest their meals. During these months, pike are easiest caught with standard bass fishing tackle (elongated stick bait’s like the Husky Jerk work very well, as do standard shaped lure’s like the Glass Shad Rap),  and spoons (if ever a lure was to be called “the northern pike lure” it would definitely be the Dardevle spoon, developed by Lou Eppinger of Ontario in 1906. Even if you don’t recognize the name, you would recognize the lure… Big red and white spoon, treble hook on one end. Everybody’s tackle box more than likely has at least one.) Summer fishing is all well and good, but I really like to fish for pike in the early months of spring just after ice out. (plenty of BIG PIKE get caught while ice fishing, but during that time I would rather shoot ducks) undoubtably the king of spring pike fishing tactics is dead-baiting, which is basically using dead fish to lure in the pike who are quite hungry after the cold winter months under the ice. Dead bating basically falls into two categories:

free line1

1:  Free-Line dead baiting consists of 2 treble hooks attached to a steel leader that are affixed to the bait (in this case a smelt)  the leader is tied onto your line and thrown out into the water to float around in any way that the water current takes it.

2: Float rigging dead bait is a very similar process except a float and float stops are used to monitor your bait.  Float rigging can be very beneficial in lakes that have a fair amount of aquatic vegetation. By setting your stops correctly you are able to keep your bait just slightly above the weeds, and present it easier to the fish.

With either style of rigging, the most important thing to remember is that you cannot set the hook immediately upon the strike, you want the fish to turn, then start to swallow the bait before you set the hook. If using the float technique, wait until the bobber totally submerges, count to 5, then set the hook. Another important aspect of dead baiting is bait selection. Some people will only use natural bait (like pike minnows, and other non-game fish.) Others only use ocean fish (mackerel, herring, and smelt), while still others use natural bait injected with fish oil from their local tackle shop. I use smelt, the purpose of running rigs like this is to get a scent trail in the water that a pike can use to lead it to the bait. Ocean fish tend to have a higher oil content, and if you use injectable fish oils (which by the way are made from OCEAN FISH!) you are defeating the purpose of using only natural bait. Why go to the trouble when you can get a bag of smelt for such an affordable price, and cut out some of the work?

smeltbrinepikelead

One thing that I have not done yet, but plan on doing before my next trip out, is to try brining my smelt before hand. Salmon fishermen have brined baits for years, but until recently is has been limited to only that. Lately ice fisherman have been using brined smelt with a ton of success. Not only does it make your bait stand out like crazy, but it also toughens your bait up a bit, and gives you the luxury of not losing your bait as frequently. The basic rule for brine color is as follows. Dark or cloudy water you need a darker color to be visible. In shallow or clear water use brighter color brines. if your fishing a clear lake with a depth of 4 feet, you can run orange and Chartreuse all day. But if your fishing in 8 feet of silt fed pond, the darker color’s like blue and purple will stand out much better in the limited visibility. Brining the bait is rather simple, Pautzke bait company makes both fire brine and fire dye that do this quite quickly and efficiently. Just add a couple of drops of the dye in with your brine, shake the bottle, put your smelt into a ziplock bag, and pour the brine over the smelt. It’s that simple, let it sit for 30 minutes then throw it into the freezer until your headed to the lake.

Tackle is another big question that is often asked when people decide they want to fish for pike. I usually tell people that they should match their gear to the size of their bait. If you plan and casting 9-10 inch long smelt and 4 ounces of bobber all day, you should probably match that to a fairly stout fishing rod with decent line. If you plan on only throwing 6 inch baits, you probably can get away with whatever you normally fish with. I personally will often use a 2-piece, 10 foot medium heavy rod when I am throwing the big stuff, spooled up with 15 pound P-Line CXP. But a lot of that is just personal preference, I have seen kids fishing with a Mickey Mouse, closed face fishing rod and a bobber, catch pike that went over 40 inches, the biggest determining factor is having a rod in the water.

Ok so you decided that you want to thin the threat, went out pike fishing and actually got a couple of pike. Now what to do? Pike are simple to filet, cut them like you would any other fish (start your cut behind the gill plate and continue the cut all the way down to the tail) Make sure to leave the white belly meat behind, that is where the heavy metals tend to settle. Then skin the fish. If you miss a rib bone in the fillet process, there is nothing to worry about, a pikes rib bones are forked at the end and very thick, you will have no problem identifying/ removing them. As for cooking pike, they are just like most other white fleshed fish, and any recipe you would use for other species can be used for pike. I like to grill fresh fillets in aluminum foil with a little garlic, butter, salt, pepper and lemon zest. but if I’m feeding newbies that are a little scared to try new things, I will fall back on the standby of “poor mans lobster” (I will put the recipe below)

Spring pike fishing is a hoot, most local lakes in our area have a population of pike that is pretty enormous, and with $15 worth of equipment ($25 if you count in your beer cost 😉  ) a bundle of wood for making a fire on the bank (check your local rules as to where you can have a fire) and a couple of lawn chairs, you are primed and ready to be an early season pike angler. Even if pike isn’t your main target the rest of the year, a little early season pike fishing gives you a chance to be outdoors, fill the freezer a bit, and to lower the numbers of another species that may be harmfully impacting your other favorite fisheries. Eat the threat, and good fishing.

