Emergency Kit in Your Vehicle

It's a winter wonderland up here! The snow keeps falling and falling and falling! I'm hearing about all kinds of people going off the roads and into the ditch - yikes. For all of you in snowy climes, don't forget to have emergency items in your vehicle. Here's a list of possibilities:

Stay warm!
Gloves/mittens, wool socks, coat, boots, a blanket, hand warmers

Get out!
Cell phone/charger, booster cables, shovel, windshield scraper, tire chains/rope, road salt and sand, tool kit, road maps, compass

Wait for help!
Snacks, water, blaze orange flags, flashlight/batteries, emergency flares, first aid kit, waterproof matches and a can (to melt snow for water)

In more extreme locations, you may also want to include battery-powered radio/batteries. Personally, I've got the gloves, socks, boots, blanket, hand warmers, booster cables, scraper, maps, snacks. I'm planning on adding cell phone charger, flares, first aid kit, flashlight, and matches. Guess I'd better get going on that now that we've got over a foot of snow on the ground!

Notable Outdoor Women - Julie Kay Smithson

Outdoor Life Magazine just came out with "The Outdoor Life 25 - People Who Changed the Face of Hunting & Fishing" in the December/January 2008 issue. In it they recognize two women, Julie Kay Smithson and Jennie Richardson (more on Jennie here). I wanted to provide you more information and links on these notable outdoor women!

Julie Kay Smithson is noted as an unsung hero for her devotion to the cause of property rights. After a run-in with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding an endangered species on her land, she tutored herself on the issues of land-use, and environmental and endangered species. Since then she has been educating landowners and sportsmen through her research and website PropertyRightsResearch.Org
As you look through her website, you will realize that Julie takes very polarizing stances on specific subjects. You will likely agree wholeheartedly, or will be vehemently opposed to what she is saying. She's an interesting selection for Outdoor Life to add to their list - I doubt that she will be admired by the majority. She could serve however as a great resource for those who are struggling with land rights.
Unfortunately, I have to veer toward being opposed to her views. Specifically, I cannot agree with her comment on her website that "Climate change, i.e., 'global warming' OR 'global cooling,' has virtually zilch to do with production of so-called 'greenhouse gases'." Such disregard for the extensive research and intelligence of independent scientists world-wide, who state that humans are in fact accelerating the climate change, is an extremely arrogant and "cause-centric" stance and it makes her look foolish. I certainly would select her as an expert on land use rights, but I highly doubt that she's also a climatologist experienced in current climate research and theory.

Notable Outdoor Women - Jennie Richardson

Outdoor Life Magazine just came out with "The Outdoor Life 25 - People Who Changed the Face of Hunting & Fishing" in the December/January 2008 issue. In it they recognize two women, Jennie Richardson and Julie Kay Smithson (more on Julie here). I wanted to provide you more information and links on these notable outdoor women!

Jennie Richardson is noted as a leader for her work in getting school children involved in archery. They say, "In 2002, educator and national champion archer Jennie Richardson was chose as the state coordinator for a fledgling program designed to introduce archery to middle school students...." They further describe how that program has grown to the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) that is "being taught in more than 40 state and 4 countries."

So who is Jennie Richardson? According to her website, Jennie has been an avid bowhunter and angler since she was a child. After suffering a shoulder injury that ended her days as one of the top softball coaches in Kentucky, Jennie learned to shoot her bow with her teeth “Tim Farmer-style” while she went through shoulder surgery. She was soon back to shooting competitive archery. Her time in Semi-Pro classes didn’t last long – as she won seven out of 14 tournaments in 1998 and was named Cabela’s Shooter of the Year and won the World’s Championship. She is a two time World Champion, has logged 87 Top 10 finishes, 26 Top 5 finishes, 21 Top 3 finishes and six wins. (As of today when I got the info off her website - these numbers may have changed by the time you read this!) This list of accomplishments on her website is VERY impressive!

My first time cross-country skiing

Today was an outdoor first for me - the first time that I ever tried cross country skiiing! Someone gave me some old skis and poles, and a friend of mine loaned me some boots to try it out. I have downhill skied before so this wasn't a total stretch for me, and it went pretty well. I went on some paths on our land that were snow covered, so I think if I'd get them more packed down it would work better. To me it felt like a workout effort (which I should do every day anyway), but rather than be on a treadmill or eliptical, I got to be outside in the woods! Now is working out my favorite thing to do? No. But since I should do it anyway, I think that from now on I'll try to throw this in to mix things up every once in a while.

For those of you who regularly cross country ski, I have a question. Do you prefer to ski with someone or on your own?

Choosing a Site - Planning a Women in the Outdoors Event

We're still working on planning the Women in the Outdoors event that I mentioned in this earlier post. Here's an update of how the process is going.

One of the dates we selected will work for our first choice of the 4-H outdoor education camp. We chose that because a successful event has been held there before, it's centrally located, and it's on the water so that we can include water-based activities. To reserve the camp, we have to put a small deposit down. From what I understand, the actual initial money will come from one of the local NWTF chapters, and then we'll pay them back after we receive the registration money from the participants.

The next step is a fun one - selecting which courses to offer! In the end, we'll offer 12 or so courses and each participant will pick their top 4 choices. (Four courses in the one-day event.) So as planners, we have to narrow down to 12, from a hugely interesting list of possibilities! It should be a good mix that will appeal to shooters and non-shooters, crafters and non-crafters, water lovers and land lovers, etc. We're going to each narrow the big list that Women in the Outdoors provided, down to 15 or so each. Then the three of us will debate from our individual lists when we get together next. Finding instructors is a big factor in the selection.

I'll let you know which events we pin it down to!

Women on Snow

A friend of mine alerted me to this very cool event that some of you ladies may be interested in - Women on Snow!

Women on Snow is an annual snowmobiling event for women only, that brings over one hundred women to Wisconsin's Northwoods during the last weekend in January.
The next dates are January 25-27, 2008. According to their website, "Women on Snow draws gals who love to snowmobile from all over the Midwest for a weekend of trail riding." Based in Eagle River, Wisconsin, the women ride in one of six groups designated by color. The weekend includes a real Wisconsin fish fry dinner, trail riding, continental breakfast, trail riding, a support vehicle, trail riding, a themed Saturday night banquet, and more trail riding! There's also a Women on Snow Tour which occurs Monday through Wednesday after the weekend event. See their website for more info on the weekend.

The event has in interesting history too! The Flying Femmes were a group of women who in the late 1970's earned membership into their club by trail-touring on snowmobile. Word spread of their ride and the fun they had. Each year, more women joined the women riders. In 1984, the Flying Femmes went on their dream tour-- a 1200 mile, six day tour to Brainerd, Minnesota and back. The first official Women on Snow event was held in 1986. Ninety-seven women participated in what has become an annual event in Eagle River, Wisconsin.

See! Girls Hunt Too!

Rex's daughter Sarah got her first deer over Thanksgiving weekend! He's got that pic and many more at Deer Camp Blog. Matt at Bright Idea Outdoors also highlighted it.

Great Archery Photo!

This is not me.

It's a Miss Lilia Stepanova at the Archery World Cup final in Dubai, United Emirates, on Saturday November 24th. She's a professional contortionist, and does another nifty archery trick below, which is apparently her signature move. Amazing!!

What's a Personal Locator Beacon?

I'm starting to plan for an elk hunt in Colorado next year. I looked into a Personal Locator Beacon in case of emergency. Here's a synopsis of what I found for those of you who may be planning a trip to the wild woods.

