Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cooking tips for Uncle Pete

clearly this guy has Dr. Dirt in mind . . . he even uses the word, "flaccid."

Enjoy your bacon.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grousers in Vegas, Baby!

Sorry for the tardy report, but just wanted to let you know that Grousers were well represented (okay, just represented) at the world’s largest firearms and hunting trade show - the SHOT Show – held in Las Vegas in January. Path Walker ran the Ruffled Grouse Society information booth, providing show goers a wealth of information about wildlife and habitat conservation challenges and opportunities. He also showed himself to be a top salesman of RGS 200th Anniversary Special Edition Magazine (with a reprint of an editorial by RGS first president, John Quincy “Road Hunter” Adams.

Joshua also attended the show because, well … I’m sure he had good reasons.

Anyway, after a hard days work, PW and Joshua dined at a very nice restaurant - Bouchon. Appetizers were excellent, but the entrees couldn’t hold a candle to a number of grouse camp specialties such as Pete’s Braised Woodcock Legs or Andy’s Basque Woodcock.

After dinner, which did include a flight of nice port and a quite good profiterole, PW and Joshua took a romantic stroll along a Venetian Canal, window shopping for high fashion accessories. A stop at a rare-book store convinced Andy that maybe his family’s first edition Jungle Book might not be the best thing to have his kids use as a chew toy.

All in all, an epic Grousers visit to the City o’ Sin. Enjoy the photographic evidence.

Andy manning the Ruffled Grouses booth.

Andy manning the fork.

Andy manning the Venetian canals (O GrouserSolo Mio?)

Joshua searching for the next Grousers Fashion Trends.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Colorado needs elk hunters

This from our friends in Colorado:

Division of Wildlife

DOW looking to elevate elk license sales

DENVER -- In a new effort to promote elk license sales and support the rural communities that depend on hunting, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is launching a national marketing campaign aimed at challenging hunters to elevate their game by tackling a Colorado elk hunt this fall.

The "Elevate Your Game" campaign targets hunters age 30 to 65 using football terminology and themes to raise awareness of Colorado elk hunting opportunities. The integrated television, print and web campaign, developed with Denver-based 5-Stone Advertising, is designed to reach millions of hunters across the country between mid-February and April 5.

Division of Wildlife Director Tom Remington said that while the campaign has a national reach, it's designed as a proof-of-concept pilot project to test the effectiveness of marketing to resident and nonresident hunters alike. The goal of the campaign is to increase elk license applications for the limited license drawing as well as sales of leftover and over-the-counter licenses later in the year.

"The Division of Wildlife's ability to manage big game for Coloradans and visitors depends on hunters," Remington said. "Hunting supports tens of thousands of jobs in dozens of communities across this state. Investing in new ways to encourage hunters to hunt in Colorado is just a smart thing to do.


The Division is believed to be the first state wildlife agency to pursue a national hunter recruitment campaign of this type.

Hunting, angling and wildlife viewing are important economic activities for Colorado and stimulate tourism to rural areas of the state. Wildlife-based recreation has an annual economic impact of $3 billion across Colorado and ranks along with skiing as the top tourism drivers. Hunting and fishing generate $1.8 billion, supporting 20,614 jobs statewide each year. In the state's top five wildlife-dependant counties, hunting and fishing account for between 5 percent and 12 percent of total jobs.

However, during the past five years, the Division has seen the number of Colorado elk hunters decline by 37,500. Reversing this decline has become a top agency priority. An evaluation of the 2011 campaign will help determine if investing in direct outreach to hunters can convince more of them to hunt in Colorado.

The campaign features a 30-second television spot that will run for eight weeks during prime time on The Sportsman's Channel and The Outdoor Channel, two premier national cable channels whose programming focuses on wildlife recreation. In addition, 5-Stone produced two 15-second web ads that will run on popular hunting and fishing web sites, such as, and 

A third campaign element is a full-page print ad that will adorn the March issues of Outdoor Life and Game and Fish magazines, which have a combined circulation of 1.3 million. 