Poor Mans Lobster:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • Old bay seasoning to taste
  • 2-3 pounds pike fillets (cut into 2 inch chunks)
  • Clarified butter (butter that has been warmed and skimmed of fat, you  should end up with butter that looks  yellow/clear. Like what you get from Red Lobster)

Preparation:

  • Add sugar, salt, and old bay to a large pot of boiling water (roughly 4 quarts+/-)
  • Once all ingredients are dissolved (except the old bay will have herbs floating on the top of the water) drop your pieces of pike into the boiling water a handful at a time. as soon as the fish floats, it is done.
  • Remove the pike from the water with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.
  • Place drained fillets into a warm oven, while you cook the rest of your fish.

Serve poor mans lobster with a cup of clarified butter to dip the fillets in. Throw in a side of cole slaw and some hush puppies and you have yourself a meal.

-Grant Willoughby 4/22/2017-

Budget Beard Bustin’…

The end is nigh… Spring is upon us. In my world there are two seasons: hunting season, and that garbage that most people call summer. But if I have to use your “standards” of the seasons, my list of favorites goes like this: Fall, Winter, Spring, and garbage (summer). Yes there is some summer fishing that can be done, but it is not enjoyable to me at all. I don’t like to be hot! I don’t mind sweating, (hell, I sweat all fall and winter, hiking into stands and hauling decoys all over in waist deep snow and muck) I just do not personally enjoy being super warm without refuge from it (probably not going to move to Arizona… ever!). With spring on its way, and the local reg’s matching the dates on our calendars, it is time to get back out to the woods and knock some of the dust off our boots. As of April 15, 2017 bear and turkey are officially open in Idaho, and depending on who you talk to, the pike bite is picking up pretty well also (maybe a blog for next week?) But for today I want to focus on turkey, the most expensive, least edible, and most frustrating game bird known to man…

“I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For the Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America… He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.”

That is what Benjamin Franklin said about the wild turkey, in respects to the imagery that was picked for the seal of the United States in regards to the bald eagle. Given, I think people back in those days had a fair amount more dry humor then we give them credit for. The wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) is a hell of a bird, the males (tom’s) weigh around 17 pounds when mature (but can grow to a size of 24 pounds in some places), and the females (hen’s) tip the scale at somewhere between 5.5  and 11 pounds. They grow everywhere, according to Wikipedia the distribution is exclusive to the eastern part of the US and the far western coast. But we all know that’s wrong. When I have Fridays off, I pick my son up from school and he insists that we take a special loop on the way home. It isn’t far from town at all, but it loops up onto one of the most populated mountain terrains in Coeur d’Alene (Nettleton gulch) and it is not out of the ordinary to see in upwards of 30 turkeys on a trip. Turkey are everywhere, and ripe for the taking ( tags are only $19.75) I personally have shot quite a few turkeys, and as wild turkeys go, I much prefer the one in the bottle over the one in the woods, but a lot of that had to do with my misinformation of the breed. Wild turkey come in 6 varieties: Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande, Merriam’s, Gould’s, and the South Mexican Wild turkey. Each having a different range, and a slightly different appearance according to the terrain in which they range. Notice nowhere in there did I mention a subspecies know as “butter ball”, The turkey that you get for free for buying $100 worth of groceries in November, has very little resemblance with the feathered velociraptor that stalks our back woods daily. Natural wild turkey is LEAN, unless you get the opportunity to harvest a bird that has been grazing on grain fields, chances are your bird will look about like a child-sized basketball made of liver once you get it plucked. This is where I made my first mistakes cooking wild turkey. I used a marinade injector, then brined the turkey. After 24 hours, I deep-fried it. It tasted like shoe leather. The fact is that the meat often times have little fat content in that, your chances of a moist bird are very limited. Unless you play to the favor of the meat. Let me introduce you to two of my friends: Barding, and Larding. Barding is a cooking process in which you cover a cut of meat with fat before it is roasted. (think “Epic meal time’s” bacon weave) The idea is simple, by adding fat to the outside of the meat you are lowering the chances of scorching the meat, while at the same time constantly basting the cut with rendered fat. Why? Because its delicious (and as a side note, as meat cooks it will expel juice, but adding fat back to lean cuts of meat, it will actually replace those lost fluids with the fat and salt, thus creating a more juicy and flavorful meal) larding, on the other hand is a little more involved. Larding is a process in which fat is actually injected into the meat as opposed to just being wrapped around it. Typically pork fat-back was chilled and cut into long shoelace shaped pieces. Once your meat is trimmed to size, the cook uses a long hallow needle with a wooden handle (or as I like to refer to it, “a pork sword”) to force the fat inside tough or lean cuts of meat, thus creating marbling. Both of these processes lend themselves well to wild turkey, as does a marinade of your bird in italian salad dressing. Cook Wild turkey as you please (most cooking methods work well) just remember that tougher meat fibers tend to break down better with a low and slow cooking process. I prefer to smoke wild turkeys, and finish them off with a glaze (olive oil, minced garlic, salt, pepper, green onion and apricot or orange marmalade).

Now you know how to cook one, all you have to do is kill one right? Turkey hunting can be frustrating and expensive if you are not careful. The flip side to that coin is that it can actually be a relatively inexpensive pursuit if you know what you are looking for, and what you trying to get out of it.

