South Fork Caddo River and Thunder Mountain Riverfront Cabin, Caddo Gap, Arkansas

Ellen and my ears perked up at the sound of truck tires rolling over gravel. It was the telltale sound of a vehicle approaching the cabin. We both looked at each other excitedly, "They're here!" she said, and then promptly scampered off the back porch, through the backdoor of the rental cabin, and onto the front porch. We could see the headlights of Van and Katie's truck as they made their way to the cabin. The truck's headlights bounced along the gravel driveway, weaving through the trees. A weekend of fishing and exploring the waters of the South Fork Caddo River was about to begin.

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Experiences While Thru-hiking the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail - Part 2

I must have stood looking at the walrus-like man for several long seconds. It seemed unbelievable to me that this "Park Ranger" had no interest at all in offering any kind of assistance. I fumbled for something to say, but without another word, he slowly eased his Explorer down the road. I watched his tail lights as they disappeared. I was completely baffled by the utter uselessness of the whole conversation that I had just been involved in. What was the point of having a park ranger if that was the kind of “help” they provided? I was still staring down the road, perplexed and annoyed, when I saw the headlights of a truck heading in my direction. As it got closer, I could see it wasn’t just any truck, it was a big and beautiful F-250. It was our savior.

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Experiences While Thru-hiking the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail - Part 1

The trail mostly runs along the spine of Laurel Ridge, one of the western-most ridges of the Allegheny Mountains. It seemed to us that the hiking would be fairly flat once we got on top of the ridge. But first, we had to get to the top. For the majority of the first day, we climbed at a steady pace, stopping a little to catch a glimpse of the deep, lush Conemaugh River Valley. It didn’t take long before dark and ominous storm clouds began blowing in. The winds from the southwest pushed the dark gray clouds right toward us. Distant rolls of thunder followed us as we continued our upward progress.

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Ditch Fishing

You can try to dress it up by calling it urban fishing or city fishing. If you do, you’re putting lipstick on a pig. It’s ditch fishing. You’re slinging your fly toward some mutant hybrid fish in flood control infrastructure. These hungry fish are slurping down flies in the muddy water while they swim amongst the concrete slabs, rebar, and bike frames.

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A Lifetime Hunt in Mississippi

It started with the ubiquitous 20-minute delay in leaving the tower at Energy Center 3 and that pervasive fire that would allegedly burn uncontrolled for the few days in my absence. My father idled outside the office’s doors. I extinguished the brush fire and jumped in the truck. “Sorry for the delay” I said, “I don’t think I have ever been able to get out when we have agreed.”

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Two Old Foxes

If the house had ever been painted it had been decades ago, and a handwritten index card duct-taped to the door read, "Owner armed and dangerous.  Nothing inside worth dying for," and another read, "If you have a cold, the flu, or any other plague, go visit a Yankees fan and leave me alone"; but we knew our knocks would be greeted by the gnarled, aged, yet handsome face of its only tenant, Wade Martin.

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Down to the Wire: A Story of a DIY Colorado Mule Deer Hunt

The next day was our last day to hunt for mule deer during Colorado’s 2nd Rifle Season. I pulled my beanie down over my eyes. The wind whipped around our tent as it gusted through the shallow gully choked in sagebrush.

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Raccoon Trapping: Homemade Water Resistant Bait for Dog-Proof Traps

Raccoon trapping can be a fun and inexpensive way to introduce trapping to younger generations.  By using dog-proof traps, the initial cost is low and the need for intricate trap setting and bedding methods are eliminated.  The wide-ranging diet of the raccoon allows the trapper to easily make his or her own bait. This year, my daughter and I did just that!  

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Pack Packing 2.0

I tend towards a lightweight style.  You’re always welcome to add on that extra sweater, that daily change of socks and underwear, that roll of toilet paper, and all the spice jars on your kitchen shelf.  I tend to choose increased comfort in mobility and mileage over more camp or creature comforts, but this is a choice we all get to make before we start each trip.  So experiment with how much you can carry, or how little you need.  And have fun exploring!