Each of the campaign ads will direct hunters to a dedicated website,, which features a section on planning a Colorado hunt. In addition to web-based ads, the site hosts a video that guides hunters through the license application process and a second video on planning a Colorado big-game hunt. Other links will direct hunters to the Colorado Tourism web site for information on accommodations and the Department of Regulatory Affairs to find a registered outfitter.

Tyler Baskfield, the Division's communications manager, said that the Division has increased its emphasis on customer service, with new products and services to ensure hunters get the information they need. 

"We're challenging hunters to 'elevate their game' with a Colorado elk hunt, so we're raising our game in customer service to make the whole experience of hunting in Colorado as enjoyable and as easy as possible," Baskfield said. "We have world-class hunting and we are ready to provide world-class customer service to match.


Hunters who visit the DOW web site will find an interactive on-line version of the new, user-friendly big-game brochure and links to "Elk Hunting University," a series of articles on the DOW web page that give hunters skills training and planning tips for their elk hunt.

In addition, the Division has staffed up its call center with special customer service representatives who are knowledgeable about the Division's licensing process and Colorado hunting in general. Called "Hunt Planners," these hunting experts will provide the local knowledge and insider tips that can help ensure an enjoyable and successful hunt.

Al White, Director of Colorado Tourism and the former state Senator from Hayden, said that the DOW's marketing campaign is an example of Gov. Hickenlooper's focus on supporting sustainable jobs in Colorado communities.

"I'm very excited about the direction the DOW is taking with this approach of actively marketing and soliciting hunters to come to Colorado," said White. "I think the return on this marketing investment for the state will be phenomenal."

"Hunting is a critical element to the Northwest Colorado economy and until now, our success has been based on word of mouth and trade shows," added Craig Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christina Oxley. "This is a bold move that will benefit the entire state. Kudos to the DOW for being a true community partner and taking this proactive step.

For a downloadable copy of the 2011 Big Game Brochure, visit the Division's web site at:

To view a copy of the new on-line, interactive brochure with video tutorials, please visit:

Elk Hunting University may be viewed at:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Petunia the Piglet

Geezum, I leave you guys for a few minutes, and look what happens to the neighborhood.

Looky out. I 'spect they'll be coming for y'alls guns and dogs next.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Big Game sign-ups

Don't forget to put in for the moose drawings in Maine and New Hampshire. They are both open now. I have put in for them both, and will put in in August for the PA elk hunt.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

How did we miss this TV show?

"Ever wonder where your food comes from? In each episode of "Kill It, Cook It, Eat It," a diverse group of participants is challenged to procure their main course the old-fashioned way: by hunting and killing their chosen prey, butchering it in the slaughterhouse, helping to prepare it in the kitchen, and ultimately sampling it at the dinner table. Some may enjoy the process while others recoil, but for each diner it's an intense journey that just may change their perspectives -- and appetites -- forever."

Carried by Al "Warm and Fuzzy" Gore's TV channel, CurrentTV, no less.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Mountain Lion Hunting in the Cascades vol. 4

My hunt has come to an end. Today was a difficult day with rains and fog, though there were some great moments. The Pacific Northwest woods are certainly moody.

I spent the morning hunting back down by the Toutle River
and turned up nothing, though it was worthwhile in terms of scouting for future elk hunts. And the scenery was nice until it began to pour.

I was impressed with the mossy-rain-forest that was accentuated by the drizzle, and the aromas!

After lunch, it was back to the Toutle
River wildlife management unit high country. As usual, I saw many elk, including multiple big 5 x5 bulls, one of which I stalked just for fun within 100 yards. Boy, do cross-hairs on vitals with a quartering away shot on a 5 pointer at 100 yards get your heart pumping!