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Most turkey hunters will rant and rave about their vest, and rightfully so. A well planned out turkey vest puts all of the hunters most needed items at their finger tips. The problem is, to a new hunter, you don’t know exactly what you will need. A quick glance at Cabela’s website will give you quite an idea of what you are looking at in different price ranges. $29.99 wll get you into a H.S. Strut Men’s strut turkey vest, all the way up to $149.99 for the Cabelas mens tactical tat’r II. What you gain with the much more expensive vest is way more pockets, and a much more comfortable seat (yes the seat is actually an integrated part of the vest) The problem with a bulkier vest  (besides the size alone) is the fact that if you have more pockets, you will want to carry more stuff. More stuff equates to more money spent just filling those pockets up, and more weight. I personally don’t hunt with a vest (I am not against them, I just don’t have one, and I don’t really want to spend the money for one) I prefer to use a backpack. Any old camo backpack will do. It can hold all of your regular gear, as well as your lunch and water bottle. As for calls, I prefer box and pot style calls.

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Box calls are pretty much exactly what they sound like. It is a box with a conditioned paddle that when slid across the top of the box with mimic turkey sounds (cuts, click, clucks, yelps, and purrs) all while amplifying the sound with the tuned sound board. Box calls tend to be pretty user-friendly, and are reasonably affordable ($15 on the low side and in upwards of $150 on the high side) with a little practice at your home, you can be sounding like a turkey in no time.

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Pot calls, (often refered to as slate or glass calls) work a little different, you actually use the striker to drag across the surface of the call to emulate the sounds of turkeys. The surface of the call must be maintained (glass and crystal faces are “prepped” or sanded with 60 grit sandpaper, aluminum or slate faces with no heavier the 220 grit (I actually prefer scotch bright pads)) and every attempt must be made to keep finger oils of the surface of the call. A pot style call, and a little practice can go along way towards putting a tom in your freezer, it does take a little more practice, but its more versatile. prices are about the same as box calls, ranging from $15 to well over $150.

Turkey gun’s and ammo are where a lot of hunter start piling up the bills. While you can spend several thousand dollars on a short-barreled shotgun for shooting turkeys, you can also just use whatever shotgun you already own and call it a day (that’s what I do). Yes I own a 3 1/2″ magnum 12 gauge shotgun, but I didn’t buy it for turkey hunting, I bought it for hunting ducks and geese, and it will kill turkey like nobodies business. Do you need a 3 1/2″ to kill turkeys? I killed all of my turkeys with 3″ and they never knew the difference. The biggest thing is to buy decent ammo, and sight in your shotgun. Some hunters prefer reflex sights like the Burris Fastfire but I tend to be a little more of a traditionalist, and just run beads. As for ammo, normal turkey loads come in box’s of 10 rounds and range in cost from $10-$29.99 a box. I recommend buying a couple of boxes and patterning your gun to see what shoots best. My personal favorite is Winchester Double X 3 1/2″ 12 gauge shells, shooting 2 1/4 ounce of #5 shot at about 1150 fps. Be warned though, turkey loads have a lot more recoil then your run of the mill trap loads, and you might have a little armpit hickey to prove to your friends what a turkey hunting fool you are.

In spite of making it sound a lot harder than it actually is, turkey hunting is pretty affordable. a $20 tag (good for 1 tom in spring, or if you don’t end up punching your tag in the spring, you can use it in the fall for either a tom or a hen) a $15 box call, a $10 box of shells, your old shotgun, your deer hunting camo, and a free saturday you have as good of chance as anyone of bringing home a gobbler. In spring look for turkeys in areas where the snow is receding. Turkeys will follow the snow line looking for bugs that have recently been let loose of their snowed in dens. If all else fails, drive to an area that looks like it may hold turkeys, and let a few calls rip… You might be surprised what answers!

-Grant Willoughby 4/16/2017-

Gear in Review…Vol. 1

We at Post World Patriot are constantly trying out new stuff, not only for our own convenience, but also for the benefit of you, the people. (It makes it way easier to gut my want list if I say it that way) I accept the word of someone who I trust WAY more than someone who posts fake review’s online. Nothing pisses me off more than a review online that says “Good product, fast shipping, would buy this again” then as you read through the 1,391 other reviews you realize that 85% of the reviews say the exact same thing. Why leave a review if you can’t be honest? So I am going to give you my personal review of products that I have purchased with my own money, that relate to our lifestyle, and The Post World Patriot way. Without further adieu…

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1: Blackhawk Serpa holsters: I, as a child (yes I was allowed to carry a pistol when I was under the age of 21) I always carried in an Uncle Mike’s because that’s what my Dad used,  you remember them, nylon construction with a big old snap on the outside, nothing ever fit your pistol perfectly, but they did work, and they would hold your pistol on your belt. It was a long time coming before I purchased a Blackhawk Serpa holster. Working in a firearms store, I had literally sold hundred of these holsters before I purchased one myself (talk about being hypocritical) But Now after having one for a few years, I am never going back. When I am in the woods, there is no telling what is going to happen, it may be a 20 miles hike up and down steep mountain trails, or a 45 Mph ATV ride through the rain back to camp. I know without a doubt that my serpa won’t let me down. With the patented Serpa Auto-loc technology you can rest safe knowing that your pistol cannot be cleared of the holster until you press the release (that, as a side note, also forces you to index your finger outside the trigger guard… Where your finger should be ANYWAYS) For the money, the Serpa holster is hard to beat, plus it is available with a belt and a paddle holster option.

