Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Blogs Of Note And Weekend Reading

There are a few blogs that I've been reading lately that i'm not sure are getting all the readers they deserve. If your blog doesnt apear on this list it's not because I dont read what you write it's just that I've either not read your blog because you haven't commented on mine, I've already mentioned you, or I love your blog but you're not posting that regularly and I'm starting to wonder if you ever will again.
Lets start our journey with a real live journey-man 
Pathfinder Tom
Ever wanted to jack it all in and hit the road? Yeah me too! Well now we can without ever leaving the comfort of our armchair campfires. Tom has been to most places, and lived to blog about it. One of the many appealing things about the tales he tells is the super low budget he runs the whole show on, if he's got new gear he's either traded for it or dumpster dived it.

'I need an Axe and bastard file for my upcoming Maine wilderness adventure so my friend and Me took in the local swap meet and I managed to locate a 2 pound Axe head and a bastard file to sharpen it with for the grand total of 3 bucks - not bad. The Axe head is actually in fair shape but the file leaves a bit to be desired, but, ill make them work for me. At the same swap meet I was also able to locate 3 pair of Carharrt pants and 2 pair of Carharrt shorts for 4 bucks - excellent deal.'


.....this buck is the largest whitetail taken in our household...

'A Wisconsin Chick's Journal of Outdoor (Mis)Adventures' Kari has a great voice that leaps off the screen as she blogs tales of her outdoor and toxophilite adventures with Hubbin and her little lad.

I'm super jazzed about this 9 day gun season for reasons to numerous to mention, but I think the main reason is that the last time I hit the woods "packin' heat" I was 4 months pregnant. Then, for two whole seasons after that, I didn't go because...there was no one to watch the boy. Ah, but this year, my mother-in-law has offered to wo-"man the fort" opening weekend so my hubbin' and I can hit the woods. So very romantic, in a "back woods" kinda way, and that just so happens to be the way we roll.

On: Jewelry
I am not just the average chick when it comes to pretty much everything. I occasionally do to things like pee on scrapes during the rut (just to see what happens) or when I find myself with available "duty-free time" I go to the woods, or the range, rather then visit the spa or get my nails done. Well, when it comes to dressin' up and going out, I guess I'm a bit different there too. You see, I like love to wear raccoon ivory with my diamonds!

You read it right. I wrote raccoon ivory. It's not really ivory, like you'd find on an elephant, but rather just a fancy name for a raccoon penis bone that sits well in all types of company. Besides being called an "ivory," they are commonly referred to as: coon dongs, love bones, Mountain Man toothpicks or "insert your state here" toothpicks (and yes, they do work as such!) and as I like to call em', just plain ol' coon pecker s. 

In a word 'beguiling'

Although Hodgeman doesn't post that regularly I will never delete him from my RSS feeds. If you're looking for something a bit more thoughtful than your average blog, this is where its at. Living in Alaska he has more opportunity and more field time than armchair enthusiasts like myself will ever know. He hunts, fishes and gets out and about a lot.
One of the things I admire about his writing style is the way he creates opposing propositions and then, as if by magic, gathers them up into a cohesive whole, leaving the reader (this reader at least) with a feeling of having covered more mental terrain.

Here in his most recent posts he discusses the decline of the American Rifleman

Perfect Practice makes Perfect- Part 1
We've all heard the old adage that practice makes perfect but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is that perfect practice makes perfect and nothing else. Imperfect practice does nothing except solidify bad habits and instill a false sense of confidence in shaky abilities. Being a person interested in the shooting sports, I've noticed a few things regarding practice and some critical elements that I think we're missing very badly in the 21st century. African PHs (professional hunters) and Alaska guides share many things in common and one of them is the opinion that clients tend to overestimate their shooting ability by factor of (at least) ten. Both have gotten used to the practice of consoling a client who's shooting poorly by saying that "the light is different down (or up) here... you'll get used to it." Both have also gotten quite terrified of letting a new client shoot much past bayonet range until the client has proven himself a competent hand with a rifle and the pre-hunt ritual of "rifle zeroing" conducted under the pretense of calibrating rifle scopes after shipping is as much for checking to see if the client is "calibrated" as for the stated purpose. Sad to say but the American sportsman these days is largely a pathetic example of field marksmanship. Why would this be? The American sportsman at the turn of the previous century was a marvel to the sporting world with good aperture sights, early scopes and smokeless ammunition. Those early adventurers to Africa and Alaska were often men who spent considerable time afield with a rifle in their hand as well as men with more than a passing interest in riflery. The reputation of the Yankee marksman soared. These days a visiting sportsman is assumed a clod until proven otherwise.

Perfect Practice makes Perfect- Part 2
In my previous effort I decried the declining state of field marksmanship among Americans but I feel some apologetic words are in order. One, America remains one of the last places on this spinning orb that an average man can go out and for an average weeks' wages, purchase himself a high powered rifle and cartridges and then take that rifle hunting for a large game animal with a minimal amount of government intrusion. I think that is a very good thing. Two, the declining state of riflecraft in America is notable because we have the masses out in the fields shooting game.

While I don't pretend to know many European hunters, the few that I've met in Alaska seem to be a very serious sort of rifleman indeed. A couple of Germans and an Austrian in particular were quite savvy and their guide reported them excellent marksmen and wonderful field hunters. But, I'd wager those gentlemen were the exception to the rule and a random cross section of Europeans would likely have as equally bad field marksmanship as Americans- if not worse. It seems that Europeans have many more restrictions and provisos on the purchase and shooting of high powered rifles than Americans have and the men who pursue hunting there must be very dedicated indeed. When a rifle subjects you to the level of hassle and expense the average European endures to own a smokepole, I'd wager a weekend warrior you are not. 

Having taken instruction on both sides of the pond I would echo this. In the UK I've always (100% every time) been handed a rifle that's been proved empty in front of me and I've been expected to confirm its status immediately. In the US I've had a rifle put in my hands with the words "It's hot and ready to rock".

There's been some interesting discussion of the ethics of hunting on the blogs I read in the last year, but for the best commentary was Hodgeman's you might enjoy reading Hail Mary Shooting... and The 'Texas' Heart Shot

Alaska is just the sort of place to commune with nature, eating it and or being eaten by it"Bear Haven"- Just My Two Cents....
As an avid collector of gear, and owner of some of the most worst low-rent outdoor attire I chuckled over his take on the proper attire for a hunting trip.

About those shoes [and that camouflage]…
I also tend to abhor most camouflage clothing as it generally looks goofy anywhere but the field and in the field it’s often just plain ineffective. If I were a Southeastern U.S. deer hunter I might feel differently but in Alaska I just don’t see the point. Every year hundreds and thousands of hunters from the Lower 48 (affectionately and locally known as theCabela’s Army) pour into Alaska and bring their hunting attire with them. Not to sound snide, but you can spot a guy wearing Mossy Whatever (or similar pattern) out on the tundra at about 3 miles with the naked eye- its just too dark, the pattern is too dense and it appears nearly black at any kind of distance. Neither do dark, complex patterns work well in open mountainous terrain, ... There simply are very few open country patterns that work well up here, but solid color clothing in the right palette can disappear remarkably well over the variable terrain if you keep the extraneous movement to a minimum.

If I big him up a bit more do you think he'll post more often?



PS The only surefire way i know to find blogs worth reading is by following comments on this and other blogs. HINT.