What is a Personal Locator Beacon?
Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are for personal use and are intended to indicate a person in distress who is away from normal emergency services, according to Wikipedia. PLBs vary in size from cigarette-packet to paperback book. They can be purchased from hiking supply stores, online, or rented from PLB Rentals (among others). The cost varies widely with varying levels of performance and options. A site with excellent FAQs about PLBs is provided by the Equipped To Survive Foundation.

How Do They Work? - Generally
A PLB is activated manually by you. The PLBs signal transmission is picked up by one or more satellites. The satellite transmits the signal to its ground control station. The satellite's ground station processes the signals and forwards the data, including approximate location, to a national authority. The national authority forwards the data to a rescuers. The rescuers use their equipment to locate the beacon, contact your emergency contacts to verfiy it's not a false alarm, and then hopefully save you!

How Do They Work? - Technically
PLBs operating on 406 MHz transmit a unique serial number called a Hex Code, which is detected by the NOAA Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) and Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellites (POES). GOES, the first to detect a beacon’s distress signal, hover in a fixed orbit above Earth and receive the signals, which contain registration information about the beacon and its owner. The POES constantly circle the globe, enabling them to capture and accurately locate the alerts to within a few miles. The satellites are part of the worldwide satellite search and rescue system called, COSPAS-SARSAT. The COSPAS-SARSAT system is a cluster of NOAA and Russian satellites that work together to detect distress signals anywhere in the world transmitted from PLBs and from beacons carried aboard ships and airplanes. In the U.S. the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center acts as the single federal agency for coordinating search and rescue missions in the inland regions of the 48 contiguous states. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Beginning Feb. 1, 2009, only 406 MHz beacons will be detected by the international Cospas-Sarsat SAR satellite system, so I won't even mention other types. Citation: "Personal Locator Beacons as a Rescue Device for Backcountry Travelers," by Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2003-11-23 03:00:00-07.

When the PLB is purchased the Hex Code is registered with the relevant national (or international) authority. Registration provides Search and Rescue (SAR) agencies with crucial information such as: emergency contact phone numbers to call, a description of the person, any additional information that may be useful to SAR agencies. All of this allows SAR agencies to start a rescue more quickly. Remember, PLBs should not be used in cases where normal emergency response exists (i.e. 911.)!

Get ready for sticker shock - they aren't cheap. But would you want them to be? Really, you get what you pay for. Personally, I don't spend enough time in the really remote places to justify purchasing one. However, I'd sure consider renting one. Yes, it would add weight to my pack, but peace of mind should lighten the load!

Pro Athlete hunts with his wife

I found an old story on ESPN Outdoors about Cincinnati Reds pitcher Brian Bohanon. In it, he talks about how "his fondest hunting memory doesn't include a time when he was behind the scope. It was scoping out his spouse, Tina, as she took down an 8-point deer on her very first hunting trip, the first time she ever handled a rifle."

In the full story, Brian talks about his love of hunting and how he assisted his wife on that day. "I was just telling her about shot placement, where to put the crosshairs. I knew the gun was sighted in and it was going to shoot right there. I was just whispering in her ear, 'Just find the shoulder and just go about 2 inches behind it, and, once you get to that point, whenever you're not moving, pull the trigger.' "

He also talks about when his wife decided to start hunting, "I didn't really force her into it. She made the decision on her own to go and do it. And when she said she wanted to go, I said, 'Let's go.' I didn't coax her into it." Sounds like good tips for all the guys out there who'd like their wives/girlfriends to hunt!

Scrapbooking the Outdoors

How many scrapbookers are out there? I just started scrapbooking last year. I didn't think I'd like it, the nit-pickey little pieces, the cheesy decorations. Guess what? They have nifty tools that cut the little pieces and there are some really cool stickers and backgrounds! After I made my first page, I thought "Oh, that's so nice! I made that?" My next scrapbook is going to be all about my outdoor activities (naturally!). I Googled "scrapbooking the outdoors" and here's some of what I found:

The Great Outdoors Scrapbooking
There is nothing like being out in nature. The trees, the mountains, the wildlife, the scenery, the fishing, the bugs, umm, well, maybe the bugs aren’t so great, but you just can’t beat Mother Nature for the awe-inspiring views. When you use our Great Outdoors scrapbook supplies to scrap your trip to the lake, wilderness trek or visit to the park, you are sure to be inspirational as well with the pages you’ll create. Your memories will be preserved for generations to come.

About.Com: Camping and Outdoor Scrapbook Pages
Do you have some camping or outdoor photos still in boxes or older photo albums? These layout ideas will inspire you when you need an idea for your next camping layout. In this gallery, you will find everything from simple pages to more complex layouts. A couple of the layouts have even been created digitally.

Scrapbooking Ideas - Outdoor and Camping Scrapbooks
Fun outdoor and camping resources for your camping vacations and outdoor themed pictures.

Outdoor Phrases and Quotes from

Gun Hunting from a Ground Blind

Do you hunt in the chilly north, but can't put up a permanent gun hunting stand? Then I highly recommend hunting from a ground blind!

Where I hunt, there's no particular reason you'd need to hunt from an elevated stand because of the hills, dips and valleys in the landscape. We aren't allowed to put up permanent stands on the private land I hunt, and finally it's cold. Cold, cold! After years of shivering in a tree stand, only to freeze out and head in the house to warm up, I purchased a pop up ground blind. I LOVE IT!

I love it because it's cozy - I'm protected from most of the wind, rain, snow. My movements are hidden and muffled. I can bring lots of stuff (like a book, lunch, extra gear, blankets, etc.) that will all fit right next to me. I can sit in a ground blind all day, which optimizes my hunting time!

The blind is put up in my "spot" about two weeks or more ahead of time (no trees necessary!), and the deer don't even glance at it by the time I sit for hunting. I stake and tie it down - learned that lesson the hard way. It's made of camo material, but I also add natural camoflage around it like branches, grass, etc. Inside I clear out anything crunchy from the ground, and add a comfy chair. When I'm putting it up, I take a snippers and clear my shooting lanes while I'm there. Then I leave it alone until the day or two before hunting. Then I put in anything that I want to have on opening day - but don't want to carry in that morning. Like an extra chair for gear or a buddy, water bottle, seat cushion, book, etc. The big debate for me is whether to open the zip down windows then, or to wait until morning. I think I've decided to open them the day before to minimize the VERY LOUD ZIPPER SOUNDS in the morning.

I sat in my blind in the rain once, and realized I should have used seam sealer (waterproofing product) on the seams because rain was dripping in there. But other than that, I'm very well protected from the weather. One consideration to remember though, is to hang blaze orange outside your blind when gun hunting. It defeats the safety purpose of wearing blaze orange otherwise!

If I'm not Blogging, I'm Hunting!

Tomorrow is opening day of gun season!! I've been busy getting ready for that. Plus last weekend, we went out bow hunting and saw 3 bucks which made me really get in the mood for hunting this weekend. Since I've been too busy to write, here's some links to articles about women hunting that came out recently. Good luck hunting!!

Girl power: Teen schools guys on how to bag deer
"Rachel Woodard might be a Ravenna High School cheerleader, but she's far from all pompoms and pigtails. The 17-year-old senior is an avid deer hunter who already has bagged six deer, including two seven-point bucks."

Hunting: Despite overall decline in license sales, more women are taking up hunting
"A 2005 five-year survey by the National Sporting Goods Association painted a rosier picture of female hunting participation, claiming a 72 percent increase nationwide. "We can explain decreases in men," said Mark Duda of Responsive Management, a Virginia firm that tracks and interprets outdoors trends. "Male hunters live in rural areas and they're aging. As to why female participation is increasing, that's more of a mystery, since it appears to span various age groups, incomes and levels of education."