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Exploring Nelson Creek: a Tributary to the Trinity River, Texas

It didn’t take long before Kyle and I were scrambling out of the raft in order to portage around a large impassable logjam. We laboriously pulled the raft along the white sandbar until we were clear of the obstruction. Before jumping back into the raft and continuing our float, we walked back to the large tangle of logs and limbs.

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Paddling into Public Land: Using a Kayak to Hunt Whitetails on Public Land

Using a kayak, or some sort of small watercraft, doesn’t require too much effort, and it can really provide a significant advantage. As deer get more and more pressure from hunters during the season, they will use natural obstacles, such as rivers, to provide cover and solitude. By using a kayak or canoe, one doesn’t create much noise and doesn’t leave behind a trail of human odor. It can be a great way to sneak up close to bedding areas without alerting deer to your presence. 

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Coyote Trapping: Trap Modifications

Trapping eastern coyotes can be a challenge. Eastern coyotes tend to be slightly bigger than their cousins from the west. In some instances, they can weigh around 60lbs. In this video Dan talks about the modifications he does to his coilspring traps. These modifications help improve the speed of his traps and their holding power.

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Southern Supper: A Short Film About Bowhunting Pigs in Southeast Texas

While walking through one of the National Forests in east Texas, I came across an interesting thing.  I found a young loblolly pine, about 7” in diameter, that had mud caked onto the trunk reaching about 4’ off the ground. At the base of the tree, a large circular mud pit had been beaten into the ground. Pig tracks littered the ground all around the pine tree. I was new to Texas and new to hog hunting at the time, but this was unmistakably a point of interest for the pigs

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Sassafras Tea

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is a fairly common tree that grows from east Texas to southern Maine. It is easily identified by the three distinct shapes of the leaves. The leaves will either be in the shape of an oval, mitten, or 3-lobed. The unmistakable “spicy” or “root beer” smell of a freshly broken branch is another unmistakable characteristic. It’s often enjoyable to snap off a sprig of Sassafras and chew it while trekking through the green canopy of the eastern U.S.

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Gear Review: OR's Backcountry Organizer used as a Hunting EDC

Having essential gear scattered throughout several different backpacks is one of the most frustrating things. Having gear in one central location is key to staying organized. Trying to find one’s hunting license in the dark, while trying to make it out of the door before shooting hours, is never fun. By using the Backcountry Organizer by Outdoor Research, I can now keep all of my outdoor essentials in one small pack.

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From Rough Fish to Fine Dish: Catching and Cooking Gar

Soon after moving to Houston, I was walking a man-made bayou with my fly-rod. I was keeping a watchful eye on the water that flowed through the ditch. I wasn’t sure what fish species I could expect to see. I caught sight of a fish slowly swimming to the surface of the water. It opened its mouth like it was taking something from the top-water and then slowly disappeared into the deep murky depths. I had just seen my first spotted gar.

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An Introduction to Fishing Small Streams Using Ultralight Tackle

It's summer, and that means it's time to explore the various creeks and streams that Texas has to offer. Fishing small creeks is one of my favorite ways to spend my free time in the summer heat. In this video, I show what my favorite conventional fishing gear is for fishing small streams. The gear that is discussed in this video will be linked to Amazon at the bottom of the page.

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Hunting the Elusive Antler: A Search for Treasure in the High Mountains of Wyoming

“This is when you need crampons and an ice axe,” said Steve, as we attempted to climb an ice-covered couloir with at least a 60-degree slope in white-out conditions. Dakota and I agreed as we watched our guinea pig, Steve, scramble up the slope to a safe location. I asked Dakota, “We’re looking for antlers, right?” He responded, “Yeah, but we have to get to where the bulls hangout.” It turned out that getting to the overwintering grounds of the big bulls would be more difficult than we imagined.

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Saving Weight and Staying Hydrated: Gear Review of the Katadyn Hiker Pro Water Filter

Summer is here in the Pineywoods of Texas. It's time to get into the woods and start finding your next deer stand location. It goes without saying, but it's critically important to stay hydrated while hiking around in 90 to 100 degree weather. In order to save weight on my scouting trips, I have started carrying a water filter with me. This way, I don't have to haul a full Camelback with me on my day hikes. I chose to carry the Katadyn Hiker Pro.

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