I’m a tech junkie, even when I’m out fishing, hunting or camping. But, I’m a dolt when it comes to keeping my electronics charged and ready when needed. I can’t count the times I’ve reached for my smartphone to shoot pics of a fun outing, just to see the dreaded “low-battery” warning – oftentimes within an hour of heading out. That’s why I’ve become a sun worshiper. Today’s portable solar-driven, battery-recharging products are power-challenged outdoorsmen’s and women’s best friends, even during winter and when skies are gloomy. Fully electrified by the sun, they recharge cell phone batteries in an hour…
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In an instant the blue-sky, 70-degree, high-country afternoon morphed into a mother of an autumn storm. My husband and I jumped off our horses and secured them, threw our saddles adorned with all our gear into a pile, ripped the tent fly from its pouch, jumped atop the saddles and covered the human-plus-gear mound with the waterproof cover. Clouds generated wind, which delivered rain, which begot hail. We weathered the storm, which lasted into twilight, without getting drenched or frozen. The storm forced us to camp at an unplanned backcountry location. And, we had only a brief stretch of daylight…
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When enjoying wilderness camping, an additional set of environmentally friendly camping criteria comes into play. Keep Mother Nature in mind by setting up camp away from the water and areas with delicate life. 1. Avoid the water. Camp 300 feet from water — streams, rivers and lakes — to protect the resource. Draw water for cooking, drinking, dish washing and bathing and carry it to your camping area. Also be mindful of water control regions below dams. When water is released, a river is a treacherous place. 2. Identify and stay clear of fragile regions. The weight of a tent…
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Thick leaden clouds blanketed the sky and the air had a heavy, raw feel as we pushed off into the emerald green river. But at least temperatures hovered above freezing. We were embarking on a 10-mile float trip for ducks and the last thing we needed was ice or snow to contend with. It can be productive to hunt before a winter storm. Game animals will feed heavily 12-24 hours before a storm approaches because they know food will be hard to find once snow blankets the ground.   No sooner had we left the launching spot and paddled our…
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You’re ready to improve your outdoor survival skills. A quick Google search brings up dozens of survival school options in the United States. But how do you evaluate a school or course and choose one of the best? We’ve done some of the homework for you, picking out 10 of our favorite survival schools below after scouring schools for qulified instructors, great courses and positive reviews. Be sure to check credentials and background when evaluating survival or outdoor schools. To help us in our mission to find the nations top schools, we first spoke with Dina Bennett. She runs the…
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This is why you should get off the water — and shoreline — during a lightning storm.     Did you spot the fisherman? Around 32 seconds in, you can see the angler is pointed out in the video via an arrow. Now that was close! According to the video, uploaded to YouTube June 19 by Tesla Weather, the angler was located about .03 miles from the lightning strike, which occurred in Barcelona, Spain, in the morning hours of June 15. The person who captured the video wasn't very far away, either — about .06 miles. Here's a screen grab from YouTube:…
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Shirt pulled up to expose his belly and plant in hand, 10-year-old Curt used a circular motion to rub the plant over the surface of his skin. His little cousin followed suit. The little boy was my genius cousin who was scientificlly, in his mind, testing his theory that he was not allergic to poison ivy. The copy cat was me. Five-plus decades later, I remember the agony I suffered and still cringe at the thought of the experience and how I got through my allergic reaction to the plant. Avoidance isn't always easy though ... expecially for the outdoorsmen.…
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  Several years ago, me, the wife and our two kids attended an organized night hike at a nearby arboretum. The kids were only in their single digit years but were no stranger to hiking. Most of their trekking miles were gained via state park trails and exploring the woods and meadows near our home. Always being on the alert for new hiking opportunities, I was excited to discover the night hikes offered by the arboretum's naturalists and sign the family up for the next one. During that first organized night hike, the kids were mesmerized by the naturalist's stories…
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YouTube screen grab   Wondering why you're seeing so many bear videos pop up in the news and social media? It's mating season. From May to July, bears are out roaming the land in search of a mate, which is why bear sightings increase during this time of year. While many of these sightings are adorable (see Bear Relaxing in a Hammock), some can be downright nerve-wracking. Take for instance this story out of Canada, where two joggers were joined on their run by a young black bear. Not surprisingly, the two men were nervous about their new training partner…
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As settlers traveled across the country a couple hundred years ago, their needs were simple even though times were harsh. Food, shelter and safety were primary. After trudging laborious miles through strange lands, scared, exhausted and many sick, a rewarding meal was often looked forward to at day's end. This made one piece of gear more of a treasure than a travel accessory: the cast iron kettle, or Dutch oven. Today, a Dutch oven is a treasure found around campfires as a luxury more so than a necessity. Pulling a Dutch oven from the vehicle or RV at a campground…
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