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Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

New From Winchester…

For all those shotguns owners out there like myself, we’re always in search of the latest and greatest. Well everybody, for those who haven’t heard, there have been some new gadgets added to the toy box of shotgun goodies!

No longer do you have to hassle with multiple barrels if you switch between shot and slug depending on the season. Winchester has just released a Non-Lead Zinc Slug! At last, a slug that is fast, effective and most of all usable in all states! Non-toxic bullets are a requirement in many parts of California as part of the fight to keep the Condors safe. Now you can buy both shot and slugs that are safe for the condors and the environment.

The other benefit to these new zinc slugs is that aside from being lead free, they’re usable in Smoothbores! No need for rifled barrels just for slugs. These 12-gauge slugs are 3/4oz, .72 caliber and a muzzle velocity of 1400 feet per second! They don’t expand a lot but they do penetrate deeper which make them great for larger game, and the price is reasonable. Check out these new slugs at Winchester today, New for 2011!
www.winchester.com

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Always Come Prepared!

When it comes to camping one can never be too prepared. Though most trips go off without a hitch, things do happen. Here are a few things that will come in handy when it comes to tent tears, bad lantern mantles and any other small mishap.

Sewing Kit

Tent Repair Kit

Cable Ties

1” Webbing

Seam Sealer

Duct Tape (which fixes just about anything)

Waterproofer

Washers

Cord Locks

Replacement Zippers

Lantern Mantles

Parachute Cord

Shock Cord

Shoe Goo

Spare Buckles

Safety Pins

Stove or Lantern Repair Parts

Tent Pole Splints

leatherman tool (this has pliers, screwdrivers and small knife)

First Aid Kit

This little kit of goodies can help you enjoy your trip and allow you to stay longer as those pesky little mishaps can be fixed and won’t spoil the fun of having to go home due to a broken zipper or lantern mantle. As you put together a pouch of these items, and the more use you get out of them you can expand your kit to include the things you find you need. Happy Camping!

 

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Keeping Your Flies In "Mint" Condition

If you love fly-fishing then you know the perils of keeping your flies straight. Well here’s a simple and inexpensive way to keep your flies organized. This is a great beginners fly box for those young and old.

Take an Altoids box and clean out any mint dust of course. Then take a section of cardboard from an old shoebox and cut 3 strips one- 3 ½” x ¾” this will fit lengthwise inside the tin. Then two pieces- 2 1/8” x ¾” these will fit across the width of the tin.

Next cut two notches in the longest piece and one notch in the center of each of the smaller pieces. Cover each of the three pieces with duct tape. This will keep things waterproof and make the cardboard fit snugly in the tin. After you wrap the pieces in cardboard and re-snip the notches lay the long piece lengthwise in the tin and the two shorter pieces widthwise.

This will create 6 individual compartments to keep your flies organized! You can also embellish your tin by adding pieces of magnet or foam to further organize your flies. With the inside dimensions given here you can customize your tin to fit your needs and various size flies!

This makes a great project to get your junior fly-fisher started and give he or she a place to start their own collection of flies that will catch them a whopper!

 

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Edible Plants & Tasty Garden Treats

Before we had supermarkets, we had to grow our own food.

And before we even had farms, we had to gather our meals from the forests.

But while we have evolved to Hunters of bargains and deals, and Gatherers of Hummel figurines and Beanie Babies… Our forests have evolved very little from the early days of humanity.  There’s a whole feast we can gather in our forests, we only have to learn what they look like and how to use them!

Dandelions: The broad leaves of these plants can be eaten like lettuce, or steamed. The blooms are sweetest when they are young – unopened and close to the ground. These too can be eaten raw or steamed. Be sure the dandelions you are picking are far from roads and homes- since they can be considered weeds, they could have been sprayed with pesticides and weed killers.


Cactus: The large, wide paddles of certain Cacti (called nopales in Spanish) can be boiled until soft and eaten- they taste similar to green beans. Wear gloves when picking cactus paddles and removing the needles- there are small hairlike needles that are a pain to remove from skin and clothing. Remove the needles by shaving them off with a knife.

Many cacti also grow prickly pear (called tunas in Spanish) – a grainy, seedy fruit with the texture of a pear that tastes like fruit punch. You can shave the needles off of these and eat raw.

Miner’s Lettuce: This plant is common in mountainous areas all over the country. It gets its name from the California Gold Rush men who ate it to prevent scurvy. Eat it raw in salads, or cook like spinach, as its taste is similar but rougher in texture. Collect and consume before the flowers bloom for best flavor.