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2: Blackhawk CQB/Rigger’s Belt: No, I’m not some kind of Blackhawk fanboy, but I do have a lot of respect for Blackhawk products. These belt are rated to 7,000 pounds of tensile strength. (if you look around online you can actually find videos where they are using these belts as a choker on some huge trees, and where they have pulled vehicles out with them) It even has an emergency belay clip that can be called into action with just a tug of the velcro. The belts show up pretty stiff, and you probably have a weeks worth of break in to where they are truly comfortable. After that point they are great, and work fantastically as an everyday work belt, as well as a pistol belt. They don’t have belt holes, so they work great for people who are in between belt sizes also. In most reviews online people ask if this belt works with pants? Mine has worked awesome with pants, and its so tacti-cool I even wear it without pants (the velcro does wonders for holding up your underoos 😉 ) But in all seriousness, this is really a quality belt, they come in 4 colors, and retail for somewhere around $40 (I found mine on amazon for $17 and shipping, because it wasn’t the most popular color) The buckle system take’s a little getting use to,  (if your lactose intolerant and going to cold stone to see how well your new meds work, you may be in for a word of hurt with this belt, it takes some time to learn to get it undone quickly!) but nothing that cant be figured out in a days time of playing with it. I wear this belt daily and I would highly recommend the Blackhawk CQB/Rigger’s belt.

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3: Stormy Kromer Caps: I bought my first Story Kromer cap 2 years ago, they are not super cheap (most run about $45) But they are awesome. I’ll paraphrase as best I can the story of Stormy Kromer. George “Stormy” Kromer was a semi-pro baseball player who fell in love with a women by the name of Ida. George wanted to marry Ida, but her father said he would not allow it unless George got a “real” job. George applied for a position on the railroad. He and Ida were married. After spending a considerable time on a locomotive, George had lost quite a few hats. In those days (1903) men usually wore fedoras (even in 1903, someone had the sense to realize that fedoras were douchey to say the least) and he asked his wife to modify a baseball cap that would work better for his job on the trains. He asked for a high-crowned, six panel hat, that was made out of a warmer material with a drop down panel that could cover the ears and also make the hat fit more snugly in windy conditions. The Stormy Kromer was born. By 1909 George and his wife Ida had already sold 1,200 caps to local railway workers.  Stormy Kromer hats are still made in the USA, and each one is individually serialized. Upon registering your hats serial number, the company will warranty you hat against everything (including loss or theft) for 3 years. After that, the Stormy Kromer company has a lifetime warranty on all of their hats. It it gets wet and rots out, the company will replace it for free. How many companies stand behind their products like that? For me, the product is well worth the $45 for such a finely made product, with such a great story.  Plus it’s made out of wool for God sake! Mine has lived through 2 years of elk hunt heat, and 2 years of frigid cold and snow in a layout blind. It still looks brand new, no matter how many times I try to destroy it.

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4: Havalon Piranta-Edge:  I’ve bragged on this knife before, and I still love the hell out of it. They retail for around $45, and that includes a sheath, and 12 additional blades. These things are truly the light saber of the skinning world, and extreme care must be taken with them, there are no “little mistakes” with these scalpel blades (remember that movie “127 hours” where the hiker had the rock fall and pin his arm? The one where he had to cut his arm off? if he would have had one of these bad boys that movie would have been called “35 minutes”. 10 minutes to get up his courage, 30 seconds to cut off his arm, and 24 minutes and thirty seconds of admiring how clean the cut was). 100% I recommend this knife to anyone who heads into the woods in pursuit of game.

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5: Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac Tires: I have never been in a position where I was able to put a really nice set of tires on one of my vehicles. Don’t get me wrong, I have bought new tires before, but they have always been a very budget friendly model that was usually built off of a highway/all season tread. After purchasing my F-350 I needed to get a set of tires that were better equipped for the activities that I like to participate in. The Duratrac’s are a great multi use tire for people who go outdoors in the northwest, They are an off-road tire that can perform in highway conditions, they are Canadian snow rated (For a Canadian commercial vehicle, they must use a tire that is indorsed with the small snowflake and mountain logo, declaring that they are “up to the standards of the Canadian government”) These tires have been absolutely great in all-weather conditions, and it is great to know that when you are driving through bumper deep snow headed to your favorite goose spot, that your tire won’t fail you. I purchased mine at Discount tire in Hayden Idaho, they treated me great and got me the best price, even beating the online tire dealers. I would definitely recommend these tires for your truck or suv.

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6: Rocky Silent Hunter Boots:  I bought these boots 15 months ago, and right out of the box they were probably the most comfortable boots that I had ever worn, each boot weighs just shy of 1.5 pounds, they have Vibram soles, are made out of rip stop material and leather, and they fit like a running shoe (say’s the fat guy) Right out of the gate I took them out on an early season horn hunt/bear bait adventure and totally fell in love with them. Being my first pair of Rocky’s I really didn’t know what to expect from them, but in all conditions they kicked ass. From hard rock faces to calf deep snow they worked perfectly. They are insulated with 400 grams of thinsulate, so warmth was just enough for a fairly active hunter. Flash forward to November of last year…

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After around 150 miles of hiking and less than a years use, this is what the boots look like. Notice that the rip stop material RIPPED, not once but in 4 different places. Which means that these boots are now no longer waterproof either. To add insult to injury, the “protective toe cap” has become totally unconnected, and the sole is starting to de-laminate as you can see in the picture. Do I still wear these boots? Sure, I paid good money for them, now im just limited to wearing them when it’s not going to be wet… like during hunting season. They are still comfortable. But as for hunting boots I have learned my lesson, and I will be back to wearing leather boots again. I mean I have two pairs of Georgia’s with the younger pair being 15 years old and the older pair being just a shade over 20. (Yes I wore a size 13 shoes as a 13-year-old, you know what they say about guys with big feet… They have to wear big boots.) I guess there really is no such thing as a free lunch, and the weight of leather is sure worth the durability gained.