My favorite quote from this article? "Something is happening with women and hunting."

Starting up a Women in the Outdoors Event

I've mentioned the Women in the Outdoors program a few times (here and here). It really interests me, and I decided that I want to participate. But there were no events right in my area, so I took it a step further and contacted someone to help start one. If this is something you may be interested in too, and are wondering about it, here's how it's going!

Karyl is the regional coordinator, and she had also gotten emails of interest from another woman in my area that also wanted to start an event. After a few scheduling emails back and forth, we met at a local restuarant. The first thing we had to determine was the location of the event. We brainstormed beforehand and at the meeting and came up with three possible options: a 4-H outdoor education camp, a rod and gun clubgrounds, a wildlife area with an educational center. We chose one as our first choice, and then checked Karyl's schedule for dates. We selected 3 dates that didn't correspond with any other Women in the Outdoor events (especially those close by), and that worked for the three of us. The next step is to call our first choice location and schedule one of the three dates we selected - hoping they had those dates open! If they don't we'll work our way down the list of locations.

After that is settled, we'll meet again to work on the next phase of planning a Women in the Outdoors event. Check back for updates!

Woman Hunter Shoots Albino Deer in MN

I've been busy bow hunting and getting ready for gun hunting. I saw a niiiice buck by my gun hunting spot - can't wait! But I haven't seen any albino deer, unlike the woman in Minnesota who shot one last week. According to Fox News' November 5th, 2007 story online, Mary Roakoz shot and killed a rare albino deer as hunting season got kicked off in Minnesota.

It's not legal where I live to kill a full albino deer. I'm on the fence on what I think about this. I don't blame her for doing it, but I don't think I could personally do it. I've read too many fiction stories where there's a mystical white animal that appears in the forest and has special powers!! It would be bad karma I think.

Female Wildlife Officer Killed During Poacher Patrol

According to a South Florida TV station, "A Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer was killed Saturday night in an all-terrain vehicle crash. Officer Michelle Lawless was looking for poachers and others who often target alligators and deer at night at the Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area in Broward when investigators said she struck a metal gate, while driving without headlights.She was pinned underneath the ATV for hours near the Broward and Palm Beach County line. She was pronounced dead at the hospital. The commission said there is no evidence pointing to foul play, but they are still investigating the death."

Pink Guns - A Hot Topic

Field & Stream occasionally launches discussions about pink guns on their website. I've linked to some of them below:

Sep. 25, 2007 Field & Stream "Field Notes" blog had a post titled Manufacturers Roll Out Pink Guns For Women

Nov. 27, 2007 The "Field Notes" blog had a post titled Pink Guns Flying Off The Shelves

April 7, 2008 The "Field Notes" blog had a discussion topic titled Do Pink Guns Look Like Toys?

I was reminded of these discussions when I flipped through the latest Gander Mountain flyer and went " cute!" over two pink guns that were on sale. My personal take on pink guns is that they are kinda cute - but not realistic for actual hunting.

(At the time of this post)...I (could) only find two manufacturers who make pink guns: Remington (two) - Model 870 Junior 20-Ga. (Gander Mountain exclusive) & Model 597 .22LR Rimfire Rifle; Keystone Sporting Arms has a LOT of pink .22 rifles including - Model 226 Stainless Steel, Model 225 Blued, & Model 221 Stainless Steel (Clearly since this post, there are MANY more manufacturers of pink guns!)

Other than that, you'd have to get a custom gun. Jim's Gun Supply was mentioned in the orignal article discussed at Field & Stream. Here's a link to his website for custom work - he customized the pink Glock in the photo.

Interesting article here and here and here.

The Bassmaster Classic Now Allowing Women to Fish

This rubs me the wrong way. I saw on ESPN here that *gasp* they will be allowing women to compete in the Bassmaster Classic. "In 2008, the Toyota Women's Bassmaster Tour Angler of the Year, the top angler in the season-long points standings, will qualify for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic. 'Next year promises to be a historic year, with the first female angler qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic,' said Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager of BASS. 'The WBT continues to receive some well-deserved attention and we are excited about this opportunity for the circuit to grow.' "

As I commented on that article - What is that??!!!?? Weren't women "allowed" in the big tournament before this? I can understand having men's and women's basketball (or other highly aerobic sports) separate, but is there really that much difference in how well a body can reel a fish in? Doesn't it have more to do with line and rod strength than arm strength?

On one hand, it great that they are doing this, but on the other hand it's outrageous that this is JUST happening now. This is the perfect spot for my favorite movie quote. "This vexes me. I'm terribly vexed."

President Bush spends day fishing, bird-watching

October 20, 2007 - President Bush spent the day outdoors Saturday doing public relations for his conservation credentials, according to an article on

"It was all part of an effort to burnish his conservation credentials while announcing new initiatives that he said would protect migrating birds and two fish species, red drum and striped bass, prized by anglers. Bush, noting that migrating bird populations are threatened by increasing development along their flyover routes, said his administration would award private landowners "credits" they could sell, mainly to federal agencies, to encourage them to set aside "stopover habitats" for more than 800 species of migratory birds."

He also mentioned potential tax breaks for conservation easements. Then he went fishing and a WOMAN SHOWED HIM UP!! (You knew there was a reason I was highlighting this story!)

"Traveling to Maryland's Eastern Shore, Bush took a private charter for an hour of fishing with Chris and Melissa Fischer, hosts of ESPN's "Offshore Adventures" show. As Bush mimed catching a big fish for the cameras, Melissa Fischer reeled one in from the bay's choppy waters. Bush said an order he signed would direct the Commerce and Interior departments to further build up stocks of striped bass and red drum, by working with state and local officials to prohibit sales of the fish caught up to 200 nautical miles out in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico."
Bush ended his remarks with a funny jab at Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunter while quail hunting last year. "I love to fish. And the good news, there's a lot of good fishing here ... because the Secret Service won't let me go hunting with him."

No More Archery in Archery Park

Imagine a wonderful world where city-dwellers could walk a few blocks and arrive at a magical place called "Archery Park". There would be targets, earthern berms, and shooting towers for happy little archers to use for practice. The peaceful sound of rushing water would fill the air from the beautiful river alongside the park. Ah...what a wonderful world it would be.

There WAS such a place in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, until recently a sign showed up in Archery Park prohibiting the use guessed it...bows and arrows. According to an article in the Leader-Telegram, "The park was closed to archery in September after a neighbor complained of finding an arrow in his yard." Apparently, the latest in a smattering of complaints over the years.

I think it's regretful to lose a beautiful and convenient place to practice, but I can't say I totally disagree with the decision. Better do it now, than after an arrow pierces a kid playing in her yard. Such a park did seem too good to be true!

Wild Gingseng

Have you seen this plant in your woods??

If you think you have, take particular note of it! You may have a rare and valuable herb growing on your land. It's called ginseng, and it is highly valued by the Asian markets. You could make some extra spending money, but you're not going to get rich off harvesting wild ginseng. Keep in mind though that it is easily wiped out (as in made extinct on a property) by overharvesting. There's a link here and here with more information on harvesting wild ginseng. Plus if you Google it, you'll find your local state regulations (at least I did when I Googled it).
I'm just looking into it and learning about it myself. Have any of you harvested wild ginseng??

Kate Middleton Gets Ready for Hunting

I was already a fan of Kate Middleton, Prince William's girlfriend. Now I have another reason to like her - she's trying out hunting!! Per an article on the internet, she got decked out in camo and sighted in a rifle with the royal family. Anti-blood sports campaigners are freaking out naturally, but we'll just ignore them as usual.

