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...