These are just a few of the products that we at PWP have been testing. If you guys like the product review stuff, drop us a comment and we will see what we can do about rounding up some more of them. Maybe we will even do a “shoot out” of sorts and try to compare some of our gear. If you guys have recommendations about great products, LEAVE A COMMENT! We want to know about all the great stuff you guys have, and why we absolutely need it. Until next week, take care and shoot straight!

A Fistful of Dollars…

There I stood, waiting at the archery counter of the second shop this week. The first attempt had not gone well, and had left a bad taste in my mouth. On the previous Sunday I had gone to a local everything-outdoor retailer (they also sell farm tack and supplies, I won’t directly mention their name. but I think you can figure it out.) with the intentions of getting a little expert advise (or something close) and maybe laying my hands on a couple new compound bows. I am by no means a novice, I have just been out of the game for a bit. I had my release in one pocket and my wallet in the other, they should have been able to see me coming. I know from personal experience selling firearms, that you can tell from a distance who is a driver and who is a tire kicker. But the clerk (notice how I didn’t call him a salesmen, he wasn’t selling anything) was too busy chatting with a couple of his friends, who were actually blocking the whole entry into the archery area. After 10 minute waiting just to pass through the door, I gave up. Just so happens that I know a guy who is currently working in the firearms section. He came up to me with a smile and a handshake, and asked how it was going? All I had to do was point over to the archery department, and he knew exactly what I was talking about. His smile faded away and he apologized. “It’s not your fault”, I replied, “Maybe I just don’t want to buy a bow from here that bad”. I turned around and walked out of the store. Flash forward 7 days, once again I’m standing at the archery counter (different outdoor store, once again I won’t mention any names, but it rhymes with “crack weep”) just hoping that I will get someone knowledgable that will attempt to give me a hand. This time my Son decided to go with me and I changed my tactic a little bit. I walked in holding my wallet in one hand, and my release in the other. The fella behind the counter kept diving back and forth, looking at his phone and ignoring the fact that I was even there. He then took up a in-depth conversation with one of the other sales associates about the cool new tires he got on his pick up truck, then about his ice fishing set-up, then about the walking dead… All the while I’m standing there slapping my wallet into my other palm and staring right at them. I looked down at my Son, and with a voice volume about 10 settings too high said “Well bud, I guess these guys are just far to busy to sell me a bow!” That got their attention, but still not enough to have them speak to the fact that I had pointed out their lack-luster sales skills. For the second time in a week I was walking out of archery shop pissed off about the lack of service…

I started shooting archery when I was around 13, and quickly went through bow hunters education for a chance to extend my hunting seasons. I originally had a Bear whitetail hunter that I purchased from a pawn shop that a family friend owned. (I had to borrow the $60 from my parents and pay them back with sweat-equity) I then had to take up whatever random job I could find so that I could afford arrows, but being young and focused on being a deer slayer I didn’t mind a bit. I shot the hell out of that bow, I purchased a bale of hay and wrapped it in poly (for years I never even knew that they sold archery targets), but living in downtown Coeur d’Alene, I would have to talk my Dad into taking me into the woods so that I could continue to hone my arrow flingin skills…  Several years later my ex-brother in law Dave presented me with a new (to me at least) Hoyt eclipse. He had upgraded to a Mathews Switchback, in so he wanted me to have his old bow. Boy that Hoyt was a rocket ship in comparison to that old Bear! It had a multi-pin sight, it was served for a release, and it was around 50 fps faster to boot. (Remember those old Bear bows were only rated at about 160 fps, so 50 fps was like going from a Volkswagen bug to a Porsche 911). A couple of days a week I would drive up to Dave’s House and we would shoot his impromptu 3D course. Dave could always out-shoot me but it didn’t matter, I was getting pretty good, especially on off camber stuff, and I was pretty much a walking rangefinder. September came around, and field points got swapped out for broadheads. No I didn’t shoot an elk, but we got into them. The excitement of belly crawling into position, constantly checking the wind, the smell of the elk as you made your way into the herd, it was almost too much for a young man to bear. I was hooked! But my tag went un-punched that year. By the time the next archery elk season rolled around, I was nowhere to be found. That summer I had gotten into a motorcycle accident, that had left me in an isolater sling, with no feeling or movement in my left shoulder. The feeling would later come back and my motion now is probably 90% of what it was. What didn’t come back was that lust for shooting my bow, It had been so long that I had forgotten the joy that it had brought me. It’s taken me 13 years to remember it. Now I can’t even find somebody that wants to sell me a bow. I’m seriously thinking about taking a white shirt, and writing “SELL ME A BOW” in sharpie on the front the next time I enter a sporting goods store.