"Prince William's girlfriend - now hotly tipped again as a future royal bride - chose to join a shooting party in Scotland at the weekend, much to the anger of anti-blood sports campaigners. But she was Photographed practising with a formidable bolt-action hunting rifle watched by Prince Charles and two ghillies before heading off into Highlands."


Arm Guards for Female Archers

From a purely female archery hunter perspective - women need to use arm guards. Shocking statement on the bad form of women? NO!

Every time I recommend that a woman use an arm guard, the man next to her will say, "But if your form is good, the string won't hit your arm." Yeah, but even with perfect form it is likely that the woman is going to have a problem when she's actually hunting (especially in cold weather).

Why? Because of the lack of women's hunting coats, she is probably wearing one sized for men. This means that the arm length is a smidgen too long, which means that it's slightly bunched up. Bunched up fabric on the arm leads to...yep, the string catches on the fabric. The problem gets bigger when it's cold and there's extra clothes beneath the coat. An arm guard is ideal for holding back and snugging in all the extra fabric!

So ladies, the next time you hear a condenscending comment about "not needing them", take a moment to enlighten the guys on why using an arm guard may not have anything to do with your form!

Realtree ProStaffer on "Women in Deer Camp"

Kelly Gotch, a Realtree Prostaffer, wrote an interesting article about "Women In Deer Camp." Click here for the full article. See what she says about how she "felt this negative energy concerning my presence in camp on several occasions." She goes on to give tips about participating in deer camp. Many of the tips are general deer camp ettiquette and could be applied to either gender. Good read, Kelly!

Boundary Waters incident highlights classic struggle

10/5/2007 - Today Newsweek published on online story regarding a shocking August incident in the beautiful and serene Minnesota Boundary Waters. Six local men briefly terrorized campers within the federally protected area, saying "F---ing tourists … get the hell off our f---ing property” and “go home f---ing enox tree-huggers." In the story they explain that 'enox' is apparently local slang for 'environmentally obnoxious.' Let me know your thoughts on this. Do you sympathize with locals who are being told how to act environmentally? Or are the locals being outrageous for wanting to use the land for recreation as they see fit?

In my opinion, preserving the Boundary Waters in the most natural state possible, while still allowing restricted camping, is a slam dunk, no-brainer. If someone wants to run their motorized recreational vehicle (boat, ATV, or other) around on public land, they'll put the same amount of time and effort into DRIVING to a location that allows it, as the amount of time and effort they have spent protesting the federal rules. If using a boat or ATV is such a big deal to them and they feel too restricted in Ely, then move next to a natural area that allows ATVs and boats. If it's more important to live in Ely specifically, then they should wake up and thank their lucky stars that they live right next to one of the most natural areas in North America. Hopefully this incident won't stop anyone from taking their canoe to the place where you can still listen to a loon calling at sunset.

Gift ideas for the outdoors couple

There will come a time when you'll need to buy a gift for an outdoors couple. Instead of getting them monogrammed towels (if you've ever done this, smack yourself), how about a fun outdoorsy gift?? Make it a two-person gift to encourage them to get out there and use it together; rather than an item that one would use alone too) Here's a few ideas:

Ramp up the outdoor romance with a Picnic at Ascot™ Backpack for Two! They've put all the picinic supplies needed for two people into a handy backpack. For example, the "Hudson" model includes: combination corkscrew, nickel plated cork stopper, hardwood cutting board with juice groove, cheese knife, wooden salt & pepper shakers with non spill tops, acrylic wine glasses, coordinating melamine plates, stainless steel flatware and cotton napkins. The giftees will be pleasantly surprised by this innovative gift idea!

The couple that sleeps together, stays together (Duh!)! Double sleeping bags are extremely popular. They'll love it and you'll love how easy it is to find one to buy! Many manufacturers have a double version of their sleeping bags. Check Kelty for an extra wide variety of double sleeping bags including the Lunar, Corona, Eclipse and other past and future models.(see the end of this post for a picture)

In the same spirit, the camping couple may appreciate a two-person sleeping cot to put their sleeping bag on. Versions of double cots are made by Kamp-Rite, Cabela's and others.

Riding double on an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) isn't for everyone (some like to drive separately). But for the couple that likes to ride together, an ATV backrest/bag is a great idea. It can function at both a backrest for the person behind and a storage container. Some even have arm rests and cup holders!

Now more than ever, hunting couples are popping up on TV, in magazines and out back in the woods. Sitting together while hunting is a blast! For that, they'll need 2-person deer stand. Many deer/tree stand manufacturers offer 2-person stands including: Gorilla Treestands, Summit Treestands, API Outdoors, Ameristep, Family Tradition Treestands, and more!

Can you think of any more I should add to the list?

Death By Stick-Tights!

When you’re new to the woods, unknown things can be very scary. Take sticker bushes for example. They are suspicious nasty looking weeds that sprout a vicious little stick-tight. What’s a stick-tight? Think high tech Velcro in miniature, like a sesame seed. When they dry out and turn brown, they stick even tighter to clothes, hair, fur, etc.

One fine cheery autumn day, my sister’s whole family was out in the woods. The parents were cutting wood, the two boys were playing at the edge of a ravine. Suddenly, my oldest nephew was viciously pushed by his little brother who was trying to kill him (or maybe he tripped, but that’s how he told it in the heat of moment). Down he slid and rolled into a huge ravine (might have been a gully), smack into the dreaded sticker bushes.

Being young and new to the woods, he didn’t know what they were. All he knew was that he was on his back, against some weeds, slightly propped up, and he couldn’t move. He was totally stuck to the weeds by the stick-tights, bouncing slightly as he valiantly tried to get up. Like any traumatized boy would do (Hey, it was attempted murder and attack of the sticker bushes at the same time!), he let loose a deathly howl and wildly struggled against the weeds, causing a minimally bigger bounce and getting more stuck. My sister and brother-in-law had to both go down into the ravine to heave-ho and haul him out of the weeds (You try peeling off a child-size piece of Velcro sometime!).

And what a sad sight he was. Covered head-to-toe in stick tights – even his hair. As they attempted to pick them off he was crying, “It hurts, it hurts!” My sister rationally said, “No it doesn’t. Calm down.” He sucked in his breath to be brave, but kept crying silently and snuffling for the next minute. Finally the real source of his panic came out - the scary unknown - and he whispered in a small quavering voice, “Mom, am I going to die?”

Curse them dang deathly stick-tights in the big scary woods!

Fishing for the Young at Outdoor U

Outdoor U had a great post on taking a youngster fishing. The tips and suggestions in it were so great, that I had to link to it. I recommend you read the full version, but here's a sampling of my favorite ideas from the original post:

  • Don't use Mickey Mouse gear even for small children. Tackle foul-ups are just as frustrating for them as they are for you.

  • Kids want ACTION. They don't care if their fish are small.

  • Make a big deal out of whatever they reel in.

  • We happen to think it's a good idea to take some fish home to eat. It teaches kids there's nothing wrong with harvesting a few fish according to the state and local laws. Kids should know that there is a food chain and they are part of it.

And there's more good ideas than just those. It's a well written post!

Women in the Outdoors - Q&A with Karyl Utke, Regional Coordinator

In Sep. 2007 I had the opportunity to interview Karyl Utke, Wisconsin’s Regional Coordinator for the Women In The Outdoors Program at the time. For more information on this great program, see my earlier post here. Karyl and I discussed the Women In The Outdoors Program and her personal outdoor experiences.

Q. How did you get involved in Women in the Outdoors?
A. I was a volunteer for the National Wild Turkey Federation both on a local and state level. They started the Women in the Outdoors program in 1998 and I applied for the Regional Coordinator position and was hired in November of 1998. We did our first pilot event in Wisconsin in August of 1998.

