Melt a plastic worm to plug boot and wader holes
Small leaks and briar-pricks in boots or waders can be plugged temporarily by melting the end of a plastic worm and smearing the hot goo over the hole. The plastic hardens in a few seconds and sticks well. (Suggested by Mark Knight, Kansas City, MO)
Carrieing and applying bug dope
Here's a convenient way to carry and apply bug dope: saturate a square of cloth about the size of a handkerchief with repellent, fold it to fit a pocket, and wrap it tightly in aluminum foil so it can't evaporate.-Ronnie Jinks, Rayville, LA
A .22 bullet is dangerous up to a mile
Is a .22 bullet really dangerous up to 1 mile, as ammunition makers claim? Yes. The .22 LR cartridge has a range of about 1,450 yards when the rifle is angled at about 25 degrees. That's more than 4/5 mile, which leaves little margin for error in populated areas.
Making rose hip tea to ward off colds
Wild rose hips, the red pods that swell just beneath a rose's bud and remain on the plant stem all winter, are extremely high in Vitamin C. They can be gathered in summer, fall, and winter along riverbanks, lakeshores, and roadsides and make a pleasant-tasting tea which is said to ward off colds. Boil a quantity of rose hips for 10 minutes, then dilute with water and sweeten to taste.
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Gamebirds like to stay dry
Gamebirds are always dry when they fly. Remembering that fact will guide you to where the birds will be on rainy days. Grouse tend to roost above the ground in thick growths of spruce or fir trees where they are protected from the rain. Pheasants and quail lie up under the cover of shelterbeds or other overhead protection. Woodcock will be under short coniferous trees whose boughs spread close to the ground.
Tracking a deer to his bedding area
When a deer track suddenly turns downwind, the deer may be going to bed down, probably on the nearest piece of high ground. Don't follow the track. Instead, back up 100 yards or so, then circle out from the track on the downwind side and stalk the nearest piece of high ground that overlooks the deer's backtrack. That's where you are most likely to jump him.
Dragging a deer out of the woods
To drag a deer out of the woods, tie one end of a 5-foot piece of rope around the base of the antlers and the other end around the center of a 2-foot-long dried stick about 2 inches thick. Extend your arms behind you and grasp the stick with both hands. As you walk away in this position you will be pulling the deer forward without lifting any of its weight. Two people can share the task by grasping opposite ends of the stick with one hand each, pulling shoulder to shoulder.
Fitting a shoe if you have different size feet
Most of us have one foot that is larger than the other and boots often feel noticeably looser or tighter on one foot or the other. You can compensate for this (and prevent blisters) by buying footwear to fit your larger foot, then adding a sock liner or extra sock on the smaller foot.
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Raising the comb of a gunstock for upland birds
Raising the comb of a gunstock makes the gun shoot higher. Some upland bird shooters modify the stocks of their shotguns in this manner to make them shoot 11/2 to 2 feet high at 40 yards. The high-thrown shot compensates for the rise of a flushing bird and enables the gunner to score by keeping the bird in view and shooting directly above it.
Bannock, a favorite woodsman's trail food, is made by combining 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon of salt with each cup of flour. Add cold water and mix to form a thick dough. Fry in a greased skillet until crusty on one side, then turn and fry the other side until crusty. Sugar, bits of dried fruit, or crumbled pieces of cooked fish can be added to the dough to increase flavor.
Hard-boiled eggs or baked potatoes as warmers
Hard-boiled eggs or baked potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil while they are hot stay warm for hours in your pocket, thus becoming very useful as edible handwarmers. Perfect for frigid mornings in a duckblind or on a deer stand.
Logging roads to help you get home
If you are lost in heavily wooded country, the angles at which logging trails join will always show you the way out to a traveled road. Logging trail systems branch out like tree limbs from the main stem. The sharp angle formed at their junctions always points to the route the loggers used to haul timber to the road.
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Carry extra clothing with your drag rope
When deer hunting, use your 5- or 6-foot drag rope to sling extra clothing over your back where it is out of the way and won't interfere with your shooting. Roll the clothing into a 2-foot-long bundle, leaving enough slack to permit slipping your head and one arm and shoulder through the resulting loop. Wear the bundle on your back with the strap over your non-shooting shoulder.
Snowshoe safety when crossing ice
Buckled snowshoe harnesses are dangerous when you are crossing frozen lakes, ponds, or streams. You can't swim with snowshoes on. People who work around thin ice wear simple bindings that have only a leather toepiece and a loop of rubber tire tube or Bungee cord around the heel. The stretchable heel loop makes it possible to kick out of the harness or pull it free if you accidentally go through the ice.
