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

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

In the summer of 2006 I went to the Colorado Bowhunters Association Jamboree. It was located at Camp Hale, a historic military base, in the mountains near Leadville. Events included calling contests, raccoon shoot, a dance, wing fling, swap meet, chili cook off and more. It was great to see many women and families attending!

The highlight for me was the 3D ranges that meandered through the mountainside. The photo on the right is me during one of the shoots. I enjoyed the reality of the bowshoot. They positioned the targets in realistic spots, including the edge of a cliff, the bottom of a cliff, and among rocks. In the end, I was pretty happy that I only lost 3 arrows!

The jamboree is a good outdoor vacation idea. There's camping onsite or lodging in Leadville.

In Part II, I tell you about the ATV'ing we did there that weekend and more about Camp Hale.

Field & Stream's FSHuntress for Women who Hunt

Field & Stream magazine July 2007 issue featured an article entitled "The American Huntress 2007". I devoured every word! It's a great issue for any woodswoman (hunter or not).

At the end, a side note referenced a website with information specific to women hunter's (product suggestions, directory of women's hunting organizations, etc.). I typed in the address, and was immediately redirected to a blog.

In the time since then there have been many interesting posts on the FSHuntress blog. Unfortunately, in April 2009 the last blog post went up. However, Field & Stream has left the blog up for now so you can still read though the posts. It is at:

Tips for Men Who Want Women to Enjoy the Outdoors

YOU love the outdoors, and think it might be kinda cool if your daughter, sister, wife, or girlfriend liked to do some of the same things. Maybe it's camping or hunting or wildlife photography or hiking. Whatever it is - you're ready to take her along! Once you get her hooked - great! However, the first impressions are what you can influence. I can't guarantee she'll become your outdoor buddy, but here's some tips to help you, to help her, to like it!

1. Make sure she has and then wears the right clothes.
This is a huge discussion on its own. To like what she's doing, she must be comfy! Temperature is most important, then the prevention of blisters/scratches, and then getting the right fit.

2. Get her into it mentally.
Talk it up! Be excited! Mention the things she might like. "Hon, you'll just love all the bird sounds!" Then when you are out there, point out the bird sounds. Espcially mention things that are unrelated to what you are doing. For example, if you are deer hunting, talk about the squirrels. That way if she doesn't see any deer, or it takes hours to see them, she'll be interested in other things going on in the woods too. This works especially well for kids.

3. Give her a task.
Don't just have her next to you to observe what you are doing. Give her something to do - and NOT just a token task like carrying some of your gear. She should have her own gear (even if it's borrowed), like binoculars. Then ask her to use the gear for a specific reason. "Can you glass that side of the meadow for me, so that I can focus on this side?" Or put her in charge of the campfire, or ask her to pick 3 trees for you to photograph, etc.

4. Review the event.
Afterwards, celebrate the event somehow. For you the day in the woods may be the whole she-bang. But women like to recap events, savor them, talk about them. So let her do that! Maybe go out to eat and discuss the day, or review the photos together that night, or if it's a child, draw pictures with her related to the day. I know this may be the hardest part for some men - but it'll be worth it!

Those are my general tips for you. If you have any questions, I'd love to explain any of these in more detail or spout ideas for you (I'm good at ideas!).

Oh, I almost forgot another important tip - BRING TOILET PAPER! We need it.