Q. As a regional coordinator for Women in the Outdoors, what are your responsibilities?
A. As a Regional Coordinator it is my responsibility to work with committees of women to do events in their area. I will help them find the facility, instructors, provide the equipment, facilitate the event, provide pr for the event, and provide all the tools and resources necessary to have a successful event.

Q. What has been your most memorable Women in the Outdoors event?
A. They all are memorable, mainly because all of the women I have meant and the friends I have made while in this position. This has been the most rewarding job for me because not only am I learning with the participants but I also see them attend these events not sure what to expect and leave with a lot of confidence knowing that they tried something new and had fun while doing it.

Q. What has been your personal experience in the outdoors? What outdoors activities do you enjoy?
A. I enjoy camping, dutch oven cooking, trapshooting, archery, deer hunting, turkey hunting, and anything pertaining to the outdoors.

You can also visit the Women in the Outdoors website to find the contact information for the regional coordinator in your area.

Camping on the Bluff

We went camping Monday night on a rock bluff - it was wonderful! Yes, that is a significant drop off the bluff right next to us. We actually dropped something by the corner of the tent in the dark and it bounced, tumbled, bounced, and slid for what sounded like 2 minutes before stopping at the bottom of the cliff. We had to use our Northwest Territory Streamside II dome tent (affectionately called the "circus tent") because our technical tent (the budget-minded Guide Series Dragonfly) needs to be staked down. The "circus tent" is free standing - aka, not staked down into solid rock. (Therefore able to blow off the side of the bluff....)

We made ourselves a little campfire and everything. Pretty good for a 10 minute drive and 5 minute hike at dusk! All night there was some animal or bird making a plaintive call every 5 minutes or so - I'll have to do some research to figure out what it was. I thought it was a fawn, and my boyfriend thought it was a bird. In the early hours at dawn, a doe must have wanted to take her usual path down the bluff and we were in the way. So she send a series of about 9 or 10 blows our way. Phfeww! Phfeww! --Camping, Ya gotta love it!

Women In The Outdoors - Program Overview

For another great international program for outdoor women, I highly recommend looking into the Women In The Outdoors Program. It is sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation, but is not at all just about turkeys. According to their website, through their program “women have discovered that camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, shooting, boating and bird watching are fun ways to reconnect with special people in their lives. Participants also learn the importance of wildlife management and the role hunters play in conservation.”

Women In The Outdoor events are held throughout the United States and Canada. At them, women receive expert instruction and the opportunity to try a variety of outdoor activities. You can become a member of the organization, and receive a quarterly magazine dedicated to women's interests.

Events are held locally and organized by a regional coordinator. Each event also has a team of planners, donors, and volunteers to get it going and run it smoothly. A sample list of events that may be taught are: ATV Safety, Bird watching, Kayaking, Fishing, Handgun Basics, Habitat Improvement, Primitive Cooking, Scuba Diving, Stream Ecology, and Turkey Hunting. For a more detailed list, including course descriptions, click here.

Keep in mind that you can help start and event in your area! I recently interviewed Karyl Utke, one of the regional coordinators, and she said all you have to do is contact a regional coordinator to get started on the planning!

Quotes for Outdoors Women

"Marry an outdoors woman. Then if you throw her out into the yard on a cold night, she can still survive." -W. C. Fields (US actor)

"I love that whole princess mentality, but I also like throwing my hair in a ponytail and just wearing jeans, going on a hike and then eating a big chili-cheeseburger." -Jennifer Love Hewitt (actress)

"Nature has no mercy at all. Nature says, 'I'm going to snow. If you have on a bikini and no snowshoes, that's tough. I am going to snow anyway.' " Maya Angelou (American Poet)

"Reaching that windswept perch, I decided, would cleanse my spirit and heal my wounds. More than that, it would send me home with a title: The First American Woman to Climb Everest." -Stacy Allison. (mountain climber)

"How strange that nature does not knock, and yet does not intrude!" Emily Dickinson (American Poet)

"To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug." -Helen Keller

"Women never look so well as when one comes in wet and dirty from hunting." -R S Surtees (English writer)

"Nature is my medicine." -Sara Moss-Wolfe

"I can't remember a single time that I was prevented from doing what I wanted because I was a female, either on the rock or in the mountains." — Annie Whitehouse. (rock climber)

"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful." -e.e. cummings (poet)

"Is that weird, taking my Louis Vuitton bag camping?" Jessica Simpson (American singer)

"Maybe someday, if I say alot of things, outdoors women will be quoting me." Dana (outdoor blogger)

Types of Camping

"But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you: 'Home is home, be it never so homely.' "-Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist

Ah! Camping! I love it. I love it so much that we are going camping tomorrow night even though it's forecast to get down to a crisp 44 degrees Farenheit! Just for fun, let's review the various types of camping:

Backpack Camping
Just like it put your gear in a backpack and hike in. The advantage of backpack camping is that you are secluded and mobile. Since you pack light, you can move easily and pack up quickly. When backpack camping, lightweight gear and efficient packing is the priority. It takes more planning and more effort, but you are likely to be rewarded with an amazing and unique outdoor experience! Winter Camping is a specialized type of backpack camping. It may require extra gear such as snowshoes or skis, sleeping bags rated for extreme cold, etc. Some winter campers even eschew tents in favor of builing snow caves!

Car Camping
If you are "car camping" you are driving your vehicle right to the campsite and then pulling all your gear out of the car. The main advantage of car camping is that you can take more stuff. More cooking supplies, more food, bigger tents, fluffier sleeping bags, etc. The car is also easily accessible in case of inclement weather or emergencies. The disadvantage is that it is never a remote campsite. Meaning you will have neighbors, and potential noise and disruptions. You can find more information about car camping here.

Truck Camping
Truck camping is similar to car camping. The term truck camping however usually means you are sleeping in the bed of the truck. According to Branden Johnson's "Truck Camping 101" article, "the advantages of truck camping come in the form of efficiency (in setting up/breaking down camp), security (from the elements and critters), and mobility (especially when camping in different spots from night to night)." His style of truck camping involves adding a camper shell to the truck, but there are also truck tents, beds and attachments designed especially for this type of camping. You can find more information about truck camping here.

RV Camping
For those with a bigger budget and love of comfort, RV camping may be the preferred type of camping. MSN Encarta describes RV camping as "similar to car camping, except that people can sleep in most types of RVs. They also can bring along such leisure items as lawn chairs and bicycles and park in designated campsites. The fanciest RVs provide a home away from home, complete with a bathroom, kitchen, living room, and bedroom. More expensive RVs are motorized and can be driven from campsite to campsite. Other types of RVs are towed behind a car or truck. Some models open to create a tent at the campground. An RV gives campers the freedom to tour a large geographic area without worrying about accommodations."

Hunter’s Education Courses Are For Everybody

It rare that I come across another blog post that I just HAVE TO link to, but I found one today. Darrell at had a very good post about how Hunter’s Education Courses Are For Everybody, which has provoked lively discussion (from me too). I would love it if you would take the time to read his thoughts. It gives good arguments about why to take a hunter's safety course whether or not you're planning on hunting.

Although it's not written specifically about women, he does say,

"I married my wife who was a bonified city girl from a very non-hunting family. During the first year of our marriage, I asked her to take the course. She had no interest in hunting and no desire to kill anything. She didn’t really understand my desire to hunt. Yet, because she loved me, she agreed to take the course. After she completed the course she still didn’t have a desire to hunt
(although she was willing to tag along with me). She did, however, understand hunting, hunters, and our role in conservation. Imagine my pride when she would explain the important role that hunters play in conservation to her friends.