How to lace up your boots
Cut boot laces long enough to wrap twice around the top of your boots, then tie them in the rear using a square knot. Having the knot on the rear side of the boot will prevent brush from pulling the knot loose. Using a square knot, rather than a bowknot, prevents slippage yet is easy to untie by simply pushing the opposing loose ends toward one another.
Keeping shoelace ends of even length
Boot laces can be kept even in length simply by tying a knot in the center of the lace between the bottom two eyelets. The knot prevents the lace from slipping out of place when you loosen or tighten your boots.
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Field dressing big game animals
Field dressing large game animals is much easier if you remove the sternum (the heavy cartilage that joins the ribs at the chest) before attempting to remove the forward organs. Begin by peeling the skin back to expose the area. The soft rib/sternum joints lie 1 1/2 inches to either side of the sternum's centerline on a deer, and about 2 1/2 inches on an elk or moose. Cut through the joints with a pocketknife, pull up on the end of the sternum until it breaks loose, then cut it free. A wide chest opening now exposes the forward organs.
Waterfowl hunters must limit their calling
Waterfowl hunters who call too many times sometimes identify themselves as counterfeits and flare birds. Ducks and geese call frequently to attract passing flocks, then often go silent as the birds approach. Try calling only until the birds turn toward your decoys-then go silent and let the decoys pull the birds in the rest of the way.
Proper compass use
Don't try to follow a directional course by looking at a compass while you move. Instead, hold your compass at waist level, then pivot yourself and the compass together until you are facing in the direction you want to travel. Now choose a distant object on that line and walk to it. Keep repeating this procedure until you reach your destination.
Steadying your rifle for shots at big game
When taking a long shot with a rifle, you can often reduce shakiness by taking aim slightly below your target and slowly raising the rifle until the sights line up on the bull's-eye. Fire as the target is attained. If this works for you on paper, try it next time you must make a long shot on game.
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Only shoot bird that your dog has pointed
Bird dogs become more reliable on point if gunners avoid shooting at birds that flush wild. Saving your shots for birds that the dog has pointed teaches the dog that shooting is a reward for a job well done and helps the dog comprehend the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
Thunderstorms move from the west or northwest to the east or southeast. This means that a thunderstorm that is north, east, or south of your position can do you little harm. Storms to the north and south of you will move away, and storms to the east of you have already passed by. Thunderstorms do not turn around and come back.
How to approach tracks when hunting
When you come upon a fresh track while hunting big game, don't stop and look down at the track first. Instead, stop and study the terrain within your view to be sure the animal that made the track is not within sight. And when you follow, raise your eyes every few seconds to check ahead.
Walking quietly through the woods
To walk quietly in the woods, keep your weight on the foot that is under you as you move the other foot forward. Set your heel down first, then roll your weight forward from heel to toe as you complete the step. Be prepared to shift your weight back to your rear foot if the front foot feels unstable.
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Covering your skin so game won't see you
Ducks, turkeys, and big-game animals are quick to notice the white flash of a pale face or hand when a hunter moves. To avoid being noticed, tie a dark colored or camouflage bandana over your nose, cheeks, and chin. Wear camouflage gloves that have a trigger finger that offers a fine touch.
Making a pig sound to get big game to move
When a big-game animal approaches close to your stand but stops where it does not offer a clear shot, you may have to do something to make it take an extra step and expose a vital area. Try making one short, pig-like snorting sound through your nose and mouth. Often this sound will cause an animal to change position slightly.
Proper focusing with binoculars
To get the maximum advantage from your binoculars, it is important to use the central focusing wheel to focus the left eye first. When the left eye is in sharp focus, close it and use the separate diopter adjustment to bring the right eye into focus. Now both eyes will focus properly when you use the central focusing wheel to adjust for distance.
Best place to shoot an animal you plan to eat
The best place to shoot an animal you plan to eat is through the lungs, just behind the shoulder, halfway between the bottom of its chest and the top of its back. The lung shot causes massive internal bleeding while the heart continues to pump for a minute or two, drawing blood from the tissues and depositing it all in the chest cavity. The lack of blood in the tissues will make the flesh taste better.
A dry coat is a more efficient insulator
When doing strenuous work outdoors, don't wear the coat you plan to use for warmth later, because moisture will gather in the garment and make it damp and cold. A coat kept dry will capture body warmth and retain it long after your exertions have been completed.