So I just wasted your time, and typed 1,001 words just to gripe about bad service right? Not exactly… This is something that is bigger then that. You, like myself, have to work for your money, and in that sometimes it is VERY hard to part with it. I have been researching new bows for almost a year now, and have funneled it down into probably 6-10 that I am actually interested in purchasing. Out of the thousands that are out their I’m down to two handfuls. I know I can order them online for a fraction of what I would spend for them locally, but I am a touchy-feely kind of guy, I don’t care what the stats say, if the bow (or gun, knife, hatchet, fly rod etc.) doesn’t fit me correctly and give me a feeling that it is “the one”, I don’t want to buy it. Even if an archery department doesn’t have “the one”, but I get awesome service, and the sales person get’s me headed in the right direction, I am more likely to spend my hard-earned money there on other things. Speaking from personal experience, you may not be able to sell someone something today, but if you treat them right, you may be able to sell them something tomorrow, then 2 month’s from now, then in a year. It is always better to have more allies then enemies. I can remember having families come in looking for firearms, treating them right, getting them the best prices I could, mounting their optics, the having them ask me my opinion on cases, or hunting boots, or tents… I never said “I sell guns, go find someone else in that department to help you”, I would walk out from behind the counter and take them through the store, answer any questions that I felt comfortable answering, and if I didn’t have the answer I would find the department manager and have them help field the question. What started off as a two rifle sale worth $1,500, turned into $6,000 hunting camp set up. Even more important than that, those customers now respected me, we were now friends. When they shot that buck of a lifetime with the rifle that I set up for them, they would come back in with pictures and thank me. I still run into some of those people out and about through town, they remember me and always say hi. You create relationships. In this day and age, where people are fearing the complete and utter collapse of society, is it better to be the person that everyone trusts and respects, or (for the lack of a better word) the asshole behind the counter? If we actually do experience this implosion of life as we know it, who do you want to be, and who do you want on your side? Remember that the bridge that you burn today, may be your only escape route tomorrow. Spend your money at places that treat you fairly, and remember that you never know who you’re talking to, what may be as small of a gesture as opening the door for someone, or pleasantly carrying on a conversation with a cashier, could have longer lasting effects. Winston Churchill once said “There is only one thing worse than fighting with allies, and that is fighting without them” and there is a lot of truth behind that statement… As for getting decent service at an archery shop… I’m pretty sure you can’t buy that with a fistful of dollars.

-Grant Willoughby 04/01/2017-

Backwood’s Proverbs…

It has been said that the burnt hand learns fastest… And speaking from the position of a man who still cannot grow hair on his hands or lower arms, there is probably some truth to that statement. We have all made mistakes when it comes to outdoor activities, and in our relentless pursuit’s in the woods. Kris and I have been tossing this idea around for a while and have been trying to feel it out as to what y’all would think. Neither Kris or myself really do the twitter thing, but we talked about how it would be funny to have our own hash-tag… You know, something that cool horn rimmed glassed, skinny jean folk could holler out when ever the feel the need. #RNAF was invented. What is #RNAF you may wonder? It stands for Red Neck As… Well you can insert what ever “F” word you want in the fourth position, but im pretty sure you know which one we are referencing in that acronym 😉 . Pretty much it just explains things that we all probably do, but to the rest of the world they seem to be a little out there to say the least. Mostly they are lessens that we have learned through experience, and good things to remember (even if they are a little redneck)…

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  • Paper plates are hillbilly road signs: Any one who has spent any amount of time in the woods know exactly what that paper plate says, and if you have the initials “GW” you had better be making a right hand turn in about 3.5 miles. It’s simple, and it’s stupid, and it works perfect. For less than a penny you know exactly where your going, even if you have no idea where your going. Its like having a GPS that you can eat off later if need be. To take someone else’s paper plate down is a crime punishable by death, and if it isn’t, it should be. Paper plate road signs are definitely #RNAF.

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  • Just call me 2 chains… I know what you are thinking, “Oh my God, this whole time we have been reading survival blogs that were written by Tauheed Epps (A.K.A. the rapper 2 chainz), Grant Willoughby, is just his pen name…” Nope, your wrong, in fact I have no idea who the scholar in the picture above is, except for the fact that his name is 2 chainz, and the 2 chains that I am making reference to are the ones that I carry in my chainsaw case. The weather is getting nicer outside, and as the snow keeps melting people are gradually finding their way back into the woods. But people forget that it was just winter, in so you have to go prepared for quite a few things. Your still going to hit snow, the roads are going to be muddy as hell, and trees fell down everywhere with the big storms that we experienced this year. Take a saw with you, and bring two chains for it. Put on the worst of the two blades (If you have never had to cut trees that are laying across the road, you have no idea what kind of damage dirty wet wood will cause to your saw, not to mention how easily one piece of gravel will grenade a decent blade.) Learn to go prepared and you will hardly ever need what you have brought, but leave out something critical one time and you will never do it again. Man all this talking about rappers makes me think that maybe I can be one, maybe ill get my old chain saw blades dipped in gold and wear those around my neck, maybe get me some corn rows…

Big tires on the 1 ton, you know we go mud diggin.

Single shot up on the seat, lookin for those prairie chicken’s.

Busch light in the cooler, and my Stihl up in the bed,

day dreams of morels and shaggy’s, mushrooms goin to my head.

Got a perfect spot to go if I can keep it out the ditches,  

I won’t tell you where it’s at, cause I don’t trust no snitches!”

Maybe ill leave the rapping to the experts, but a mushroom hunting rap is definately #RNAF.

porta

  • Does a bear shit in the woods? Nope, and neither do most women. Bear almost always poop right in the middle of the road, and according to my wife, women don’t poop at all… However, she and my Mother both insist on having a porta-poddy when we go camping or head into the woods for an extended visit. I don’t know what they use it for, but it sure fills up fast. What ever they use it for, I know they won’t go if I don’t bring it. If you want to be able to share your favorite activities with those you love its important that they are comfortable too. But… Being a country kid at heart, I pride myself in always having enough camping gear in my truck to supply a small sporting good store for a considerable amount of time. First thing that has to go into one of my vehicles is always toilet paper, second is paper towels, third is a shovel. (In a pinch you can use paper towels as toilet paper, the reverse is not true, try to wipe out a deer carcass with toilet paper and you will know what I mean.) If you have a shovel and a roll of Charmin, the world is your toilet. But there are rules to be obeyed: Don’t do it where the dogs are likely to roll in it, cover it up so you won’t step in it, and if you find the perfect blow-down tree seat, it is your responsibility to declare it “the poopin tree” and inform all parties concerned about its location. Keeping it #RNAF.