When I listen to some guy moaning about his wife not liking that he hunts,I generally don’t feel a lot of compassion. “Has she been through the hunter education course?”, I ask. “Are you daft man? She doesn’t want to hunt!” is the usual reply. “Send her through the course. She’ll then understand hunting and your life will be much less miserable!” is my statement of fact."
Thank you Darrell for the great post!!

Squirrel Tails for Fishing Lures

Great Wild Outdoors had an post on Mepp's Spinners buying squirrel tails. Squirrel hunters should keep this in mind since you can't cook up the tails anyway.

For those who were wondering 'Why would a fishing lure need squirrel tails??' Sheldon's, the manufacturer of Mepp's Spinners says "they are used to dress the hooks of our spinners. Hundreds of other materials, both natural and synthetic, have been tested, and nothing else works as well."

Missing Elk Huntress Found!

A 76-year-old woman missing from an elk hunting trip in the Wallowa Mountains in Oregon since late August was found alive Thursday, according to an article on ABC News online. ”For two weeks, Doris had struggled to survive in the rugged wilderness of the Wallowa Mountains in eastern Oregon. Doris and Harold were on an elk hunting trip in the mountains when their truck trailer got stuck. Harold broke his wrist trying to free the vehicles, then the two lost track of each other after hiking out to find help. Harold was found, but Doris disappeared.”

Let this be another reminder to anyone going out into the wilderness – be prepared for a “hike out” emergency or medical emergency even when you have a vehicle and communication devices. Trucks break, GPS’ can’t get links, cell phones lose reception. It also highlights the importance of a travel plan. This particular situation could have been avoided if they had given a detailed travel plan to family, stuck to it, and then waited for help.

Be smart and safe outdoorswomen and outdoorsmen!

A Wild Dish

In honor of the upcoming fall turkey hunting season I located a delicious wild turkey/wild rice recipe. Perfect for the wild woodswoman (or man) to cook up! There's more where I found this one at The Wild Turkey Zone.

Wild Turkey and Wild Rice Casserole
4 cups diced, cooked turkey
2 cups wild rice
2 cups brown rice
5 cups chicken broth
2 cans chicken broth
4 Tbsp. chopped onion
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (grated)
1 lb. sliced mushrooms

1 pint heavy cream
1 tsp butter
2 cups chopped celery
1 can sliced water chestnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wild rice, brown rice and 5 cups chicken broth and cook the rice until done. In mixing bowl, toss rice, wild turkey, and mushrooms. Add cream, butter, celery, water chestnuts, 2 cans chicken broth, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour into baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 1 hour.

And then you can make Berry Pie for dessert!

Conservation Catch of the Week - Outdoor Crime Scene Investigators

This conservation catch of the week story combines two of my favorite things, CSI: Crime Scene Investigators, and deer hunting!

"As Idaho's only wildlife DNA specialist, Karen Rudolph's job is to catch poachers. And it's a job that requires her to identify an animal based on a hunk of tissue, wayward tuft of hair, bone chip or dried splatter of blood."

I wonder if she hunts?

A friend of mine had her trail camera out for 5 days, and this was the one and only picture she got...

What Is a Wild WoodsWoman?

One spring I was setting up for turkey hunting with a friend. Knowing that we were likely going to find a tree to sit against, he had carefully made himself a back board and brought it with him. We each found our tree, and he arranged his back board and sat against it comfortably. I must have looked less than comfortable leaning against my tree because he looked at me sympathetically and said, "I'll make you one when we get back to the house." I confidently replied, "That's OK, I'll make one right now." and I pulled a camp saw out of my pack, cut a forked branch off a dead limb and leaned it against my tree. He looked at me in disbelief like he'd never seen a woman do something like that before (Self-sufficiently make herself comfortable in the woods? I'm sure he hadn't.) - and out of nowhere I dramatically flung my arms out and said "I AM a wild woodswoman!" We both laughed and moved on with the day. But it stayed with me as the moment that I really KNEW that I belonged in the woods. So this is what I think a wild woodswoman is and why I started this site....

A wild woodswoman is one who knows she belongs outdoors,

even if no one else believes it.

The Last River Rat by J. Scott Bestul & Kenny Salwey

"For there is no beginning in this land of river and hills. Nor is there an end."

In 2003, I saw a tiny notice in the local paper that an author - Kenny Salwey - would be speaking at our local library. I was intrigued when they described him as "a river guide, trapper, fisherman, hunter, root and herb collector and general all around woodsman and naturalist." They should have added story-teller extraordinaire! He read excerpts from The Last River Rat - Kenny Salwey's Life in the Wild, and discussed portions of it with the audience. He was as eccentric and warm and interesting as you could hope a wise outdoorsman would be.

The book itself is organized to follow the months of the year. Each month is a new chapter with both Kenny's and J. Scott Bestul's stories and commentary on life in the wild. J. Scott Bestul is most well known for his work as an editor for Field & Stream. The chapter begins with Bestul's reflections of time spent with Kenny during that month, and ends with a "Rat Tale" from Kenny's life in his own words. Some of them are funny, "I'd scream like a cat with its tail caught in a washing-machine wringer." Some are poignant, "For there is no beginning in this land of river and hills. Nor is there an end." Some are informative, "If smoke hangs close to the ground, it will rain or snow within the next day or two." All of them are vivid. A good addition to your outdoor library!

Geocaching - Treasure Hunting Outdoors

We drove slowly down the winding back road through woods and swamp. Around the next corner we saw it - a mysterious small cemetery. We got out of the car, looked respectfully at the grave and then walked to the far side. Looking, looking, looking - there! A dull green box under a tangle of dead wood. We slowly opened it and found....a cow....that moo'ed. Success!! Were we psychic? Were we crazy? No, we were just geocaching!

What is it?
Geocaching is basically a world-wide free treasure hunt. Wikipedia describes it as "an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value." I recommend reading the full Wikipedia entry for a more complete overview.

What do I need?
Transportation and a GPS. Garmin is a popular manufacturer of GPS technology and they've incorporated geocaching into some of their products. They also have a page on their website devoted to geocaching. Magellan is another GPS manufacturer. They sell geocache "bundles" which are apparently a bundle of their products geared toward geocaching. Actually, there's too many GPS products for me to list here, but you get the idea!

Where do I go?
You'll be surprised at how many caches there are and where they are. To get the GPS coordinates for a cache, visit either or . Personally I used From there I load "waypoints" directly from my computer into my GPS. From the website description, I note landmarks or cache descriptions (e.g. long blue box, small green match case) to take with me.

Why should I?
First of all, who doesn't like treasure hunting?!? This will give you one more excuse to get outside. Geocaching is great for a "date night" idea or a family outing. It's also fun while on vacation; load up coordinates near your destination before you go and you'll find places to explore while there.

So get out there, try it, you'll like it! Who knows, you may even find the very same crazy moo'ing cow that we found!