Marigolds: This common garden bloom’s petals can replace expensive saffron in a variety of dishes. It can also be used in salads as it has a citrus flavor.

Lavender, Roses and Violets: You know they all smell great, did you know they taste delicious too? They taste just like they smell- Lavender and Violets are sweet with a hint of citrus, and rose is rich with berry and apple flavors. They are a great garnish or additive to desserts and mixed drinks- roses need their petals trimmed of the bitter white end before using. The unique flavor of Lavender will also work well in savory sauces and stews. Violet leaves can be eaten- cook the heart-shaped leaves like spinach.

The Internet is full of advice on how to test your own local plants for edibility. Recipes for how to prepare your favorite plant edibles are also online. You don’t have to have a garden to enjoy Nature’s bounty; you just have to know where to look!

 

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5 Easy Steps To Fillet Your Catch

For those who love to fish or those who would like to start but have no clue what to do after you land one, here are 5 simple steps to clean and fillet your fish. A sharp knife will keep you from tearing up your meat and make the entire process cleaner and easier.

1. First you want to start with a very sharp knife. Cut your fish from the tail to the head and remove all innards. Rinse thoroughly. Place your blade behind the gills and slice inward towards the head until you reach the backbone and spine.

2. Next turn you knife around and slice towards the tail gliding along the backbone and exiting at the base of the tail.

3. With the skin still on, insert the blade tip just below the ribs and carefully remove the rib cage.

4. Now to remove the skin. Grasp the skin as the tail and run the blade away from your body at a shallow angle to avoid puncturing the skin.

5. This should have freed your first fillet. Now turn your fish over and repeat on the other side.

Remember that if you plan to transport your fish across state or country borders, to leave a piece of the skin attached for identification purposes.

Fish are an incredibly healthy, low-calorie source of protein. Many worry about mercury levels in fish, but researchers still advise two servings per week (unless you’re pregnant than just one). Fish have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease, combat depression, improve skin health, relieve arthritis pain, and even prevent cancer. When fishing, keep moderate-sized fish, older fish contain more mercury.

Tip: Using a cloth around your hands can help steady your fish and keep it from slipping out of your hands and causing an accident seeing as you are using a very sharp knife. Another tip that rids your hands of that odor that never seems to dissipate: Hold a steel blade under running water! You’ll never know you touched that fish!

 

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Thankfully This One Is Rare and Hard To Find

Poison Sumac! A woody plant that is found among wetlands is a rare sight to be seen and for good reason. With a range to grow up to 20-feet tall this is one plant that is best admired from a great distance or not at all. Similar to Poison Oak and Poison Ivy, Poison Sumac contains an oil known as Urushiol that causes an allergic reaction and a rash of the skin.

Besides it’s size, poison sumac contains 7 to 13 leaflets on each leaf and they are oblong and taper to a point and the branches are smooth with no hairs. See image below. Poison Sumac lives mostly in the Eastern and Southern regions of the United States and stays in wet areas where its roots can stay in the water. Beware of this unfriendly tree, and be very careful if it is burning; smoke inhalation of burning Poison Sumac can cause severe respiratory irritation and can be fatal.

 
 

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Protect Your Best Friend From A Potentially Fatal Situation

We love our pets, no doubt about it. We take care of them and do our best to protect them when at all possible. But what happens if your dog or cat is bitten by a Rattlesnake? If you live or frequent areas that have these slithering savages, then a vaccine may be in order.

My family owns a ranch in the hills an hour and a half from a veterinary hospital. As the owner of a boarder collie that herds cattle at our ranch and is VERY active and curious, I knew this vaccine was necessary. The Rattlesnake Vaccine gives my pup a fighting chance should she come in contact with a rattlesnake.

In 2003 Red Rock Biologics created a Rattlesnake vaccine to help dogs and cats build up the antibodies that will ultimately help them to fight off the infection that occurs when bitten. It is not a lifesaver, but it does give them a fighting chance especially in instances like mine where I may not be able to get my dog to a vet immediately.

So if you are in a rattlesnake area where you live, where you hike or walk your dog, where you like to go camping or where you hunt with your dog, then consider this inexpensive vaccine. To learn more about this great vaccine visit Rattlesnake Vaccines For Dogs and talk to your Vet. Shots run about $20 per shot and after the intial shot a booster shot is given within 30 days of the first shot and a booster is given 1-2 times a year depending on how often your pet is exposed. $40 a year can help save your pet from a lot of pain and save you from a very expensive vet bill.

 

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