The Beginning

The beginning is, obviously, not the beginning. I have been hiking, fishing, camping, and doing some hunting for years now, but, because of two events this week, I feel like I am on the beginning of a new journey.

I have always wanted to get into big game hunting, but never really knew how to approach everything. The first event was this last weekend: I took a Hunter Education class, earned the hunters safety card, and can now buy a hunting license. Everything I’ve hunted up to now has not needed a hunting license (coyote, hogs, jackrabbits, etc.)

The second event was getting my first archery kill. I bought a used compound bow a couple weeks ago and have been practicing with my buddy Matt nearly every day since then. (Matt has been an excellent and patient mentor.) The area where we shoot has a lot of jackrabbits in the surrounding hills. One rabbit, a large male, came within range and I managed to get a hit. He didn’t leave much of a blood trail and tracking him was very difficult, but eventually I managed to find him. The rabbit is now in my freezer and his hide is drying in the back yard. The meat will be made into sausage and the fur will be used for fly tying material. Taking a jackrabbit with an arrow at twenty yards will not seem like a great feat to any experienced bowhunter, but it means a lot to me.

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I believe hunting is an integral part of being an outdoorsman, and I am very excited to learn more and grow as both a hunter and a woodsman.

Categories: Bowhunting, Hunting | Tags: | Leave a comment

Hoot Owl Closure on the Truckee River

A Proposed Hoot Owl Closure on the Truckee River from Catch, Snap, & Release on Vimeo.

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The Ugliest State

Went on a quick hike tonight. Remember, Nevada is ugly. Don’t come here. If you do come here, just go to the casinos… because the rest of Nevada is ugly.

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Unduly Overdue Update

Summer is tough around here. Drunk people on rafts clog the river, the hiking trails are overrun by groups of soccer moms in day-glo spandex, the city streets are closed for events ranging from classic car shows to art festivals to motorcycle rallies. I don’t enjoy going out during the summer. I prefer the cooler months when I can find solitude. That said I still manage to get some time in the boonies, mostly to maintain my sanity. Here is a recap of the past several weeks.

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I took Travis on his first “real” backpacking trip. Up to now he’s done car camping with me or stayed in a pop-up trailer with his mom and stepfather. I do not consider this camping and it was time he got to experience what camping is supposed to be. We only went a mile or so out of town but it was far enough that it felt isolated.

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We pitched camp. Travis had the hammock and I slept under my tarp. We are in the middle of a drought and fires are restricted, so s’mores had to come out of a foil package. Travis didn’t seem to mind.

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I tried out my new pack from Frost River. It’s definitely heavier than more modern packs but makes up for it by being tough as nails (waxed canvas and leather.) This is something I think I’ll be able to pass down to Travis someday. I might write a review on the pack once I’ve used it a few more months.

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The night was colder than expected. Travis had a down bag and had no problems. I went with the “travel light, freeze at night” philosophy and got to fully experience the “freeze at night” part.

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Dawn warmth was extremely welcome.

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We went for a short hike to warm the  blood and headed home.

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This is certainly not an epic adventure by most standards, but I feel it is more important than many of the trips I have been on. I passed down some outdoor traditions and continued to stoke a love of the outdoors in my son. There is no greater adventure than that.

A few weeks later it was my birthday. Kory bought me a new tattoo at Lucky Seven Tattoo in King’s Beach, Lake Tahoe. I’d been wanting something to represent my love of fly fishing and the outdoors for a while and decided a Royal Wulff fly would fit the bill perfectly.

The Royal Wulff was the first fly I ever received, the first fly I caught a fish on, the first dry fly I learned how to tie and the first fly I personally tied and caught a fish on. Some history there to say the least.

Russell, one of the owners and a fishing guide, did the work. It was nice to go in and know that the man doing the art would know exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier with the finished piece.

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Other than that not a lot of news. Just some day hikes and morning fishing trips trying to avoid civilization and, unfortunately, often finding it anyway. Pray for an early snow.

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Just Some Random Pics

Thought I’d post some random photos I’ve taken over the past few weeks. Hope you enjoy them.

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Father’s Day Fly Fishing

It is a Father’s Day tradition for my son and me to skip church and go fishing. We caught three stocked rainbows and Travis reeled in a fish for the first time! (Next time hopefully he’ll catch one as well.) Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.

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Gear Review – GORUCK Full Panel Tac Hat

A couple months ago I was in the market for a new hat. Being a bald guy, I wear a hat almost every day for protection from sun/cold/etc. Because of this I tend to be very picky when it comes to hats. The hat I was looking for had to have a few qualities:

  1. Multicam – Obviously I’m outdoors a lot and like to blend in. I’m not a camo fan-boy who needs the latest and greatest camo technology. It’s just that I live where the desert meets the mountains and I’ve found that Multicam is the most effective camouflage for transitioning between these environments.
  2. Not covered in Velcro – Most tactical hats on the market today have the 2″x3″ Velcro patch on the front for putting on a flag patch. I like this because I have ADD a bunch of patches. The problem for me arises when they also put Velcro on the top for an IR/IFF patch, on the back for a name tape, on the sides for morale patches and so on. I am not a high-speed, cool-guy operator. I am not concerned about a friendly hellfire missile hitting my AO while I’m hunting squirrels. I am concerned about looking like a douche-canoe wannabe SEAL at the mall. So one flag patch on the front, nothing else.
  3. Tough as nails – I’m hard on my gear and it has to be durable. If it won’t handle a year of constant hard-use it’s a waste of money.
  4. Made in the USA – This is not an absolute, 100% every time requirement; there is plenty of quality gear made overseas. That said, if I have the choice between buying a high-quality product made in the USA by Americans making a living wage, and buying a possibly good, possibly bad quality product made in a jungle sweatshop by a 12 year-old Asian kid making 18 cents a day, I’m spending the extra money for U.S. Made.
  5. Adjustable Velcro Strap on the Back – I like to adjust the size and velcro doesn’t break like the metal tabs on other hats.