I’m sure that there are a lot more, this is just the beginning. We will keep adding them as we think of them, but what we would really like is for you to comment with your #RNAF moments and traditions. Better yet, take some pictures and send them to us, we will post them up, just be sure to throw a  #RNAF on it. Take care until next week.

-Grant Willoughby 03/26/2017-

Talk about being caught with your pants down…

“How early is it?” You think to yourself as you sit in the dark. Your nights slumber having been interrupted by your need to heed natures call. Of course you hadn’t looked at the clock on your 25 foot travel to relief. “It has to be just about time to wake up.” With one push of the button on your Casio watch your eyes clearly make out the time 1:57 AM, but the light also made it so that you can’t see anything else… All night vision now just consists of a glowing orb, and blackness. Then you hear it down the hallway, the slow creak of the door. You know it’s not the dogs because dogs never open a door nicely, it always sounds like you are being raided by the ATF! “What the hell is that noise?”All at once its coming down the hall, heavy steps pounding the floor, sounding like a busy trap field closing in on you. Its something big, and its coming your way. “Why hadn’t I filled out the paper work for that Honey Badger, two NFA stamps, one form 4 (suppressor) and a form 1 (for the SBR) and I would be ready for this situation” Hell now it sounds like who ever is coming down the hall is riding a Clydesdale horse, or at least a morbidly obese Shetland pony. “The pistol is in its regular place, shotgun is too far away too.” Is this how its going to go down, someone is going to break into the castle, and kill the king, on his throne? Not on your watch, you look around for what can use to stop the situation. Deodorizer spray it is, if that door opens, someone is getting a face full of fresh linen glade, then its gonna get crazy. Your starting to believe it too, “feeling froggy, jump frog, jump!” Beads of sweat build on your brow. At the same moment you see four little fingers creep under the bathroom door. “What are you doing in there Dad?” You hear a tiny voice say, (How does a 35 pound boy walk so heavy on his feet, your almost 8 times as heavy as he is, and you can walk anywhere without even squeaking the floor, he on the other hand sounds like a jack hammer covered with silverware, pounding on bubble wrap everywhere he goes).” Buddy, give a minute here, you know what I’m doing”. “But Dad I had a bad dream, I’m a little scared” you hear him reply. “You and me both brother…”

Lately a lot of attention has been put upon ones EDC. If Brad were in the situation above he would have been fine, he would be wearing his tac belt with two pistols, 2 knives and probably 350 rounds of ammo on him, he wears that stuff to bed I’m pretty sure (and chances are that he sleeps naked too!). The first time that I met Mr. Michael, Kris asked Brad to show me his pistol (mind you Brad had just rode his motorcycle up from St. Maries to Post falls Idaho, and didn’t know me from Adam) Brad without missing a beat, pulls his pistol out, clears it, and hands it to me. Then proceeds to pull out 3 knives carried in different locations. That is Brad, he does it daily, he is a prime example of staying true to his beliefs and being prepared. But to a lot of people the work in different industries, carrying your full load out isn’t an option. I work for a beer distributer, they do not look kindle towards me carrying at work, so in order to keep a pay check coming in, I have to obey their rules (to an extent). My primary carry piece is a Smith and Wesson M&P45C in a Blackhawk serpa holster, I carry outside the pants with a cover because its more comfortable for me, by the same token, it is not the easiest thing to completely conceal (especially when you are not really supposed to be carrying one at your place of employment anyways.). In turn I end up with a core EDC, that no matter the day, I always have on me. I carry a Gerber (for now) recoil multi-tool, and  CRKT Hammond Cruiser (not the most expensive knife in the world, but it works well) On the weekend I carry my M&P. To me, a big part of your EDC is what is available to you at all times. As I have mentioned many times before I tend to carry a fair amount of gear in my vehicles, from basic survival gear, to specialized equipment for different situations, I can use whats on my person to get me to my cache of other supplies. I know, I know… What sense does it make to have a firearm that you train with, and not carry it? The answers simple, sometimes I cannot carry my firearm, be it at work or in places that are considered “gun free zones”. “Well don’t go to those places” I can hear you saying it right now. As for places that I choose to spend what little money I have, your are exactly right, (I still haven’t eaten at Buffalo Wild Wings.) but there are certain times that I just plain don’t have an option about being able to carry or not. When I take my Son to school, pick him up, or go to one of his many functions, weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited. So do I break the law (intentionally), and do it anyway because I feel that weapon free zones are complete nonsense? I don’t, My rights mean way too much to me to potentially jeopardize them, And I do not believe that I should have to become a criminal in order to defend myself from criminals. So what other options are there for situations in which you have to be some place that won’t allow you to carry? Well there are actually quite a few options and theories about how to handle gun free zones (please bear with me on this one, I personally don’t agree with most of these, but by the same token, maybe one of these options would be perfect for you).

Pepper Spray: Some have decided oc pepper spray is the way to go.  If you decide to go the pepper spray route, be warned that there is a lot more to safely carrying/using pepper spray then just throwing it into a pocket and thinking that you are well prepared for any situation. Traditional defensive sprays have a horrible tendency to drift back and get into the shooters eyes. Luckily, now companies have identified the faults of their ways and tried to make pepper spray more user-friendly with products like “Pepper gel” from the Sabre company. Same principle as the original (spray enters the assailants eyes and air passages, virtually shutting down their sight and breathing.) The new formula does not leave the canister as a mist, but a stream that actually travels around 20% farther than traditional sprays. Still, you need to practice to become competent, luckily Sabre also sells a practice can (same stream, just with no pepper irritant) that sells for about $5.