Acorns...Chicken Little's Sky

On the edge of the parking lot at work is a huge old White Oak Tree. In the past 3 weeks, this tree has let loose an unbelievable amount of acorns. I literally scooped them up with a shovel! (Just for "clean up" purposes - baiting is not allowed in these parts!) Which got me thinking of what I know about acorns:

  • White oak acorns have less tannin than red oaks - therefore sweeter to eat for animals and humans.
  • Humans CAN eat them, but they need to be "leached" first by boiling in water, dumping the brown water and repeating until the water is mostly clear.
  • Insects like acorns. Uninfested acorns will sink to the bottom of bucket of water, infested ones float.
  • Acorn production varies but normally alternates each year - strong one year, weaker the next, strong again the next year.
  • Oak wilt is a disease infecting oak trees. It spreads through connected root systems or to new oak groves via "wounds" on healthy trees. If you have oak wilt in your area, don't open a wound (cut through bark, break a branch) in spring or summer.
  • An acorn is what prompted Chicken Little to think the sky was falling.
Here's some good sites on acorns:
Acorns Big Adventure - A fun little online game; Acorn can collect mushrooms, jump, and shoot with little acorns!
Harvesting the Wild: Acorns - By Jackie Clay - a great article on harvesting/preparing to eat; recipes included.
Interesting Facts About Oak Trees - A fairly technical article about oaks and acorns.
Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt - Not about acorns, but about the mama tree's health.
The Sky Is Falling fable - Everything Wikipedia knows about Chicken Little's story

Convince a kid you are an outdoor expert

You don't have to actually be a certified outdoor expert to convince a kid that you are. My nephew so believes that I know EVERYTHING about the outdoors, that he's taken to saying, "Ask Dana, she'll know." for anything that is outside of a man-made structure. He'll pick up a random leaf, and fully expect that I'll know the name of the plant and use for it. How did I get him so convinced? By taking him on walks and pointing out the tiniest interesting thing I can think of.

"See that gravel? Some birds actually have to eat it! Really, it helps clear out their food somehow." I stored that info since 8th grade science when we dissected a bird. See how I didn't exactly explain why birds eat it? It was enough that I knew it helped them with their food somehow. "This is birch bark - it's good for starting campfires with. Some Indians actually made canoes out of it!" Here's another tip - sound impressed. Like emphasize how it's SOOOO crazy that someone can actually make a canoe out of bark. That heightens the excitement level. Use anything - see it, smell it, touch it, or use it to remind you of a good story. See a mouse? Remember to tell him of the owl you saw last year catching a mouse. See new corn? Tell her about the time you walked through standing dry corn and saw does bedded down.

Finally, keep it up throughout the whole walk and by the end they will be enthralled, convinced and most importantly, interested in the outdoors!

Wonky Hunting Stand - Appraisal Price?

This wonky stand was submitted to NRA's American Journal when they called for pics of the readers wackiest stands. I'm hoping that Rex over at the Deer Camp Blog will stop by and give us an appraisal price. He's an appraiser by trade, and I think he'll be able to tell us the value of this amazing structure! Let's assume it's in an up and coming hunting neighborhood - people are leaving the area and deer are relocating to the neighborhood.

Hunting Big Bad Mice

My ex-boyfriend was so excited to deer hunt with me one fall. He had tricked out our box stand with the backseat of an old car. Wait, it's not what you're thinking - he was looking forward to the HUNT, not the backseat if you know what I mean. I was skeptical about sitting on something that mice may have moved into. I have a fear of close encounters with mice - a big fear. He reassured me there were no mice. So as we sat silently in the pre-dawn light, I suddenly twitched. "There's something moving under my butt!" He scoffed, "Shhh, sit still!!" Then I heard a scuffle in the leaves in the corner of the blind. "I heard a mouse in the blind!", I squeaked. He again scoffed, "It's just the wind. Shh!" I tried so hard to ignore it, and watch for deer, but I was really just starting to watch for mice. The upholstery vibrated under my seat again. I softly pounded my fist on the cushion as my boyfriend glared at me. I hissed, "There's a mouse in there." Then I saw it, it scurried into the leaves in front of me! I jumped to my feet and screeched, "I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A MOUSE!!"

The natural result of a screeching, jumping hunter??? 40 yards away from the stand, three deer sprang out of the tall grass and I swear I heard one of them say to the others, "I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A HUNTER!!"

Pic from

Gander Mountain as an employer

Did I ever mention that I used to work at Gander Mountain? I was mostly in the camping, clothing, and footwear areas, but I got to help out in archery and hunting also. It was a great experience because they really encourage the employees to know the gear, use the gear, talk to the customers about gear. The pay? Pretty low, and I spent all of it right back in the store. But the employee discount helped and I had fun talking 'outdoors' for a job.

My favorite part was providing product recommendations. I didn't get as much skepticism as you'd think. Once I related my personal experience with an item they would listen immediately, apparently disregarding gender. I got the most disbelief from a new manager when I said I was the store expert on camoflage. He tested me by grabbing a garment and asking 'What's this?' and I answered correctly and he moved onto the next, "What's this?" It got my back up, so I whipped through the racks, rattling off the types of camo, "Realtree Hardwoods Gray; Realtree Advantage Timber -my personal fav; Mossy Oak Break Up; Break Up again; Realtree Hardwoods Green..." "Ok, ok! I get it, you know your camo." and he moved on to annoy someone else. I was puffed up proud of myself for a while after that!

Any other Gander alumni out there??

Paulette Bunyan - A Beyond BOW Event

Heard of BOW? Curious about it? Way back in April 2001, I attended a Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) - Beyond BOW event called "Paulette Bunyan." The 2-day event included lodging in cute cabins, eats, classes, and fun side events. The classes were Forestry 101, Forest communities, Chainsaw safety, Tree ID, Tree climbing, Maple syrup making, Building nest boxes, Map and compass and Tree planting. (No, I didn't remember these class names from that long ago. I had to ask Peggy Farrell the director to refresh my memory!) You select your classes ahead of time - 2 per day. The whole weekend was very fun and a good opportunity to learn targeted outdoor skills or info. It also confirmed that I love the outdoors and there's lots of other women who do too!

What I love about BOW, is that its not just about hunting and fishing. Indeed, there were quite a few women in Paulette Bunyan that never hunted or fished. To be an outdoorswoman doesn't necessarily mean you want to shoot something, and they accomodate that with plenty of non-hunting related classes. If you are interested in learning about BOW in your area, visit and click on "Find a workshop near you."

Have any of you attended a BOW event? What did you think?

Support Local Farmer's Markets

This picture is from a friend of mine. He hunts on a local produce farmer's land with permission, and wants to encourage everyone to frequent your local farmer's market and purchase their wares! If you are looking for a place to hunt, try asking the vendors at the farmer's markets. Deer are very hard on produce farms, and the farmer is probably supportive of hunting.

Cabela's Master Catalog Fall 2007 - Reviewed for Women

(Note: This is an old post, but I'm keeping it on here for nostalgic purposes...)

You've probably gotten Cabela's newest catalog in the mail by now. So how does it rate for the outdoors woman? Here's a review...

Navigation - Grade B
Women's items are generally marked with both pink text and a women's logo box, which is eyecatching on the page if you are looking for it. I was impressed by the entries in the Table of Contents (ToC) for Women's Hunting Clothing, Activewear, Outerwear, and Underwear/Sleepwear. However, they totally missed many pages that DO have women's items, but aren't listed in the ToC. As an example, for Women's Hunting Clothing they list: 24-25, 55, 66-69 (this should be 68-69), 71, 91. But they missed pages 28-31, 97, 99-100, 260, 262, 265, 267, which also have women's.

Selection - Grade B+
I personally think it's important for women to have pants, bibs, gloves, and shoes sized specifically for them. Jackets and shirts are a bit less important - you can usually find men's sizes that will do. I found pants/bibs for women for waterfowl, upland, general hunting, plus rainwear. The glaring items missing? No blaze orange pants/bibs, and no camoflage gloves for the ladies! I have to give them some credit, they did pretty good on selection otherwise.