Enter the Tac Hat by GORUCK. It is one of two hats that met all the criteria above. I went with this one because the material is a little bit tougher than the other one I was looking at. Here’s the rundown.

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The material is 1000D Cordura Nylon, the same stuff your heaviest backpack is made of. It’s really stiff when it’s fresh out of the box but it softens as the hat breaks in. The patch Velcro is solid too. It’s a subdued greenish/brownish color and well attached to the hat. Really, all of the stitching on the hat is bomb proof.

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As you can see in the pictures, there isn’t a ton of velcro all over the place. Also, there’s no button on top of the cap so it won’t dig into your head if you’re using ear protection at the range or wearing a helmet over the hat.

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The underside of the bill is covered in fuzzy cloth that you can stick extra patches on if you want to. I attach a mini LED light covered in velcro under there for map reading at night. Instant headlamp! The only label on the hat is on the inside of the hat band. Little things like that matter. Finally, it is made in the USA by a company owned by a former Special Forces operator.

I only have two complaints about the hat. Because of the heavy duty material, it can get a bit hot at times. Everything is a trade off and this is one I don’t mind making. The durability is worth the heat. The other problem I had is that the hat is cut a bit large in the crown and doesn’t always break in the way I would like it shaped. I solved this issue by throwing a couple stitches in on the sides.

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I have had this hat since the beginning of December and have worn it nearly every day since then. I am very happy with the quality and highly recommend it to anybody who might be in the market for a new cover. NV Woodsman Approved.

You can pick this up from GORUCK.

Categories: Gear | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Deer Meadow

I set out to return to a meadow that I hadn’t been to since my youth. It is about three miles in from the edge of town. There are no special memories there for me, it played no formative role in my life, but for some reason I feel drawn to it. It is strange how some places can grab your soul and not let go. This place has no name so I call it Deer Meadow for no other reason than I saw deer there the first time I  found it. The forest service has added some logs beside the fire road but otherwise it remains unchanged from fifteen years ago. I hope it stays unchanged so my son discover it for himself one day.

This is the view about half a mile in. If you enlarge the picture you can just make out the meadow toward the right.

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Saw the deer tracks get thicker and thicker as I made my way up the mountain.

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Some cat tracks as well.

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The final hill up to the meadow was a skating rink. I had to bushwhack for a bit to get around it.

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I finally crested the hill and was rewarded with my goal.

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The next day I decided to take a walk along the river. Found a week-old lion kill, not much else in the way of wildlife (which, depending on the wildlife, might have been a blessing.)

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The rest of the week was spent working and dealing with the mundane broken up by time with Kory and the boys. I hope your week was as fulfilling as mine.

Categories: Hiking, Rambling | Leave a comment

Good To Be Back and Kory’s First Coyote Hunt

It’s been a while and it’s good to be back. The holiday season was busy but enjoyable. Great food and great family. I hope you were just as blessed.

Last week I took Kory out for her first coyote hunt. We got skunked but had a good time being in the boonies together.

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Some people question predator hunting as it yields only fur and no meat. I have a few arguments in favor of predator hunting.

  1. Killing an animal for its meat is not ethically superior to killing an animal for its fur. Furs sold are income that puts food on the table, just as meat taken puts food on the table.
  2. Predators are taught to be afraid of humans. Studies show time and time again that when predators are not hunted they lose their fear of humans. As a result pets, livestock and even humans are injured and killed.
  3. Humans are a part of the environment and the food chain, not apart from it.
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A Weekend Well Spent

I spent this weekend close to home. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to get out into the backcountry. I like to keep a supply of wood on hand for the fireplace. I enjoy the fire but it also doubles as a backup plan in case the power goes out when the snow arrives. I have been bringing in pieces of a sequoia from our woodlot and got around to splitting them on Friday.

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Getting work done.

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Travis helped too.

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It’s coming along nicely.

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By the time winter hits the whole patio should be filled with wood. I’ll probably go through about half of it leaving me ahead for next winter. There is more than just the practical value of heating with wood. The hard work of felling, bucking, transporting, splitting and stacking is good for the soul and, I think, takes me back to a simpler time. It allows me to be closer to nature, and there is a satisfaction in knowing I’m doing the same work that my ancestors did before me.

On Sunday my son and I went for a walk down by the river. We were never out of sight of a road or a house but to him it felt wild and unspoiled

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Bear sign.

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NV Woodsman

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Going down the trail.

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My view part of the time.

.I often get frustrated that there are fewer and fewer wild places. I am lucky to live in a place where I can drive a short distance and be in nature, but to get to a truly unspoiled area takes an hour or more. Travis taught me an important lesson today: the woods are where you find them. We can’t always get to the place we want to be, but if we look at where we are through the right eyes, we can make it a wild place.

Categories: Around the House, Hiking, Rambling | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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