Asp/Batons: Asp’s have long been used by professionals in security industries. They are a collapsible baton that can be carried on the belt, unsheathed and deployed instantly with a single motion. (If you want to know what your state laws are as for collapsible batons click “HERE”) The problem is that you are still going to draw quite a few looks from people, and depending on interpretation of the law, you may still end up in jail. Police are trained to strike limbs, and soft spots on the body with this style of batons, staying completely away from the central nervous system and skull. Why? Because batons will kill people, they will break bones,  and they will stop a potentially life threatening situation. It’s up to the owner to know the legality, practice often, and be responsible for the potential actions that using a weapon like this could cause. (Now were getting into the meat and taters!)

Knives:  Check your local laws, and check what documentation is on the “gun free” signs. If the sign states that it is a “gun free zone” you may be alright carrying a knife. Now do I recommend that you whip out a Down under knives Outback bowie at a Buffalo wild wings? (I will address both issue with the statement above… When drawing a knife that has a total length of 16″ and a blade that measure 11″ the only term to be used professionally is “whip out”, secondly  if you are going to un-sheath a beast of a knife like that there is only one place to do it at… Outback steak house of course, when they bring out your “bushmen bread” with that steak knife they expect you to cut it with, you must hand the steak knife back and say… “That’s  not a knife”… (“whip out” said short sword) “That’s a knife” and point the tip at the waiter. That’s the gentleman’s way. 🙂 ) Carry knives have come a long way, with tons of options as for fixed blade knives, and sheath configurations that make them easier to carry that are both vertical and horizontal. Choosing one is really a personal decision that has to be made by the carrier. Reputable knife makers are popping up everywhere. Check out knives made by ESEE , the carry a full lifetime warranty, even covering modifications done by the user, and that pretty tough to beat. The amount of folders on the market is also growing daily, as mentioned before I carry a CRKT and have been pretty happy with it (read: I’m happy with it until I get something else that I enjoy more than it), with modern pocket clips, and limitless blade options you can find a knife that is easy to carry and suits your needs. But don’t think that your out of the woods just because everyone carries a pocket knife, try flipping out a Mantis MT-8 Siko to clean the dirt underneath your nails at your next family gathering, and I will bet my lunch money that no one is going to ask you to baby sit their kids. Even a legal to own, legal to carry knife can cause quite a stir, if the wrong eyes happen to fall upon it. This is where a gentleman’s folder can be the ticket. When I think of a gentleman’s folder I think of Case knives, simple, slim, and they sit in the bottom of the pocket where no one knows they are there. As for a fighting knife, or “weapon” they do have their drawbacks, (No locking mechanism, and blade shape) but they also are perceived to be less intimidating by those un-initiated. Even a multi tool and its somewhat hard to reach blades provide a viable option in a “politically correct” package, that can and may save your life. What is better in a time of need, a less than perfect tool, or no tool at all? (Here comes the curve ball…)

Tactical Pens: Yep I said it. You all know how much I hate new stuff, especially things that seem gimmicky in the least. But recently I have done a little research into this fad… And I don’t think it’s too bad of an option. Remember when you were little and your mom would yell at you because you were running down a flight of stairs with a popsicle in your mouth, stating that if you fell on it you will surely die? That was just a tiny wood stick, now imagine that instead of a wood stick it was actually a piece of titanium, aluminum, or steel? How would that feel if you fell on it? Speaking as a man who has fallen on his keys a time or two, I can vouch for the fact that metal things tend to hurt ya pretty good, and they definitely redirect your thought process. That is the whole principle behind the tactical pen. You probably use a pen daily, and never give any thought to it. You may be signing for deliveries, doing inventory of stock items, or simply writing a check, a pen is a very recognized and widely used item that draws little if any attention. Now take that pen, machine it out of robust material, throw a glass breaker point on it and increase the weight to around an ounce or two, as a last-ditch defense, I can come up with quite a few worse options. What stops an attacker much faster then being impaled by a piece of machined metal?  Will it take the place of a bullet? Not in my book, but it is a viable option that I hope to never end up on the business end of.

Your home is your castle, and as comfortable as that should make you feel, you should always be ready to defend it. When you enter the realm outside your draw bridge, you have to be prepared for things that may come. Even in situations and places where your normal array of defense weapons are made unavailable to you. Arm yourself sufficiently (even in places where you can’t follow your EDC protocol completely), and stay alert and aware of your surroundings (condition yellow), carry yourself in a manner that shows other that you are confident, and not a victim. In your house try to keep it simple and streamlined, when Harbor Freight has the coupon up for free flashlights, go pick one up, keep doing so until you have one in every room of your house. They may lack the light output of your favorite Fenix PD-35, or the striking bezel of your Surefire E2D, but in a pinch, when something goes bump in the night, that light may be the only thing available to get you out of a sticky situation. Arrange your home in a way that you can work from room to room with options as you go. Make a plan, and most importantly PRACTICE, become proficient with your defense tactics, and leave yourself with no option for failure. Because God forbid anything actually happens and you are forced to use your plan, and you get caught with your pants down.

-Grant Willoughby 03/19/2017-

America, Second Amendment, Everyday Carry, Survival, Preperation, First aid

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