Oh, the places you’ll go…

First off, Happy Fathers Day! If you haven’t already noticed Post World Patriot is GROWING, and changes are on the horizon. With fresh blood and new ideas pumping down the veins, we are going balls out trying new things to become a better Peer-to-peer group that is always at your disposal. Big things are in the works, we promise, stay tuned for more to come…

If you have been reading our blogs for any amount of time, you have surely seen that our topics have changed. As times have gotten different, we too have tried to adapt our material in order to try and match what is going on. But we are the same ol’ guys that we have always been, probably a little caddy, probably a little blunt, but still there looking out for those who are a part of our online family. But let’s be honest, we can only be serious for so long, and if we combat our own humor, what do we really have? Our humanity is what relates us all! I have seen Kris walk like he is in mid-taser attack, I tried to put on Brad’s tactical belt (we couldn’t get it small enough to fit Kris’s waist, and I almost choked myself out trying to fit it around my head and arm). We are not every other gun/hunting/fishing/foraging/prepping/survival website. Why? Because we are like you, we have a passion for our lifestyles, we love to shoot guns, bows, bottle-rockets, cast fishing poles, dig up worms, and gold, and mushrooms, hike to mountain peaks looking for horns, critters, or just a pretty picture, get mud on the tires, and crack a cold one in front of a camp fire. ( I also really love to use commas and hyphens!) Plain and simple, we at PWP are 4 individuals who, coming from different walks of life, have found the same finish line. Each respectively, choosing different skill sets in order to succeed. (No I didn’t use the crickets to start the fire, Jiminy is for food, but it was my belly button lint. Now I could make one hell of a wood plough out of Pinocchio’s nose though) Yes we poke fun at each other, and mix metaphors as we deem fit. We have different ideas as to the perfect firearms (By the way I finally entered the realm of 1964 by buying my first AR-15, with Iron sight’s no less) But we all came together in our love and respect of what we do, and of our common mindset of whats important. If you have stayed with us this long you share those feelings too.  At PWP what we have to share is knowledge and experience. We we want to gain is the same… Knowledge and experience. Every day I put a priority on learning something that perpetuates the lifestyle that I choose to lead. The more that you search the interwebs, the more you realize that people have decided survival is a great way to make a living regurgitating information that may or may not be true in order to look like experts. I am here to tell you, true survival specialists are about one thing, surviving at all costs. Kris told me about another of his martial arts teachers who said (hopefully I don’t butcher this) “if you want to get good at something, find the person that is best at it, and learn from them” Why would you want to learn something by the person that is the worst at anything? Nobody wants to have the worst burger in town, or read the worst book ever written, how about watch the worst Atreyu cover ever? Nobody wants to do that. (seriously that cover is horrible) Find people who know their stuff, and you will find knowledge that you can put faith in. On our staff we have two AR-armorers, one Smith & Wesson armorer, 3 better than decent programmers, and over 80 years combined hunting, fishing, reloading, and foraging knowledge. When you surround yourself with credible sources, and share your own experience, you gain more than knowledge, you also gain experiences and friendships. Put it all on the table, joke with us. If you have a question throw it out there, if we dont know the answer, we will find it. If you have a skill we don’t, tell us about it. I personally want to learn, and im sure that others do too. Be a part of the solution, make us all better, and lets pull out of this nose dive that our society has gone into. Oh, the places we’ll go…

-Grant Willoughby 6/16/2017-

Time management

A martial arts teacher told me once, “If you want to be good, train when no one else is training…”.  I not being the brightest bulb in the box took this at its most literal translation.  So here I am throwing punches on my way to get a glass of water, kicking down the hall when I go to take a piss, swatting flies with what I hope are lightning fast backfists,  and practicing my footwork while moving around the stockroom(this I am positive gave my supervisor an uneasy feeling about me when he walked in on what I can only assume looked like a schizophrenic believing himself to be attacked by a rabid group of capybara).

The point of this article isn’t to show you how unhinged I am, or that I was even a successful martial artist due to my strange training habits, but I’m sharing this story because that one conversation changed my perspective about skill integration, time management and getting shit done.