I also came across this tree that shows markings of a bear that had been scratching, and then was startled to climb the tree quite high. I have marked with red lines each claw mark on the tree.
We set up for predators first in a clear-cut down low next to Silver Lake. We had
a bobcat come in to about 200 yards, but it darted around some stumps and never gave a clear shot. Later, we set up on a narrow razor-back ridge. There were elk below us in all directions . When we commenced calling (electronic jackrabbit squeals), they scattered. About five minutes later, I saw 5 black tail deer running right to left below me about 200 yards. They stopped periodically to look back, and then sprinted ahead. My guess is cougar, and so thought the guide. An anxious 5 minutes passed, hopeful that the big cat would show, but alas... my hunt ends.

A final sight-seeing rarity occurred. Coming down from the high country, I saw a piebald black-tail deer, which was quite extraordinary. Despite the lack of a feline trophy, I have seen and experienced in intimate ways an extraordinary landscape, I have learned a great deal about elk, drank some great wine and coffee, and have met some interesting and memorable people. That is enough.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Mountain Lion Hunting in the Cascades vol. 3

Hemingway says (about Africa) that "what's true at first light is a lie before noon." I learned some about that yesterday, and apparently so did my guide. It was announced this morning that we would henceforth focus upon the low country for cougars and other fur-bearers. Adaptive learning at its best.
My "guide" showed me an area on my map (good thing I brought that) where locals were reporting a marauding cougar. I was dropped off at an old logging tote road, and bid a good day. This is the luxury of the bonus payments for 1 x 1 hunts. But the wilds were mine, and I planned to enjoy myself, come hell or high water.

I came close to scoring on coyotes twice, but was lukewarm on the idea of shooting them. I saw bald eagles, flushed a grouse, jumped some black tail deer, a dozen mallards on some ponds, and
saw lots of good elk sign. I also saw what was later confirmed to be cougar scat.

I also killed a porcupine. I had come around a bend on an old logging road and there about 100 yards ahead was a furry creature moving about. I hoped bobcat, but an inspection with the 3 to 9 scope showed it to be a porcupine. I was told by my illustrious guide that while on timber company land (which I was -- the Weyerhaeuser St. Helens Tree Farm) I should be sure to shoot any porcupines I encountered. This poor fellow died instantly from a 7mm wsm at 145 yards. His quills will make many flies by a local fly tier.

Tomorrow is my last hunting day.

I hope to return to this area along the Toutle River, not only for the hunting, but to scout the Trout fishing.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mountain Lion Hunting in the Cascades vol. 2

Decided to go for higher altitudes today, find some snow, and then find some tracks. We headed for the ridge and canyon section between the north and south forks of the Toutle River, which peters out to the east at the base of Mt St. Helens. On the way up we saw more elk, and lots of rubbing trees. I set up in a few clear-cuts and tried calling for cougars or any furbearer, but to no avail.

When we reached the snow line, we immediately found plenty of sign, but all bobcat. Ever the undaunted opportunist, I switched into bobcat hunter mode and felt my optimism levels rise as we gained altitude. We were driving on a road that was covered with between 18 inches and 3 feet of snow, that had repeatedly frozen and thawed, so that it was a hard, thick cake. Every mile or so, when I saw what looked like fresh sign, I would get out of the vehicle and walk the tracks until I reached a good ambush location, such as an old log landing, where I had long shots in multiple directions. Then, I would set up a calling scenario and let 'er rip for about an hour. Twice I had motion, but
both times behind me and I never got a good look at what was coming in.

As the sun climbed higher, it warmed the ice road, turning it into a slushy luge course that made for some absolutely harrowing moments, one of which ended the days hunt. We narrowly averted a skid into a snowy bowl that would have been UGLY (as in a mile straight down, probably rolling many, many times, before coming to rest abruptly against the tree line resulting in sudden death.) In the process of not dying, we got stuck.

I remember looking up at the sun and thinking two things. One: This is the kind of thing that is characterized by cascading effects which can end in cold numbing death. Two: Slow death might be worse than sudden death.

I looked at Ray, my guide for the day, who isn't a guide at all, but a nice guy nonetheless. I had been telling him for about a mile that we were making a big mistake by challenging "chewy" snow, especially as high up as we were, and with the sun's warming rays. He said, moments before we almost slid off the planet, "If it weren't safe, I wouldn't be doing it. I ain't gettin' stuck. I don't want to have to walk out of here any more than you do." Truth is, he couldn't walk 100 yards in that snow. But I could, and would have to, for 6 miles.