Now, as for how the items rate specifically, you'll have to let me know! (Or if I buy any, I'll let you know!) **Posted a day later...Hey, I just found out that Cabela's has a magazine - who knew?**

I probably caught the same dumb fish 20 times…

You never think of your parents as having crazy hunting stories – at least I didn’t. I figured that I’d have heard them all by the time I was 18. Not so! Years after I started hunting, I was talking with my mom about something and she says, “That reminds me of the time I went hunting with your dad right after we got married." I said, "You went hunting?? I had no idea!"

So she told me the story, "Your dad was bow hunting with his brother, and they wanted me to drive deer for them.” (Side note here – I double checked this. It WAS a deer drive for 2 bow hunters – traditional bows no less!) “But I was nervous about getting shot accidentally, so I kept on waving my arms and yelling ‘Hey I’m down here!!’ Eventually, they had me stop because I was scaring all the deer, which I thought was the point, but I guess it wasn’t. Then I went and sat by a creek, and found a line and hook tangled in the brush. I untangled it, tied it to a stick and started fishing. And wouldn’t you know, I caught fish after fish after fish. I kept throwing them back in, but I must have caught 20 or more fish! Now that I think about it, I probably caught the same dumb fish 20 times. You dad came back to the truck after hunting and didn’t believe me. I’m not sure he ever believed me, but it was true!”

This is my all-time favorite story from my mom – it seems so extraordinary and random! I love stories like this!

Hunting Items are HOT at Rummage Sales

I just finished with hosting a rummage sale and guess what the HOT HOT items were? Anything camoflage or hunting related! The only things that didn't sell were those I priced high because I secretly wanted to keep them. I placed the hunting items on a table closest to the street so that the guys would notice and get out of the vehicle to inspect. The buyers were a mix of boys, men, and women who hoped they were getting something their husband would like.

There was one woman who tried on the camo hat, and for a moment I got my hopes up that she was a wild woodswoman! But then she turned to her friend and said, "Is it 'me'?" and they both laughed at her joke. But at the end of the sale I got the last laugh - It was one of the things I had secretly wanted to keep. And when I try it on and look in the mirror it IS 'me'!

How to Make Money With Your Garage Sale, Yard Sale, Tag Sale, Apartment Sale, Moving Sale, Porch Sale, Estate Sale, Rummage Sale, or Any Sale

Camoflage Patterns: Intro

I'm a believer that the camoflage pattern you wear, does make a difference. One turkey season, I approached my hunting partner from a distance away, and spotted him immediately at the dark gray blob in a variety of greens, gold, and browns. He was wearing Realtree's Hardwoods Gray, and should've been wearing something more like Realtree's Advantage Timber or at the very least Hardwoods Green.

Coming up, I'll describe some of the more popular camo patterns and where you might use them. For now, I'll start you off with a list and links to some of the camo pattern makers:
Realtree; Mossy Oak; CamoWest; Predator Camoflage Am I missing some? Let me know if there's more I should add to the list!

What to Wear for ATV'ing

A few summers ago, we went on a fun outdoorsy vacation - four-wheeling in northern Wisconsin. Since it was my first All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) "trip" where that was the primary activity, I wasn't sure which clothes to take. My friend said what to wear was "personal preference" and gave me no pointers. While that's true, it's also not very helpful when packing. So here's my advice for you, if you are about to go on your first trip.

First off, I recommend jeans over shorts. It's not fun when your legs stick to the vinyl seat. They also offer better protection against the junk that kicks up (rocks, mud, sticks). Either shoes or boots would be fine, but not sandals. Shirts/jackets depends on the weather, no particular recommendation there. Don't forget to wear a supportive bra - the trails are bumpy. Do wear a pair of gloves whether you're riding or driving - your hands will be happier.

Finally I highly recommend a full face helmet. I saw some ladies with helmets, some with just goggles, and one with goggles and a bandana over her nose and mouth (which looked particularly uncomfortable.). My full-face helmet worked great. I didn't have any bugs in my teeth, mud balls in my ears, or grit in my eyes. The greatest advantage is that I felt safe from brain damage even when the stupid idiot came flying around a blind corner too fast and almost hit us.

Let me know if you have any questions. A good resource would also be the local ATV club. They will know the usual trail conditions and there's sure to be some women who are members. Happy trails!!

Conservation Catch of the Week

"As the officers left the boat's side the man continued to blame the woman for what had happened."

We have our first Conservation Catch of the Week posting! This Minnesota fisherman violated a fishing law, inaccurately tried to cover it up, AND in the end blamed his wife......naturally.

From this month's Minnesota Department of Natural Resources "Conservation officer tales": "While checking anglers, CO Mike Lee (Isle) along with CO Fitzgerald approached a boat with a man and women seated who appeared to be working on something very intently and quickly on one of the boat's benches. When they arrived at the boat's side the male party in the boat held up a very large walleye and stated, "Hey, look at its tail. Doesn't it look funny?" At that moment the individual dropped the walleye into the lake. Before dropping the walleye into the water, Officer Lee observed that the walleye's tail fin was completely straight with no natural curvature. Officer Fitzgerald was able to land the fish with a landing net because the fish was near death. Upon further inspection, it was clear the tail of the walleye had been cut. After a lengthy conversation, the man finally stated, "I saw you checking the other boats and panicked because the walleye was too big to keep. So I did the only thing I could think of - make the fish smaller. But when you came up to the boat I thought I better just get rid of the fish." After being informed that walleye do not have a perfectly straight tail fin, and that it was very obvious that it had been cut, Lee advised the man that he had not cut the tail fin short enough - it still measured 20 ½ inches, well into the restricted slot size. As the officers left the boat's side the man continued to blame the woman for what had happened."

So if the woman is to blame then she must have:
A. Wrestled with hubby until he gave up exhausted and agreed to cut the fish's tail.
B. Caught the fish orginally because she's the better fisherman.
C. Enabled him to be on the fishing boat in the first place by purchasing it for him.

Leave a comment and let me know which you think it is....or if I missed any possibilities?

Colorado Bow Hunter's Assoc. Jamboree (Part II)

In Part I of this post I told you about the Jamboree activities. In this post, I'll tell you more about where we camped and ATV'ing up the mountain.

The Jamboree was held at Camp Hale in the mountains near Leadville. It has an extremely interesting history! It is a large, flat valley bottom, surrounded by steep hillsides which the military determined were suitable for training in skiing, rock climbing, and cold weather survival skills. Use of Camp Hale started in 1942 and included the 10th Mountain Division, and various other military groups conducting mountain and winter warfare training exercises. From 1959 through 1965, the CIA apparently also secretly trained Tibetan soldiers there. Camp Hale was deactivated in 1965 and the lands returned to the Forest Service in 1966.

On our ATV we explored various areas within Camp Hale, some of which have historical markers. The most fun was four-wheeling up to what felt like, the top of the mountain. The views were amazing! We even made a snowman - he's on the seat of the ATV in the photo. He actually tried to steal the ATV right after this picture was taken and we had to chase him down - little bugger!

Does anyone else have recommendations for ATV'ing spots with great views?

Berries, Berries & More Berries.....

Sadly, the season for wild black raspberries is almost over and I only got out picking once this summer. The season for blackberries however is just starting! In recognition of that, here's my personal favorite berry pie recipe which combines both. Instructions for the Happy Berry dance are available only upon request.

4 c. raspberries, blackberries or both
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon

First step, go to the store and hunt down a top/bottom crust (Make from scratch if you want, but you're not finding that recipe here!). Back home, combine flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add to berries and toss to coat berries. Put mixture in the pastry lined 9" pie pan. Cover with top crust. Brush top of pie lightly with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar (optional). Cut vents in the top crust. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. Do the Happy Berry dance in front of the oven (required). Remove pie when done. Eat!

The Great Lakes Berry Book: The Great Lakes Berry Book