Like most people one of my worst enemies is time.  To be specific “I don’t have enough time.”  Time is a formidable foe to be sure, but sadly most of us aren’t even bothering to get in the fight.  You hear us talk about skill sets over assets all the time, but what good are these skills without skill integration, sure you can learn a ton of stuff, but is it worth anything if you can’t exercise that skill under duress?

Around a PWP campfire you might hear such strange conversations as, “I got the fire going”, “yeah, but can you start a fire with a cricket and the lint from your belly button?”  (PLEASE don’t try this… those poor crickets, I can still hear their screams).  All joking aside, this type of banter should get one thinking, did you start that fire with your bic, matches, or gasoline?  If your perspective is tuned to skill integration and your willing to take up the fight against “time” every fire you start you should be practicing(read integrating) the skills you have learned.  If your lighting up the fire pit in the backyard cause your buds are coming over for a beer.  Guess what you have nothing but “time”, your not lost, hypothermic, or otherwise in need of the blessings of fire.  This is where time management comes in.  Build a bow drill, a plow, find stuff in the yard or on your person as fire starter, at the very least get out your firekit (you have one right?) and use the ferro rod.

This type of everyday skill integration is what will matter when you actually need it.  Shift your perspective to see what skills can be utilized during every day tasks.  Do not become a victim of “I don’t have enough time”…. or you might actually become a victim in a bad situation.



Kris Anderson 2017

Trust me…. I’m a Doctor

As an avid follower of many online groups and forums I often see inquiries on people who are looking for advice on firearms, gear and/or ammo. While looking for options is never a bad thing, taking advice from a complete stranger or even a trusted friend or family member is not always the best idea. We have four members who are taking turns writing this blog and I can guarantee that if you were to pose the question on what would be the perfect carry pistol, you would get 4 different answers!

I’m not attempting to say that any of the answers would be incorrect but if you were to go and sit at the gun counter at any local gun shop, it wouldn’t take long to see that some people will buy whatever someone is selling, hook, line and sinker. If you or someone you know is in the market the best thing to do is go to an indoor range and try out different pistols. Personal preference of the salesman or associate should not be the only deciding factor on a purchase. The right firearm to own is the firearm you can use! By saying “use” I mean a firearm that fits your hand and one you can put lead on target.

Contrary to popular belief, there are far more options than the desert eagle or glock that is glorified in most movies! Don’t be afraid to fire multiple different firearms at the range, after all that is what they are intended for! Once you are able to narrow down a weapon that works for you, there are a few different necessities that one will need. Now if this pistol is going to be something that you are going to everyday carry a decent belt is highly recommended. A good rigid belt works best for everyday carry. I personally have tried everything from your $12 dickies Walmart special to the $100 Boxer Tactical Apogee gun belt. From my experience I like either my HSG (high speed gear) or Boxer Tactical. Why spend that much on a belt? I used to always just buy the “Walmart special” but let me tell ya, it is ALWAYS a pain when they fail. It usually happens when least expected and you’re not at home or near somewhere with another belt readily available. My issues were always where the belt buckle itself ripped from the belt. Was it from the excess weight from the firearm or my ever expanding waist? Your guess is as good as mine. After burning through a few belts I decided to get all “tacticool” and purchase a legit gun belt. This was a decision that changed everyday carry for me. The belts are usually overbuilt… hell that high speed gear one you could probably use to tow a vehicle with! The rigidity of the belt also supports the firearm well and you will notice that your firearm seems lighter! With a cheaper belt I always had to cinch it tight in order to keep my pistol from drooping or tipping out which is what I believe caused the issues with the buckles. Once again it is all about preference and it is probably something you have to try and not take my word for. Just as pistol purchasing, you have to go with what works for you.

For anyone looking to check out different pistols and or gear, we are always more than willing to let you check out ours or even go to the range with you and let you run them for yourselves. Between the four of us, we have plenty of different makes, models and sizes to get that ball rolling.


Brad Michael – 2017

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.


  • “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.)


  • “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.



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.






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: 


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.



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?


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:


  • 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)


  • 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.


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.


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.


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-

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

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