So, after my mini-day dream, where the sky was beautiful and the snow was as white as a virgin's veil, and two things occurred to me (as above), I looked at Ray and said "It's 2:00 pm. The snow will only get worse for the next hour or two. We can try to get this thing unstuck, but, when we fail, I am going to have to hike out of here to get help." He nodded, cursing aloud, lamenting the straights he had put us in, and acknowledging repeatedly that he should have listened to me. I tried to ease his discomfort. "Its a beautiful day. How bad can it be be?" He looked at me with a small amount of fear in his eyes, and said in a low voice, "We are over 20 miles from a real road, it'll be dark in a few hours, there is no cell phone reception here, and I don't have the right extrication gear. I am sorry I got us here, but now we're fucked."

I though hard about this frank assessment. It occurred to me, as it often does in these kinds of situations, that at least, there were no snipers. And nowadays I add, no IEDs. However, Ray was right in stating the hard reality of our situation. I asked him how far he could go. He said "I'd be a fool to leave this truck. They'd find me wadded up." That, of course, left precious few options. I needed to ruck up quickly, get down the mountain, communicate our situation to someone (like the outfitter in charge) as soon as possible, and get Ray off this mountain to prevent him a very cold night at minimum (I shuddered to think of that ridge at 2am). Hoo-ah.

A quick inventory ensued. 4 bottles of water, a rifle, a handgun, 2 oranges, a stick of salami and some beef jerky. I checked my pack. Survival gear, 1 first aid kit, emergency blanket, whistle, compass, GPS (Rhino w radio), and a couple of knives. Good to go. I took a GPS reading and recorded the coordinates. "Ray, I'll take half the water, an orange and the pistol. I'll be down by dark I hope, and you'll be outta here by midnight. Stay warm, don't leave this position- you're on your own" (I'd been wanting to use that line for years). I shook Ray's hand and left at 2:15 pm.

It was pretty simple. I'd either make contact with someone at the first available cell phone signal and set the gears in motion, or I'd spend the night out here, and so would Ray. I tried to leave it right there in my head, and ignored the nagging realities of cascading effects. I recalled the last place I felt the vibration of my phone receiving email or text messages was about two miles a way, on a ridge where one could see Mt. Ranier, Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens from virtually the same spot. I checked my battery --going low fast with the temps and the constant searching for signal. I shut it off and began my march, snapping a photo of the stuck truck before leaving (above).

After about two miles, I arrived at the ridge. I checked signal, dialed the outfitter, and afterwards my wife, and related the situation, gave coordinates, and assessed options. Once that was accomplished, I was relieved. Now that someone knew where we were, we were in good shape. It took me about three hours to get down to below snow line, and the outfitter was arriving as I was taking off my pack. After a tense exchange with him, he was convinced that he couldn't simply run up there and fix things John Wayne-style, without making a bigger mess. I made it clear that I had no intentions of going back up there having just come down plus 5 miles, just to get stuck and have to spend the night in the snow. We debated for a few minutes, but my photos, description, and GPS coordinates convinced him easily to call in reinforcements. Ray was rescued from the ridge before 11 pm.

Tomorrow, we will return to the snow, but will not attempt to drive so far. I hope to find a good transitional spot to be well positioned for either mountain lion or bobcat. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Mountain Lion Hunting in the Cascades vol. 1

First day of a 4 day hunt for mountain lion in Washington State (Mt St Helens area, Toutle River Valley)... no lions, but lots of elk and blacktail deer today. Had the crosshairs on two different shooter bulls at 100 or so yards. What a rush, even though season is closed.

That's Mt Ranier above, and Mt St Helens in the background below. Saw some cougar sign in the clear-cuts, but no lower elevation snow means tough hunting. Spot and stalk mixed with liberal predator calling set-ups in likely areas. At least the scenery is trophy-class.